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Contax's U4R digital camera. Courtesy of Contax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Contax announces U4R digital camera
(Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 23:57 EDT)

Contax has today announced a new digital camera model that updates the existing SL-300RT* model with a number of new features.

Most noticeable is the use of a four megapixel CCD imager, instead of the three megapixel of the SL-300RT* - the same Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 3x optical zoom lens is retained, though. The imager yields a maximum image size of 2272 x 1704 pixels. The LCD display has been changed to a higher resolution 2.0" type, rather than the 1.5" LCD if the 300RT*. The maximum flash range has been extended to 3 meters, and battery life is rated 50% higher at 150 shots, although these could just be due to changes in Contax's testing procedures. The digital zoom has been expanded to a maximum of 6x in 15 steps. Sunset and twilight scene modes have been added, and the color mode (sepia / mono) functions are now scene modes as well. There are now two burst modes - with autofocus (two frames per second), or without autofocus (3.3 frames per second). The U4R is also 2mm wider, 1mm higher, 3mm thicker and 15g heavier than its predecessor.

A few changes look to have reduced the feature-set of the camera somewhat from the SL-300RT*. The maximum ISO now tops out at 400, rather than 800. Amongst other features which look like they may have been removed, we no longer saw mention of the lowest-resolution 160 x 120 pixel movie mode, manual focus function, aperture priority mode, or long exposure mode in the spec sheet. Pricing and availability have not been announced at this time.

Contax U4R
Contax's U4R digital camera. Courtesy of Contax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Type Digital still camera with record, playback and erase modes
Recording Media SD memory card/MMC (Multi Media Card), in compliance with DCF (*Note 1) (Exif Ver. 2.2), in compliance with JPEG, DPOF compatible (*Note 2)
Effective Pixels 4 Megapixel
Image Pickup Device 1/2.7” square pixel original color filter interlace reading system CCD (total number of pixels: 4,230,000)
Pixels (still image) 2272×1704, 1600×1200, 1280×960, 640×480
Moving image sizes 640x480, 320x240
Moving image frame rate 15 frames per second, 30 frames per second
Lens Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* (6 elements in 6 groups) (3 aspheric, 2 high index lens elements) Focal length: 5.8-17.4mm (equivalent to approx. 38-115mm in 35mm film format), Aperture: f/2.8-4.7
Digital zoom Up to 6x, 15 steps
Focal adjustment Video feedback auto focus (9-point multi AF or spot AF selectable)
Range of shooting Approximately 60cm (24 inches) to infinity from the front surface of protective glass
Exposure control method Program AE
Light metering system 3 modes selectable: CCD multi-area evaluation, center-weighted and spot metering
Metering link range LV6 ~ LV16
Exposure compensation +2.0EV ~ -2.0EV (1/3EV steps)
Shutter Using both CCD electronic shutter and programmed electronic shutter with independent aperture control, 1 second to 1/2000 second
White Balance Auto, sunlight, overcast, incandescent, fluorescent and preset
Sharpness 5 levels: -1, standard, +1, +2, +3
Chroma 3 levels: +, -, standard
Sensitivity setting AUTO, ISO50, 100, 200, 400
Liquid crystal monitor 2.0” 130,000-pixel TFT color liquid crystal monitor with adjustable brightness control
Flash Built-in system, shooting range (at AUTO ISO setting): approx. 60cm (24 inches) to 3.0m (10 feet) with lens set to 5.8mm, approx. 60cm (24 inches) to 1.8m (6 feet) with lens set to 17.4mm
Flash Mode Auto flash, Auto flash for red-eye reduction, Flash off, Fill-in flash
Scene Mode Sport action, Portrait, Night Portrait, Sunset, Twilight, Night view, Black and white, Sepia
Moving image recording mode AVI
Movie image recording time Up to full capacity of the memory card (*1) With a personal computer: QuickTime 4.1 or later (Windows, Macintosh)
Other shooting modes Self timer mode (2 seconds and 10 seconds), REC review (on/off), Digital Zoom (on/off)
Continuous shooting High-speed continuous shooting: Maximum 3.3 frames per second, AF continuous shooting: Maximum 2 frames per second (Recording image size: 2272×1704), up to the full capacity of the memory card (*2)
Voice memo mode Up to 30 seconds for each image
Resize Images can be resized to 320×240 or 160×120. The area to be resized can be selected. File format: JPEG
Playback mode Single display, group display, multi image display (six images), zoomed playback function, continuous shooting playback function, voice memo, protect, erase (single image), erase (all images), rotate, slide show, close-up playback at 2x, 4x, 8x, thumbnail playback, playback of movies with camera, information display, DPOF setting, PictBridge setting (Note 3)
Setup function AF mode setting, LCD brightness adjustment, date setting, date insertion, card format, auto power-off setting, shutter sound/operational sound adjustment, startup screen selection and setting, REC review ON/OFF selection (4 seconds, 2 seconds, OFF), language selection (Japanese, English, Germany, French, Spanish, Chinese), video output selection, consecutive file number reset, setting reset, mode position of power-ON selection, digital zoom ON/OFF selectable, DISPLAY selection (information display ON/OFF)
Input/output terminal (Camera) Input/output terminals though cradle connection
Input/output terminal (Cradle) Video output terminal(NTSC/PAL composite video, audio signal, DC input (using a dedicated AC adapter), USB terminal (miniB)
Power source 3.7 volt lithium-ion battery 1100 mAh
Captured Images Approximately 150 images with a new, fully charged lithium-ion battery, at room temperature, based on the guidelines of the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA)
Dimensions 102 mm (4.01 inches) width × 63.5 mm (2.5 inches) height × 19 mm (.75 inches) depth (excluding protrusions)
Weight Approximately 140g (5 ounces) (excluding battery and the recording media)
Operating temperature 0 ~ 45 degrees Celsius (32 ~ 113 degrees Fahrenheit) (without condensation)
More Photos
Contax's U4R digital camera. Courtesy of Contax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Contax's U4R digital camera. Courtesy of Contax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Contax's U4R digital camera. Courtesy of Contax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

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