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Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 Zoom digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Olympus announces 3mpix 3x zoom ultracompact
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(Monday, April 19, 2004 - 17:00 EDT)

Olympus Japan has today announced a new ultracompact digital camera with a 3 megapixel imager, and a 3x optical zoom lens that folds the optical path vertically inside the camera - potentially offering reduced size, less moving parts, reduced power consumption and faster startup times.

Olympus's new Camedia AZ-1 camera makes it the fourth company following in a trend first set by Minolta's DiMAGE X-series digital cameras (Sanyo and Sony subsequently announced cameras that similarly used prisms to fold the optical path). Olympus' new camera is also the first digital camera to use a new type of LCD display developed by Sharp Corp., dubbed "Mobile Advanced Super View". Sharp's MASV displays are based on technology similar to that used in the company's AQUOS liquid crystal TVs, and apparently offers improved contrast (300:1), response time (25 milliseconds) and viewing angle (160 degrees horizontally and vertically). The Camedia AZ-1 digital camera's 2.5" MASV LCD display has a relatively high resolution of 210,000 pixels, and Olympus is emphasising use of the camera as a portable photo viewer, with slideshow functionality and the ability to organise albums on-camera.

Also notable is that this is Olympus' first digital camera to come with its own multi-function cradle, allowing for downloading of images via USB, viewing images on a TV (with mono audio), and recharging the camera's proprietary Lithium Ion battery. Other features include xD-Picture Card storage, a QuickTime MotionJPEG movie mode, ISO sensitivity from 64 to 250, a wide selection of scene modes, a built-in flash and support for printing directly to PictBridge compatible printers.

The Olympus Camedia AZ-1 will ship at the end of May in Japan. Pricing has not yet been announced, but Japanese website digitalcamera.jp is speculating that street pricing will be approximately ¥50,000 (approximately equivalent to US$461 / €384 / CAD$620 / £255 ignoring exchange rate fluctuations, taxes and duties). Plans for sale outside Japan (if any) have also not been announced at the time of this writing.

Olympus Camedia AZ-1
Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Number of Effective Pixels 3.2 million pixels
Image Pickup Element CCD
Lens
Structure 9 elements in 7 groups
Focal Length 5.8-17.4mm (equivalent to 38-114mm zoom in 35mm camera format)
Aperture F2.9 (W) - F4.9 (T)
Optical Zoom 3x
Digital Zoom 2.7x (approx. 8x seamless zoom when combined with 3x optical zoom)
Working Range
Standard mode: 0.5m-infinity
Macro mode: 0.3m-infinity
Super Macro mode: 0.08m-0.3m (tele focal length only, Fill-in flash off)
Light Path Optically folded light path
Recording
Still Image Recording System JPEG (DCF: Design rule for Camera File system), DPOF compatible, Exif2.2, PRINT Image Matching II
Still Image Storage Capacity (when using bundled 16 MB xD-Picture Card)
2048 x 1536 / Super High: approx. 20 images
1600 x 1200 / High: approx. 33 images
1024 x 768 / PC Monitor: approx. 58 images
640 x 480 / E-Mail: approx. 99 images
Motion Image Recording System QuickTime Motion JPEG (Frame rate: 15fps)
Motion Image Storage Capacity (with sound recording when using bundled 16 MB xD-Picture Card)
320 x 240 pixels: up to approx. 41 sec.
160 x 120 pixels: up to approx. 149 sec.
(entire memory media capacity can be used)
Sound Recording Format WAVE format
Recording Media xD-Picture Card (16, 32, 64,128, 256, 512MB)
Viewfinder None
LCD Monitor
Size / Type 2.5-inch Mobile Advanced Super View semi-transmissive TFT color LCD with LED backlight
Number of Pixels Approx. 215,000 pixels
Playback
Still Image Close-up Magnification: 1.5x / 2.0x / 2.5x / 3.0x / 3.5x / 4.0x
Still Image Index Display Divided into 4 / 9 / 16 / 25 parts
Still Image Rotation 90 degrees / -90 degrees (Rotation information written in Exif)
Still Image Slideshow Yes
Motion Image Playback Normal, Fast Forward, Fast Reverse, Frame-by-Frame
Sensitivity Auto (approx. ISO64-250)
Focusing System Auto focus, TTL contrast detection system
Still Image Exposure Control
Modes Program Auto, Scene Program (Landscape, Landscape & People, Night Scene, Night Scene & People, Party, Fireworks, Sunset, Beautiful Skin Tone, Macro, Super Macro, Cuisine, Document, Manner Shot, Sports, Beach & Snow, Solo Travel, Candle, Sleeping Face, Show Window, 2-in-1, Panorama)
Shutter Speed 1/2 sec. - 1/725 sec. (Night Scene mode: up to 4 sec)
Exposure Compensation ±2EV in 1 / 3EV increments
Photometric Systems Digital ESP metering, Spot metering
White Balance
Auto Full-auto TTL
Presets Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light
Flash
Flash Working Range
W: Approx. 0.3m-3.6m
T: Approx. 0.3m-2.0m
Flash Modes
Auto (automatic flash activation in low light or backlight)
Red-eye reduction
Fill-in
Off
Sequence Mode Up to 3 frames at approx. 1 frame/sec. (in Super High mode)
Special Functions
Still Image Edit (separate file) Monochrome, Sepia, Resize (640x480, 320x240), Rotation
Motion Image Edit Index image creation
Special Image Processing TruePic TURBO
PictBridge Support (supported functions vary according to printer)
Supported Printers PictBridge-enabled printers
Paper Size Settings Varies according to printer (up to A0 supported)
Print Settings Single-image print, multi-image print (up to 10), all image print (1 copy each), all image index print, date imprinting, file name printing (avail. only with single-image, multi-image, and all image print functions)
Print Layout Full-page (with / without border), multi-pane (2-250 multi-pane layout of single image)
DPOF DPOF print scheduling
Connectivity
PC
USB interface
(Windows XP / Me / 98 / 2000, Mac OS 9.0-9.2 / X),
PictBridge
TV AV output terminal (NTSC / PAL switchable)
Power Supply DC input terminal
Power Supply
AC adaptor D-7AC (optional)
Battery LI-20B lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Dimensions 94 (W) x 67(H) x 21.9(D) mm (excluding protrusions)
Weight 160g (excluding battery and media card)
Bundled Accessories xD-Picture Card (16MB), USB cable, AV cable, cradle, neckstrap, CD-ROM (CAMEDIA Information Disk, CAMEDIA Master 4.2), lens cap, lithium ion battery, AC adapter, AC adapter power cable
More Photos
Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
Olympus' Camedia AZ-1 digital camera cradle. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
.

Original Source Press Release:

Olympus Introduces The CAMEDIA AZ-1 Compact Digital Camera Featuring The World's First Mobile Advanced Super View Display for Enhanced Viewing Enjoyment

World's first Mobile Advanced Super View Display
New album functions and 23 Scene Program modes
Easy operation with new control dial


The information contained in this news release applies only to the Japanese market.

Summary

Olympus Corporation (President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) is pleased to announce the introduction of the 3.2-megapixel CAMEDIA AZ-1 compact digital camera with 3x optical zoom. In addition to full range of camera features, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 is equipped with a sharp, clear, Mobile Advanced Super View Display that makes it equally suitable for use as a photo viewer.

With its Mobile Advanced Super View Display and new album functions, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 is an entirely new type of camera that offers "shooting," "viewing," and "sharing." The Mobile Advanced Super View Display offers high contrast and a wide viewing angle, and its incorporation into the CAMEDIA AZ-1 marks the first time that this display technology has been utilized in a digital camera or other such mobile device. The 2.5-inch display has a resolution of 210,000 pixels, and its large size and excellent image quality make it ideal for both reviewing and appreciating photos. In addition, New Album and slideshow functions allow users to organize images in the camera, and there is a Camera Album function that allows images edited on a computer to be uploaded and viewed on the camera. By taking advantage of the large, high-definition Mobile Advanced Super View Display, users can easily use the CAMEDIA AZ-1 as a portable photo album that allows them to share their favorite photos with other people wherever they go.

The CAMEDIA AZ-1 is also equipped with 23 Scene Program modes that allow users to obtain optimum image quality in a wide range of shooting situations. Ease of operation is also enhanced by a new control dial that allows various functions to be selected using only the thumb and forefinger of the right hand.

Development Background

The popularity of digital cameras continues to grow, and in 2003 some 43.41 million units were shipped worldwide (8.44 million in the Japanese domestic market). In 2004, worldwide shipments are expected to reach 60.9 million units (9.42 million in the Japanese market).* Although the number of digital camera users is growing, many users fail to fully enjoy the photos they take. Instead, the photos simply accumulate on the user's computer, and are only infrequently viewed and enjoyed. To address this problem, Olympus set out to develop a product that would allow users to enjoy both shooting and viewing to the fullest. The result is the CAMEDIA AZ-1, a camera that allows users "to enjoy digital photography from A to Z" - from "shooting" all the way through to "sharing." This was the design concept behind the CAMEDIA AZ-1's development, and the reason it is the first digital camera in the world to feature a Mobile Advanced Super View Display. With its ability to serve as a photo viewer, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 effectively represents a totally new style of digital communication.

* Source: Camera & Imaging Products Association

Main Features
  1. An LCD Display Specifically Designed for "Viewing"
    Until now, users have primarily used computer or TV monitors to enjoy viewing their digital camera photos, and the LCD monitor on the camera was used only to "review" images after shooting. The CAMEDIA AZ-1 changes that with its revolutionary new large, amazingly clear LCD display, which now allows digital photos to be viewed and enjoyed on the camera that was used to take them.
    World's First Mobile Advanced Super View Display*
    • Three Times Higher Contrast than Conventional LCD Screens
      The Mobile Advanced Super View Display offers three times the contrast of conventional LCD screens (based on in-house testing), and dramatically reproduces images with excellent definition and bright, vivid colors.
    • T160° Viewing Angle on Both Vertical and Horizontal Axis
      The display offers a 160° viewing angle on both the vertical and horizontal axis, ensuring excellent visibility and beautiful image quality when photos are viewed by several people at the same time.
    • Improved Visibility in Bright Light
      The display offers excellent visibility even at beaches, ski resorts, and other bright outdoor locations where conventional LCD monitors can be difficult to see.
    Large, 2.5-Inch Screen
    The CAMEDIA AZ-1 display's 2.5-inch screen and 210,000-pixel resolution provide a clear, high-definition view that enhances both shooting and viewing enjoyment.
    * Mobile Advanced Super View Display technology was developed by Sharp Corporation of Japan.
  2. New Album Function Doubles The Fun of "Sharing"
    A New Album function allows captured images to be organized into photo albums on the camera's memory card media. The albums can then be viewed on the large Mobile Advanced Super View Display, effectively making the CAMEDIA AZ-1 a "camera-and-photo-album-in-one" that users can carry with them wherever they go.
    In-Camera Photo Album Creation and Storage
    Captured images can easily be organized into photo albums created on the camera's memory card media. Up to 12 albums of 100 images each can be created for easy viewing.
    Easy-to-Use Software for File Transfer and Image Editing
    Included CAMEDIA Master 4.2 EX software makes it easy to upload images to the camera after they have been edited on a computer, and to backup photos and albums edited on the camera to a computer. It can also be used to upload photos from sources other than a digital camera, allowing users to carry their favorite images with them wherever they go.
  3. Built-in Functions for Dramatic Slideshow Presentations
    Easy-to-use slideshow functions allow users to present their favorite photo album images as dramatic slideshows. A choice of Normal, Wipe, Fade, and Zoom slide transitions is offered to further increase viewing enjoyment.
    • Normal: Instantaneous slide transition
    • Wipe: The currently displayed slide is pushed up or down off the screen by the following slide
    • Fade: The currently displayed slide gradually fades into the following slide
    • Zoom: Slides appear from the upper-left corner of the screen and expand outward until they cover the screen
  4. 23 Scene Programs for Professional-Quality Results in a Wide Range of Shooting Situations
    In addition to regular shooting modes, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 is equipped with optimized Scene Program modes that make it easy for users to obtain the results they want in virtually any situation. There are 23 modes in all, including a Beautiful Skin Tone mode that ensures smooth, faithful rendering of skin tones, a Beach & Snow mode for sunny days at the beach or in snowy mountains, a Sunset mode and a Candle mode that boost color saturation without using the flash in low-light situations, a Sleeping Portrait mode that adjusts light sensitivity to allow pictures to be taken in very low light without using the flash, a Document mode that ensures text legibility, and more.
  5. Control Dial Significantly Enhances Operating Ease
    New Rotating Control Dial for Easy Mode Selection
    Operating ease is significantly enhanced by a new control dial that allows users to quickly and easily cycle through the various settings displayed on the LCD screen menu by rotating the dial with the index finger of their right hand; a quick thumb-press then activates the desired setting.
    Easy-to-Understand Menu Interface and Image Quality Modes
    The easy-to-understand LCD screen menu interface is designed with entry-level users in mind, and provides a short explanation of each mode's function when a Scene Program mode is selected. In addition, multiple unwanted images can be deleted in a single operation, and image quality selection has been greatly simplified. Now, instead of choosing a combination of image quality and compression ratios, users can simply choose from a list of image quality modes with easy-to-understand names (Super High 3MB, High 2MB, PC Monitor 1MB, E-Mail VGA) that indicate the purpose and approximate size of the resulting image.
Other Features

Flat Body with Clean, Uncluttered Lines
The CAMEDIA AZ-1's flat metal body features clean, uncluttered lines and measures only 94mm (W) x 67mm (H) x 21.9mm (D). As the first Olympus digital camera to feature a lens with a 'folded' light path, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 packs 3x optical zoom power into an extremely slim body.

Multi-Function Cradle
The CAMEDIA AZ-1 is also the first Olympus digital camera to come with its own multi-function cradle, which allows users take full advantage of the large, high-quality LCD display by setting the camera up and using it as an attractive "photo stand." A docking port is provided on the CAMEDIA AZ-1, and the cradle itself is equipped with a DC power input terminal, an AV output terminal, and a USB port so that users can enjoy slideshows on the built-in display, or in a larger size on a computer monitor or TV, while the camera is being recharged. In addition, PictBridge support allows direct printing to any PictBridge-enabled printer without using a computer, further expanding the range of ways in which the camera can be enjoyed.

New TruePic TURBO Image Processor
A TruePic TURBO image processor enhances high-resolution detail and suppresses noise for sharper, clearer image quality, and optimizes processing speed for improved shooting response.

Optional Accessories

ItemDescription
Camera CaseCSCH-23Genuine leather (black; includes LCD screen cleaner)
Neck StrapCNS-01SVMetal (silver)
CNS-01BLMetal (blue)


Note: The company names and product names specified in this release are the trademarks or registered trademarks of each company.

Note: Specifications are subject to change without notice.

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