In an announcement today, Konica Minolta has said that they're exiting the camera business. Since they announced their "partnership" with Sony in July of 2005, they've been working to sell a portion of their assets to Sony. Sony is expected to continue to develop digital SLR cameras using the Maxxum/Dynax assests from Konica Minolta.
We've finally made it to one of the first steps in the Pentax/Samsung partnership. As expected, the first model out has the Samsung name on an existing Pentax camera. A jointly developed camera will come later. For now, the Samsung GX-1S digital SLR has been announced.
As I think back to my meetings and briefings at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I always like to step back and think about the trends that I saw with the new digital cameras that were announced and the ones that are yet to be announced. As far as camera hardware, we saw several 3 inch LCDs on tiny cameras, a lot more attention paid to product design, several efforts to hit the $150 price point, and further confirmation that the megapixel "war" is over.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-H1 is a perfect example of consumer driven product evolution. The H1's 5.1 megapixel resolution, 2.5 inch LCD screen, and Super Steady Shot (image stabilized) 12X optical zoom provide photographers with an incredible increase in performance, flexibility, and creative potential when compared to the Olympus C3000 -- and the H1 costs about a hundred bucks less than consumers shelled out for the C3000 in 2001! Is the H1 the best choice for you?
HP announced seven new cameras at CES. Three news ones in the "R" Photosmart line - the R927, the R727, and the R725; three new ones in the "M" Photosmart line - the M425, the M525, and the M527; and a new E series camera - the Photosmart E327. Along with the camera hardware improvements, HP also introduced their on-camera HP Design Gallery technology that allows the photographer to apply several creative touches to their images. While pricing for each camera has not been determined, HP has announced that they will range from $119-$199.
Along with several new products that they're featuring at CES, the one digital still camera (they also have a hybrid camera - the Cyber-shot DSC-M2) that they've announced is the Cyber-shot DSC-S600. It looks like Sony is aiming for a much lower price point than they have in the past with this model, for which they're taking pre-orders for $199 now.
During CES, Panasonic has announced three new digital still camera models. The Lumix DMC-LZ5 and Lumix DMC-LZ3 feature improved LCDs and faster auto focus. The Lumix DMC-LS2 is an affordable camera that inlcludes Panansonic's optical image stabilization. All three cameras are slated to be available in March. The LZ5 will be $279, the LZ3 will be $229, and the LS2 will be $199.
During CES, Samsung announced several new cameras. The Samsung Digimax i6 is headliner, with the S series and the A503 also announced. Also, the hotly anticipated Samsung Pro815 was at the show. Even though it has been announced for a while now, units are just becoming available in the US.
Fujifilm has announced four new digital cameras at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. The Fujifilm Finepix V10 is a compact camera featuring Real Photo Technology and the ability to shoot up to ISO 1600. The entry level Finepix A400 and A500 feature the Super CCD in 4 and 5 megapixels, respectively. Finally, the Finepix F470 is their new entry in the new slim point and shoot cameras.
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