Panasonic have today announced the PV-SD4090 which can save images onto the 120MB SuperDisk diskette format as well as traditional 1.44MB floppy disks. The PV-SD4090 is a 1.3 megapixel 3x zoom (34 - 102mm equiv) with a 2.5" LCD display is an interesting move from Panasonic. Especially as you can buy a 10 pack of 120MB SuperDisks for US$85 ($0.07/MB). Although of course you'll need a SuperDisk drive in your computer... The camera also supports USB connectivity.

Sorry, no picture of the actual camera yet, anyone who can find one email: Phil Askey

Here's the press release:

The new Panasonic PV-SD4090 PalmCam SuperDisk digital camera, the first in the new SuperDisk line, is an advanced model that takes the PalmCam digital camera line further into the computer age.

``With this new camera's capabilities, we expect it to be a top-seller in this product category,'' says Mary Gelb, product manager of the Consumer Video Division for Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (PCEC). ``It uses a new SuperDisk medium for high density storage capacity and is USB-port compatible* for bi-directional high-speed communications with a USB port enabled computer.''

The PV-SD4090 saves its images on a 120 megabyte (MB) SuperDisk diskette, which can hold up to 1,500 images. The camera is also compatible with traditional 1.44MB floppy disks, which will hold up to 17 images.

The PV-SD4090 digital camera uses a 1.3 million-pixel charged coupled device (CCD) to take photos that are extremely crisp and vivid. These images can then be viewed on the built-in, 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, and deleted if desired or saved for later use. To view, e-mail or incorporate preferred images into personal or business documents, remove the SuperDisk diskette or floppy disk from the camera, place it into the corresponding SuperDisk or floppy drive on a standard PC and retrieve the image file.

The new SuperDisk camera is also USB-compatible, enabling the user to connect the camera, via the included cable, to the USB port on their PC for a much faster data transfer rate than the usual serial port connection.

The camera uses one lithium ion battery, which can be recharged in the included charger. The camera also features a built-in flash for low-light situations and an automatic multiple flash function to reduce the occurrence of ``red eyes'' in the subjects. Other image-capturing features include:

  • Motion Image Recording with Audio -- record a ten-second mini movie with audio to playback or post on the Internet. (Using the included driver software, you can easily convert the movie to an AVI file.) A total of 100 consecutive images are taken every 0.1 seconds in 320 x 240 resolution while the shutter button is pressed.
  • Burst Recording -- an ideal way to record quick moving objects. When activated, this feature can record up to 16 images taken approximately every 0.5 seconds in 640 x 480 resolution while the shutter button is pressed.
  • Still Image Recording with Audio -- an ideal way to record brief verbal messages (up to five seconds) to accompany your individual still images.
  • Time Lapse Recording -- Use this feature to set your camera to record images at different intervals.

The PalmCam digital camera is equipped with a 3:1 optical zoom for close up shots, equivalent to a 34-102mm lens on a standard 35mm camera. An added 2x digital zoom can also be used for picking up details of faraway images. Other features include a self timer and automatic white balance. The aperture can be set at F2.8 or F8, and shutter speed is automatically adjusted from 1/4th to 1/750th of a second.

Photos are stored on a reusable, removable 120MB SuperDisk diskette or on a 1.44MB floppy disk in the standard JPEG format. The SuperDisk diskette holds approximately 1,500 digital images in Standard Resolution (640 x 480 pixels). In High Resolution, (1280 x 960 pixels), this disk will hold approximately 450 Super Fine images or 900 Fine images. A 1.44MB floppy disk will hold approximately 17 Standard Resolution images and in High Resolution mode, it will hold 5 Super Fine images or 10 Fine images.

Preferred images can be saved on disk indefinitely, while rejects can easily be deleted, freeing up space for new ones. Once the disk is full, its images can be downloaded and the disk erased; or a new one can be used.

When downloaded to a computer, the images can be stored, saved and organized by the photographer for printing, e-mailing or inclusion on a Web site. With the included Adobe� PhotoDeluxe(TM) Home Edition 3.0 software and drivers for both Windows� and Macintosh�,** users can enhance and modify their photos in a variety of ways, from simply improving color and contrast, to removing unwanted items and adding special effects.

The PV-SD4090 includes one 120MB SuperDisk diskette, AC adapter charger, DC cable, lithium ion battery, driver software, a video cable for viewing pictures on a standard television set, a USB cable for connection to USB- compatible PCs and MACs, shoulder strap, and Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3.0 software.

The new PV-SD4090 PalmCam SuperDisk digital camera will be available in November 1999, with a suggested retail price of $899.

Looks like Panasonic are really going for features over resolution on this baby, though I'm not sure who'll pay $899 for a 1.3 megapixel digicam...