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Today it's a brave new world.

NEW YORK -- The photo industry has undergone a sea change since 2000, almost completely transformed by digital cameras.

According to the market research firm Mintel, unit sales of digital cameras grew from 4.5 million in 2000 to 20.5 million in 2005. This was accompanied by a sharp increase in picture-taking activity, since the average digital camera user takes up to five times as many pictures as they did when they photographed with cameras that used film.

And camera suppliers have spurred consumer interest in digital photography even further with a steady stream of new cameras.

This year General Electric Co. and Torrance, Calif.-based General Imaging Co. unveiled a new line of eight digital cameras under the GE brand that General Imaging is designing, manufacturing and distributing under license.

All of the cameras have as standard features several advanced functions, including face detection, image stabilization, red-eye removal and panoramic stitching. Entry level GE digital cameras start with 7 megapixel resolution and 2.5-inch LCD screens. Higher-end models offer up to 12 megapixels of resolutions and a 3-inch LCD screen.

"Style will play an important part in our product design," comments Takeyoshi Kawano, General Imaging's chief designer. "Consumers are demanding not just advanced features but stylish designs."

Canon Inc. recently expanded its line of digital cameras with the PowerShot S5 IS and PowerShot SD850 IS Digital ELPH cameras. The company maintains that the model S5 IS camera meets the demands of family photographers as well as photo hobbyists. Both models include such features as zoom lenses, red-eye correction as well as LCD displays.

In January Eastman Kodak Co. announced its new Easyshare V1003 digital camera, a stylish, compact, 10-megapixel digital camera that was awarded the industry's highly regarded 2007 red dot Award for Product Design. The camera was judged on criteria including innovation, ergonomics and durability. Features include digital image stabilization, a 2.5-inch LCD screen and a high ISO 1600 mode for shooting in low-light conditions. It is available in nine colors.

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Title Annotation:MERCHANDISING
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Sep 24, 2007
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