The incredible shrinking camera

Hardly a week goes by without one company debuting a digital still camera that breaks the size or weight record. This time it's the turn of Kyocera, which has a new model out in its Finecam range that it claims is the smallest and lightest full-feature 3-megapixel camera yet. So just how light is light, and just how small is small? Kyocera says the Finecam 3300 weighs 200 grammes and measures 93.5-x-66-x-37.5mm. At that size, it's larger than the Canon Digital Ixy, but that's a 2-megapixel camera, so photographers looking for a small camera will have to make a trade-off between size and resolution and decide works for them. [See "Canon Digital IXY Camera," June A special feature on the new Finecam is the video-shooting mode. If you can settle for QVGA resolution, which is half VGA resolution at 320-x-240 pixels, the camera can take 15 images per second for a maximum of 15 seconds - for a total of 225 successive images. They are stored as an AVI format video file, which can be downloaded and viewed on a desktop computer. Other features include a 2x optical zoom lens and 2x digital zoom lens and color 1.5-inch LCD screen on which images can be viewed, both similar to the Canon. Images are stored on a type 1 or type 2 CompactFlash (CF) media cards. The camera can also accommodate both 340MB and 1GB versions of IBM Microdrive high capacity storage system to allow for a day of almost unlimited shooting. The Microdrive will come in handy when using the camera's highest-quality image mode, which records images directly in TIFF format, rather than JPEG. The JPEG format compresses images and can cause some detail to be lost. The TIFF-RGB mode results in high-quality, 2,048-x-1,536 pixel images that are a whopping 9.5MB in size. Other shooting modes are super-fine and fine, both of which take images in the same 2,048-x-1,536 pixel resolution but with different levels of compression, and the normal mode, which takes images at 1,024-x-768 pixel resolution. Other features, which are largely standard on digital still cameras today, include: four strobe modes (automatic flash, red-eye reduced flash, forced flash, flash prohibited), a distant view mode, color mode (color, sepia, monochrome) and white balance selection (auto, daylight, tungsten lamp, cloudy, fluorescent lamp, preset). The camera will be released in Japan on September 15 and will cost 79,800 yen (around £490). A UK release date and price have not been announced yet.

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