HOME DIGITAL IMAGING ARRIVES
by John Henshall
Front and back views of the new Sony DSC-P1 digital camera which produces 640x480 pixel images. The small picture of JH on the 1.8 inch diagonal colour LCD viewfinder is real.
At Photokina '94, digital imaging was almost exclusively for high-end professional use. This year a huge wave of consumer- and business-use digital cameras became available, from almost every major manufacturer including Agfa, Apple, Canon, Casio, Epson, Fuji, Kodak, Konica, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh and Sony. Some manufacturers were even offering more than one model.
A cool solution from Nikon. The lens and CCD of the Coolpix 100 is mounted on a PC card which can hold 21 'high' quality images or 42 'normal' quality images - all with 512x480 pixels. No cables are required to connect the camera to the computer. Just plug the camera into the PC card slot.
Many of these cameras will sell in limited numbers, being nothing more than a corporate foot in the digital door. Nevertheless, they do stake claims to the digital future, demonstrating that the originators are leading, not following, the changes in photography.
The new consumer digital cameras have resolutions around 640x480 pixels, giving them important potential as low cost image acquisition devices for illustrations in documents, small ads and Web pages.
Canon's Powershot 600 digital camera produces 832x608 pixel images and stores them on standard sized PC cards - up to 1500 on a Hard Disk Card in normal mode.
The capture and use of images is undergoing a paradigm change and most of these cameras will be sold as image capture peripherals by computer suppliers, rather than photographic dealers. Significantly, Kodak has recently announced a deal with PC World to sell its DC20/40/50 cameras. Business users and graphic designers, rather than photographers, will use these products themselves, saving time and money snapping small images.