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Point and Shoot Cameras Introduce New Options

Point-and-shoot cameras struggling in the marketplace are finding new ways to compete with camera phones and dSLR cameras in a saturated marketplace.
Manufacturers are offering innovative options to keep their models competitive, creating unique devices that range from cameras recording the position at which you take your picture with GPS to shooting in 3-D.

Sony Cyber-shot TX9

Two Sony models—the Sony Cyber-shot TX9 and Sony Cyber-shot WX5—offer a kind of pseudo-3D camera.

These cameras merge two shots to create a “3-D” look to the image using in-camera software. For example, if you wanted a subject with a soft background, instead of getting an average image using a small f-stop, the camera would take a sharp shot and a soft shot, then merge the two images to create an image that has a sharp subject and soft background with exceptional bokeh (softness).

It also will merge an image taken with flash with one taken without it, creating a well-lit subject in a background of natural light.

FujiFinePix W11

Here’s a camera that uses a more complex process to take 3D pictures, one in which requires a special viewing screen that the camera utilizes on its LCD screen.

The camera, the Fuji FinePix W1 Dual has two 10 MP sensors that take a set of two images at the same time, one with a left lens and the other with a right lens, each at different settings.

The images are merged in-camera so that you see the resulting 3D image on the camera’s LCD screen without cumbersome 3-D glasses.

You can also view on a larger 3D screen, which is an optional purchase. The 3-D image is in a special format referred to as the MP format. It also saves a 2-D image in JPEG.

Another special (and expensive) option installed on point-and-shoot cameras, a GPS-system, which uses geotags, or geographic coordinates that tell where your photos were taken. Some point-and-shoot cameras, the iPhone, and Android mobile devices can do the same thing, provided the phone can pick up the GPS signal at the location where you’re taking the picture.

Of these GPS-enabled cameras, Sony Cyber-shot HX5V, Nikon Coolpix P6000, and Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7, the Nikon Coolpix P6000 is probably the best with the biggest sensor and the most megapixels. That model came out in 2008.

Generally, camera manufacturers have not included GPS capability in cameras because of the cost. “Camera makers say they haven’t adopted widespread use of GPS in cameras because it’s expensive it can add almost $ 100 to the cost of a camera and because users haven’t really demanded the feature,” wrote Rik Fairlie on the Gadgetwise blog put out by The New York Times.

But GPS costs are coming down, so in the future, camera makers might reconsider their positions on this matter.

Other special options include cameras with dSLR size sensors and the super zoom models that can capture a close-up from far away like no other. These cameras have Dslr-like bodies, but unfortunately sensors not much larger than your average point-and-shoot, which is tiny compared to those in dSLR cameras.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 have a 35X zoom (25-850 mm, 35 mm equivalent) and 24X zoom (25-600 mm) respectively. The later camera also shoots in Camera Raw.

Finally there is the Leica-like FujiFilm X100 that has a large sensor (23.6×15.8mm). This camera is in high demand, as there is a shortage of them, which was a result of the earthquake in Japan. You pay a pretty price for this fixed-lens camera—over $ 1000.

[via Photography Tips » Equipment & Reviews]

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