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Spring Camera Offerings Emphasize Wi-Fi To Combat Smartphones

NEW YORK — Digital camera manufacturers continued to follow the axiom “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” by introducing new Wi-Fi cameras equipped to seamlessly link to smartphones and tablets for image sharing and remote-control interoperation.

Panasonic, Ricoh, Samsung and Sony all recently unveiled new spring digital cameras equipped with built-in wireless connectivity or Wi-Fi-add-on options as their answers to the encroachment of camera-equipped smart devices on their businesses.

Panasonic showed its emphasis on wireless connectivity with nearfield communication (NFC) and Bluetooth technologies in a pair of Lumix cameras. The new models include the DMC-G6 G-series Micro Four Thirds mirrorless compact system camera and the LF1 compact camera.

The Lumix G6 (pricing to be announced later) features a 16-megapixel Live MOS CMOS sensor, a new Venus Engine image processor, up to ISO 25,600 light sensitivity in extended mode, a slate of creative controls and filters, up to 7 fps burst shooting at full resolution, fullarea Touch AF, 0.5-second startup, FullHD/60p video capture in AVCHD Progressive and MP4 compression with stereo sound and live AF, a 1,440K-dot OLED live viewfinder, and a 3-inch, 1,036K-dot touchscreen with 180-degree swivel and 270 degrees of tilt.

The built-in Wi-Fi systems in both the G6 and LS1 cameras enable users to connect the cameras to a smartphone or tablet anywhere with one touch to share images, or to use a smartphone or tablet as a multi-device remote shutter control and monitor.

Wi-Fi also allows an Instant Transfer function to let users automatically send photos to a linked smartphone/ tablet or another registered device, such as a PC. The NFC capability allows sending an image to a tablet or smartphone by touching the devices together.

In tandem with the G6 announcement, Panasonic also unveiled the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH zoom lens with power optical image stabilization. Pricing and availability will be announced later.

The Lumix LF1 is a 12-megapixel CMOS sensorbased compact camera that captures RAW image files. It is expected to carry a $500 street retail and offers a 7.1x optical zoom (28-200mm equivalent).

Other features include a 3-inch 920K-dot LCD monitor and a 200K-dot electronic viewfinder.

Panasonic also announced that it is now offering its ultra-thin compact camera model DMC-XS1 in 10 exclusive new body looks, including Pop Art, Gift Wrapping, Floral Nature, urban design with digital typography and Japanese Traditional.

Pentax Ricoh Imaging introduced its Ricoh GR, an advanced compact camera that incorporates an APS-C-sized CMOS sensor. For Wi-Fi connectivity the camera accepts Eye-Fi SD cards to wirelessly transfer images to compatible devices. The camera, which ships in May at an $800 suggested retail, features a 16-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, strong low-light performance to ISO 25,600, a fixed-focal-length 18.3mm (28mm in 35mm format) F2.8 lens, nine-blade aperture diaphragm for a smooth rounded bokeh effect, a new GR Engine V imaging processor, a high-speed (0.2-second) autofocus system, in-body RAW-data development, a dedicated depth-of-field preview button, and FullHD 1080p video recording with continual AF during video capture.

Ricoh will also sell an optional wide-angle conversion lens, extending coverage to 21mm, as well as a range of fully compatible accessories, including viewfinders, flashes, lens hoods and adapters.

Samsung Electronics America introduced its NX1100 mirrorless compact system camera with built-in Wi-Fi and AutoShare, bundled with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.

The compact interchangeable- lens camera bundle carries a $600 suggested retail and features a 20.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, shutter speeds of up to 1/4,000 second, a 3-inch LCD screen and FullHD 1080p video capture.

A Smart Camera 2.0 feature allows establishing a Wi-Fi connection using a dedicated Smart Link Hot Key, and Samsung offers its Smart Camera app for both Android and iOS mobile devices to create a secure connection with the camera.

It includes $149-value retail value copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, 10 Smart Filters and a Selective Color function that isolates a single color in an image.

Sony introduced the Cyber-shot HX50 compact point-and-shoot camera featuring a 30x optical zoom range and advanced 20.4-megapixel Exmor R CMOS image sensor.

The Cyber-shot HX50 ships in May at a $450 suggested retail and measures 4.4 inches by 2.6 inches by 1.2 inches by 1 inch and weighs 9.6 ounces.

Other key features in the HX50V include built-in Wi-Fi connectivity/transfer with links to iOS and Android mobile devices via Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app, enhanced Optical Steady- Shot image stabilization, a new Bionz processor and high-speed autofocus.

The Wi-Fi and PlayMemories app allow a connected device to be used as a wireless remote to control the camera.

Advanced users have the option of using an exposure- compensation dial with P/A/S/M functions for manual shooting adjustments.

A five-blade aperture enables a smooth background defocusing effect, while a Multi Interface Shoe accepts compatible accessories, including an electronic viewfinder, flash or microphone.

The camera’s X-type lithiumion battery is compact and delivers 400 photos per charge.

The camera will record video in FullHD (60p) movies that can be shot using the Optical SteadyShot Active mode for reduced shake and image blur.

The HX50V also adds Triluminous Color technology, providing an expanded range of colors.

Creative modes are offered for stills, panoramas and movies, including such artistic treatments as Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High-Key and more.