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New Digicams, Photo Printers

New York – Casio lead off the camera introductions with a trio of new models in its Exilim line of slim form-factor models, pouring a host of improvements into the models.

The EX-Z4U is the first Exilim to offer 4-megapixel resolution. Additionally the Z4U features a 3x optical zoom, 2-inch LCD screen, a shutter lag of .01 seconds, a start-up time of 1.6 seconds (with the flash turned off), and an audio snapshot and voice recorder function for capturing still images with sound.

The new model has improved battery performance from the older Z3, offering 20 percent longer continuous recording time. It has 10MB of internal memory and takes SD/MMC flash cards.

The Z4U ships with a USB cradle for picture transfers. It will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $399.99.

The company also released the EX-S20U and M20U, both shipping in October. These 2-megapxiel, fixed-focus models are based off the previous EX-S2, only 10 percent smaller. They feature start-up times of .9 seconds, shutter lag of .01 seconds, 10MB of internal memory, SD/MMC card expansion slot, and a new, low-power design that improves battery life by 85 percent over the S2.

Other improvements include a new lens that allows for macro shots from 30cm from the subject (the first fixed-focus Exilim models to incorporate a macro shooting mode), and a new lens cover.

Both units ship in October with a USB cradle for image transfers. The S20U will have a suggested retail price of $279.99 and the step-up M20U, which offers MP3 playback, voice recording and audio snapshots, will carry a $329.99 suggested retail price.

Concord will ship its CMOS-based Eye-Q 2040 at a suggested retail price of $99.99 later this year.

The 2-megapixel 2040 offers a slim-line body design with chrome-silver trim and a rubberized finish. Features include a 4x digital zoom, 7MB of internal memory, video recording and a 1.5-inch color LCD display. In review mode, still images can be enlarged at 2x and 4x magnification. The camera also offers an SD/MMC card expansion slot.

Olympus introduced a new 5-megapixel camera, the C-5000 zoom with a 3x optical/4x digital zoom lens and is being positioned to court both the more advanced photographer and the point-and-shoot novice. It serves as a replacement for the C-4000, offering a 20 percent smaller body and an added hot shoe.

The camera will ship with a Lithium-Ion battery, charger and a 32MB xD card. It features both automatic and full manual controls, six scene program modes (including landscape, portrait, night scene and sports photography), and a threaded ring built into the body around the lens (adapter required) for adding additional lenses.

A ‘My Mode’ feature allows users to create a separate, customizable exposure setting. The menu also features three shortcut buttons that let the user assign the most frequently used menu categories to these three buttons. A programmable ‘Custom Button’ allows the user to assign one button on the back of the camera for immediate access to auto exposure lock, variable drive settings, different ISO ratings and/or remote control operation.

The C-5000 will be available October for a suggested retail price of price of $599.

Pentax updated its digital camera lineup this week with the announcement of three new Optios, including a waterproof model and its first PictBridge-enabled model.

All the new Optio’s will ship in October with an ACDSee software package designed exclusively for the company that includes ACDSee 5.0, an image management program.

The Optio S4 is the successor to the company’s diminutive S3, adding 4-megapixel resolution and retaining the tiny dimensions and light weight of its predecessor. The S4 offers a 3x zoom lens, a large manual control playback button, a movie mode with sound playback, 11MB of internal memory, and a voice memo recording feature for adding 30 second voice attachments to still images.

A sliding lens system allows the camera’s lens to move up and away so the retracted lens is completely flush with the camera body, protecting the lens and reducing the size of the camera.

The S4 features a shutter release time lag of 0.01 seconds and records up to 60 seconds of AVI video with sound at 15 frames per second at 320 by 240 resolution. The S4 accepts SD/MMC memory and will retail for a suggested $549.95.

The Optio 555 replaces the Optio 550 and ships in October. It’s a 5-megapixel model with a 5x optical/4x digital zoom and has a suggested retail price of $767.95.

It features improved responsiveness over its predecessor, including reduced lag time, as well as11 capture modes, aperture-priority AE, metered manual mode, and a customizable user mode. In movie mode the Optio 555 can capture video at 15 frames per second at 320 by 240 resolution in .MOV format. It offers an SD/MMC expansion slot.

The Optio 555 is the first Pentax model to offers PictBridge compatibility for direct printing.

Finally, Pentax announced the Optio 33WR for digital photographers who have a penchant for getting wet. The 3.2-megapixel model offers a JIS Class 7 water resistance rating in addition to a 2.8x optical zoom lens.

The 33WR offers a movie mode with sound and voice memo. Shooting modes include program, landscape, night scene, night scene portrait, surf and snow, portrait, sunset, flower, fireworks, snap (automatic pan) and macro modes. It will have a suggested retail price of $449.95.

On the printer side:

Canon updated its photo printer lineup with the introduction of five new models. All of Canon’s new printers are PictBridge compatible, the direct print industry standard that enables users to print from a PictBridge-enabled digital camera to a PictBridge printer, regardless of manufacturer, through a USB cable.

The i900D and i960 are six color photo printers featuring 4800 by 1200 dpi resolution. The i900D can produce borderless 4 by 6-inch photo prints in 75 seconds while the i960 can achieve the same in 37 seconds.

Both the i900D and i960 photo printers include a photo paper tray that supports 4 by 6-inch photo paper and can act as a dual paper feed allowing the printers to simultaneously accommodate 8.5 by 11- or 5 by 7-inch paper as well as the 4 by 6 photo paper. This new feature allows users to alternate printing modes or printing sizes without stopping to change paper.

The i900D features a built-in two-inch LCD and onboard media slots for CompactFlash, MicroDrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick (excluding PRO) SD and MMC. Memory Stick Duo, xD PictureCard and mini SD Card can be used with the addition of a special adaptor, sold separately

Shipping in October, the i900D and i960 printers carry an estimated street price of $249.99 and $199.99, respectively.

Canon’s new i455 and i475D desktop photo printers are successors to the i450 and i470D, respectively. Both are shipping now and offer a maximum resolution of 4800 by 1200 dpi with Canon’s MicroFine droplet technology.

The units also feature edge-to-edge borderless printing in 4 by 6, 5 by 7 and 8.5 by 11-inch sizes with a top speed of up to 18 ppm in black and up to 12 ppm in color. The step-up i475D has onboard media slots. The i455 and i475D printers carry estimated street prices of $79.99 and $129.99 respectively

Finally, Canon announced that it will ship the i860 desktop photo printer this month with an estimated street price of $149.99. It features borderless printing, 4800 by 1200 dpi and speeds of up to 23 ppm in black text and up to 16 ppm in color.

The successor to the i850 printer, the i860 printer features ContrastPLUS, a five-color individual ink cartridge system.

Epson introduced the latest entry in its Stylus C series of consumer-level photo inkjet printers, the C84 along with a new formula for its DuraBrite inks.

The C84, which ships this month for a suggested retail price of $99 is a replacement for the company’s Stylus C82. The C84 features printing at 5760 by 1440 dpi, four individual ink cartridges, borderless printing in 4 by 6-inch, 8 by 10-inch and letter sized photos and can produce black/text at 22 pages per minute (ppm) and color at 12 ppm.

The printer can also produce a 4 by 6-inch photo in 61 seconds and an 8 by 10-inch photo in 2 minutes and 20 seconds. The model features a new paper feed motor that reduces the noise the unit makes when printing.

The new DuraBrite pigment-based inks offer improved brightness, higher color accuracy, color saturation, water resistance and a ‘true black’ on glossy media, according to Steven Semos, product manager, consumer inkjet printers, Epson.

The company also introduced a new all-in-one, the CX5400 as a replacement for the CX5200. It will ship this month for a suggested retail price of $149.

The CX5200 features 22 ppm printing in black text, 11 ppm in color and can crank out 15 copies per minute. It features 5760 by 1440 dpi resolution for photo printing and 1200 by 2400 dpi scanning.

The all-in-one will ship with a new Easy Photo Fix software that allows for one click color restoration and other photo enhancements to scratched, faded or damaged images. It also ships with new Epson Scan Software that is Twain compliant.

Olympus announced two new dye-sublimation printers, the P-10 and P-440. The P-10 is compatible with the new PictBridge standard, the P-440 is not.

The P-10 can produce 4-by-6-inch and 3.5-by-5-inch edge-to-edge color prints with or without borders in less than 45 seconds. It will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $249.95.

The step-up P-440 produces five different print sizes, up to 8 by10, in 75 seconds in either glossy or matte finish. Print sizes include postcard, photo-album, index and A5 wide.

The P-440 has slots for direct printing from xD-Picture Cards (available in Olympus and Fujifilm digital cameras) and also has a PCMCIA Type II card adapter for SmartMedia, Memory Stick, and CompactFlash cards. It features a 1.8-inch color LCD and can be connected to a TV.

The P-440 will be available in October for a suggested $599.95.