Polaroid zooms in on the digital photo market

Steve Kovsky

Beta users report that Polaroid Corp.'s first digital camera, unveiled last week, meets their expectations for general-purpose business imaging applications.

"It's not a high-end, throw-your-film-away kind of camera, but for what they're aiming at ... it's wonderful," said digital photographer Steve Greenberg of Greenberg Photo-Imaging, in Boston. In particular, the camera should perform satisfactorily in insurance, real estate, and newsletter production, he said.

"The interface between the camera and [Adobe Systems Inc.'s] Photoshop--which we use a lot--is very good," Greenberg added.

Scheduled to ship in April from Polaroid, the PDC-2000 "point-and-shoot" camera is based on the Cambridge, Mass., imaging vendor's "megapixel" sensor technology. Pictures are captured at 1-million-pixel resolution, then can be transferred to the user's Macintosh or IBM-compatible PC at 1,600-by-1,200-pixel resolution for output or embedding in World-Wide Web pages and other applications.

Unlike competing digital cameras, the PDC-2000's 24-bit images are not compressed, allowing users to enlarge photos without image degradation, Polaroid officials said.

The camera is aimed at "professionals in business and government who cannot afford to sacrifice image quality when they convert to digital photography," said Polaroid Executive Vice President Henry Ancona.

The 2-pound camera uses a SCSI-2 interface to attach directly to a PC, and an optional SCSI-to-PCMCIA adapter is available for connecting to a notebook computer.

Three models of the PDC-2000 will be available: a $3,695 base model that stores 40 images in internal memory, a 60-image version for $4,995, and a $2,995 "direct-connect" model with no internal memory.

Polaroid will sell the digital camera through its authorized resellers and other computer and photographic dealers. The company can be reached at (800) 816-2611 or at http://www.polaroid.com.

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POLAROID'S PDC-2000 will come in three models.