Olympus Japan announces limited-edition Ferrari digicam|
(Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 15:47 EDT)
Olympus Japan has announced an extremely attractive limited-edition variant of its 4 megapixel, 3x zoom Camedia μ-20 Digital camera which is known in USA as the Olympus Stylus 400 Digital.
The "Ferrari DIGITAL MODEL 2003", which is badged as "Powered by Olympus", is being made to promote Olympus' sponsorship of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Formula One team. Ferrari, which has won the Constructors' Championship for the last four years running, is currently running second in this year's Constructors' Championship with two races remainining in the season. (Your humble News Editor is an avid Formula One fan, and will be attending the next race to be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a little over a week.)
The camera is essentially identical to the Stylus 400 Digital that was announced last January, with the exception of body color, firmware and product bundle. When we reviewed the Stylus 400 Digital in April, we concluded:
"Overall, the Stylus 400 shoots as good as it looks ... and is rugged enough to stand up to knocks and the occasional rain storm: A combination deserving serious consideration by anyone in the market for a compact, stylish digicam, and one of the better compact digicams out there."Where the Stylus 400 Digital was silver with gold detailing on the lens cover, the Ferrari DIGITAL MODEL 2003 has a metallic-red and grey body, and a silver lens cover with the Ferrari "Prancing Horse" logo. The camera firmware has been altered so that when the power is switched on, the LCD monitor displays the Ferrari name and logo, as well as an image of a Ferrari F2003GA Formula One car. The product bundle includes a suede-textured camera case and a neck strap with Ferrari logos, a certificate of authenticity, and a "greeting card" with autographed photos of Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.
The Ferrari-branded camera will be available for pre-order from October 10th, coinciding with the first day of qualifying for the 2003 Grand Prix of Japan. The race will be held at the Suzuka track on the island of Honshu in south-central Japan, and cameras can be pre-ordered at Suzuka during the race weekend by race-ticket holders, or on the Internet from October 10th to October 30th 2003. Cameras will be shipped in mid-November 2003.
The total production run of Ferrari DIGITAL MODEL 2003 cameras will be limited to 10,000 units, of which 1,000 are reserved for sale on the Japanese market and 9,000 elsewhere. Each camera will be stamped with a unique production run number. Pricing in Japan has been set at ¥80,000 (equivalent to US$700 / €617 / CAD$943 / £429 ignoring exchange rate fluctuations, taxes and duties).
We're not currently aware of what plans are for allocation of the 9,000 cameras to be sold outside of Japan, but would presume this will mirror the popularity of Formula One around the world. A press release has been issued by Olympus Europe, but doesn't offer information on pricing or availability. We're definitely curious to see whether Olympus USA will sell any of the Ferrari-branded cameras, since the penultimate race of the season will be held here. The US is one of the few areas where Formula One has struggled to gain popularity for many years...
Interestingly, the Japanese page notes that if more than 1,000 orders are received in that market, these will not be taken on a first-come, first-served basis - instead, a "lottery" will be held to determine whose preorders are accepted.
|Ferrari DIGITAL MODEL 2003 |