Manufacturers will have to change their minds
Despite the fierce price war with camera phones, well-known companies did not want to lower the price of digital cameras below $ 100 for a long time. Instead of lowering the price of cameras as much as possible, they began to be equipped with additional functions, such as online photo printing and new peripherals: photo printers, and in addition , expanded the capabilities and range of digital cameras. But the market played a cruel joke with them: for example, the American company CVS Pharmacy decided to produce disposable digital cameras! While she is going to sell them only in her own pharmacies and under her own brand. To be more precise, two models were launched on the market at once: CVS Digital One-Time-Use Camera: the first, more expensive, has a 1.4 “LCD display on which you can view photos taken and delete failed ones, the second is devoid of a display, but it costs only $ 10 (with a display – $ 20). According to CVS Pharmacy, users can take up to 25 pictures, although the parameters of these pictures are not specified, nor are the technical characteristics of the cameras.
After the camera’s memory is full, the owners of these photo devices will be able to hand them back to the pharmacy and get their photos in paper form or on a CD. In the near future, Ritz Camera and Walt Disney are planning to release similar disposable digital cameras. As for the potential demand for them, by the end of the year CVS Pharmacy expects to sell more than 3 thousand such cameras throughout the United States.
Of course, today you can’t fool anyone with an increase in the resolution of matrices – users understand that they are unlikely to need more than 6 megapixels and there’s no reason to expect anything more from a further increase in resolution. And manufacturers began to move away from the direct competition “for megapixels,” focusing more and more on other features of digital shooting and rethinking the concept of its “quality.” Canon in its latest models is improving its own DIGIC processor for image processing, Minolta uses its own original CxProcess technology, which allows you to more accurately reproduce the color gamut of pictures, and other manufacturers are introducing various noise reduction systems when shooting dark scenes, video recording capabilities and other technologies.
Most likely, low-cost entry-level devices with a relatively small matrix and a limited set of functions will give way to camera phones, and manufacturers will focus their efforts on “image” category cameras and high-end professional devices.
The “image” market requires stylish and compact cameras with a wide range of functions (including unexpected ones), and professional photographers are waiting for serious competitors to film.
In 2003-2004, many manufacturers launched light, ultra-compact cameras in a non-standard layout and with an unusual case design (Canon and Casio set the tone here with the Digital IXUS and Exilim camera lines, respectively). Nikon and Canon focused on improving the quality of SLR cameras for semi-professional and professional users for studio and reporter photography (Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel / EOS Rebel made a splash in this sector of the market). Olympus is also changing the structure of its products and expanding the functionality of its cameras (the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom was very popular among connoisseurs, and the recently released “reflex” with an Olympus E-300 / EVOLT E-300 interchangeable lens brings the company to the professional market). Among the mid-range digital cameras popular last year, the Canon PowerShot G6, Casio EX-P700, Olympus C-7000 Z, Pentax Optio 750Z and Sony DSC-V3.
The new JVC digital cameras, united by the common name Everio, use a removable MicroDrive hard drive as media. The kit comes with a 4 GB disc, which allows you to record from 60 to 300 minutes of digital video with a maximum stream speed of 8.5 Mbps with quality 720×576 / 50i. An additional medium here can be Compact Flash and SD memory cards. A 1 / 3.6-inch CCD with a resolution of 2.12 megapixels also allows you to record photos with a maximum size of 1200×1600.
The new MicroDrive media has significantly larger capacity than the DVD-RAM / -RW disc used in competitors’ camcorders (4 GB versus 1.8 on a 2.5-inch drive). In addition, MicroDrive is more compact. However, its price is much higher (at present – about $ 300), so these cameras will be interesting primarily to those who work online or do not part with their laptop.
The device supports the formats AVI, DV-AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Windows Media Video and RealVideo. In addition, the camera can be used as a camera that shoots with a resolution of 1600-1200 pixels. The company announced the Everio GZ-MC200 back in September, but just before Christmas, the camcorder went on sale in the Amazon chain store.