Matsushita to offer digital still/video camera!|
(Wednesday, August 8, 2001 - 19:46 EDT)
New Panasonic-branded NV-EX21 combines DV camcorder and digital still camera in one package...
Japanese consumer electronics company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., better known by its Panasonic brand-name, has announced a new device that combines a digital video camcorder and a digital still camera in one package, Reuters reports. The Panasonic NV-EX21, unveiled in Japan on Monday, extends the path that we've seen in the past though, where 'convergence' promises one device with both still and video capabilities. The convergence approach does offer benefits in allowing items shared between both still and video portions of the camera to be used, saving costs - but generally means that if you're using only one feature of the device, you still have to carry around hardware used exclusively by the other feature.
Panasonic's interesting solution to this dilemma is to allow you to detach the hardware not required for the mode you're operating the device in, and leave it behind should you want to. When the camera is used in video mode, the flash can be disconnected and removed; when in still image mode, the digital video cassette section can be removed. Both portions share one 1.08 megapixel CCD image sensor, which yields a still image size of up to 1200 x 900 pixels. Also shared is a 10x optical zoom Leica Dicomar lens... A digital zoom feature extends this with typically optimistic camcorder power to 100x zoom.
MPEG-4 encoding is used to store digital video on DV cassette tape, and SD Card storage is provided for still images or video clips. Matsushita is one of 14 Japanese manufacturers supporting the SD standard. External connectivity is provided for via the emerging Bluetooth standard, a wireless technology that allows compatible devices such as PCs to communicate with the camera from up to 10 meters away.
The Panasonic NV-EX21 has an estimated price of ¥205,000 (US$1657). It will go on sale September 1st on the Japanese market with a monthly output of 5,000 cameras expected. A launch on the North American marketplace is expected by the spring of 2002. The camera is the first fruit of a deal borne between Matsushita and Leica to cooperate on digital still cameras, announced at the end of last month.
Yahoo! Finance / Reuters