Las Vegas — With 8-megapixel digital cameras pacing the resolution race, vendors are now promoting movie modes, larger LCD screens and faster performance digital cameras to distinguish their lines from the blisteringly competitive pack.
At the Photo Marketing Show being held here this week Canon introduced three new Digital Elphs, the PowerShot S500, S410 and SD110.
The cameras feature Canon’s new Direct Print capability as well as a movie print mode that prints thumbnail sequences from captured movie clips using Canon’s CP-type printers.
The 5-megapixel S500 offers a 3x optical/4.1x digital zoom lens, 640 by 480 movie capture at 10 fps up to 30 seconds per clip and a continuous burst mode up to 2.2 fps at full resolution. It will ship in April with a 32MB CompactFlash card for an estimated street price of $499.
The S410 offers 4-megapixel resolution with a 3x optical zoom and 320 by 240 movie capture at 15fps up to three-minutes each. It ships in April for an estimated street price of $399.
The smallest Digital ELPH camera to date with an optical zoom, the new 3.2-megapixel SD110, features SD memory and a 2x optical zoom lens. The camera can record VGA movies with sound for clips of up to 30 seconds. It features a new 'silver white' finish and ships with a 16MB SD in April for an estimated street price of $299.
Canon also will continue its partnership with Coach. The companies introduced two new Coach Edition Gift Sets featuring the new PowerShot S500 or the new SD110 Digital ELPH cameras, custom made Coach black leather carrying case, and a Coach Edition metal neck strap in a luxury gift box. The Digital ELPH Coach Edition Gift Set will be available at select retailers for an estimated street price of $549 and $349 for the S500 and SD110, respectively.
Casio introduced the EX-P600 Exilim Pro, a 6-megapixel model with a 4x optical zoom and a 2-inch LCD screen. It will ship in March with a suggested retail price of $699.99. It sports PictBridge compatibility, 10MB of internal memory, 25 preset scene modes in addition to a 1.5-second start-up time and .01 second shutter lag. A burst mode can snap up to 6 images at 3 images per second. It captures QVGA resolution video, 320 by 240, at 15fps to the length of a SD card.
Konica-Minolta introduced three new models under the DiMAGE brand. The 4-megapixel DiMAGE Z2 features a 10x optical / 4x digital zoom and rapid autofocusing (AF). It is the company’s first digital camera to be equipped with the new mega-zoom lens featuring an all-glass apochromatic (APO) lens.
The Z2 can record VGA movies at 30fps in addition to what the company claims is the industry’s first 15fps SVGA movie capture mode. All movies run to the capacity of the memory card. The Z2 will have a suggested retail price of $449.
The 2-megapixel DiMAGE Xg builds on the thin design of the DiMAGE Xt and features a faster start-up time of about 0.8 seconds in addition to automatic digital subject program modes, a larger LCD monitor (1.6-inches), a night movie mode and PictBridge compatibility.
The camera also features a 3x optical/4x digital zoom lens and carries a $299 suggested retail price.
Finally, the company introduced a high-end fixed lens model, the A2, offering a new 3D auto-focusing system and proprietary Anti-Shake technology for still images, which the company says minimizes the effect of camera shake up to 800 percent.
The 8-megapixel A2, which will retail for a suggested $1,099, sports the industry’s first VGA-resolution viewfinder in addition to a VGA movie mode, USB 2.0 connectivity and compatibility with portable and studio flash systems.
Kyocera introduced a 4-megapixel model of its SL-series camera with RTUNE technology, the Finecam SL400R. The model features the same body and features as the 3-megapixel SL300R, including a 3x optical zoom lens, but adds a lens hood to protect the lens from grease and smudging.
It will ship in March for a suggested retail price of $399.99.
Olympus also jumped onboard the PictBridge wave, incorporating the direct print standard across its digital camera line. Additionally the company will incorporate a new imaging engine, called TruPic Turbo, for improved camera performance and image quality.
The 2004 lineup will start with the entry-level D540, a 3-megapixel model with a 3x optical/3.3x digital zoom, 1.8-inch LCD screen, shipping in March for an estimated street of $199.
Next up is the D-580, a 4-megapixel model with a 3x-optical/4x digital zoom, virtual mode dial and 1.8-inch LCD screen. It will ship this month for an estimated street of $299. Olympus also updated its Stylus line of all weather digital cameras with the 4-megapixel Stylus 410. The camera features a 1.5-inch LCD screen, 3x-optical/4x digital zoom and a virtual mode dial. It will ship with a 32MB xD Picture Card in March for an estimated $399 street price.
In the ultra-zoom category, the company will introduce the C-765, a 4-megapixel model with a 10x optical zoom and 1.8-inch high resolution LCD. Featuring 12 shooting modes, the C-765 will ship in May for a suggested $499. Olympus will also ship the 10x optical zoom C-770 in May. The camera builds on the C-765 with MPEG-4 video capture, a hot shoe for accessory flashes and compatibility with accessory conversion lenses. It will carry an estimated street price of $599.
At the top of the consumer line will be the C-8080, an 8-megapixel camera with a 5x optical zoom lens, 10 shooting modes, a 1.8-inch articulating LCD screen and dual memory card slots for xD and Compact Flash cards. The C-8080 will ship in March for a suggested $999.
Pentax introduced the OptioMX, the company’s first combination digital still/movie camera. The palm-sized OptioMX features 3.2-megapixel still image resolution and a 10x optical zoom lens. It captures MPEG-4 video at VGA resolution.
The MX is expected to be priced under $400 and ship in June.
Samsung will target aggressive price points in 2004 as it continues courting mass market and specialty retailers with two distinct camera lines.
For the mass market, the company announced the 4-megapixel Digimax 430 featuring a 2.8x optical/4x digital zoom with an estimated street price of $229.99. The 430 uses both SD/MMC and Memory Stick Duo flash memory and can capture movie clips with audio at 30fps.
Samsung also introduced three fixed focus cameras, the Digimax 401, 301 and 202 at 4.0, 3.14 and 2.0-megapixel resolution, respectively. Estimated street prices of $179.99 for the 401, $129.99 for the 301 and $99.99 for the 202.
The Digimax 401, for an estimated street price of $179.99, offers a 4x digital zoom, while the 301, at $129.99, features a 3x digital zoom. The 2-megapixel 202 will offer a 2x digital zoom for an estimated street price of $99.99.
The 2.1-megapixel Digimax 250, at an approximate street price of just $139.99, features a 2x-optical/2x digital zoom and MPEG-4 video capture.
For specialty dealers, Samsung announced the 5-megapixel Digimax V50. The model features a 2.0-inch TFT LCD screen, continuous or AEB modes and MPEG-4 movie capture at 640 by 480 resolution at 30fps.
The V50 accepts SD/MMC and Memory Stick DUO memory cards and offers USB 2.0 connectivity. It will have a suggested retail price of $379.99.
Sony’s 2004 camera entry-level lineup will start at 4-megapixels with many incorporating Carl Zeiss lenses. All models will feature the ability to capture MPEG movies at 30fps. Sony also added PictBridge compatibility and USB 2.0 connectivity across its lineup.
In its P-series lineup compact cameras, Sony announced three models. The SDC-P41 is a 4-megapixel, fixed focal length model with a 3x digital zoom, 5 area multi-point autofocus. It will ship in May for a suggested $199.95.
Adding a 3x optical zoom, the 4-megapixel P73 offers a four shot burst mode at 1.7fps and a 1.5-inch LCD screen. The P93, shipping in May for $349.95, offers 5-megapixel resolution, 3x optical/2x digital zoom with six scene modes and a four shot burst mode.
The DSC-W1 is a 5-megapixel model with a 2.5-inch LCD screen for a suggested $399.95. The camera, shipping in June, sports a 3x optical/2x digital zoom lens and a nine shot burst mode at 1.6fps.
The 5-megapixel P100 will also ship in May for a suggested $399.95. It features a 1.8-inch LCD screen, 3x-optical/2x digital zoom, and the nine-shot burst mode.
Sony will also ship a Cyber-shot Station, a USB docking station for the new Cyber-shots. The cradle will ship in May for a suggested $79.95 and include a wireless remote control for viewing photos on a TV.
World Wide Licenses announced the Polaroid-branded x530 (pictured at right) the industry’s first point-and-shoot digital camera to incorporate the Foveon X3 direct image sensor. According to WWL, the Foveon X3 sensor is the only image sensor that directly captures color in three layers, simulating the triple-layered design of color photographic film and thus providing better color fidelity than other CMOS sensors on the market.
For a suggested $399, the x530 sports a 3x optical/4x digital zoom, 5 element glass lens, a 2-inch TFT LCD and 32MB of internal memory. The camera accepts SD/MMC cards and captures VGA movies at 30fps. It is USB 2.0 enabled.