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Comdex: Cameras offer higher resolution, capacity

November 19, 1999
Web posted at: 3:40 p.m. EST (2040 GMT)

by Kelvin Goh


LAS VEGAS (IDG) -- Shipments of digital cameras are poised to grow from 3.1 million units in 1998 to 22 million units in 2003, according to International Data Corp.Ôs (IDC) figures, but the expected growth in the market isn't the only hot topic in digital imaging technology this year here at Comdex.

Megapixel (or million pixel) resolution and high capacity memory storage such as CompactFlash cards are key features seen on the convention floor as exhibitors boast digital camera features including 2 megapixel resolution and larger-than-ever memory storage capabilities.

With CompactFlash cards that are capable of up to 128MB of memory, digital cameras have surpassed their storage capacity limitations and can now handle the same amount of exposures as conventional cameras, according to Kevin Kane, an analyst with IDC, in Framingham, Mass.

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Similarly, with high-pixel resolution, digital cameras are approaching the quality produced by 35mm cameras, Kane said. To the laymanÔs eye, a 2 megapixel resolution image would do the trick.

As more sophisticated cameras cross over the 2 megapixel mark, single megapixel digital cameras are going below the $300 mark, Kane said. Another segment of digital cameras making inroads into the consumer market are entry-level and toy digital cameras, he added.

New digital cameras being shown at Comdex included:

  • Eastman Kodak announced three new models, the DC290, DC280, and DC240i. The top of the line is the DC290 with a 2.1 megapixel image resolution. The camera has a 35mm ÷ 115mm zoom equivalent and comes with a 20MB Kodak Picture Card that can store 28 to 220 pictures, depending on the quality settings. The camera also has a burst capture rate of 0.1 to 3 frames per second (fps) and is priced at $999.

    On the professional side, Kodak announced the DCS 330 with a 3 megapixel CCD (Charged Coupled Device) and digital imaging technology. The DCS 330 features a one image per second burst rate and an ISO range of 125-400. The camera comes in a Nikon Pronea subsystem that provides professionals with an alternative to medium-format 35mm cameras. The camera is compatible with the Nikkor AF and F-mount lenses and is priced at $5,995.

  • Canon U.S.A showcased its recently announced PowerShot S10, claiming it to be the smallest 2.1 megapixel digital camera with a zoom lens in the market today. The camera is compatible with the Type I and II CompactFlash memory cards, and IBMÔs 340MB microdrive. The S10, which features a 35-70mm f/2.8 ÷ f/4 all-glass aspherical lens, is priced at $699.

  • Olympus America boasted two new models ÷ the C2500L SLR and C-2020. The C2500L sports a 2.5 megapixel CCD in a SLR (single lens reflex) design with an aspheric glass zoom lens (36mm ÷ 110mm equivalent). It is equipped with Olympus TruePic technology that allows the user to manage the image in the camera for color, contrast, and tonal gradation. There are three exposure modes: programmed automatic, aperture priority automatic and manual.

    The C2500 boasts a burst capture mode of five images at any resolution under three seconds. The camera is compatible with SmartMedia and CompactFlash cards. The estimated street price for this model is $1,499.

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    The C-2020 has a 2.11 megapixel resolution and incorporates fully automatic and manual controls. First Olympus camera to offer black and white and sepia modes for shooting monochrome images. Available in November, the C-2020 is priced at $899.

  • Minolta announced that it has started shipping its new Dimage RD 3000, a professional SLR camera that offers 2.7 megapixel resolution, an interchangeable Minolta Vectis V Lens System, and a burst capture mode of 1.5 fps. The Minolta camera also uses a seamless imaging system that combines two 1.5 megapixel CCDs, image-size reduction relay optics and image stitching technology.

    The camera comes in a shock resistant, lightweight magnesium alloy shell and is bundled with a 64MB Lexar Digital Film card. The camera can also accommodate a Type II CompactFlash card. The camera costs about $4,000 (body only) or $5,000 with four interchangeable lenses, a CompactFlash card USB (universal serial bus) adapter.

  • Largan announced the first digital camera to come out of its long-term relationship with Motorola using the Digital DNA technology. LarganÔs Chameleon 350 replaces the CCD digital image technology with MotorolaÔs DVGA CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) image technology. The Chameleon embodies a PC color digital video with frame speeds up to 30 fps.

    Largan also announced the Largan Easy 800 with a 800,000 pixel CCD sensory technology. The camera has a 4MB CompactFlash card and ships with ArcSoft PhotoStudio 3.0 photo-editing software. The camera will be available in December with a suggested retail price of $249.95.

  • Sanyo North America announced the VPC-SX500, capable of taking up to 50 minutes of digital video with sound when used with a 340MB drive. The VPC-SX500 has a 1.5 megapixel resolution and can take up to 7.5 exposures per second. The camera is equipped with a Type II CompactFlash media slot that also supports the IBM microdrive.

  • Fuji Photo Film USA is shipping its sub-$300 MX-1200 in time for the holiday season. The camera, designed for the beginner, sports a 1.3 megapixel CCD and a removable SmartMedia card. Fuji also showcased its stylish, pocket-fitting MX-2700 with 2.3 megapixel CCD. The retail price for this camera is $699.

    For higher-end uses, Fuji announced its MX-2900 with a 2.3 megapixel CCD and an optical zoom of 35mm-105mm. The camera comes bundled with an 8MB SmartMedia card and costs $899.

  • Agfa will ship in December the ePhoto CL30 Clik digital camera that uses Iomega's Clik drive and 40MB disks. It offers image resolution of 1.5 megapixels and has the ability to organize images into specific albums in the Clik disk.

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