Valhalla, N.Y. -
America introduced Wednesday four new digital point-and-shoot cameras offering stylish bodies, long zoom lenses and attractive price points for the holidays.
Among the highlights of the offerings is the flagship F-series camera model F300EXR (shipping in September at a $330 suggested retail). The camera, which targets step-up photographers, features a stylish body design in a black lacquer finish.
Key features include a 12-megapixel EXR Super CCD image sensor, Fujinon 15x optical zoom, ultra-compact 23mm thin chassis, and a 3-inch (460,000 pixel) high-contrast LCD screen.
The sensor technology advancement was said to enable the
"world's first consumer camera to support phase detection auto focusing" in addition to contrast AF in a powerful hybrid system. Auto Focus speed is listed at up to 0.158 seconds, even at full 15x zoom extension.
Fujifilm also adds its Pro Focus mode, which captures several images in sequence and combines them to create a crisp shot of the subject against a defocused background and foreground.
The effect is said to be ideal for portraits, nature photography or any subject that needs to be lifted from the background. The Pro Focus mode was also combined with face detection and face recognition for more exacting results.
The camera includes a complete anti-blur system using a combination of new intelligent image stabilization technologies, including the use of a gyroscope to keep the sensor properly balanced.
Image stabilization also works in the camera's movie mode, keeping images stable while shooting up to 720p HD video.
The 15x optical zoom has 12 aspherical lenses using low-dispersion glass.
For optimal low-light shooting, the F300 EXR includes a high-resolution dynamic range system with a signal-to-noise ratio capable of producing high-quality stills even when shooting in low-light conditions.
A motion panorama 360-degree feature allows left-to-right and up-and-down panoramic shooting.
Another new Z-series model, the Z800EXR (available at the end of August at a $230 suggested retail), is an ultra-compact, ultra-slim camera with phase detection included in the 12-megapixel EXR Super CCD sensor, a 3.5-inch (16:9 widescreen) LCD high-resolution touchscreen and 720p HD video recording capability.
The camera will ship in a choice of matte black, red, pink or gold colors.
It is shirt-pocket-sized and includes a full metal chassis, 360-degree motion panorama shooting, and easy uploading to Facebook and YouTube with the included Fine Pix Studio software.
A new phase-detection system enables high-speed auto focusing, but the camera has the ability to intelligently decide between two focusing systems for the best results -- phase detection or high-contrast detection.
For example, when a bright, high-contrast subject is positioned in the center of the frame, Phase Detection AF works fast and accurately; while in dark scenes, Contrast AF is selected.
The camera is said to be able to achieve an auto focus speed of 0.158 seconds, which is achieved by placing pairs of phase detection pixels on the EXR sensor, performing like external sensors on d-SLRs
The high-resolution touchscreen display offers a Dual Direction graphical user interface (GUI) and Dual Image Display, enabling easy navigation of camera controls. The Dual Direction GUI detects the orientation of the camera and automatically switches the direction of the menu button accordingly (for shooting, playback, multi-viewing and image search), while Dual Image Display splits the screen in various ways to view multiple images at once, without the need for scrolling.
The S-series S2800HD (shipping at the beginning of September in a $260 suggested retail) is a digital point-and-shoot with a d-SLR-styled one-piece body. It includes a 14-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CCD, an 18x Fujinon zoom lens with a 28mm to 504mm equivalent range, 720p HD video capture, 3-inch LCD screen, electronic viewfinder, dual image stabilization system and zoom bracketing mode.
For movie playback, the camera includes a mini HDMI port and will work with an optional HD player kit, which includes an HD card reader to connect to an HDTV via HDMI cable and a wireless remote control for video playback.
Other features include smile/blink detection, face detection, and Tracking Auto Focus, which allows users to track a moving subject automatically to keep it in focus as it moves around the frame. The camera also has a motion panorama mode with auto stitching, and automatic scene recognition that intelligently detects the scene type and optimizes the camera's focus, exposure and white balance.