Digital cameras for slim wallets
November 16, 1999
November 16, 1999
by Yardena Arar
LAS VEGAS (IDG) -- Smile! The latest round of digital cameras being shown at Comdex are inexpensive enough for those on your gift list -- or for anybody who'd like to experiment with digital imaging without a huge investment.
How cheap is cheap? Polaroid's PhotoMax Fun Digital 320 Creative Kit is expected to carry a street price of $59.95. At that price you don't get anything fancy: Resolution is only 320 by 240, the internal 2MB of memory stores only about 15 images, and there's no LCD to preview your images. But it does come with Polaroid image editing software and a serial cable for transferring images to your PC.
Unfortunately, Polaroid doesn't expect the camera to be ready in time for Christmas; plans call for shipping in the first quarter of 2000.
Polaroid's $149.95 PhotoMax Fun Flash 640 should be in stores by mid-December, however. If you have the money, you get several nice extras, most notably a 1.8-inch color LCD that shows what you've taken so you can discard the rejects. The camera can capture 640-by-480 images and store up to 15 of them using JPEG compression.
Ixla's $99.95 Photo Easy Deluxe bundles a camera with its $49.95 image editing software, while its Web Easy Deluxe kit (also $99.95) pairs the camera with a $49.95 Web site creation software package.
The camera has 640-by-480 resolution, a built-in flash, USB and serial port connections, and storage for as many as 30 images. You don't get an LCD viewer, however.
Finally, for those with a bit more to spend, Largan's new Chameleon 350 is arguably the trendiest-looking digital camera to date, with translucent plastic casing, à la the iMac, in six different colors. For $199.95 you get a camera that can store between 64 and 128 images on an included 2MB SmartMedia card, depending on resolution setting.
The Chameleon 350 comes with ArcSoft's PhotoStudio 3.0 software for editing, printing, and uploading images. It also can double as a desktop video camera capable of capturing up to 30 frames per second. It is scheduled to ship in February.
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