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Nikon camera breaks $1,000

New digital cameras from Nikon and Panasonic emphasize the spectrum of features and form that have begun to dominate the market.

    Three new digital cameras released today from Nikon and Panasonic emphasize the spectrum of features and form that have begun to dominate the market.

    Nikon introduced what analysts call the most impressive offering

     Nikon Coolpix 600
    Nikon Coolpix 600
    in the market to date, the Coolpix 900, which offers some of the highest resolution images available in digital cameras for under $1,000.

    The Coolpix 900 offers 1.3 megapixel (million pixels) resolution, or 1,300,000 pixels per image, with a high quality lens for an estimated retail price of $899.

    Like other cameras in this realm, the CoolPix 900 is targeted at "prosumers," or technically advanced amateur photographers and professionals who demand high quality digital imaging capabilities. Nikon and other digital camera makers identify these prosumers as real-estate and insurance professionals and photography enthusiasts looking to delve into digital technology.

    "If this sticks at $899, it is a very good product for the dollar," said Gary Peterson, an imaging analyst with market research firm ARS.

    Nikon also introduced the Coolpix 600, a super-small 800,000 pixel camera around the size of a pack of cigarettes.

    Nikon is positioning the Coolpix 600 as part of its entry-level

     Nikon Coolpix 900
    Nikon Coolpix 900
    line of digital cameras, bundling batteries, AC adapter, and 8MB of compact flash memory with the camera. Flash memory works like film in a traditional camera.

    The Coolpix 600 carries an estimated retail price of $599, which analysts believe is not a bargain for a camera that doesn't offer megapixel resolution. Hewlett-Packard has already said that they are planning to introduce a megapixel camera for $699 later this spring.

    "The end user is going to make a decision based on their experience with the brand," said a Nikon spokesman. "The advantage of Nikon over a consumer electronics company [in manufacturing a digital camera] is understanding imaging."

    Panasonic, a consumer electronics company, released its digital camera today. The PV-DC1580 PalmCam is a megapixel camera that comes with 8 MB of industry standard compact flash memory and 2x zoom.

    The PV-DC1580 PalmCam will be available in May. Pricing has not yet been determined.