In the last week we've seen two cameras that seem to be having an identity crisis. The Red One is a high-definition camcorder -- with the resolution of a stills camera. And the Casio prototype exhibited at IFA is a compact stills camera -- with the frame rate of a camcorder.
The Red One packs a barnstorming 11.4-megapixel sensor and is capable of capturing up to 60 frames per second. The average hi-def camcorder has a sensor a fraction of the Red's resolution at somewhere around the 2-megapixel mark, while the standard frame rate is half the Red One's at 30fps or less. If the ludicrously high resolution and superfast speed wasn't enough, the Red One is also modular. You can swap different bits of kits like lenses. See? It thinks it's a camera!
Unfortunately, there's not much point in putting one on your shopping list unless your name is Alan Smithee, as it costs at least $17,000 (£8,400). The first 25 units shipped last week. Peter Jackson and Steven Soderbergh are already said to be using them to shoot birthdays, weddings and bar mitzvahs.
The Casio compact prototype is as yet unnamed. We suggest 'Shootyfast'. Where most current cameras feel the strain going much faster than 5 frames per second, the Casio 'SpeedySnappy' shoots full-resolution still images at 60fps. It utilises a 6-megapixel 1/1.8-inch CMOS sensor that employs sensor-shift image stabilisation.
The 'LotsO'Frames' also packs a 12x optical zoom (35-420mm, 35mm equivalent) and a 71.2mm (2.8-inch), 230,000-pixel colour LCD screen, both of which would be welcome on any compact. If the ludicrously high resolution and superfast speed wasn't enough, the Casio also shoots VGA resolution video at 300fps. See? It thinks it's a camcorder!
Of course, when the giddiness of these numbers subsides, we have to wonder why you'd want a superzoom still camera that shoots this kind of frame rate. Shooting stills at 60fps -- or video at 11 megapixels -- will chew through memory like a piranha in fat camp, and presumably have a similar effect on the battery. Still, they're on our Christmas list. -Rich Trenholm