Contax has today announced the four megapixel i4R.The rather unconventionally designed camera has a sliding lens that also incorporates the flash. The fixed lens camera has a 1.5-inch LCD and can capture 640 x 480-pixel movies. It will be available in November priced £299 (approx $447) and will come with a high capacity SD card, approximately 256MB.

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Press Release:

Contax launches clean-lined 4 megapixel digital camera

 

Carl Zeiss Tessar T* lens and RTUNE technology for crystal clear images

Hamburg, September 27, 2004 – A slim body, sharp eye and a speedy heart: Contax is launching the i4R to coincide with Photokina 2004. This is the first in the new Contax “i” range. In addition to a fast Carl Zeiss lens and the RTUNE image processor for unlimited continuous shooting, other impressive features of this pedigree digicam are its small size, perky design and low weight (90g). The Contax i4R will be available in Europe in advance from mid-October at a price of €398 (£299).

“The “i” in Contax i4R stands for individuality, innovation and ingenuity. These are the core values of this camera,” states Dirk Hülsermann, Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager at Yashica Kyocera. “In the Contax i4R we have developed a camera whose design generates emotions, which creates outstanding images and is breathtakingly fast.”

Timeless “design classic”

The design of the Contax i4R is characterised by straight lines for an ultraslim look. In the silver and cherry colour variants brushed aluminium gives the body a cool appearance. The black variant of the Contax i4R comes with a mirror-smooth finish. The protective slide (which incorporates the integral flash) is a striking feature. It protects the LCD monitor and the lens when the camera is switched off. The slide mechanism is also used to switch the camera on and off.

Carl Zeiss Tessar T* lens and RTUNE

The “optical heart” of the Contax i4R is a Carl Zeiss Tessar T* 6.5mm lens (equivalent to 39mm in the analogue 35mm format) with a maximum aperture of f2.8. Four lens elements, configured in three groups, are precisely matched to the 1/2.5-inch image sensor CCD chip (resolution: 4 megapixels). Thanks to the patented RTUNE double processor the image data is processed extremely quickly. The camera therefore operates with virtually no shutter lag and can shoot up to 3 frames a second in continuous mode. RTUNE also decisively enhances image quality. Images shot on the Contax i4R stand out because of the absence of noise and their high-fidelity colour rendition.

New control concept and various setting options

The Contax i4R has been designed to be as reliable as it is functional. The newly developed control concept enables intuitive and fast handling of all the main setting options. The Contax i4R has eight programs plus one automatic and five preset white balance modes to ensure that images are perfectly adjusted to the light conditions. Its sensitivity can be set manually in the range 50 to 400 ISO or automatically regulated. Four flash programs round off the exposure control. The Contax i4R offers a 1.5-inch LCD monitor for viewfinding and image playback with a resolution of 130,000 pixels (557x234).

Docking station and USB 2.0

The Contax i4R comes complete with a docking station. The docking station is used to charge the battery in the camera and to provide a straightforward link to a PC, TV and printer. Images and videos can therefore easily be transferred to the computer, video clips can be played back on the TV, and photos can be printed directly on a PictBridge-compatible printer without any intermediate steps.

Power supply to the Contax i4R is provided by a powerful rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Measuring a bonsai-like 94 x 38.5 x 21 (W x H x D in mm) and weighing a mere 90g, the camera is extraordinarily compact. It is available from mid-October in three colour variants, i.e. black, cherry and silver, and comes complete with the docking station. The price is €398.

Main features

1. Photographer’s Dream, Carl Zeiss Tessar T* 6.5mm F/2.8 Lens

The Contax i4R offers a Carl Zeiss Tessar T* 6.5mm lens (equivalent to approx 39mm in 35mm film format) consisting of 4 elements in 3 groups and includes two aspheric and one high index lens element. The Carl Zeiss Tessar T* 65.mm f/2.8 lens has been developed specifically for digital usage and achieves outstanding color reproduction and rich color gradation. In addition, Carl Zeiss’ special multi-layer T* coating dramatically reduces flare and ghosting which results in crisp, ultra sharp images. For greater control, the i4R has the ability to focus down to an amazing 5cm (2 inches) in macro mode (lens element surface to subject distance). The i4R also incorporates 6x digital zoom and includes up to 8x digital zoom in playback mode.

2. RTUNE’s High Speed Image Processing System Enables High Speed Continuous Shooting At 3 Frames Per Second

The Contax i4R provides high speed continuous shooting up to a maximum 3 frames per second up to the full capacity of memory card ( *1) at the highest resolution, thanks to Kyocera’s RTUNE image processing system. Even during continuous shooting, the LCD monitor displays in real time. The Contax i4R starts up in less than 1 second and features a shutter lag time of approx. 0.07 seconds ( *2), giving the camera the title of being one of the fastest performing cameras available. The performance of the Contax i4R also eliminates the stress that photographers endured in the past caused by waiting for the camera to start up or being able to capture an image at any moment due to long shutter lag time. The i4R is ready when you are to seize the exact moment and capture images at anytime without fail.

*1) When using a high speed SD card formatted by the camera. The high speed SD cards of which full performance have been confirmed are listed on Kyocera global site (http://www.kyocera.com ). Depending on shooting conditions, the memory may not be fully utilized. The speed of continuous shooting or movie shooting depends on shooting conditions, camera settings and memory card conditions.

*2) The time from locking focus via the shutter release button and releasing the shutter to capture the image.

3. High Resolution 4.0 million effective pixel, 1/2.5 Inch CCD With Improved Image Gradation Thanks to “RTUNE”

Contax i4R uses a CCD with 4,190,000 gross pixels (1/2.5 square pixels, using an original color filter) as an image pickup device. By adjusting RGB color balance of the signals from the CCD at the analog front end, color noise is minimized which is easily created in the A/D conversion. The A/D conversion provides 16-bit internal processing to minimize a lack of data and then outputs as 12-bit data to the next image processor. In doing so, drastically reduces a wide range of noise generated in a captured image and is reproduced with natural colors and a fine array of gradations.

4. Small, Thin, Simple And Stylish

The Contax i4R is very small at less then 94mm long and 21mm thin. It is also simple and stylish; it gives the user the impression that they are holding something that resembles a high-end perfume atomizer. Each is i4R covered in a aluminum and are available in two colors of silver and red with a spun surface and black with a deep rich mirror finish. Unlike a typical digital camera, the Contax i4U is switched on simply by sliding out the lens barrier. With this simple action, the camera is turned on, the Carl Zeiss T* lens extended for use and the flash unit exposed. To turn off the i4U, the lens barrier is pulled out and the Carl Zeiss T* lens automatically retracts and covered for protection.

5. Enhanced Continuous AF Shooting Function Stays Focused Even On Moving Subjects

The Enhanced Continuous AF shooting function that has been incorporated into the Contax U4R, enabling it to lock onto virtually any moving subjects for precise focus. It provides superlative performance under conditions which were previously difficult to capture images, such as children playing or pets whose actions are unpredictable. With Enhanced Continuous AF, the Contax U4R can capture continuous images at up to 1.4 frames per a second until the memory is filled (*1).

*1) When using a high speed SD card formatted by the camera. The high speed SD cards of which full performance have been confirmed are listed on Kyocera global site (http://www.kyocera.com). Depending on shooting conditions, the memory may not be fully utilized. The speed of continuous shooting or movie shooting depends on shooting conditions, camera settings and memory card conditions.

6. Increased Focusing Accuracy With 9-point Multi AF Function

For increased focusing accuracy and convenience of use, the Contax U4R incorporates a 9-point Multi AF function. The 9-point Multi AF Function is the perfect solution especially with subjects that are not centrally located in the composition. With the 9-point Multi AF system, the U4R automatically selects focus via one of the nine focusing points for precise focusing accuracy. This ensures increased focusing accuracy and speed especially. Digital photographers who would like to control the focusing point, the U4R also includes Spot AF for user control.

7. Continuous Zoom Playback And Group Mode

After capturing a series of images in continuous mode, the photographer can zoom in on one of their continuous shots in playback mode and then scroll through the rest of the images captured in the series at the same magnification. This is extremely important when checking for that perfect image. In addition when multiple continuous captured image series wish to be viewed, the i4R makes it easier. In group mode, the first image of each group is shown for easy selection of a continuously captured series. This is extremely helpful when viewing two or more continuously captured image series.

8. Easy Charger USB Cradle

With the Easy Charge USB Cradle, the user no longer needs to be concerned about plugging an ac adapter into the camera each time the battery needs to be charged or a USB cable to transfer images. With the Easy Charge USB Cradle user hooks it up once to an ac outlet and to a personal computer via the supplied USB cable. Once the Easy Charge USB Cradle is connected to an outlet and computer, whenever the camera needs to be charged, it is just placed in the cradle for charging. When captured images need to be transferred from the camera, the camera is just placed in the Easy Charge USB Cradle for convenient transfer of images.

9. Superfine, VGA Movies With Audio

Movies with audio (30 frames per second) can be shot up to the maximum capacity of the memory card with easy operation (*4) . The recorded file is in AVI format and you can easily played back and seen in superfine movies without image dropouts at 30 frames per second on the i4R’s two inch liquid crystal monitor or a personal computer. (To play back your movies on a personal computer, it is necessary to install QuickTime 4.1 or later.)

*4) When using a high speed SD card formatted by the camera. The high speed SD cards of which full performance have been confirmed are listed on Kyocera global site (http://www.kyocera.com). Depending on shooting conditions, the memory may not be fully utilized. The speed of continuous shooting or movie shooting depends on shooting conditions, camera settings and memory card conditions.

10. Eight Scene Modes For Any Situation

The Contax i4R offers 8 predefined scene modes that enable the camera to make the most just about any photographic setting according to the situation. The 8 modes scene modes include, Sport Action, Portrait, Night Portrait, Sunset, Twilight, Night View, Black and White and Sepia. For example, in Sport mode and Continuous AF, the decisive moment like a goal in an athletic meet can be captured.

11. Customizable Single and Multi Image Startup Screen

The Contax i4R incorporates a user, customizable startup screen that allows them to select a favorite image that has been captured as their startup screen whenever the camera is powered on. In addition, the Contax i4R includes a Multi Startup Screen feature. With the Multi Startup Screen, 10 separate images or continuous captured images can appear as a movie within the approximately one second camera startup time.

12. In Camera Image Resize Mode

With the Contax i4R is easy to resize an image to 320 x 240 pixels or 160 x 120 pixels after it has been taken, and save it so that it can be use with a PDA or sent via e-mail. You can also crop the area to be resized from the whole image, quarter or one-sixteenth.

13. “Pictbridge” Compatible, The Industry Standard For Printing Images

The Contax i4R supports “PictBridge” technology, the industry standard for printing digital images. By directly connecting the U4R via its USB cable to a PictBridge printer that supports the PictBridge, images can be printed directly from the printer without the use of a personal computer. You can also make changes in settings for the prints as well, such as the number of images to be printed.

14 . Hi-Speed USB 2.0

The Contax i4R meets High-Speed USB 2.0 standard by allowing large amounts of image data to be transferred to a personal computer. Due to the advent of high resolution still images and movies and large capacity memory cards, the demand of speed data is essential. Adopting Hi-Speed USB 2.0 standard with a maximum transfer speed of 480Mb/s, one can handle large image files on a personal computer as comfortably as an external hard disc drive. Of course, personal computer using USB1.1 standard also can be used (the transfer speed is limited by USB specification of the personal computer). The installation of a USB driver is not needed, except Windows98 and 98SE.

*Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.

* QuickTime, Macintosh and Mac OS are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. in the United States.

* Other company names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

*Any prices on this material include taxes.

Contax i4R specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.7" Type CCD
• 4 million pixels total

Image sizes • 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480 (15 fps)
• 320 x 240 (30 fps)
• Up to the capacity of the memory card
File formats

• Still: JPEG
• Movie: AVI
• Sound: WAV

Lens • 39mm (35 mm equiv)
• F 2.8
Digital zoom Up to 6x, 13 steps
Focus • Autofocus
AF area modes • 9-point AF
• Spot AF
Focus distance • Standard: 0.60 m - infinity (24 in - infinity)
• Macro: 5cm - 60 cm (8 in - 24 in)
Metering • Multi-area
• Center-weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Exposure compensation • +/-2EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Shutter speed 1 - 1/2000 sec
Scene modes • Sport
• Portrait
• Night Portrait
• Sunset
• Twilight
• Night view
• Black and white
• Sepia
White balance • Auto
• Sunlight
• Contrast
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
• Preset
Self timer 2 or 10 seconds
Continuous shooting • High speed continous shooting 3 fps
• AF continous shooting 1.4 fps up to the capacity of the memory card
Image parameters • Colour
• Monochrome
• Sepia
• Sharpness - 5 levels
• Chroma - 3 levels
Flash • Built-in
• Range: 60 cm - 1.8 m (24 in - 5.9 ft)
• Auto, red-eye reduction, on, off
LCD monitor • 1.5" TFT LCD
• 130, 000 pixels
Connectivity • USB
• AV out
• DC in
Print compliance • DPOF
Storage • SD/MMC card
Power • Lithium ion battery
• Charger included (?)
Weight (no batt) 90 g (3.1 oz)
Dimensions 94 x 39 x 21 mm (3.7 x 1.5 x 0.8 in)

Additional images