Photos: Special-purpose cameras for everyone

From the miniature to the waterproof, and from infrared to GPS, there's a digital camera to suit just about every need you can imagine.

Praktica Micropix
The Practica Micropix--barely a bauble. Praktica UK

How-to guides on photography sometimes advise that you exhale slowly as you squeeze the shutter release, so that you're not tense and shaky from holding your breath. If you breathe out when using the Olympus Stylus 790SW, however, you might end up with unwanted bubbles in your picture--it's designed to go into the swimming pool and still keep working.

That waterproof Olympus is just one of the quirky cameras that might suit your offbeat impulses for snapshooting. Some double as binoculars, perfect for birders who don't want to lose sight of that elusive cerulean warbler--or for private eyes on stakeout. Some you wear like a wristwatch, some you could tuck into a matchbox, and one from Hammacher Schlemmer looks like a lawn dart (but presumably is safer to use).

The digital SLR folks have their niche offerings, too. Canon's EOS 20Da, for instance, tries to help out when you're taking pictures in the dark, while Fujifilm's IS-1 works the infrared part of the spectrum.

For a closer look at those and other offbeat cameras, has just the spread: "Photos: Camera makers bring niches into focus."

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