UMAX, better known for their excellent scanner range (I'm a big fan of the 2400S), launch the AstraCam 1000, a budget-orientated, easy-to-use 640 x 480 digital camera with 4MB of built-in memory, it has a convenient docking station and best of all it's small and cheap (about the same size as Fuji's MXx700 range).

UMAX AstraCam 1000 specifications

Name UMAX AstraCam 1000
Lens Fixed (F2.8)
Image Size 640 x 480
Internal Storage 4MB (~72 images)
Viewfinder None
Flash None
LCD None
Style Slim, Ultraportable
Dimensions 4.3" x 3.2" x 1.3" (about the same as Fuji MXx700)
Connectivity USB
Power 4 x AA or optional rechargeable Li-Ion batteries
Street Price $129
Availability End of March

Offical Press Release:

UMAX AstraCam 1000 Consumer Digital Camera Offers Point-and-Shoot Convenience for Under $130

Camera Delivers Unparalleled Ease-of-Use and Affordability With Simple One-Touch Image Transfers Via USB Cable

UMAX Technologies, Inc. today makes owning a digital camera more affordable, with the AstraCam 1000 -- an easy-to-use, USB-connected digital camera that retails for $129.

It is designed to enable novice photographers and casual users to take high quality pictures for desktop albums, sharing over the Web or via e-mail.

The AstraCam 1000's one-touch operation combines computer-ready photography with unprecedented ease of use. Its USB-cable connectivity simplifies the bridge between camera and PC, since it can be plugged in "hot" without rebooting the computer. The USB-enabled PC will recognize the camera immediately to let users download photos and save, edit or print them directly.

"Digital photography is rapidly moving into the mainstream. Many first-time buyers are looking for affordable digital cameras. In 2000, about 25 percent of digital cameras sold will be priced under $200," said Michelle Lampmann, InfoTrends market research analyst for digital photography trends.

"The AstraCam 1000 offers competitive features for a low price. Additionally, the AstraCam 1000 provides practical image file sizes and USB connectivity for quickly sharing photos via the Internet, which is the leading application for digital cameras users."

"The AstraCam 1000's affordability, simplicity, and elegance give our customers more than just technical specifications -- its design eases the novice user into digital photography without the high price of the more complicated digital cameras now on the market," said Michael Weizer, Product Marketing manager at UMAX Technologies.

"The AstraCam 1000 enables users to easily upload their photos and share with family and friends."

UMAX AstraCam 1000 holds up to 72 photos and uses CCD sensor technology to capture digital images at true 640 x 480 dpi resolution and then transfers them to the user's PC with the click of a button. The high-quality glass lens delivers crisp images ready for immediate posting with no need for image editing or other technical preparation.

The optical resolution of 640x480 dpi is perfect for posting pictures on the Web to share with friends, family or colleagues.

The pocket-sized AstraCam 1000 offers a true plug-and-play experience to consumers with features that include:

  • Simple USB cable connection and exclusive single-button image transfers
  • 4MB of internal memory for storing images
  • 72 image capacity of clear 640x480 photos
  • Slim, ultra-portable design (4.3"h x 3.2"w x 1.3"d)
  • Operates using standard alkaline batteries

The UMAX AstraCam 1000 digital camera also features After Shot Recovery (ASR), a patent-pending process that allows consumers to adjust the white balance of downloaded images with a single mouse-click. The ASR process uses image data directly from the camera's Digital Signal Processor (DSP) to make the adjustment, yielding a very high quality image enhancement.

For higher resolution outputs, the bundled AstraCam 1000 software can use digital enhancements to achieve effective photo image resolutions of up to 1280 x 960 pixels, more than enough to reproduce good-looking 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" prints.

UMAX AstraCam 1000 also ships with award-winning Adobe PhotoDeluxe -- Home Edition, to give consumers complete control over the appearance of their digital images. It also includes Mr. Photo software, which offers an exciting new way to share and manage digital pictures.

Among other features, the software allows users to transform a picture into an executable file that can be sent as an "e-card" to friends, family and associates, via normal e-mail. The recipient simply double clicks the e-card to view the greeting. With Mr. Photo and the pictures taken with the AstraCam 1000, the user can make dynamic 360-degree panoramas.

Pricing, Availability & System Configuration

The AstraCam 1000 will be available end of March for an estimated street price of $129. It is compatible with properly equipped Windows 98 PCs. For further sales and distribution information, contact UMAX at 800/562-0311 or 510/651-4000 or http://www.umax.com/.