The CES show is going on, which means lots of announcements this week about gadgets. What strikes me about the camera announcements is their uniformity. Digital cameras have become as predictable as MP3 players, in that the specs are nearly identical between brands and models; only the exteriors are different -- like American cars in the 60s and 70s.
Digital cameras now all seem to feature these same specs:
- 5 megapixel or better resolution
- SD memory cards
- built-in memory of 32MB
- 30fps VGA movie mode
- 3x optical zoom
- 2.4" LCD screen
- slim design
- sensor made by Sony
- grab frames from movies
- in-camera image processing
- long battery life
So what's the differentiator? Yesterday, there was the dual-lens Kodak, true, but here are the specs that matter, and the specs that are almost never mentioned in press releases:
* maximum aperture (f2.0 is decent, but f1.8 and f1.4 are better).
* maximum noise-free ISO speed (400 is decent but 800 and 1600 are better).
* lens manufacturer, such as Canon, Nikon, and the German names.
* maximum size of memory card (2GB is decent but more is better).
* weight _with_ batteries; use of non-proprietary batteries (ie, AAA or AA).