New Casio cams have built-in green screens (sort of)

Casio announced three new Exilim cameras at CES.

In addition to two new compact point-and-shoots that pack awesome high-speed burst modes, Casio announced three new Exilim cameras at CES in Las Vegas (the International Consumer Electronics Show) that the company says take in-camera editing and processing capabilities to unforeseen levels.

Unforeseen, that is, if you enjoy superimposing a video image of your pal next to Kenny G for blackmail purposes.

The Casio Exilim EX-Z400, the Exilim EX-Z270, and the Exilim EX-S5 all use the company's new Exilim Engine 4.0, which consists of two separate CPUs: one for the camera's operations, and one dedicated to image processing.

In a press conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, Casio founder Kazuo Kashio demoed the Exilim Engine 4.0's processing chops by running the crowd through its Dynamic Photo feature. As part of the demo, using one of the new cameras, Kashio shot a quick video of a female model, asked her to step aside, then shot a still photo of what was the background of the video. The camera was able to extract the video image of the model from the background with impressively sharp quality, and in-camera editing features let him superimpose the video of her on a number of backgrounds.

In addition to those green-screen-and-computer-less editing features, Casio says the new imaging engine paves the way for better low-light shots, shadow correction, autofocusing on a moving subject, and shooting high-definition video.

As for the cameras themselves, Casio hasn't announced release dates yet, but they all share Casio's YouTube-friendly movie mode. The 12-megapixel EX-400 is the only one of the three new Exilims with a 720p HD movie mode and will sell for US$300. A long battery life (Casio claims about 550 shots per charge), 4X optical zoom (including 28mm on the wide-angle end), optical image stabilization, and a big 3-inch-diagonal LCD round out the EX-400's specs.

The 10-megapixel EX-Z270 ($230) shares such features as the 28mm wide-angle, 4X optical zoom lens, and optical image stabilization, but it has a smaller, 2.7-inch LCD.

On the slimmer end, the 12-megapixel Exilim S5 maxes out at 0.6 inch thick at its widest bulge, with a 3X optical zoom (but no 28mm wide-angle), a 2.7-inch-diagonal LCD screen, and so many color combinations that I can't even begin to list them without first consulting an interior decorator.

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