Olympus sub-£200 cameras pack megapixel punch

Camera maker Olympus is raising the stakes in digital photography with sub-£200 megapixel cameras launched on Thursday at CeBIT

Two new digital cameras launched by Olympus at CeBIT 2002 look set to take the mass market by storm.

Both the Camedia C-120 and Camedia C-220 Zoom are megapixel cameras that will sell for under £200 including VAT. Olympus is hoping that these cameras will tempt users who have been put off by the low quality of existing low-cost digital cameras.

To see images of the cameras, click here.

The Camedia C-120, recommended selling price £169.99 including VAT, is a fixed focal length 1.96 million pixel camera. It has 2MB of memory built-in, and takes SmartMedia cards for removable storage. It also has some on-board image processing capability, allowing owners to resize images, and change images to black and white or sepia. This feature is aimed at owners of printers with SmartMedia slots, so that a PC is not needed to get images printed. The C-120 can also take short movie clips at lower resolutions in motion JPEG format.

The Camedia C-220 Zoom has most of the features of the C-120, but instead uses a 3x optical zoom lens. The 5-15mm lens is equivalent to a 38-115mm lens on a 35mm camera. It doesn't have any internal memory but is supplied with an 8MB SmartMedia card. At £199.99 it will be one of the cheapest optical zoom digital cameras around.

Olympus considers two-megapixel resolution to be the ideal for snapshots, usually printed out at 6x4 inches -- the standard size for 35mm film prints. The cameras are styled in the same way as compact film cameras, and Olympus is hoping that the combination of a familiar appearance and comparable quality to compact film cameras will persuade the public that digital photography is now affordable. Both cameras are expected in the shops around May.


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