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Casio camera packs more punch

The company's latest digital camera adds expandable memory and better resolution.

Casio today announced its latest digital camera, a feature-packed model that has been available in some catalogs for the last month.

As previously reported, the Casio 7000SX offers 1.3 megapixel resolution, 8MB of memory, an optical viewfinder, and both optical and digital zoom for $699.

Megapixel cameras offer at least one million pixels per image, which results in pictures of much higher quality, approaching traditional camera prints.

The 7000SX also includes an expandable memory feature, unlike its predecessor, the QV-5000SX, which offers internal memory. Memory on a digital camera works much like film in a traditional camera, storing the digital images until they are downloaded onto the user's PC.

The new Casio is packed with fancy features. Users can store up to 12 seconds of images to create short home movies, record images in HTML file format for Web viewing, and use the infrared data transfer feature to download images from the camera to computer or printer.

But it is questionable whether digital camera users are interested in learning how to use the complicated interface necessary to navigate around these bells and whistles, analysts say, as the overwhelming popularity of disposable cameras has shown.

"For the digital camera to succeed, it needs to be as simple as a traditional camera, yet offer some enhancements that take the photo experience to a slightly higher level like simple LCD viewing of the image," said Bruce Kasrel, a digital imaging analyst for Forrester Research, who described the Casio 7000SX as "overkill."

"Casio is between a rock and a hard place: They're not super high-quality, and they're not super low-price, or super easy-to-use," Kasrel added.

The new camera has been featured for the last month in the Office Max catalog, according to digital camera analyst Carl Holec of ARS.

The camera was initially offered for $799, but the new price of $699 may be in response to recent price cuts from Ricoh, Holec noted.

"There's been a lot of price moves lately," Holec said. " Ricoh dropped their 4300 from $799 to $699, and then a couple of days ago, from $699 to $599. [The digital camera market] has gotten competitive enough that it's forcing vendors to bring down pricing."