Two-megapixel digital cameras have been around for several years in the form of professional models that sell for $15,000 to $30,000, but now they're ready for the masses. Nikon (516/547-4381, http://www.nikonusa.com ) and Olympus (516/844-5000, http://www.olympus.com ) have announced $1,000 cameras that offer resolutions of 2 million pixels or more, and Agfa (978/658-5600, http://www.agfa.com ), Kodak (716/724-4000, http://www.kodak.com ), and Canon USA (516/328-5000, http://www.usa.canon.com ) have announced models that fall just short of 2-megapixel resolution. Other companies are likely to follow.
Nikon's CoolPix 950 and CoolPix 700, which capture images on a newly designed 2.11-megapixel CCD, offer a maximum resolution of 1,600 by 1,200 pixels. They each ship with an 8MB CompactFlash card and work with the auxiliary lenses currently available for the CoolPix 900. The $999 CoolPix 950 features a 3 x optical zoom, while the $599 CoolPix 700 is limited to digital zoom. A Best-Shot Selector feature, designed for shooting in moving environments, captures five frames, analyzes the image frequencies, and then automatically discards all but the best shot.
The C-2000 Zoom, from Olympus, includes a 2.1-megapixel CCDgood for 1,600-by-1,200-pixel resolutionand 3 x zoom capability. An infrared remote lets you take pictures from a distance. Other features include a four-mode flash and a choice of 100, 200, or 400 ISO film-speed equivalency. The camera stores images on SmartMedia cards; an 8MB card is included in the package. Olympus expects to ship the camera in May.
For photographers with fatter wallets, the Dimage RD3000 from Minolta (201/825-4000, http://www.minolta.com ) offers a 2.7-megapixel CCD, generating images at a 1,984-by-1,360-pixel resolution. Minolta expects that it will sell for $6,000 to $7,000.
Agfa's new ePhoto CL50 lacks a 2-megapixel CCD but uses PhotoGenie software to boost resolution from 1.3 to 1.9 megapixels. The camera offers 1,600-by-1,200-pixel, 1,280-by-960-pixel, and 640-by-480-pixel resolution and lets you tag shots you want to convert into panoramic vistas. You can stitch together tagged photos with the included PhotoWise software. The camera also offers a 2-images-per-second burst mode at 640 by 480 pixels.
Canon's PowerShot Pro70, announced in 1997 and oft delayed, offers a resolution of 1,536 by 1,024 (1.6 million) pixels and 2 CompactFlash slots.
Kodak's $999 DC265, successor to the DC260, features the same resolution as the Canon camera, along with 3 x zoom and a 16MB CompactFlash card. The camera, which sports a USB interface, also boots much faster than its predecessor. Kodak has also announced the DC240, a $699 camera with 3 x zoom and 1,280-by-960-pixel resolution, and the DC200 Plus, a $399 model that offers 1,152-by-864-pixel resolution.
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