Casio Camera Will Freeze Many Moments in Time

Cam makers scramble to revive sales growth with a bevy of new features.

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Casio's EX-F1 goes on sale this spring.
Casio's EX-F1 goes on sale this spring.

It may be possible to photograph even a fast-moving toddler if a camera coming from Casio lives up to this week's demos at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Casio says the new $1,000 digital camera captures an impressive 60 frames a second. That's remarkably faster than the 10 frames a second that today's best models can grab, and those cost around $4,000.

Casio showed reporters how the fast frame rate means catching the moment that the ball hits Junior's bat, every time. Luck no longer is needed, says Susumu Takashima, head of Casio's digital cameras.

That's just one new feature that Casio and others hope will revive growth in the sale of digital cameras. Sales otherwise will peak this year, Takashima says. Consumers this year will buy about 100 million of the digicams, whose popularity exploded earlier this decade after large LCDs and thin bodies were introduced. But sales are slowing in Europe and North America, and expansion in other markets like China and Russia isn't enough to keep the business growing.

Another approach is automating the shutter. Some cameras already can detect smiles before snapping a photo. New Casio cameras will also wait until everyone's sitting still before snapping. It's an effort to lessen blur in photos while boosting new sales in cameras.