Kyocera has announced a new digital still camera that challenges Canon's Digital Elph for position as the smallest, lightest and coolest digital still camera available.
The new Finecam S3, which is expected to go on sale in late April, is just slightly larger than the Elph. Both models are credit-card sized but the Finecam is 30 millimeters deep against the Elph's 25-millimeter depth. But at 160 grams it is 20 per cent lighter and packs a three-megapixel CCD (charge coupled device) pickup against the Elph's two-megapixel unit. Like the Elph, the Finecam S3 also has a 2x optical zoom lens.
In addition to the 3.34-million pixel CCD, other specifications include a colour 1.5-inch (3.75-centimeter) low-temperature polysilicon TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) and rechargeable lithium ion battery that, says Kyocera, is sufficient for up to 120 photos or a maximum of 45 minutes of continuous playback on a single charge.
Images are recorded on multimedia card (MMC) or Secure Digital (SD) memory cards. The latter is a development of the MMC format with added copy protection circuitry and is gaining acceptance from a number of major manufacturers including Matsushita, better known as Panasonic, and Toshiba, which both helped develop the format. Kyocera is bundling a 16MB card with the camera.
The camera can also record short video clips up to 15 seconds in length at 320-x-240 pixel (QVGA) resolution at 15 frames per second - about a quarter the resolution of conventional television and half the image rate. The clips are recorded in AVI format and users can view them with Apple's Quicktime software.
Kyocera plans to put the Finecam S3 on the market from late April. It will cost about £500.