- Associated Press - Friday, January 7, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - To fight dwindling camera sales, manufacturers are slashing prices for point-and-shoots _ often below $100 _ and offering more features for the money.

Camera makers unveiled dozens of models this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the largest gadget show in the U.S. Here’s what to look for once they go on sale over the next few months.

Lower prices

It used to be nearly impossible to buy a digital camera for $100. Now, Casio America Inc., Canon Inc., Eastman Kodak Co. and Olympus Corp. all sell them, and other big brands just jumped on the bandwagon.

Sony Electronics Inc., a company not known for discounted cameras, will sell the Cybershot DSC-W510 ($100), a 12-megapixel camera with a 4X optical zoom _ more than what you’ll find on most entry-level cameras.

Canon, the market leader, will sell the 10-megapixel Powershot A800 for $89, albeit with a bare-bones 3X zoom.

Kodak has two budget offerings: the credit card-sized EasyShare Mini ($100) and the EasyShare Sport, an $80 camera that can be immersed in up to 10 feet of water, which is the kind of durability normally found in a $200 camera.

Fujifilm NA Corp.’s FinePix AV200 ($90) shoots 720p (1280 x 720) high-definition video, another rarity for cameras this cheap.

HD video standard

It’s not unusual for whiz-bang features to trickle down into lower-end products. Face detection, for example, used to be reserved for high-end cameras; today, shoppers have come to expect it. Now, high-definition movie recording is becoming a typical feature on point-and-shoots.

With the exception of some of those $100 cameras, almost every model Canon, Fujifilm, Kodak, Panasonic Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony announced this week records HD movies at 720p or even 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution.

Fujifilm’s $90 HD number takes the cake in terms of value, but Canon’s Powershot A2200IS ($140) also records HD video for a still-reasonable price.

While we can’t vouch for the quality of these movies, the boost in resolution is an improvement because the videos will look sharp on high-definition televisions.

New ways to share photos

We’ve noticed several companies experimenting with new ways to free photos from the camera.

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