Received this overnight from my contact at FujiFilm, this is the official (English) announcement of the multitalented (Images & MP3's) FinePix 40i. "Fujifilm today announces the super compact, high resolution FinePix 40i digital camera, due for release in Japan next month and in the rest of the world in late August."

Here's the full press release:

London, June 2nd

Fujifilm Launches the Photo/Video/Music FinePix 40i Digital Camera

Fujifilm today announces the super compact, high resolution FinePix 40i digital camera, due for release in Japan next month and in the rest of the world in late August.

The FinePix 40i combines three of the most popular technologies of the moment: high-resolution digital stills and digital audio playback (MP3), as well as offering an enhanced movie clip capability. In common with a number of previous Fujifilm cameras, the 40i is also likely to attract much attention for its remarkably small size and beautiful design.

The camera is powered by a 2.47m pixel Super CCD, delivering a maximum output resolution of 4.3 m pixels (2,400 x 1,800). It shares the same size sensor as the FinePix 4700, which has shown itself to be more than an equal to competitive cameras carrying the Sony 3.3 m pixel CCD. Fitted with a sharp Fujinon EBC autofocus lens and using specially developed image-processing technology, the 40i promises to set new standards in image quality.

The camera doubles as an MP3 player, an audio format that has caused a considerable stir in the music world. Compressing audio tracks to 1/10th of their normal size, MP3 (MPEG 1 Audio Layer 3) delivers near CD quality playback, and is favoured over minidisk or CD for its combination of small size and smooth playback without skipping (a problem that bedevils minidisk). Fujifilm is the first digital camera manufacturer to combine MP3 with
ultra-high resolution digital stills, and like a number of other recent manufacturers of MP3 players, has built in encoding software which protects music copyright. The camera offers a maximum of 80 minutes audio playback on a 64 MB SmartMediaÔ card, and is shipped with a set of headphones.

Completing its multimedia credentials, the FinePix 40i can be used as a digital camcorder to capture, with sound, up to 80 second bursts of movie action. The clip can be reviewed on the bundled QuickTime Ô software and then played back through a TV or sent to friends as a video e-mail. Up to 6 minutes of video can be recorded on a 64 MB SmartMediaÔ.

The FinePix 40i combines all this power and versatility into an incredibly compact and stylish metal shell. At a lightweight 210 grams (including batteries) with measurements of just 85.5mm x 71mm x 28.5mm, the FinePix 40i is the perfect mobile entertainment device.

With such large files, the ability to download quickly and without fuss is more important than ever. Like the FinePix 4700, the 40i is equipped with a USB port and cable to enable lightning-fast connectivity with plug and play simplicity. As soon as the camera is connected to the computer, the viewing software is automatically launched with the pictures (or movies) appearing on the desktop. From there, files can be dragged and dropped into any program, including the supplied Adobe PhotoDeluxe v3 software.

Battery life will also be at a premium with this multifunctional device. The FinePix 40i comes with 2 high-powered NiMH batteries and a charger, offering a maximum of 150 minutes of music or 220 pictures on one charge.

Other features include:

  • A bright 1.8" 110,000 pixel LCD display for picture preview
  • 64 zone TTL AE metering, with shutter speeds of ¼ to 1/000th sec
  • High sensitivity of ISO 200
  • Auto flash and auto white balance with a selection of manual modes
  • 36mm equivalent lens
  • Flash range of 2.5m

The camera will be available in three colours in Japan ('mellow pink', 'cosmic blue' and silver), while only blue and silver in the UK. The estimated Suggested Retail Price will be between £500 and £600 including VAT.