Olympus Japan today announced the three megapixel three times optical zoom AZ-1. This new ultra-compact camera appears to utilize a 'folded optics' lens design similar to the Minolta DiMAGE X series and the Sony DSC-T1, T11. The AZ-1 measures just 94 x 67 mm (3.7 x 2.6 in) and is 22 mm thick (0.8 in), making it approximately the same size as the Sony DSC-T1. The AZ-1 also comes with a cradle used for charging the camera's internal Lithium-Ion battery as well as providing USB and video out connectivity. This camera has not yet been announced outside of Japan and it's not clear at this stage whether this will become a domestic market only camera.

Press Release:

Olympus Introduces The CAMEDIA AZ-1 Compact Digital Camera Featuring The World's First Mobile Advanced Super View Display for Enhanced Viewing Enjoyment

World's first Mobile Advanced Super View Display
New album functions and 23 Scene Program modes
Easy operation with new control dial


Olympus Corporation (President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) is pleased to announce the introduction of the 3.2-megapixel CAMEDIA AZ-1 compact digital camera with 3x optical zoom. In addition to full range of camera features, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 is equipped with a sharp, clear, Mobile Advanced Super View Display that makes it equally suitable for use as a photo viewer.

With its Mobile Advanced Super View Display and new album functions, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 is an entirely new type of camera that offers "shooting," "viewing," and "sharing." The Mobile Advanced Super View Display offers high contrast and a wide viewing angle, and its incorporation into the CAMEDIA AZ-1 marks the first time that this display technology has been utilized in a digital camera or other such mobile device. The 2.5-inch display has a resolution of 210,000 pixels, and its large size and excellent image quality make it ideal for both reviewing and appreciating photos. In addition, New Album and slideshow functions allow users to organize images in the camera, and there is a Camera Album function that allows images edited on a computer to be uploaded and viewed on the camera. By taking advantage of the large, high-definition Mobile Advanced Super View Display, users can easily use the CAMEDIA AZ-1 as a portable photo album that allows them to share their favorite photos with other people wherever they go.

The CAMEDIA AZ-1 is also equipped with 23 Scene Program modes that allow users to obtain optimum image quality in a wide range of shooting situations. Ease of operation is also enhanced by a new control dial that allows various functions to be selected using only the thumb and forefinger of the right hand.

Development Background

The popularity of digital cameras continues to grow, and in 2003 some 43.41 million units were shipped worldwide (8.44 million in the Japanese domestic market). In 2004, worldwide shipments are expected to reach 60.9 million units (9.42 million in the Japanese market).* Although the number of digital camera users is growing, many users fail to fully enjoy the photos they take. Instead, the photos simply accumulate on the user's computer, and are only infrequently viewed and enjoyed. To address this problem, Olympus set out to develop a product that would allow users to enjoy both shooting and viewing to the fullest. The result is the CAMEDIA AZ-1, a camera that allows users "to enjoy digital photography from A to Z" — from "shooting" all the way through to "sharing." This was the design concept behind the CAMEDIA AZ-1's development, and the reason it is the first digital camera in the world to feature a Mobile Advanced Super View Display. With its ability to serve as a photo viewer, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 effectively represents a totally new style of digital communication.

Main Features

1. An LCD Display Specifically Designed for "Viewing"

Until now, users have primarily used computer or TV monitors to enjoy viewing their digital camera photos, and the LCD monitor on the camera was used only to "review" images after shooting. The CAMEDIA AZ-1 changes that with its revolutionary new large, amazingly clear LCD display, which now allows digital photos to be viewed and enjoyed on the camera that was used to take them.

World's First Mobile Advanced Super View Display*

- Three Times Higher Contrast than Conventional LCD Screens
The Mobile Advanced Super View Display offers three times the contrast of conventional LCD screens (based on in-house testing), and dramatically reproduces images with excellent definition and bright, vivid colors.

- T160° Viewing Angle on Both Vertical and Horizontal Axis
The display offers a 160° viewing angle on both the vertical and horizontal axis, ensuring excellent visibility and beautiful image quality when photos are viewed by several people at the same time.

- Improved Visibility in Bright Light
The display offers excellent visibility even at beaches, ski resorts, and other bright outdoor locations where conventional LCD monitors can be difficult to see.

Large, 2.5-Inch Screen

The CAMEDIA AZ-1 display's 2.5-inch screen and 210,000-pixel resolution provide a clear, high-definition view that enhances both shooting and viewing enjoyment.

* Mobile Advanced Super View Display technology was developed by Sharp Corporation of Japan.

2. New Album Function Doubles The Fun of "Sharing"

A New Album function allows captured images to be organized into photo albums on the camera's memory card media. The albums can then be viewed on the large Mobile Advanced Super View Display, effectively making the CAMEDIA AZ-1 a "camera-and-photo-album-in-one" that users can carry with them wherever they go.

In-Camera Photo Album Creation and Storage

Captured images can easily be organized into photo albums created on the camera's memory card media. Up to 12 albums of 100 images each can be created for easy viewing.

Easy-to-Use Software for File Transfer and Image Editing

Included CAMEDIA Master 4.2 EX software makes it easy to upload images to the camera after they have been edited on a computer, and to backup photos and albums edited on the camera to a computer. It can also be used to upload photos from sources other than a digital camera, allowing users to carry their favorite images with them wherever they go.

3. Built-in Functions for Dramatic Slideshow Presentations

Easy-to-use slideshow functions allow users to present their favorite photo album images as dramatic slideshows. A choice of Normal, Wipe, Fade, and Zoom slide transitions is offered to further increase viewing enjoyment.

Normal: Instantaneous slide transition
Wipe: The currently displayed slide is pushed up or down off the screen by the following slide
Fade: The currently displayed slide gradually fades into the following slide
Zoom: Slides appear from the upper-left corner of the screen and expand outward until they cover the screen

4. 23 Scene Programs for Professional-Quality Results in a Wide Range of Shooting Situations

In addition to regular shooting modes, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 is equipped with optimized Scene Program modes that make it easy for users to obtain the results they want in virtually any situation. There are 23 modes in all, including a Beautiful Skin Tone mode that ensures smooth, faithful rendering of skin tones, a Beach & Snow mode for sunny days at the beach or in snowy mountains, a Sunset mode and a Candle mode that boost color saturation without using the flash in low-light situations, a Sleeping Portrait mode that adjusts light sensitivity to allow pictures to be taken in very low light without using the flash, a Document mode that ensures text legibility, and more.

5. Control Dial Significantly Enhances Operating Ease

New Rotating Control Dial for Easy Mode Selection

Operating ease is significantly enhanced by a new control dial that allows users to quickly and easily cycle through the various settings displayed on the LCD screen menu by rotating the dial with the index finger of their right hand; a quick thumb-press then activates the desired setting.

Easy-to-Understand Menu Interface and Image Quality Modes

The easy-to-understand LCD screen menu interface is designed with entry-level users in mind, and provides a short explanation of each mode's function when a Scene Program mode is selected. In addition, multiple unwanted images can be deleted in a single operation, and image quality selection has been greatly simplified. Now, instead of choosing a combination of image quality and compression ratios, users can simply choose from a list of image quality modes with easy-to-understand names (Super High 3MB, High 2MB, PC Monitor 1MB, E-Mail VGA) that indicate the purpose and approximate size of the resulting image.

Other Features

Flat Body with Clean, Uncluttered Lines

The CAMEDIA AZ-1's flat metal body features clean, uncluttered lines and measures only 94mm (W) x 67mm (H) x 21.9mm (D). As the first Olympus digital camera to feature a lens with a 'folded' light path, the CAMEDIA AZ-1 packs 3x optical zoom power into an extremely slim body.

Multi-Function Cradle

The CAMEDIA AZ-1 is also the first Olympus digital camera to come with its own multi-function cradle, which allows users take full advantage of the large, high-quality LCD display by setting the camera up and using it as an attractive "photo stand." A docking port is provided on the CAMEDIA AZ-1, and the cradle itself is equipped with a DC power input terminal, an AV output terminal, and a USB port so that users can enjoy slideshows on the built-in display, or in a larger size on a computer monitor or TV, while the camera is being recharged. In addition, PictBridge support allows direct printing to any PictBridge-enabled printer without using a computer, further expanding the range of ways in which the camera can be enjoyed.

New TruePic TURBO Image Processor

A TruePic TURBO image processor enhances high-resolution detail and suppresses noise for sharper, clearer image quality, and optimizes processing speed for improved shooting response.

Olympus AZ-1 specifications

Sensor CCD, 3.2 million effective pixels
Lens • 3x optical zoom (folded lens)
• 38 - 114 mm equiv.
• F2.9 - F4.9
• 9 elements in 7 groups
Digital zoom Up to 2.7x
Focus distance • Normal: 50 cm - Infinity (1.6 ft - Infinity)
• Macro: 30 cm - Infinity (11.8 in - Infinity)
• Super macro: 8 cm - 30 cm (3.1 - 11.8 in)
Image sizes • 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 320 x 240, 15 fps, unlimited, with audio
• 160 x 120, 15 fps, unlimited, with audio
File types • Still: JPEG
• Movies: MOV (Quicktime Motion JPEG)
Sensitivity Auto (ISO 64 - 250)
Exposure modes • Program Auto
• Scene Program
Scene modes • Landscape
• Landscape & People
• Night Scene
• Night Scene & People
• Party
• Fireworks
• Sunset
• Beautiful Skin Tone
• Macro
• Super Macro
• Cuisine
• Document
• Manner Shot
• Sports
• Beach & Snow
• Solo Travel
• Candle
• Sleeping Face
• Show Window
• 2-in-1
• Panorama
Shutter speed • Normal: 1/2 - 1/725 sec
• Night mode: max 4 sec
Exposure comp. • +/-2.0 EV
• 0.3 EV steps
Metering • Digital ESP
• Spot
White balance • Auto
• Fine
• Cloudy
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
Flash • Built-in
• Range: Wide 0.3 - 3.6 m (1.0 - 11.8 ft), Tele 0.3 - 2.0 m (1.0 - 6.6 ft)
• Modes: Auto (inc. Fill flash), Red-eye reduction, Flash on, Flash off
Continuous 1 fps
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT reflective
• 215,000 pixels
Viewfinder None
Storage • xD-Picture Card
• 16 MB card supplied
Orientation sensor Yes
Direct Print PictBridge
Connectivity • USB via cradle
• A/V output via cradle
Power Lithium-Ion battery LI-20B
Dimensions 94 x 67 x 22 mm (3.7 x 2.6 x 0.8 in)
Weight (no batt) 160 g (5.6 oz)