Photokina 2010: Serious Compacts

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Fujifilm FinePix X100
There isn’t a lot more to say about the Fujifilm X100 at this point. It’s a thing of retro beauty, it’s going to feature a fixed-focal length lens, and it’s going to cost around $1000. That prices it right out of the G12/P7000 league, but not out of the game. If you think of it as a low-cost Leica competitor, the high price makes a little more sense.

Fujifilm FinePix X100

No luck on digging this thing from out behind the glass, though Fujifilm didn’t have a working unit at the show. Still, it’s a sight to behold. Count us as very interested to see where this concept ends up.

Fujifilm FinePix X100

Fujifilm FinePix X100

Casio Exilim EX-H20G
Rounding out this group is Casio H20, the camera with a highly functional GPS embedded inside. Its greatest claim at the time of launch was that it will remember its position when it moves indoors and, with some help from an accelerometer, continue to keep tabs on where you are.

Casio Exilm EX-H20G

I stepped up to the H20 and flipped it into GPS mode. Sure enough, it found me Cologne, Germany, with plenty of photos of the Cologne Cathedral just across the river. To be sure, this was a controlled environment and a best case scenario, but the interface was surprisingly engaging.

Casio Exilm EX-H20G

Does it stand a chance against the growing contingent of smartphones equipped with improved cameras and GPS apps? The H20 offers geotagging and the benefit of maps with images of landmarks, but that’s nothing a quick search on a smartphone can’t uncover. Without having used it in the wild, it’s hard to say. The H20 might be a geotagging fanatic’s dream.

Viva la Compact
If these announcements say anything, it’s that we still believe in the power of a compact, fixed-lens camera. Manufacturers can certainly move more cheap point-and-shoots off of store shelves, but the advanced compact camera is having a very good year and a strong showing at Photokina.

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