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Cameras

Olympus Ferrari Digital 2004

Olympus Ferrari Digital 2004

Just in time for &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Egpworldtours%2Ecom%2Fen%2Dca%2Fcalendar%2Easpx">Grand Prix season, Olympus has announced a 3.2-megapixel digital camera inspired by Ferrari's hot-wheeled &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eferrariworld%2Ecom%2Fcgi%2Dbin%2Ffworld%2Edll%2Fferrariworld%2Fscripts%2Fgt%2Fcar%5Fdata%2Ejsp%3Fcar%5Ftype%3DF1">F1 racing machine. The limited-edition camera--just 1,000 of the 10,000 units available worldwide will be sold in North and South America--comes with several swanky logo-emblazoned accessories that jack up the price to $699.

Upside: If you're a Ferrari fan, this camera has just about every flourish you could hope for: a glossy, bright-red body with carbon-tone accents reminiscent of the F1, Ferrari's distinctive prancing horse logo on the camera back, customized Ferrari slide shows and start-up screens, and even the roar of the F1's engine when you turn on the camera. Based on the Olympus &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eolympus%2Eco%2Ejp%2Fen%2Fnews%2F2004a%2Fnr040419az1e%2Ecfm">AZ-1 digital camera, which came out this April in Japan, the Olympus Ferrari Digital 2004 has a 2.5-inch LCD, the company's newish Turbo image processor (said to improve image quality), a whopping 22 different scene modes, and a 3X zoom lens. It weighs just 5.6 ounces and is currently the thinnest camera Olympus offers. It also supports PictBridge.

Downside: Unless you're wild about Ferrari, this piece of machinery likely doesn't have enough vroom to justify its high price. And while the cameras we've tested that incorporate the new Turbo image processor do indeed show improved image quality and performance gains in the advertised areas, we've noticed that other operations are significantly slower.

Outlook: The success of the Olympus Ferrari Digital 2004 will depend on the zeal of the collector. We expect this camera to have more traction in Europe, where the Ferrari brand has an especially devout following.

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