The Oddball-Camera Round-Up
Last updated on 09/02/2010
Most camera-talk focuses on specs like zoom range, image quality, design, and other performance-related facts and figures. But occasionally, camera companies will unload a bold design that gets us talking about everything except for the performance. Below, we've compiled some of this year's most chin-scratchingly off-the-wall shooters, notable for one feature that you literally won't find on any other camera. By Chris Weigl
In an age of poorly aimed self-portraits, Samsung comes to the rescue with its DualView line of cameras. To help teenage girls around the globe get their smiling faces in the picture, Samsung has installed both a rear and front LCD on the TL210, either of which can be used to frame a photo. The front LCD is a mere 1.5”, but that’s good enough for shots from an arm's length, which is what its meant for. Otherwise, the TL210 is a regular point-and-shoot, with a 5x zoom, 12 megapixel sensor, and HD video. The typical cost is around $229, but it's been seen at some reputable dealers (like BuyDig) for as little as $149. Teenage socialites rejoice!
Fujifilm’s second attempt at translating the 3D movie fad to camera sales, the W3 promises not only 3D stills but 3D HD video as well. The camera works by taking two simultaneous images, one with each of its two lenses and sensors, and then combining them into a stereoscopic photo or video with built-in software. There are also some neat effects to try out with 2D imaging, including merging multiple color settings or taking two photos simultaneously at different focal lengths. At $499, it's an investment in itself, but to view the stereoscopic images anywhere beyond the camera's (glasses-free!) LCD panel, you’ll need a 3D HDTV or Fujifilm's 3D photo frame (now discontinued). Ultimately, if you have a 3D HDTV then the W3 could be fun, but this one is for 3D-enthusiasts only.
Another second-generation release, the Nikon S1100pj actually has a small projector built into the front of the body. Yes, you read that right. While the rest of the specifications are standard point-and-shoot fare – slow 5x zoom lens, 14.1 megapixels and HD video recording – you can share all you create with a room full of people by projecting your images or videos onto any white, flat surface. Some naysayers might call it a gimmick, but it beats crowding around a 2.7-inch LCD, and there’s no denying how cool you’ll feel as your friends gaze in wonder at your wall-sized photos. Just don’t tell them you paid $350 for those bragging rights.