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Olympus Bows 2 New 3-Megapixel Digital Cameras

On the heels of a positive market share report from IDC that put the vendor in second place with 17 percent of the consumer digital still-camera market (see story below), Olympus added two new 3-megapixel cameras to its lineup.

Both cameras are slated to ship in June.

The C-720 Ultra Zoom features an 8x optical zoom lens (24x total seamless zoom) and will carry a suggested retail price of $699.

Based on the Olympus C-700, the C-720 features Olympus’ TruePic technology for improved image quality and USB Auto-Connect for software-free downloads from camera to computer.

The C-720 offers users the options of point-and-shoot operation in Programmed Auto mode. The mode dial provides fully automatic exposure adjustments for three settings: Portrait, Landscape-Portrait, and Sports shooting. A “My Mode” option lets the user assign a frequently used function to the mode dial for quicker access.

Olympus said the C-720 offers manual control for aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual operation. The camera sports a full information Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), which displays aperture, shutter speed, and image quality settings. Other controls include digital and spot metering, adjustable white balance, multiple flash settings including slow sync flash, auto bracketing and exposure compensation.

The C-720 Ultra Zoom ships with a 16MB SmartMedia card and Olympus Camedia Master Software 4.0.

The second Olympus offering is the D-550 Zoom. It offers 3-megapixel resolution with a 2.8x optical zoom (3.6x digital for a total seamless 10x zoom), 5 scene program modes with a Virtual mode dial and a 1.8-inch LCD.

Additionally, the D-550 Zoom features automatic noise-reduction technology for clean colors and sharp detail when shooting long exposures in low light in the Night Scene mode. Olympus’ exclusive TruePic technology optimizes the image quality for picture sharpness, contrast, true colors and gradation in all picture resolutions, along with automatic pixel mapping, which analyzes the CCD, re-mapping it for maximum CCD performance.

The new 3:2 recording mode in the D-550 Zoom allows users to create perfectly sized 4 x 6-inch prints along with a variety of other popular print sizes. The 3:2 aspect ratio is the standard image ratio for conventional 35mm film cameras, and the most requested for photographic framing.

The D-550 ZOOM will be available for a suggested retail price of $399. It comes with a 16MB SmartMedia card.