G A D G E T S Great pics, shame about the noughts

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Indy Lifestyle Online
If you're a photography freak with lots of money, take a look at Kodak's new DCS 460, billed as the "world's highest resolution, portable, single shot, digital camera". It looks like the motor drive that clips on to the bottom of standard SLR cameras and is designed for the Nikon N90; there is an equivalent for the Canon EOS-1N, too. But the DCS 460 costs £24,950 and contains a light-sensitive plate, a chip to digitise the image, a PCMCIA memory card to store it, a microphone and a battery pack.

The purpose of all this gadgetry is to produce ultra-high resolution digital pictures - 6 million pixels per image - which can be transferred to a computer for viewing, retouching or manipulating before being printed. The camera's high specification is thanks to the strides that have been made in storing data on memory cards.

The new model may help to silence many photographers' objections to digital imaging. In the past, most digital cameras have produced results of far poorer quality than traditional halide, or have required huge shoulder packs that in effect confine the photographer to the studio.

Even with the new advances, most high-resolution digital pictures over 4 million pixels require multiple exposures (and are therefore limited to still life). Kodak therefore expects demand for the DCS 460 from specialists in microscopy and commercial portrait photography.

And if you buy one before the end of March 1995 the company will throw in a free Kodak PCD Writer 225, worth £2,850: useful for transferring all those 18Mb files to recordable CDs. The rest of us will probably hang on to our SLRs until a nought or two comes off the price.