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Panasonic Takes On Sony’s Mavica

Panasonic will launch a challenge to Sony’s Mavica digital camera line next month when it begins shipping the SuperDisk-ready PalmCam digital camera.

The PalmCam PV-SD4090 is the first digital camera to incorporate a 120MB SuperDisk. A SuperDisk holds about 80 times the amount of data as the Mavica’s floppy. This enables it to store 1,500 JPEG images at 640 x 480 resolution or 450 images in “super fine” 1,280 x 960 resolution. The PalmCam, estimated street price $899, also acts as an external disk drive that can be directly connected to a PC via a USB cable. This is a key feature, said Andrew Nelkin, Panasonic’s general manager of Consumer Video, because it eliminates the consumer’s need to have a SuperDisk drive at home. SuperDisk drives are also backward compatible with the ubiquitous 1.44MB floppy. This allows the end user to substitute the smaller disk if a SuperDisk is not available or needed, Nelkin said.

The 1.3-megapixel PalmCam has a 2.5-inch LCD and has several moving image modes. Motion image recording with audio captures 10 seconds of video at 320×240 resolution or up to 100 consecutive images 0.1 seconds apart. Burst record captures 16 images at 640×480 resolution. There is also a time-lapse setting.

The camera uses a lithium-ion camcorder battery that can supply two hours of power. The entire unit weighs about 1.5 pounds.