Casio expands EXILIM digital camera line

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Casio Inc. has introduced four new digital cameras in their credit card-sized EXILIM line.

Coming in October are the EX-S2 and EX-M2, 2.0 megapixel devices that cost US$279.99 and $399.99, respectively. The EXILIM series sport stainless steel cases, point and shoot simplicity, and Casio's "Best Shot Mode" feature. With "Best Shot" on the EX-S2 and EX-M2, you can select any of the six pre-set scene modes (portrait, night scene, retro style, twilight, monochrome, and scenery) that best suit the image being taken. The EXILIM will then re-adjust its internal settings to deliver the best results for the shot.

The EX-S2 is equipped with a self-timer, movie recording function and player allowing for up to 30 seconds of video capture. The EX-M2 has these features, plus an integrated MP3-player.

The digital cameras come with 12MB of internal memory and support SD/MMC cards for optional extended memory capacity. The optical viewfinder is supplemented by a 1.6-inch, TFT Color LCD display. The EXILIM cameras have a lens of F3.2 and a fixed focal length of f=7.5mm (equivalent to a focal length of 36mm for 35mm cameras). The cameras' built-in flash is automatically activated in unfavorable lighting conditions.

Another addition to the EXILIM line is the ZOOM EX-Z3, which features a CCD that boasts 3.2 megapixels and a 3X optical zoom lens. It retails for $399.99 and is currently available.

The 2.0-inch TFT LCD monitor screen included on the EX-Z3 features a digital interface; the monitor screen can be used to compose images. There's also a calendar mode, in which each date of the full month calendar screen shows a thumbnail of the first image recorded on each date. This visual diary of images makes it possible for you to search for and locate specific images.

The EX-Z3 also offers the "Best Shot Mode" for instant setups. However, it has a total of 21 sample scenes built in, including "Coupling Shot" (for allowing the photographer to get in the picture) and "Pre Shot" (with which photos can be taken against any specific background, by selecting the background and pressing the shutter release.).

The 3.2 megapixel camera also comes with a triple self-timer (which records three consecutive shots with a single shutter release button operation), world time/alarm functions, an automatic photoloader, and "Photohands" (which provides image-editing capabilities for color, contrast, brightness, and other parameters.).

The EX-Z3 stores images in a Web browser-viewable format that allows you to browse images in an album format. The album feature uses HTML, which means you can incorporate an album directly into a Web site -- and print directly from the album.

In addition to 10MB of built-in Flash Memory, the EX-Z3 also supports use of SD memory cards and MMC cards. To keep special images private, 320 x 240 size images can be copied to a Favorites folder located in the camera's built-in memory. Images in the Favorites folder don't display during normal image playback.

The EX-Z3's key customization enables assigned recording mode, exposure compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity or self-timer functions to the left/right controller buttons. These settings may be changed by pressing the buttons.

Finally, there's the $349.99 EXILIM EX-S3, which offers 3.2 million effective pixels and a 2.0-inch LCD monitor screen into a .46 inch thin configuration. A lens barrier protects the lens from impact and dust by opening and closing whenever the camera is turned on and off.

The EX-S3's Photo Stand Feature allows you to place the digital camera onto its cradle and press the Photo button to start a slideshow of images currently in memory. You can set up the camera to display the images you want whenever it's placed on the cradle.

Like the EX-Z3, the EX-S3 (also available now) has a calendar mode, triple self timer, photoloader, world time/alarm functions, Photohands feature, key customization, a Favorites folder, support for SD and MMC cards, and the ability to store images in a Web browser-viewable format. And it has the "Best Shot Mode." However, it comes with 15, not 21, sample scenes built in (though the 15 include Coupling Shot and Pre Shot). The EX-S3 has 10MB of built-in flash memory.

All the EXILIM cameras have USB connectivity and are compatible with Mac OS X and Mac OS 8.6-9.x.

This story, "Casio expands EXILIM digital camera line" was originally published by PCWorld.

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