Though it's still about two weeks away, the lead-up to PMA 2009 has officially begun. Today saw a flurry of new camera announcements: Four from Samsung, five from Sony, and five from Fujifilm. Of all the announcements, Fujifilm's intrigued me the most as it included the FinePix Z33WP, the company's first waterproof point-and-shoot (along with the FinePix Z30, S1500, J20, and J250).
Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP If nothing else, the borderline-obnoxious pink and green color options of this little waterproof point-and-shoot will have it standing out from the crowd from the get-go (though it also comes in black for the New Yorkers among us). The other standout features are its budget friendly $199.95 price and compact size (3.6x2.3x0.8 inches, 3.9 ounces), making it cheaper, smaller, and lighter than the competition (namely the Pentax Optio W60 and the Olympus Stylus Tough-6000). Otherwise, the specs are fairly standard: waterproof to 10 feet, 3x optical zoom lens (35mm to 105mm, f/3.7-4.2), 10-megapixel sensor, 2.7-inch LCD. Features include automatic scene recognition, face detection, red-eye removal, as well as a handy Blog Mode that automatically resizes images for Web use. A face detection self-timer mode waits until the right number of faces are detected in the scene (two for Couple Timer, three or four for the Group Timer), before snapping the shot. The camera will ship in late March.
Fujifilm FinePix Z30 More or less the same camera as the Z33WP, save for waterproof casing, the Z30 is $20 less, shipping in March for $179.99. Oh, and it will come in pink, orange, and black.
Fujifilm FinePix S1500 The other interesting camera of the lot is the S1500, Fujifilm's successor to the S1000fd compact megazoom. The details: 12x optical zoom lens (33mm to 396mm equivalent, f/2.8-5.0), 10 megapixels, dual image stabilization (i.e., both image and sensor-shift), automatic scene recognition, face detection with automatic red-eye removal, continuous high-speed shooting mode that captures moving subjects at up to 7.5 fps at 2 megapixels or 3.3 fps at 5 megapixels, and full manual control for settings including ISO, aperture, shutter speed, resolution, etc. All this comes in a very compact package (4x2.9x2.7 inches and 11.4 ounces), and will ship for a hard-to-beat $249.95 in March.
Fujifilm FinePix J20 and J250 These two budget entries round out the new releases. Both are 10-megapixel ultracompact point-and-shoots, the $199.95 J250 (3.6×2.3×0.9 inches, 5.3 ounces) being slightly larger than the $129.95 J20 (3.6×2.2×0.7, 3.5 ounces). The extra $70 for the J250 buys you sensor-shift image stabilization, a 3-inch LCD (vs. the J20's 2.7-incher), ISO 64 to 3200 (vs. the J20's ISO 100 to 1600) and a 5x optical zoom lens (28mm to 140mm equivalent, f/3.3-5.1). The J20 sports a 3x optical zoom lens (35.5mm to 106.5mm equivalent, f/3.1-5.6). Both feature automatic scene recognition and face detection. The J20 is shipping this month and is available in black and silver, while the J250 will ship in March in black only.