Olympus Unveils Dual-Duty Camera

SAN FRANCISCO (04/27/2000) - If you don't want to choose between a camcorder and a still camera, Olympus America Inc. is preparing a dual-duty solution.

Those shutterbug conundrums could fade like an old Polaroid snapshot.

The Olympus C-3000 Zoom, expected to ship in May, combines both functions. Its 3.34-megapixel CCD is among the highest resolution of any consumer camera, and you can also grab up to 60 seconds of QuickTime video at 15 frames per second.

It's the answer if you don't want to lug both a camcorder and a still camera to the family reunion, or if you only occasionally desire video but don't want to spend big bucks on a camcorder.

Ultimately, the features you get for the $799 camera are the biggest differentiator, according to Olympus representatives. The C-3000 Zoom's competitors include the Canon PowerShot S20, which was the first consumer-aimed camera with a 3.3-megapixel CCD. The Canon camera also lists for $799 but offers no video capability. Similarly, the Casio QV-3000EX lists for $799, offers the same high resolution, and adds the capability to capture video in AVI format (but without sound).

The C-3000 Zoom captures images with up to 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution.

That's more than what you need to get film-like quality with 8-by-10 prints.

Like many new digicams, the device has a Universal Serial Bus port for quick, easy image transfer to a PC or Mac. The C-3000 Zoom also features a 3X zoom glass lens with continuous 2.5X digital telephoto. It has 15 modes of resolution, including five uncompressed TIFF modes, and removable SmartMedia storage (an 8MB card is included). The six-mode flash includes red-eye reduction.

Sound is recorded with the camera's built-in microphone. You can record sound with video or as separate audio clips. With an included video-out cable, you can view your movie masterpiece on a TV.

Olympus says the C-3000 Zoom offers enhanced ease-of-use for consumers. Its power control is built into a dial, and menus and control buttons are more easily accessible. Battery power consumption has been improved as well, the company claims.

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