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Nikon's Coolpix SQ digital camera. Courtesy of Nikon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Nikon's Coolpix SQ finally announced
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 00:01 EST)

Regular readers will remember that about two weeks ago, Nikon Japan began a teaser campaign for a new digital camera.

The initial teaser was vague to say the least - the only obvious suggestion being that the camera would be square with rounded corners. However, any hope of a prolonged teaser-style launch was blown apart when first an enterprising individual managed to uncover all the remaining teaser files on Nikon's server, and then a French magazine leaked information on the camera's specifications .

We cautioned readers at the time that Chasseurs d'Images' information was not necessarily correct, but they did indeed score a direct hit on a number of points. The Coolpix SQ is indeed a 3 megapixel, 3x zoom camera with a swivelling body (and as is the norm with such cameras, no optical viewfinder). The Coolpix SQ has a stainless steel body designed to catch attention, along with a docking station for image transfer / battery charging. The camera is expected to sell for around $499 on the US market, and is due for only very limited distribution here.

Nikon haven't issued a separate press release for the camera, instead placing a short mention in a summary press release for all three of today's launches. Specifications courtesy of Nikon Japan follow:

Nikon Coolpix SQ
Nikon's Coolpix SQ digital camera. Courtesy of Nikon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Type Digital Camera SQ
Effective pixels 3.1 million
CCD 1/2.7-in. high-density CCD; total pixels: 3.34 million
Image size 3M (2,016 x 1,512), 2M (1,600 x 1,200), PC (1,024 x 768), TV (640 x 480)
Image quality Fine (approx. 1/4), Normal (approx. 1/8), Basic (approx. 1/16)
Lens 3x Zoom-Nikkor; f=5.6-16.8mm (35mm format equivalent to 37-111mm) F2.7-4.8; Digital zoom: up to 4.0x
LCD monitor 1.5-in; 117,600-dot low-temp. polysilicon TFT transflective LCD with brightness adjustment
Storage media CompactFlash™ (CF) Card Type I
Shooting modes Auto, 15 Scene Modes (Portrait, Party/Indoor, Night Portrait, Beach/Snow, Landscape, Sunset, Night Landscape, Museum, Fireworks Show, Close Up, Copy, Back Light, Sports, Dusk/Dawn, and Panorama Assist), Manual (includes shooting menu for control of White Balance, Capture Mode, Best-Shot Selector, Exposure Compensation, and Noise Reduction), Movie (up to 40 sec. of QVGA frames at 15 fps with audio), Voice Memo, Self-timer (Selectable from 3 sec. and 10 sec.)
Capture modes Single, Continuous, Multi-shot 16 (16 frames 1/16 in size)
Number of frames w/ 16MB CF Card Fine: approx. 9; Normal: approx. 17; Basic: approx. 34
Built-in Speedlight Shooting range: approx. 0.15-5.0m/0.5-16.4 ft. (W), approx. 0.15-3.7m/0.5-12.1 ft. (T); Sensor flash system; Flash modes: Auto, Flash cancel (off), Red-Eye Reduction, Anytime Flash
I/O terminals DC input, Audio/Video (A/V) output, COOL-STATION connector
Power requirements Li-ion Rechargeable Battery EN-EL2, AC Adapter EH-61
Battery life Approx. 65 min. with EN-EL2 when using LCD monitor
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 82 x 82 x 25.5mm or 3.2 x 3.2 x 1.0 in.
Weight Approx. 180g or 6.3 oz. (without battery and CF Card)
Supplied accessories* Strap, Lens Cap, CF Card, USB cable, Audio/Video cable, Cradle COOL-STATION MV-10, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL2, AC Adapter EH-61, Nikon View CD-ROM
Optional accessories Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL2, Cradle COOL-STATION MV-10, Various size CF Cards, Camera Case CS-CP15, Battery Charger MH-60, LCD Hood HL-CP10
.
You can find a Quick Preview of the Coolpix SQ at the Digital Photography Review website, and a first look on the Dutch website LetsGoDigital.nl .

Original Source Press Release:

NIKON® ANNOUNCES THREE REVOLUTIONARY NEW COOLPIX® DIGITAL CAMERAS WITH A COMBINATION OF EXCLUSIVE FEATURES AND BREAKTHROUGH DESIGN

Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 'Change the Face' Of Digital Pictures With Exclusive New "Scene Assist" and "One-Touch Red-Eye Fix™"
Company "Defies Convention" With Nikon Coolpix SQ


MELVILLE, NY, February 18, 2003 - Nikon Inc., the world leader in photography, today introduced three dynamic new 3x Optical Zoom-Nikkor digital cameras - the Nikon Coolpix 2100, Nikon Coolpix 3100 and the Nikon Coolpix SQ - to its popular Coolpix (www.nikoncoolpix.com) consumer line. The Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Coolpix 3100, Nikon's "dynamic digital duo" share the smallest Coolpix body design, fast operation and are the first with Nikon's new Scene Assist function to guide users toward the ideal shot and make picture-taking faster and easier for beginning digital photographers - and with even better results.

These exciting new digital cameras are also the first to utilize Nikon's exclusive new One-Touch Red-Eye Fix™, built into the NikonView 6.0 software, which instantly fixes red-eye within most typical red-eye digital photos with a simple click on the computer. Nikon is the only photo manufacturer offering this automatic 'One-Touch' red-eye removal tool to its digital camera users.

"The Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 each introduce truly breakthrough technology that is designed for the first time digital camera buyer," said Jerry Grossman, vice president, marketing, Consumer Digital Products and Compact Cameras for Nikon Inc. "Our designers have made a bold statement with the Nikon Coolpix SQ which will raise the bar for compact digital camera design. The new Coolpix cameras offer a unique combination of legendary Nikon quality and 'new and exclusive' features in a new ultra-compact design that will take digital photography to an entirely new level."

Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 - Nikon's New "Dynamic Digital Duo"

The Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 are among the fastest Nikon Coolpix digital cameras to date and make taking great digital pictures as easy a point-and-shoot. The Nikon Coolpix 2100 offers 2.0 effective megapixels while the Nikon Coolpix 3100 incorporates a 3.2 effective Megapixel CCD, each with Nikon's renowned enhanced image-processing technology which gives photographers the freedom to shoot wider, crop tighter and print larger, without concern for sacrificing image quality. With a maximum resolution of 1600x1200, the Nikon Coolpix 2100 can print crystal clear pictures at sizes of up to 8x10-inches. The more powerful Nikon Coolpix 3100 produces a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 and will make larger prints of up to 11x14-inches.

Both cameras employ Nikon's legendary Nikkor optics and exclusive 256- Segment Matrix Metering to ensure crisp images and vibrant color. The Nikon Coolpix 2100 has a zoom range of 36-108mm while the Nikon Coolpix 3100 features a 38-115mm lens (both 35mm equivalents).

Nikkor Optics - It All Starts With the Lens

The lens on a digital camera plays a vital role in making quality photos. More professionals choose Nikkor lenses than all other brands combined. That same quality is built into the Nikkor lens of every Nikon Coolpix digital camera, including the Nikon Coolpix 2100, Nikon Coolpix 3100 and Nikon Coolpix SQ.

On-Board Photography Expert- 14 Scene Modes and All New Scene Assist

Nikon's new Scene Assist takes 4 of the most popular Scene Modes to another dimension using transparent technology to guide the photographer toward the ideal composition, focus area and exposure for each and every shot. Scene Assist acts as a photography expert built right into the camera and ready upon command. For example, when taking an off-center portrait using the Scene Assist mode, a graphical overlay visible on the LCD helps the photographer compose the shot, and then adjusts focus and exposure automatically. "It helps beginners solve the most common photography problems, such as out-of-focus subjects, which are frustrating for most novice photographers," said Grossman.

Nikon's 14 Scene Modes and groundbreaking Scene Assist make it easy for almost anyone to capture amazing pictures. With a turn of the dial, 4 of the most popular Scene Modes - Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Night Portrait - are easily accessible and each feature Scene Assist.

10 additional Scene Modes are menu accessible and make capturing a great exposure of that perfect moment as easy as "point and shoot." Scene Modes range from Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dawn/Dusk, Night Landscape, Party, Museum, Fireworks, Close-Up, Copy and Backlight.

In addition to Scene Modes, the Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 can imprint the date and time on its digital images and prints, which make it simple to catalog and remember important events. Digital images can also be viewed as a slide show while still in the camera. Both cameras can also display back onto a television for a new way to enjoy digital photography with others. Friendly design and a new GUI (Graphical User Interface) means that these cool features are never more than a click or two away - one function, one button.

Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 Shooting Options - It's Your Choice

Whatever your shooting pleasure, the Nikon Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 are equipped with the tools to accommodate your needs. Frame the shot within the Optical viewfinder or use the 1.6-inch LCD display (1.5-inches on the Nikon Coolpix 3100) choose what works best for you! For those who like to get close to their subjects, the camera's Macro Shooting Mode can take crystal clear pictures from as close as 1.6 inches. See an incredible picture within the picture? Both cameras offer in-camera cropping to quickly zoom in, crop the image you see in the LCD and save a new image copy directly to the memory card without affecting the original.

Special effects such as a halo effect, black and white and sepia tones can be instantly added to images in the camera and then saved or easily emailed to friends and family.

Nikon has also enhanced its Movie Mode. The Nikon Coolpix 3100 can record up to 40 seconds of QuickTime™ video (at 15 frames per second) in Movie Mode (320x240) and 20 seconds in TV Movie (640x480) format. The Nikon Coolpix 2100 can shoot 15 seconds and 7 seconds, respectively. Movies can be shot in color, black and white and sepia tone (at 5 frames per second), opening the door for new creative ideas.

Nikon Coolpix SQ - High Style High Quality.

The Nikon Coolpix SQ is a special camera for Nikon, demonstrating a compact design that is both cutting edge and functional. The Nikon Coolpix SQ will capture stunning images with its 3.1-megapixel CCD, 3x Optical Zoom-Nikkor lens and swiveling body design, which allows the lens path to remain in a straight line, using original light without the use of prisms. The camera connects to the computer through Nikon's Cool-Station Power Base, a system included with the camera that not only transfers images to the desktop or the Web, but also charges battery in-camera and can charge a spare. The result is a specialized and sophisticated digital camera that is sure to please adventurous Nikon Coolpix photographers looking for a unique Nikon digital photography experience.

No More Red-Eyes, No More Work! - NikonView 6.0 and Nikon's Exclusive One-Touch Red-Eye Fix Software

No more red-eyes and no more work! Anyone who has ever taken a photograph has experienced the dreaded red-eye. Now, all Nikon Coolpix digital cameras will feature the latest version of NikonView 6.0, complete with Nikon's new and exclusive One-Touch Red-Eye Fix software, which instantly fixes red-eye with the touch of a button from most typical red-eye digital photos without having to box in or highlight the eyes. Best of all, the One-Touch Red-Eye Fix software only fixes the red eyes without affecting any other red items throughout the photo. Nikon is currently the only photo manufacturer offering this powerful One-Touch red-eye removal tool, which will revolutionize digital photography for Nikon digital camera users.

A Personal Photo Studio Right Out Of The Box

Both new digital cameras incorporate NikonView 6.0 photo management software to easily transfer, browse, edit, save and print photos. NikonView 6.0 now offers the One-Touch Red-Eye Fix software, expanded emailing capabilities, new color management functionality and an option to create online photo templates using HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language).

Nikon continues to offer their product-specific "Let's Get Started" Video CDs to get the user started right after opening the box. After the CD is loaded, a program host takes users through the camera operation and answers common questions including: How do I load software, How do I transfer pictures, How do I use the camera functions and teaches in a progressive manner so users can learn as they go. Users can also visit www.Coolpix101.com for lessons and tips on how to get the most out of their Nikon Coolpix digital camera.

As an added bonus, all Nikon Coolpix cameras include a host of exciting programs from ArcSoft® including PhotoImpression™, a fun manipulation package that allows users to edit, retouch or apply special effect to their photos; VideoImpression™ to edit and share QuickTime™ movies taken with the camera and Panorama Maker™, which lets users easily stitch together a number of images to create beautiful panoramic photos. The camera also comes with PhotoBase™, which actually allows photos and slide shows to be displayed on the screen of a PDA.

The Coolpix 2100 and Nikon Coolpix 3100 provide users with all the equipment they need to get started including the new NikonView 6.0 software CD-ROM, wrist strap, USB cable, video cable, a Lexar 16 MB "Speed Rated" Starter Memory Card and a CR-V3 lithium battery. A Coolpix rechargeable NI-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride) battery and Quick Charger kit is also available separately.

The Nikon Coolpix 2100 will have an MSRP of $249.95 while the Nikon Coolpix 3100 will be available for $349.95. Both cameras will be available nationwide in March 2003. The Nikon Coolpix SQ will appear in Spring 2003.

About Nikon
Nikon Inc., the world leader in precision optics, 35mm and digital imaging technology, is recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance in consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes the Nikon Total Imaging System of consumer and professional 35mm film and digital SLR cameras, Nikkor optics, Speedlights and System Accessories; Advanced Photo System cameras; 35mm compact cameras; Nikon Coolpix® compact digital cameras; Coolscan® digital film scanners; Nikonos® underwater photographic systems; and Nikon sports and recreational optics. The company plays an active role in supporting aspiring and advanced photographers through a variety of organizations, educational programs, events and workshops. For product information, contact Nikon at (800) NIKON-UX or visit www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers to the web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.

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