Cameras

Samsung Announces PL90 Camera with Built-in USB

Samsung has been rolling out a number of compact camera announcements this summer and now they’ve launched the PL90—a 12.2MP compact digicam with a built-in USB connector, which “enabl[es] consumers to capture images and connect to a computer on the move without the need of additional wires or cords.” On the one hand, this could be an incredible convenience to point-and-shooters who want to unload images in the easiest possible way. However, many photographers prefer to use a memory card rather than store images directly within a camera’s built-in memory, and USB card readers already exist to bypass the messy wires. Granted this is one extra step in comparison to a built-in USB camera, but storing images on a card allows more freedom (namely, switching between equipment). What do you guys think? The PL90 will be available for $149.99 in September. More from Samsung below.

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Samsung Announces ST80 Wi-Fi Digital Camera

Samsung has just announced the ST80—a 14.2MP Wi-Fi-enabled digital camera. Similar to the technology we’ve seen in the Sony Cyber-shot G3, the Samsung ST80 allows users to upload and share photos and videos instantaneously, directly from the camera to Facebook, Picasa, et al. The slim point-and-shoot offers 3x optical zoom and a 3-inch wide touchscreen, as well as Samsung’s new in-camera editing “Smart Crop” feature. The ST80 will be available in September for $249.99. Read more from Samsung below.

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Samsung Announces DualView ST600, ST100 and PL200

Samsung has just announced three new compact digital cameras—two DualView models and one 14.2MP point-and-shoot. We are big fans of Samsung’s DualView cameras here at DP (see the review of the TL225), so the new ST600 and ST100 are spiking our interest. Both 14.2MP compacts are equipped with 1.8-inch front LCDs (compared to the TL225′s 1.5-inch) and offer Schneider KREUZNACH lenses with Optical and Digital Image Stabilization. They also look a lot more sleek and modern than the previous generation. The ST600 and ST100 will be available in September for $329.99 and $349.99, respectively.

The Samsung PL200 will be available in September for $179.99. The slim (0.83-inches thick) digicam has a 7x optical zoom lens (35mm film equivalent focal length of 31mm-217mm) and can record  HD video (720p at 30fps) in H.264 format. See the press releases from Samsung for all three cameras below.

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Sony Announces Two New Alpha Series D-SLRs

Sony has announced two new a(Alpha) D-SLRs: the a290 and the a390. Both 14.2MP cameras are  regarded as entry-level or first-time D-SLRs because of affordability (Sony is calling the a290 “the most affordable new DSLR from Sony”—though they have not released official pricing. However, CNET.com reports that the a290 18-55mm kit will cost $499.99 and the a390 will be a hundred dollars more)—and because of the intuitive interface and features that they offer. Sony says, “Both cameras offer the speedy shooting responses that are prized by DSLR users. The α390 adds the extra benefit of Quick AF Live View.” The a290 and a390 will be available this summer. See the press release below.

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Panasonic Announces Lumix DMC-FX75

Panasonic has announced the 14.1MP LUMIX DMC-FX75—a “slim and stylish hybrid” digital camera that shoots High Definition video. The camera boasts a super wide 24mm f/2.2 LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 5x optical zoom, which  can be used while shooting HD video in AVCHD Lite format. To complement the high-quality video, the LUMIX FX75 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio. Pricing and availability will be announced 30 days prior to the shipping date. Check out the full release from Panasonic below.

From Panasonic:

SECAUCUS, NJ (June 1, 2010) – Panasonic announced today the new LUMIX DMC-FX75, a super-slim digital camera that packs big features, including a 24mm ultra-wide-angle F2.2 bright LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 5x optical zoom, which  can be used while shooting High Definition video. The slim and stylish LUMIX FX75, a 14.1-megapixel digital camera is one of Panasonic’s high-performing hybrid models with the ability to not only take high-quality still photos, but can also record HD video in the AVCHD Lite format.

“The Panasonic LUMIX FX75’s 24mm ultra-wide-angle lens is a rare feature to have on a compact camera – especially one this small, so we are packing a lot of value and quality into this slim and stylish digital camera,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Most consumers value the benefits of a long zoom, but understanding the importance of a wide-angle isn’t as known. With a 24mm ultra-wide angle like the one on the LUMIX FX75, photographers have a wider range of composition possibilities with approximately 213% larger viewing space compared to that of a 35mm camera.”

The LUMIX FX75 can record HD video in the AVCHD Lite format, which allows almost double the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format.  When recording in AVCHD Lite, the content is perfect for viewing on an HDTV, like a Panasonic VIERA Plasma.  To complement the high-quality video, the LUMIX FX75 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio. For those users who are recording HD video to view on a computer screen, they also have the option to record in Motion JPEG, as well as WVGA (848×480) and VGA (640×480).

The LUMIX FX75 adopts full touch-screen operation, which allows for Auto Focus (AF) to quickly be set to the subject by simply touching the large 3.0-inch 230,000-dot LCD. Also, the user can click onto a subject with a single touch, and the FX75 then tracks the subject with the AF tracking feature – even when moving. The touch-screen operation is fluid and smooth – whether in record or playback mode.  While recording, once the frame is composed, users can simply touch the area they want focused before pressing the shutter button. In playback mode, users can drag the image across the screen with their finger to browse the collection of photos, as though it is a page in a book.

Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, a hallmark on all LUMIX digital cameras, is further advanced in the LUMIX FX75 with the addition of a new Motion Deblur mode*1  by updating the motion detection (Intelligent ISO Control) and brightness control (Intelligent Exposure) to gain the highest shutter speed possible. Combined with the outstanding brightness of the lens and the POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), the LUMIX FX75 reduces blur created from handshake or the subject moving. The iA suite of technologies include: POWER O.I.S., Face Recognition, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure – all which are engaged when in the iA mode.  Panasonic’s iA is also available while shooting video and include: AF Tracking, POWER O.I.S., Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector.

The Panasonic LUMIX FX75 features the Venus Engine HD II image processor, which helps assure superb image quality in both photo and video recording. It also incorporates Intelligent Resolution technology to perform the optimum signal processing based on the part of a picture to give a whole image outstanding, natural clearness with fine details.  At the same time, the multi-task image-processing engine Venus Engine HD II supports a super-fast response time. The shutter release lag time is as short as approximately 0.005 of a second in 1-area AF, and the camera’s quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities together with the Sonic Speed AF.

With the Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas – outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation – are examined pixel by pixel and automatically detected to enhance any degradation created during the digital zoom process or in high-sensitivity shooting. The outline areas are enhanced effectively to give the edges more clarity, while simultaneously giving a moderate accent to the textured areas so they look accurately detailed. To soften gradation areas, such as a face, the increased noise reduction system of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to make it appear smoother.  As a result of Intelligent Resolution, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and video recording.  The Intelligent Resolution technology powers Panasonic’s new Intelligent Zoom feature, which extends the camera’s zoom ratio by approximately 1.3x while maintaining picture quality – and enhancing the digital zoom and making it comparable to the quality of an optical zoom. With Intelligent Zoom, the Panasonic FX75 can reach up to 6.5x.

Other features include:

* Cosmetic Mode – takes portraits with the user’s favorite skin tone (soft skin, natural skin, summer look) and can add a degree of transparency of skin detail (low, standard, high), making it possible to take portraits with different skin tones, for example, look more sun-tanned.
* Happy Mode – option in iA that optimizes color, saturation and brightness to make both photos and movies more vivid and true to the color of the scene you memorized.
* Battery Life – the high performance Venus Engine HD II is also more energy efficient compared with the conventional Venus Engine HD, extending the battery life up to 360 shots (CIPA) on a single charge.

Pricing and availability for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX75 will be announced 30 days prior to shipping date.  For more information on these LUMIX models, please visit: www.panasonic.com/lumix.

*1The picture size may be reduced.

*Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.

*The LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company’s quality standards.

*Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories.

*HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.

*YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc.

*All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.

*This unit is compatible with both SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. You can only use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are compatible with them. You cannot use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are only compatible with SD Memory Cards. (When using an SDHC Memory Card on another device, be sure to read the operating instructions for that device.)

*Some accessories are not available in some countries.

*The use of recorded or printed materials that are protected by copyright for any purpose other than personal enjoyment is prohibited, as it would infringe upon the rights of the copyright holder.

*Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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