New Digital Cameras Feature Formidable Functions - Page 2

By Eric Grevstad
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Get the Red Out
Nikon says its new 4- and 5.1-megapixel models are the first to fix red-eye right in the camera, following a pre-flash that minimizes the devilish effect with built-in image processing and analysis that transparently retouches red-eye. The company doesn't claim the feature is perfect (for one thing, it's optimized to the flash operating distance), but promises that owners will notice fewer satanic glares in their indoor flash shots.

The Coolpix 4200 (2,272 by 1,704 resolution) and Coolpix 5200 (2,592 by 1,944) both have 3X zoom; macro shooting capability as close as 1.6 inches; 12MB of internal memory plus an SD card slot; 15 scene modes ranging from Portrait and Night Portrait to Sports, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, and Party; and Nikon's Best Shot Selector that automatically takes a series of shots, then saves the clearest one. They'll ship this spring for $400 and $500, respectively.

Sony's new Real Imaging Processor circuit decreases the start-up and shot-to-shot times of its Cyber-shot cameras shipping in May. The inch-thin Cyber-shot P100 ($400), to be available in red, blue, and silver, is a 5.1-megapixel model with 3X zoom lens, six preset scene modes, and an optional ($80) Cyber-shot Station dock that displays slide shows on a TV set while recharging the camera's batteries.

The Cyber-shot P41 ($200) is much more modest, with 4-megapixel resolution and no optical zoom, but the 4-megapixel P73 ($300) and 5-megapixel P93 ($350) offer 3X zoom lenses, as well as manual exposure control and compatibility with various conversion lenses. Finally, the 5-megapixel, 3X-zoom Cyber-shot DSC-W1 ($400) squeezes a big 2.5-inch LCD into a compact, rangefinder-style camera; it has six preset scene modes, 5-point autofocus, and 49-point multi-pattern measuring or manual exposure controls. All the new Sony cameras will ship in May.

Olympus' all-weather Stylus Digital line has gained a microphone and speaker for saving audio captions with images or recording QuickTime movies with sound. The 3.9 by 2.2 by 1.3-inch Stylus 410 ($379) has a 4.0-megapixel CCD whose TruePic Turbo image processor uses pixel "micro-smoothing" to deliver clearer, more color-accurate pictures; it features 3X zoom and comes with a 32MB xD-Picture Card and lithium-ion battery and charger.

A new contoured design and silver-toned polycarbonate body highlight the Olympus D-540 Zoom; the 4.0 by 2.2 by 1.5-inch compact offers 3.2-megapixel resolution and 3X zoom for $199. The slightly bulkier D-580 Zoom ($299) has a 4.0-megapixel TruePic Turbo sensor, 3X zoom, and a built-in microphone of its own.

Olympus' C-765 Ultra Zoom ($499) and C-770 Ultra Zoom ($599) are 4-megapixel compacts with TruePic Turbo processing and 10X optical zoom -- or 14X in a 1,600 by 1,200-resolution Super Zoom mode. The C-770 boasts a metal body, a hot shoe for external flash, and the ability to capture video with audio in MPEG-4 format. For pros, Olympus' C-8080 Wide Zoom ($999) delivers 8-megapixel (3,264 by 2,448) resolution with a super-bright, wide-angle 5X zoom lens; its mode dial combines portrait, sports, night-scene, and other settings with eight customizable "MyMode" options and a dedicated Custom button for jumping right to a favorite feature.

User Friendly
Eastman Kodak was at the show with four new cameras, starting with a 2-megapixel, 2X-zoom beginner's Brownie for $150 — the EasyShare CX7220 — and ending with the $449, 6-megapixel, 3X-zoom EasyShare DX7630 with precision low-light autofocus system. In between are 4- and 5-megapixel EasyShare LS473 and LS573 cameras about the size of a small mobile phone.

HP knows it'll take more than a TV-commercial blitz to make it the choice of serious digital photographers. The company says it'll ship eight new cameras this year featuring what it calls HP Real Life technologies — Adaptive Lighting to bring faces out of shadows and details out of backgrounds in high-contrast photos; Image Advice that helps consumers learn how to get the most from their cameras, analyzing photos and then providing tips on how to adjust settings to improve future shots; In-Camera Red-Eye Removal similar to Nikon's; and a new image engine based on Texas Instruments' digital media processing technology.

The first model in the new line, the HP Photosmart R707, features 5.1-megapixel resolution, 3X zoom, and 32MB of internal memory as well as an SD/MMC card slot. It'll debut in May for $349, with a new R-series dock — for battery recharging, slide-show viewing on TV with a wireless remote, and easy transferring, sharing, printing, and e-mailing of photos and video clips — for $79.

Of course, some vendors embrace first-time buyers. Concord Camera offers a 2-megapixel, no-optical-zoom Concord Eye-Q 2040 model with 7MB of internal memory for $110 and a 3-megapixel Eye-Q 3040 AF with autofocus for $130; the company even offers no-optical-zoom 4- and 5-megapixel cameras, the Eye-Q 4062 AF and 5062 AF, for $200 and $230, respectively.

If you want 3X optical zoom, the 3-megapixel Eye-Q 3343Z is $200 and 4-megapixel Eye-Q 4363Z is $250. Concord's most sophisticated camera is the 5-megapixel, 3X-zoom Concord 5345Z ($380), which comes with 9.7MB of internal memory plus an SD card slot as well as 19 scene-mode selections.

And finally, Argus Camera, which boasts that its low-priced Model C3 35mm camera helped pioneer mass-market photography in 1936, has introduced VGA-resolution digicams for $40 (8MB internal memory), $45 (with flash), and $50 (with a color LCD monitor and SD/MMC slot). There's also a 1.3-megapixel model with flash, 4X digital zoom, and a text-based status LCD for $45.

< Back to Page 1: Power to the Pocket

Adapted from HardwareCentral.com.

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This article was originally published on March 04, 2004
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