Yesterday I held Olympus's four-megapixel camera, the Camedia E-10, in my hand. I was impressed by its light weight and sophisticated features. Yet, the Camedia E-10 is targeted to professional digital photographers and serious amateurs. (Its estimated street price is $1,999, and it will be available in October.) But don't worry, if you're looking for your first digital camera (as I am), you're in luck. There are seemingly more and more cameras to choose from that have new features, and the prices are going down.
On the first day of the Seybold San Francisco trade show, I got a tip from my brother, of all people. He told me that one of his friends at the show had a "real neat camera." When he pulled a pocket-sized photograph from behind his show badge and I saw a photo taken that morning of him and his friend, I was delighted.
"The camera prints its own pictures," he said. "Isn't it cool?" I had to agree. It's a digital camera with the instant appeal of a Polaroid...it's the Olympus C-211 Zoom Digital Printing Camera. The C-211 is a 2.1-megapixel camera with 1,600-by-1,200-pixel resolution, a 1.8-inch LCD monitor, TIFF and JPEG options for still images, and a QuickTime mode. Plus, the camera prints photographic prints in 15 seconds on Polaroid 500 film. Talk about going back to the future! The C-211 has a suggested list price of $799 -- a bit more pricey than the Polaroid you had growing up.
The Sony MVC-CD1000 records images to an interesting new format -- a three-inch Mavica CD-R disc. A 2.1-megapixel camera that looks a lot like a camcorder on first glance, the MVC-CD1000 also offers a camcorder feature: SteadyShot picture stabilization. Basically, that means the camera uses motion sensors to detect camera movement, thereby eliminating hand shake without compromising picture quality. With a $1,299.95 price tag, this camera probably isn't for the budget-conscious first-time digital camera shopper.
At $399, the Kodak DC3800 is designed like a point-and-shoot camera and carries a reasonably low price compared to other cameras in the 2.1-megapixel category. It's also very sleek, fitting easily into pocket or purse. I liked the look and feel of this camera, but didn't actually get a chance to use it. However, the DC3800 might be one to consider for those just getting into digital photography who don't want to hand over a lot of cash.
Announced at Seybold, Nikon's Coolpix 880 is a 3.34-megapixel camera designed for both work and play. With 11 programmed "scene" modes designed to automatically handle focus, exposure, white balance, and lighting, the Coolpix 880 works to optimize your pictures. Its estimated street price is $799; it is not yet available but should be in stores sometime this fall.
Finally, Ricoh's RDC-7 is a slim and versatile 3.34-megapixel camera. It weighs just 9.5 ounces and features a two-inch LCD monitor that swivels on two axes, making it possible to record images from almost any position. In addition to taking still images, the RDC-7 also captures audio and video. It costs $799 and is available now.