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Toshiba's PDR-M71 digital camera. Courtesy of Toshiba Germany, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Toshiba USA announces PDR-M71!
(Saturday, September 15, 2001 - 11:08 EDT)

Camera announced recently in Germany combines features of two previous models...

Toshiba USA has now announced its PDR-M71 digital camera, which regular readers will remember we unveiled back on August 31st after the company's German arm published details alongside the IFA trade show. We've gleaned some new specifications from the US press release, such as for example movie resolution/rate/length which can now be found in our updated database entry.

There's also US pricing information, which looks much better value than conversion of the German price - DM 1,699 (US$799.71) - had suggested. The camera will cost $499 on the US market... One other change of note is that the 'Black Magic' brandname used in Germany will apparently not be used in the US.

Toshiba's PDR-M71 digital camera. Courtesy of Toshiba. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:

Toshiba Makes it Easy for Budget-Conscious Consumers to Purchase a Three-Megapixel Digital Camera

-- Priced at $499, the New Toshiba PDR-M71 3.2 Megapixel Digital Camera Promises Fun, Value & Outstanding Image Quality with an Array of Powerful Features -

IRVINE, CA, September 12, 2001 -- Toshiba Imaging Systems, a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., is advancing the state of consumer digital photography by announcing today the new PDR-M71, a powerful 3.2 megapixel digital camera with a breakthrough MSRP of $499 (U.S.).

An ideal first digital camera or upgrade for users at all levels, the affordable PDR-M71 offers the same advanced feature set as competitive digital cameras retailing for hundreds of dollars more. Although value-priced, its performance is matched to the highest standards of digital photography with extra care being taken in designing its superior optics for vibrant, lifelike photographs.

Significant new features include: a built-in five mode flash system with red-eye reduction; AVI movie/audio recording; a Canon® all-glass aspherical zoom lens with Macro; SmartMedia® storage; a full range of shooting modes and options; USB connectivity; and enhanced signal processing technology for fast, continuous shooting and quick operation.

"Toshiba recognizes that the digital camera market has moved beyond the early adapters and PC enthusiasts, and that this category is now mainstream," notes Doug Freck, Vice President & General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems. "We are designing our digital cameras for the broad consumer market by striking the right balance between cutting-edge technology, ease-of-use and value."

The PDR-M71 gets high marks for its precision Canon® lens with 2.8 optical zoom, 2.2X digital zoom, plus a macro mode that enhances the detail of the brilliant 2048 x 1536 resolution, especially in quality-sensitive close-ups. Coupled with the camera's powerful 3.2 megapixel sensor, this professional-grade lens helps photographers capture extraordinary digital images characterized by their true-to-life color saturation and accurate representation of even the subtlest tones. The all-glass, glare-free lens is equivalent to an f=35-98mm on a standard 35mm camera. To encourage photographic creativity, the PDR-M71 is able to accept third-part accessory lenses, such as wide angle, telephoto or fisheye.

The PDR-M71 is intuitively easy to understand. Its control dial and zoom are set so that they can be manipulated with either a thumb or index finger. Each function of the camera is clearly indicated on the control dial with an icon, plus the ample shooting modes and options are all easily accessible through the menu system displayed on the LCD.

In fully automatic mode the PDR-M71 focuses and adjusts its settings for perfect pictures every time. This flattens the learning curve, making the camera easy to learn and use straight out of the box.

For the advanced shooter seeking greater flexibility, the camera has manual controls including Program AE, Full Manual (shutter and aperture), Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, ISO sensitivity (100/200/400), flash (auto, red-eye, forced, slow sync, force off), white balance, and exposure compensation. Unique to digital cameras, the PDR-M71 also has a histogram function that enables photographers to check the distribution of brightness levels on the LCD once a picture is taken.

In addition to the camera's automatic and manual settings, photographers choose the resolution (2048x1536, 1024x768, 640x480) and the JPEG format compression (fine, normal, basic).

"The Toshiba PDR-M71 is the type of product that you could hand to someone who has never used a digital camera and they likely would not need an instruction guide to operate it," says Toshiba's Freck. "Every function is logically laid out, the automatic settings remove any guesswork, plus the USB connectivity takes care of downloading hassles."

Convergence of technology is a cornerstone of Toshiba innovation. The company's integration of new capabilities into traditional product categories is clearly evident in the PDR-M71. In addition to taking outstanding still images, the camera has an exciting AVI movie mode that lets users film up to three minutes of video at 160 x 120 resolution (15 fps), or 60 seconds at 320 x 240 (15 fps). Sound can be recorded during the filming by using the camera's built-in microphone.

When the video is finished it can be viewed on a computer monitor, a television (NTSC/PAL), or on the camera's 1.5-inch polysilicon color LCD. Like the photographs, the AVI video can be easily uploaded to a web page or used as an e-mail attachment.

The PDR-M71 features automatic playback of images on its LCD so users can view and select which pictures they want to keep or erase. This process is made easier by a digital 2X zoom that allows for zeroing in on areas within a specific picture. Other playback options include a multi-frame playback for viewing up to 9 images at once, and an automatic slideshow.

Surprisingly lightweight (8.5 oz) and compact, the sporty PDR-M71 is a breeze to take along anywhere, whether it's a business trip, a ball game or a family picnic. Its fashionable all-black exterior makes a striking impression, while the ergonomic design fits easily in the palm of the user's hand.

Accessories include an 8MB SmartMedia card, a USB cable for fast downloading of images, serial cable, wrist strap, protective lens cap, a soft carrying case, and a CD-ROM containing a USB driver and Sierra Imaging's popular ImageExpert® software for managing, editing and accessing images. The camera is Windows® (98/2000/NT) and Macintosh® (OS 9+) compatible. Four AA-sized batteries power it.

For information, U.S. customers call 1-800-288-1354. Fax, 1-800-640-8674. Or visit Toshiba on the Web at http://www.toshiba.com.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Toshiba Imaging Systems is a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., and part of the $48 billion Toshiba Corporation, a global leader in high technology products with 307 major consolidated subsidiaries worldwide.

>EDITOR NOTE: SmartMedia is a registered trademark of Toshiba Corporation.
>All other products and trademarks are the property of their respective

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