FujiFilm's latest camera aims at dogs, cats

The camera can recognize when dogs or cats are looking its way, taking a snap at just the right moment

If you own a dog or a cat then there's a good chance you've spent hours with a camera trying -- and probably failing -- to get a perfect picture of them. Now, technology is coming to the rescue.

FujiFilm's Finepix Z700 features a face-detection function that can recognize canine and feline faces, and it can snap a picture automatically when they look towards the camera lens.

There is one pet photography problem FujiFilm says its new camera can't solve: "Dogs or cats that are constantly in motion cannot be recognized."

It is demonstrating the animal face recognition feature at this week's Camera and Photo Imaging Show in Yokohama, Japan, albeit with stuffed toy dogs and cats. It works just like face detection does with a human. When it finds a face, a green box is drawn around it on screen and the camera automatically focuses. In the auto-shooting mode it waits until the animal turns to the camera before taking a picture.

It worked well with the stuffed animals but it turns out real dogs and cats can be a little bit trickier. FujiFilm has a list of dog and cat breeds that are easier for its technology to identify.

FujiFilm says the technology can also get confused if the animal has a dark coat, if it has large patches around its eyes, a wrinkly nose or hair over their eyes. All these things make it difficult for the computer in the camera to recognize the facial markers and determine whether it is looking at a dog or a cat.

The 12-megapixel FujiFilm Z700EXR has a 3.5-inch screen, and is 16.9 millimeters thick. It is available this month and costs US$280.

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Martyn Williams

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