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Polaroid makes some noise with feature-rich, affordable cameras

Polaroid today is a completely different company. It has transformed itself from instant film pioneer to a jack-of-all-trades consumer electronics brand. But the company still has a foot in the camera business and continues to make its mark in the digicam biz, as evident in their new announcements here in Las Vegas. Their products highlight some of the trends the industry is moving toward, but Polaroid is also hitting them at low price points. They clearly want to be taken seriously. Here’s a quick look at some of their announcements.

The most notable product is the iM1836 (shown above), billed as “the world’s first and only Android-powered interchangeable-lens smart camera,” which sees Polaroid getting into the mirrorless market. Already leaked prior to CES, the 18.1-megapixel camera is a Micro Four Thirds variant that comes with a 10mm-30mm lens, compatible with other MFT lens through an adapter. (More than a few people have already pointed out the camera’s resemblance to the Nikon 1 J2.) The iM1836 runs off Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and has built-in Wi-Fi to allow instant sharing of photos to the Web. There’s also Bluetooth if a Wi-Fi network is not available, which you can use to connect the camera to a phone that serves as a bridge to the Web. The iM1836 has a 3.5-inch LCD display, auto-blink detection, panoramic shooting, HD video recording, and HDMI out. More incredible is the price of $399. While specs-wise it seems amazing, we will have to wait and see how it performs. The iM1836 is scheduled for a first-quarter release in 2013.

If you are willing to forego Android and Wi-Fi to save $100, Polaroid is offering the iM1030/iM1232, which has similar features as the iM1836. The iM1232W ($349) is the same camera but has built-in Wi-Fi.

Polaroid iM1030/iM1232

If you want a traditional camera that uses a more powerful BSI CMOS sensor, Polaroid has the 16.1-megapixel iS2433 ($199). The camera uses a sensor from Sony and has a 25mm wide-angle, 24x optical zoom. Other features include a 3-inch LCD, auto blink detection, panoramic photo shooting, and HD video recording.

Polaroid iS2433

Then there’s the 16-megapixel iD975 camcorder ($249). The camcorder captures Full HD 1080p video with a 10x optical zoom lens. There’s also a 3-inch touchscreen.

Polaroid iD975

The aforementioned cameras are listed with a second-quarter availability time. All the cameras are made by Sakar, a Polaroid licensee. We won’t know how the cameras will perform and how good their image quality will be, but based on specs and price, Polaroid is clearly looking to make a stir in the industry.

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