TechXNY: Tiny cameras debut at show

A pair of Casio Computer Co. Ltd. cameras have joined the ever-growing selection of ever-shrinking digicams, making their debut at PC Expo/TechXNY here this week.

A first look at the 1.2-megapixel models, each about the size and thickness of a business card holder and weighing less than 4 ounces, finds them to be innovatively designed and full-featured. Both the $300 Exilim EX-S1 and the Exilim EX-M1, priced at $350, are scheduled to ship in mid-July.

Power in Small Package

What makes the cameras so thin? Two factors: Casio integrated the lens and CCD (charge-coupled device) into a single component and developed a multichip module that contains the CPU, ASIC, SDRAM, and Flash memory. The circuit board in the two Exilims is 70 percent smaller than the board used in the company's current digital cameras, according to Casio.

Notwithstanding their remarkably thin and light design, the stainless steel Exilims have some very handy features not typically found in cameras of this size, including a SecureDigital/MultiMediaCard memory card slot, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, an optical viewfinder complemented by a 1.6-inch LCD, a built-in flash, and the capability to capture 30-second AVI videos at 320 by 240 resolution.

Both new cameras also come with a cradle and an AC adapter for charging the battery and downloading photos to a computer via USB cable.

Versatile EX-M1

Of the two, the higher-priced EX-M1 is the more full-featured, and it can double as an MP3 player and voice recorder. The camera is bundled with earphones and an audio control strip for listening to music on the road. Buying an optional 64MB SecureDigital memory card (priced at around $60) will enable you to listen to hours of music, though the number of songs you can store depends on the size of the MP3 files involved.

The EX-M1 has a built-in microphone that you can use as a voice recorder or for adding voice annotations to snapshots. The microphone allows you to capture audio with each 30-second video clip--unlike the EX-S1, which captures video but not sound.

The EX-M1 also includes an integrated speaker, which is handy for listening to voice-recorded memos or to the audio when you play back a video file.

Practical Features

Both cameras come with basic photographic functions such as a 1-megapixel CCD image sensor that lets you capture snapshots at 1280-by-960-pixel or 640-by-480-pixel resolution. The cameras can produce an interpolated 1600 by 1200 image, too; interpolation is a method by which the camera uses software to enlarge the image without increasing the number of pixels.

You also get 12MB of internal memory--enough to store 24 shots in 1280 by 960 mode, 75 photos in 640 by 480 mode, or 15 images in 1600 by 1200 mode at the normal compression setting.

Both models have a fixed-focus, F2.5 lens with a 4X digital zoom (37mm, in 35mm film equivalent) in 640 by 480 mode only, as well as two-step exposure compensation.

In a company demo of the cameras, the shutter lag (the time between pressing the shutter and recording the image in memory) and the continuous shutter time (time between taking one shot and the next) were each less than half a second.

Targeting Logitech

Casio's Exilims may face stiff competition with Logitech Inc.'s sleek, lower-priced Pocket Digital camera. At $130, the Pocket Digital is $170 cheaper than the EX-S1 and $220 less than the EX-M1.

Though all three cameras possess a sleek, ultra-slim design, the Logitech has far fewer features than the two Casios--not surprising, given its lower cost. The Pocket Digital lacks an LCD, flash, memory card slot, and video-capture capability.

The Logitech is also inferior in image quality resolution, capturing photos only at 640-by-480-pixel resolution. It does, however, have an interpolated 1280-by-960-resolution setting.

Despite their differences, the Casio and Logitech cameras score high in both portability and coolness. They're not aimed at seasoned shutterbugs, but they will surely appeal to all sorts of users who want significant portability.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grace Aquino

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?