The excellent Impress PC Watch are first again, they've posted an article and samples (nine) from (a beta) Casio's new 3.34 Megapixel QV-3000EX. The samples are pretty good for a beta camera...

A rough translation of the Impress PC Watch article (inc. 9 samples):

The first thing that would come to mind is how good is the picture quality of this 3 megapixel machine. The impression is that the camera produces images with a very solid feel, it is not only the extra number of pixels but the information presented in them. The reviewer also points out that the high pixel count improves image quality not only in printing but also for screen display.

The camera produces a good balanced image and Casio have made a significant improvement in image quality since the QV-7000. The big diameter zoom lens made by Canon Inc. and is extremely fast (F2.0-2.5) this gives a very clear and sharp image and that Casio going with a camera manufacturers lens is the correct way.

Because of the combination of good system making by Casio (and the high pixel count CCD) and lens by Canon the picture quality is high and natural.

The reviewer notes that the camera is smaller than the Nikon Coolpix 950 in physical dimensions, points out that he feels the camera was designed with the American market in mind because if its look and feel.

The machine takes about 3 seconds to start up (including lens extension) and image storage takes less than 2 seconds (because of a large internal buffer). Replay of images is also very high speed and you can scroll through your images with a very small 0.5 second delay.

For the first 3 megapixel digital camera this is a good result, not only an increase in pixels but good image quality with good dynamic range and a natural solid "feel" to images.

The price level of US$999 will make it very attractive to those considering a 2 megapixel digital camera. Digital cameras have evolved rapidly in just five years.

Two more samples can be found on the digital camera group webpage.

Phils comment: "Casio have done well, the first 3 megapixel digital camera was always going to come under some major scrutiny (and no doubt the QV-3000EX still will), but from these limited samples we can see that they've managed to pull of a very natural and sharp image quality - probably partly down to the use of the Canon lens system. The 3 megapixel age is upon us, looks like 2000 is going to be another interesting year for digital photography.. stay tuned!"