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Vendors Bow Mix Of Imaging Products

Five manufacturers, Argus, Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Leica and Olympus have announced new summer product introductions marked by aggressive pricing that target both the camera and output sides of the market.

Argus made two low-end introductions last week with the new PC100 and PC300 PC/Web-cams.

The PC100, which will retail for a suggested $19.95, is a 100,000-pixel camera that can transmit a video image at 30 frames per second in CIF mode. It also features precise focus turning, video e-mail, video calling capability, webcasting and video monitoring.

The PC300, which will have a suggested retail price of $29.95, has all the features of the PC100 but is a 300,000 pixel camera with a built-in microphone.

Canon has stepped in with two new Bubble Jet Direct photo printers, the Canon S530D, S830D and one entry-level Color Bubble Jet printer for the consumer and SO/HO markets — the S330.

The S830D offers six-color printing at 2,400×1,200 dpi and provides borderless printing at speeds of approximately one minute for a 4×6-inch print and approximately two minutes for an 8×10-inch print when printing from a computer. The S830D will be shipping in August with a suggested retail price of $399.

The S530D provides four-color borderless photo printing at 2,400×1,200 dpi with print speeds of 14 pages-per-minute (ppm) for black and 10 ppm for color. This printer features borderless printing, Canon’s Advanced MicroFine droplet technology and 2,400×1,200 dpi resolution. The S330 is also Exif Print compatible and will ship this month with a suggested retail price of $99.

Canon also introduced two new USB flatbed scanners — the CanoScan LiDE 20 and CanoScan LiDE 30 — with new features including a “one-pass multi-scan” mode and multiple-page scanning to PDF.

The CanoScan LiDE 20 and LiDE 30 feature optical scanning resolutions of 600x 1,200 dpi and 1,200×2,400 dpi, respectively.

The suggested retail price for the CanoScan LiDE 20 and LiDE 30 are $79 and $99, respectively. Both scanners began shipping this month.

HP’s imaging blitz continues unabated with three new Instant Share cameras and four new photo printers. All the new Instant Share cameras are compatible with the HP Photosmart 8881 digital camera dock (sold separately) and will ship in the fall. The cameras include the 3.3-megapixel, 3x optical/4x digital zoom HP Photosmart 720. The 720 has 16MB of internal memory and accepts SD flash memory. The camera has an estimated street price of $329.

The PhotoSmart 620 features 2.1-megapixel resolution and a 3x optical/4x digital zoom with 8MB of internal memory and an SD slot. The 620 will have an estimated street price of $229. The PhotoSmart 320, a 2.1-megapixel, 4x digital zoom camera with an estimated street price of $179. The 320 has 8MB of internal memory and a slot for SD memory.

HP’s new photo printers are all shipping this month and include the HP Photosmart 7550, featuring up to 4800-optimized dpi or up to seven-ink color printing — an industry first, according to HP. The 7550 will have an estimated street price of $399 and can print directly from digital camera media with slots for CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Secure Digital and Memory Stick.

The next three printers from HP all feature 4800 dpi and up to six ink color printing. The Photosmart 7350 features memory card slots, a front USB port for direct printing from a digital camera. It has an estimated street price of $249.

The HP 7150 features a front USB port for direct printing. It carries an estimated street price of $179.

The final new model from HP is the Photosmart 310, which has an estimated street price of $179. The photo printer allows users to print borderless 4×6-inch prints directly from a digital camera via memory card slots.

Leica is bringing a new Minox digital camera, the DC 3211, to market in August for a suggested retail price of $449. The camera is the successor to the DC2111 and features 3.2-megapixel resolution and a 3x optical/2x digital zoom lens.

The DC 3211 supports Compact Flash memory and has a 1.5-inch TFT LCD screen.

Olympus continued its trend of aggressive pricing with its newest introduction, the Camedia C-4000 Zoom, a 4-megapixel digital camera available in August for a suggested retail price of $499.

The camera is being positioned for both the savvy user and relative newcomers. It offers full manual control and a number of accessories including lenses, external flashes and powering solutions, for the former as well as automatic and scene program modes, for the latter.

The C-4000 sports a f2.8 3x optical zoom lens that functions with a 3.3x digital zoom for seamless 10x total zoom capability.

Four new features greet the C-4000 customer: four “My Modes” to create different custom camera settings; a selectable autofocus point; a multi-point spot average metering mode; super macro focusing to 1-inch and histogram in shooting and review modes.

The camera has six scene program modes to optimize image quality by biasing exposure, tone and color to provide the best match for specific shooting situations, including landscape, night scene, and sports photography. The C-4000’s noise reduction mode facilitates noise-free photos during long exposures.

Olympus’ exclusive Virtual Dial feature (first seen on the D-550 earlier this year) gives the shooter instant access to the camera’s settings, like portrait, self portrait, landscape-portrait, landscape, night scene and sports mode, on the camera’s LCD screen.