Canon unveils throng of digital imaging products

Canon has announced a sweeping selection of new digital photography tools, from cameras to printers and scanners, plus a pair of camcorders.

All are scheduled for release this spring, in what the company calls a "strong leadership statement to the imaging industry." Many of the products will be on display at the 2003 Photo Marketing Association (PMA) international convention opening this weekend in Las Vegas.

From Paper to Disk

Two flatbed scanners are among the selection of new Canon wares: the CanoScan 3000F for home use and the CanoScan 9900F for professionals. Both offer 48-bit color depth that can record up to 281 trillion colors; both also use Canon's Film Automatic Retouching and Enhancement (FARE) technology to hide scratches and dust scanned in with the original image.

The 3000F has 1200-by-2400-dpi optical resolution, which is software-enhanced to support up to 9600 resolution. Its built-in 35mm film adapter helps users scan slides and negatives. The scanner is USB 2.0 compatible and will carry a list price of US$130.

The US$400 9900F has a very impressive 3200-by-6400-dpi optical resolution that again can be enhanced up to 9600. According to Canon, it's extremely fast and capable of providing a preview of your photo in about three seconds. It supports USB 2.0 and FireWire.

And Back to Paper

Canon's announcement includes three new bubble jet printers. New low-cost home printers include the i450 (expected to list at $100) and i470D (US$150). The $500 i9100 is intended for professionals and very serious amateurs.

All three can bypass your PC, printing directly from Canon's more recent digital cameras, including the six new digicams Canon is announcing (see below). Also, all three printers use Canon's MicroFine Droplet technology, which shoots ink in both 5-picoliter and 2-picoliter droplets to create a finer image.

The i450 and i470D are the first Canon printers listing for less than US$199 to use the MicroFine technology. And their speeds--up to 18 ppm for monochrome and 12 ppm for color at a 4800-by-1200-dpi resolution--may be the fastest at these price points.

For an extra US$50 over its i450 sibling, the i470D provides an operations panel that can warn you that your ink is running low. It also can print directly from CampactFlash, Memory Stick, Microdrive, MultimediaCard, SD Card, and SmartMedia cards.

The i9100, which Canon describes as its new "flagship" bubble jet, replaces the S9000. Canon claims that it can print a 4-by-6-inch photo in only 37 seconds.

New Cameras, Too

Canon has also unveiled two digital camcorders and a dozen new cameras--both digital and film.

The Optura 10 and Optura 20 DV camcorders both support 1.33-megapixel resolution and have 16X optical and 320X digital zoom lenses. Both include a color night shooting mode and come with Canon DV Messenger software for Internet video conferencing.

The Optura 10 has a 2.5-inch color LCD screen; the Optura 20 has a similar but larger--3.5 inches--screen. Both can print directly to certain models of Canon Bubble Jet printers.

Scheduled for showcasing at PMA are six new digital cameras, mostly updates of existing models. They're aimed at everyone from beginners (such as the $300 3.2-megapixel PowerShot A300) to professional photographers (the $2000 6.3-megapixel SRL EOS 10D). All except the A300 have an optical zoom.

Three of the cameras are pocket-sized. The PowerShot A60 (a 2-megapixel, US$350 unit) and A70 (3.2 megapixels, US$450) each measure 3.98 by 2.52 by 1.24 inches. The $600 S400 Digital Elph measures 3.43 by 2.24 by 1.09 inches. The PowerShot S50 is Canon's first 5-megapixel camera.

Canon also announced six traditional film cameras.

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