Steady that shot
| | Panasonic's 3.2-megapixel DMC-LC50 | |
Panasonic's 4-megapixel DMC-FX5 has a special talent: its 3X Leica zoom lens is optically stabilized. That makes it the only pocket digicam available with optical stabilization to prevent blurry shots resulting from camera shake--a feature usually reserved for larger megazoom models. It also offers a quick continuous-shooting mode and video-clip capture with sound. The FX5 will be available in March for $449. Panasonic also updated its LC series with the 3.2-megapixel DMC-LC50 and the 4-megapixel DMC-LC70, both very compact models that sport 3X zoom lenses, record QuickTime videos, and, like the FX5, use Panasonic's new Venus Engine LSI processor to achieve faster shooting speed. The LC50 and LC70 will hit the market in March at $250 and $300, respectively. Kodak gets stylish
Kodak's EasyShare line emphasizes ease of use above all, and it hasn't been part of the stylish digicam crowd. But the 4-megapixel EasyShare LS743 changes that with its sleek, ultracompact aluminum body. It incorporates a 2.8X Scheider-Kreuznach zoom lens, Kodak's new Color Science processing chip, and compatibility with Kodak's EasyShare docks and software. The LS743 will be available in March for $349, and a 5-megapixel version will hit the market in June for an as-yet-unnamed price.
Nikon will ship replacements for its popular Coolpix 2100 and 3100 models in February. The 2-megapixel Coolpix 2200 ($199) and 3-megapixel Coolpix 3200 ($299) retain their predecessors' comfortable ergonomics and 3X zoom lenses, although the new cameras are even more compact. They offer 15 scene modes and 5 color modes apiece, as well as 30fps 640x480 video capture and an autofocus assist light for better shots in low light. More compact, more megapixels
Casio bumps its pocket camera resolution up to 5 megapixels with the $400 QV-R51. Although it's very compact, it still sports a 2-inch LCD and a 3X zoom lens, as well as a well-rounded point-and-shoot feature set. You should see it in stores by the end of January. Samsung has added a 5-megapixel to its Digimax line, too. The $380 V50 puts a handy 2-inch swiveling LCD on a sleek aluminum body. It captures 640x480 MPEG-4 video and offers some higher-end features, such as autobracketing, a full range of exposure modes, and TIFF capture. The V50 gets points for flexibility by taking both SD/MMC and Memory Stick Duo media, as well as supporting nine battery types. Samsung also introduced the step-down 4-megapixel V40 for $300. Samsung's fun digicam
If you're tired of all the photo-geek talk but still like to take a snapshot now and then, you might like Samsung's new Digimax U-CA 3. This ultracompact 3-megapixel model may not have a very fast 3X zoom lens or fully manual exposure, but it does offer you the unique ability to create animated avatars for display on the camera's LCD, the Web, or a cell phone. That means you can incorporate facial features from a photograph of your most pretentious camera-geek friend into a dancing cartoon character that will pop up on the screen every time he or she runs out of batteries and has to borrow your Samsung. This capability can be yours for only $230.