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Old 01-13-2012, 08:00 PM
Lee Yuan Sheng
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Default CES/PMA 2012 Round-up: Compact Cameras

<img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1326473046.usr15670.jpg" />A large number of compacts have been announced over the past few days, so here is a brief round up of the various cameras announced:<strong>Panasonic</strong>&nbsp;- (<a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4435" target="_blank">News Article One</a>, <a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4434" target="_blank">News Article Two</a>, <a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4433" target="_blank">News Article Three</a>)Pansonic, as usual, have announced their cameras, but with no pricing and availability. In an increasing commoditised market, I am not sure if it is a good idea. In any case, Panasonic has five cameras, with two belonging to a new line, the SZ superzoom compact. It does leave me a little confused: So it is smaller than a travel zoom, which in turn is smaller than a superzoom bridge camera, but still bigger than a not-so-super-but-still-generous-zoom compact (you know it is trouble when companies start finely dividing markets in this manner). The <strong>DMC-SZ1</strong>&nbsp;and <strong>DMC-SZ7</strong>&nbsp;both come with 10x 27-270mm equivalent f/3.1-5.9 stabilised lenses, with the former packing a 16 megapixel sensor, a 3" QVGA LCD, and 720p videos at 30FPS. The latter has a 14 megapixel sensor (strange considering consumer cameras tend to have more pixels further up the range), but boasts a 3" HVGA LCD, and 1080p video at 30FPS in AVCHD.Next up are a couple of budget compacts in the FH line, the <strong>DMC-FH6</strong> and <strong>DMC-FH8</strong>. Both possess a 5x optically stabilised 24-120mm equivalent f/2.5-6.4 zoom lens and 720p video mode. The former has a 14 megapixel sensor with a 2.7" QVGA LCD, and the latter has 16 megapixel sensor with 3" QVGA LCD. With differences so minor, I wonder why they bother.Last for Panasonic, is the <strong>DMC-S2</strong>, which is an update of the S1 budget camera. The specs are now almost that of the S3, so I suppose given the right pricing, the S2 is the one to go for if you are truly looking at the cheapest of the cheap. The camera has a 14 megapixel sensor, a 4x optically stabilised 28-112mm equivalent f/3.1-6.5 zoom lens, a 2.7" QVGA screen, 720p video mode, and a curvy plastic body instead of the metal ones in the FH line.More cameras after the break!<MORE /><strong>Sony</strong><strong>&nbsp;- (<a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4437" target="_blank">News Article</a>)</strong><strong>Sony announced a trio of entry-level cameras, with the <strong>DSC-W610</strong>&nbsp;a 14 megapixel camera having a 4x 26-105mm equivalent f/2.8-5.9 zoom lens, a 2.7" QVGA LCD, and the now-looking very outdated VGA-only movie mode. The&nbsp;<strong>DSC-W620</strong>&nbsp;packs a 14 megapixel sensor, a 5x 28-140mm f/3.2-6.5 lens, 2.7" QVGA LCD, and at least a 720p video mode. The <strong>DSC-W650</strong>&nbsp;has a 16 megapixel sensor, an optically stabilised5x 25-125mm equivalent f/2.6-6.3 Carl Zeiss-branded lens (meaning it is not quite a Zeiss lens), a 2.7" QVGA LCD, and 720p video mode. The W610 will ship this month, with the W620 and W650 shipping next month, with prices of US$110, US$120 and US$250 respectively (phew, the Carl Zeiss branding and optical stabilisation sure packs a premium).</strong><strong><strong>Casio</strong> - (<a href="http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/01/11/Casio_EX-ZR200" target="_blank">News Article One</a>, <a href="http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/01/11/casio_compactsCES2012" target="_blank">News Article Two</a>)</strong>Casio is bringing out of Japan the <strong>EX-ZR200</strong>, which is a small compact with a 16 megapixel stabilised sensor, a 12.5x 24-300mm equivalent f/3.0-5.8 lens, 3" HVGA LCD, and Casio's high speed video modes, starting at the usual 30FPS at 1080p, but going all the way to 1000 FPS if you are fine with 224x64 (no, that is not a typo) videos. Ships in April (April?) for US$380.The rest of the cameras are similar compacts with non-high speed 16 megapixel sensors and 2.7" QVGA LCD screen. The <strong>EX-ZZS150</strong>&nbsp;packs the same lens as the ZR200, and is practically the same camera without the high speed video features. The <strong>EX-ZS20</strong>&nbsp;changes the lens to a 6x 26-156mm equivalent f/3.5-6.5 lens, while the <strong>EX-ZS12</strong>&nbsp;packs a 5x 26-130mm equivalent f/3.2-6.5 lens, and&nbsp;the&nbsp;<strong>EX-ZS6</strong>&nbsp;has a similar 5x 26-130mm equivalent f/2.8-6.5 lens, and also uses a plastic instead of metal body. All four cameras ship in Apri, with respective prices of US$230, US$160, US$140, and US$120.<strong>Olympus</strong>&nbsp;- (<a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4441" target="_blank">News Article One</a>, <a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4440" target="_blank">News Article Two</a>, <a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4439" target="_blank">News Article Three</a>)Olympus introduced five cameras, the first two of which are the superzooms which it help made popular. The <strong>SP-620UZ</strong>&nbsp;has a 16 megapixel stabilised sensor, a 21x 25-525mm equivalent f/3.1-5.8 lens, 3" QVGA LCD, and 720p video. The 620UZ continues a fine Olympus tradition of using AA batteries in their UZ (ultrazoom) cameras. The <strong>SZ-12</strong>&nbsp;is a compact ultrazoom (ie, bigger than a travel zoom, but smaller than a... ah, I give up!). It comes in a thin aluminium body (thin at least, outside of the lens assembly), features a stabilised 14 megapixel sensor, a 24x 25-600mm equivalent f/3.0-6.9 zoom lens, 3" HVGA LCD, and 720p video. The former ships later this month (January 2012) for US$200, while the latter ships in March for the same US$200.Next up is a rugged camera, the <strong>TG-320</strong>. It features waterproofing to 10 feet (3m), shockproofing to 5 feet (1.5m), freezproofing to 14F (-10C) and of course, the requisite dustproofing. The rest of the camera is pretty standard, with a stabilised 14 megapixel sensor, a 3.6x 28-102mm equivalent f/3.5-5.1 zoom lens, a 2.7" QVGA LCD, and 720p video. Ships in February for US$180.Lastly are two budgets, the <strong>VG-160</strong> and <strong>VR-340</strong>. The VG-160 comes with a 14 megapixel sensor, a 5x 26-130mm equivalent f/2.8-6.5 lens, a 3" QVGA LCD, and 720p video mode. The VR-340 comes with a stabilised 16 megapixel sensor, 10x 24-240mm equivalent f/3.0-5.7 lens, a 3" HVGA LCD, and 720p video. The former ships in February for US$100, and the latter ships in March for US$150.Oh, and since they're Olympus cameras, they all come with the mandatory "Magic Filters", for all kinds of gimmicky post-processing in-camera.<strong>Samsung </strong>- (<a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4443" target="_blank">News Article One</a>, <a href="http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4442" target="_blank">News Article Two</a>)Samsung is betting big on wifi, with three more Wifi-enabled compact superzoom cameras. Let us start with the <strong>ST200F</strong>. The camera has a 16 megapixel sensor paired with an optically stabilised 10x 27-270mm equivalent f/3.1-5.6 lens, 3" LCD display, and 720p video. Ships in February for US$200. The <strong>WB150F</strong>&nbsp;uses a 14 megapixel sensor, with an optically stabilised 18x 24-432mm equivalent f/3.2-5.8 lens, a 3" AMOLED (mmm, AMOLED) display, and 720p videos. The camera also features manual exposure controls. Ships this month (January) for US$230. The last is the <strong>WB850F</strong>, which utilises a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, an optically stabilised 21x 23-483mm f/2.8-5.9 lens, 3" AMOLED display, built-in GPS, and 1080p video. Ships in April for US$380.Finally (phew) Samsung has two budget compacts. The <strong>ST66 </strong>and <strong>ST76</strong>&nbsp;both feature 16 megapixel sensors, 5x 25-125mm f/2.5-6.3 zoom lenses, a 2.7" LCD, and 720p video. The latter offers optical image stabilisation. The cameras will ship in March for US$120 and US$130 respectively.Head on to the news article links in the post for more information and images!
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