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Point-&-Shoots Advance For The Spring

NEW YORK – Spring is not exactly in the air, but the calendar says it’s time for CP+ Expo, and that means lots of new compact cameras.

Due to continued pressures on the low end of the camera market, manufacturers this year are turning their sights more and more on prosumers and advanced amateurs in developing point-and-shoots that are both easy to carry, yet produce professional-quality results.

The following are some of the latest camera models announced for spring/summer availability:

Canon introduced the PowerShot G1 X Mark II, ($799 suggested retail), featuring a 5x zoom lens with an F/2-3.9 variable aperture and a 24-120mm-equivalent zoom range, and a 13.1-megapixel 1.5-inch format sensor (in 4:3) and 12.8-megapixel (in 2:3).

Other features include a DIGIC 6 processor with 3 fps continuous capture with AF and 5 fps capture with AF locked, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC linking, a tilting 3-inch LCD and an optional hot-shoe-mounted electronic viewfinder.

Nikon unveiled three Coolpix models including the P600 ($499.95 suggested retail), P530 ($449.95), S9700 ($349.95) and P340 ($379.95). All but the P340, which ships in March, will be available in February.

The P600 has a 60x zoom lens starting at 24mm, Dynamic Fine Zoom to digitally increase the focal length to 2,880mm, optical image stabilization, a 3-inch 920K-dot-resolution variangle LCD, 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, built-in Wi-Fi and 1080/60i video capture.

The Coolpix P530 features a 42x, f3.0-5.9, 24- 1,000mm lens, 16MP CMOS sensor, a 3-inch LCD, and will capture videos at up to 1080/60i.

The Coolpix S9700 is billed as a compact model with 30x 25-750mm lens, and 16MP BSI CMOS sensor. It has a 3-inch 921K-dot OLED display and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.

The Coolpix P340 features a 12MP 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor, 5x f1.8-5.6 24-120mm lens, Dynamic Fine Zoom and built-in Wi-Fi.

Ricoh introduced new Ricoh-branded WG-4 and WG-20 series rugged compact cameras and unveiled a new Ricoh modular mounting system accessories line for the WG family.

With the announcement, Ricoh underscored its recent decision to realign point-and-shoot cameras under the Ricoh brand, while Pentax, which originated the weather-proof WG camera series, is used for interchangeable- lens cameras and accessories.

The WG-4 GPS ($379 suggested retail) and WG-4 ($329) cameras will now have access to new optional WG flexible ball-and-socket-based mounting accessories, enabling hands-free point-of-view image capture, the company said.

Mounts include an adhesive camera mount, handlebar camera mount and suction-cup camera mount.

Other features include a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, folded optical 4x zoom lens, fast F2.0 maximum aperture and dual shake-reduction system.

Sigma unveiled its new “dp Quattro” Foveon-sensor- based compact camera series including: the dp1, dp2 and dp3. Pricing and ship dates have not yet been announced, but Sigma said the dp2 Quattro will be the first camera released in the group.

Each model is distinguished by a different fixed focal length lens, with the dp2 offers a basic focal length. The dp1 Quattro features a 19mm lens, the standard dp2 Quattro offers a 30mm lens, and the medium telephoto dp3 Quattro offers a 50mm lens (respectively equivalent to 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm on a 35mm lens).

Each model shares a new camera body with a Foveon APS-C sized sensor called “Quattro” because it has a top layer broken into quadrants, Sigma explained.

These cameras will produce 30 percent higher resolution than the previous DP Merrill cameras and contain a faster, TRUE III image processor, Sigma said.

Sony’s new Cyber-shot models include: the DSCHX400V (shipping in March at a $499 suggested retail), DSC-H400 (shipping in March at $319), and DSC-H300 (shipping in February at $219) bridge cameras, the DSC-WX350 (shipping in March at $319) compact point-and-shoot, and the super-entry DSC-W800 ($80).

The HV400X features 20.4-megapixel CMOS sensor, 4K digital still image playback capability on compatible TVs, a 50x optical zoom with a 100x digital Clear Image Zoom boost, 3-inch LCD monitor, optical SteadyShot, up to 12,800 ISO sensitivity, 10 fps burst shooting speed, FullHD video recording, Zeiss optics, pop-up flash, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC.