cameras announced lately you'd think this past week was the only time manufacturers were allowed to rustle up new models. We've already Craved a passel of fine cameras, and here we're going to round up some of our favourites from the rest of the stampede of snappers: the Fujifilm S100FS, Olympus mju 1030 SW, GE G2 and E1050, Sony Cybershot DSC-T300 and Sigma DP1.is over for another year, and judging by the flood of new
Each of the big manufacturers unveiled a tranche of compacts, with slimmer bodies, larger screens and features such as blink detection appearing. On the dSLR front, live view and larger screens were de rigeur, and the innovative feature du jour was expanded dynamic range. The other big development was Sony's 35mm CMOS sensor, a 24-megapixel chip the same size as a frame of 35mm film.
We start our round-up with Fuji's top-of-the-range model, the Fujifilm S100FS. The S100FS is the company's attempt to offer a camera advanced to provide an alternative to the SLRs of its competitors, with a number of features borrowed from the Fujifilm S5 Pro.
A large 2/3-inch CCD sensor is one of the things that puts the 11-megapixel S100FS above the average compact. An optically stabilised 14.3x zoom lens qualifies this as a superzoom, with an equivalent 35mm focal length of 28-400mm. It also includes the interesting tilting screen design we also saw on the Pentax and Samsung dSLRs announced before PMA, although here it's a 64mm (2.5-inch) version.
A system for expanding dynamic range by film simulation is available, as is a whopping maximum sensitivity of ISO 10,000. This is only available at a reduced 3-megapixel resolution, but we can't wait to test this latest part of Fujifilm's ongoing commitment to low-light photography.
Click through the links to meet the other cameras that stood out from the herd. -Rich Trenholm
Being clumsy cowhands, we always love to hear about tough technology. If the Steve McQueen of cameras -- rugged, but great-looking -- then the mju 1030 SW is Charles Bronson. With its exposed screws and robust black trim, this is a knockabout camera for the dusty trail.was the
The 10-megapixel 1030 SW is waterproof to 10m and will survive drops from 2m, freezing to temperatures as low as -10 deg C, and being trampled with up to 100kg. It comes in silver, black and British racing green duds. You also get a 3.6x wide zoom, equivalent to 28-102mm on a 35mm camera.
The 1030 SW will be available from February 2008 for £320, with its equally sturdy little pardner the mju 850 SW costing £230.
WeGeneral Electric's new range earlier this year, and now we've been introduced to the actual cameras. The GE G2 is a snappily titled 8-megapixel compact with a 4x optical zoom in a slender, 18mm frame.
Like most of the new range, the G2 boasts a 69mm (2.7-inch) screen, face detection and a clever blink-detection system.
Speaking of our Yank friends at General Electric, say howdy to another digital compact with an HDMI connnection -- following the Samsung L85. It's the top-end GE, the E1050. This 10-megapixel model boasts a large 5x optical zoom. It also shows off a giant 76mm (3-inch) touchscreen.
Like the other GE Joes, the E1050 includes panorama stitching for those grand vistas.
As well as developing the 35mm sensor, Sony was busy on the camera front. The W series of smile-shootin' compacts is joined by new entries to the S series, now juiced by lithium-ion batteries rather than AA. We also meet the Sony Cybershot DSC-T300. Like the iPhone, it only has one button -- the shutter -- and like Apple's mobile, the T300 boasts touchscreen controls, lots of features, and sleek minimalist design.
As well as the truly enormous 89mm (3.5-inch) screen, the 10-megapixel T300 claims to be able to tell the difference between children's and adult faces. It remains to be seen how it would cope with the Krankies -- or Gary Coleman, for our colonial cousins.
Update: Read our full Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300 review.
The leader of the PMA pack, by a long trail, has to be lens experts Sigma'sDP1. It's a compact camera with an APS size sensor. This means the sensor is up to 12x bigger than the average compact.
The 14-megapixel DP1 shoots raw files and boasts a hotshoe, 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen and viewfinder. It has a 28mm equivalent lens, although it doesn't have an optical zoom. It's also top of our Christmas list.