Toshiba is, if not exactly pushing, at least leaning on the boundaries of consumer digital still cameras with the announcement this week of a 4Mp (megapixel) camera.

The Allegretto M81 is equipped with a 4.2Mp CCD (charge-coupled device). This enables it to produce images at a maximum resolution of 2,400x1,600 pixels. The Allegretto should cost around £415.

Other features include a 2.4x optical zoom and a 2.2x digital zoom. Combined, these mean a maximum 6x zoom. There's a new automatic white balance function and, like many digital still cameras, the Allegretto can also record video. It can be connected to a PC via USB or hooked up to a television.

Higher quality images mean larger files. This, in turn, means peope will need higher capacity memory cards if they are to store many images. The camera accepts SmartMedia cards and Toshiba says a 128MB card can hold 83 images taken in the camera's highest quality maximum resolution/fine mode. This increases to 124 and 249 images in normal and basic modes respectively.