If you're searching for a new digital camera, here are our top picks for what's landing in stores soon.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300
Availability: March 2013
The outlook: For the HX300, it's all about the 50x zoom lens and the wide assortment of shooting options including Sony's best-in-class Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode and high-speed shooting of up to 10fps at 20-megapixel resolution.
The outlook: Though it's already in stores, those headed out on spring and summer vacations will want to check out the TG-2. An update to one of the best rugged cameras from 2012, the TG-1, it has the same 12-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, a 4x f2.0-4.9 25-100mm lens with an adapter ring for add-on lenses, and a high-res 3-inch OLED screen. However, waterproofing has been improved -- it's now good for dives down to 50 feet -- and it has a new Microscopic Macro function digitally boosts zoom magnification from 4x to 14x and aperture-priority mode.
The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2 iHS, announced at CES 2013, should be a very good camera because it's basically the same as its predecessor.
The outlook: Geared more for enthusiasts than the Sony HX300 is, the HS50EXR packs a 42x f2.8-5.6 24-1000mm lens, and it's a manual zoom, so you get finer control over focal lengths than you would a motorized zoom. It's new Q button gives you quick access to your important settings. And there's a hot shoe for adding a flash as well as a mic jack for an external mic when shooting 1080/60p movies.
The outlook: The follow-up to 2012's generally excellent ZS20, it has the same 20x, f3.3-6.4, 24-480mm lens, but gets improved image stabilization, more creative shooting features including the option to add filters to panorama shots, and 120fps high-speed HD MP4 movie capture for slow-motion clips. It also has built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, which allows for fast pairing with an NFC-enabled smartphone.
The outlook: A fixed-focal-length lens model with an APS-C sensor along the lines of Fujifilm's popular X100 and X100s, the Coolpix A's price may put off a lot of folks who simply want a high-quality compact, but may attract potential buyers experiencing sticker shock from the full-frame Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1.
The outlook: This follow-up to the P310 sits in a gray area for compact cameras; it offers advanced controls, a fast-ish lens, and shifts to a larger sensor over its predecessor, but it's a backside-illuminated sensor and the lens gets pretty narrow. The big question will be if it's enough of a better camera over what most people can get for about $250.
The outlook: With the NEX-3N, Sony hits a new low price for its NEX interchangeable-lens camera models. Hopefully, the street price will hit $399, which is the most that a lot of the camera's target audience will want to pay, regardless of feature set.
The outlook: Sony morphs its entry-level dSLR-style intechangeable-lens camera line into this single model, which looks like it offers an up-to-date alternative to similarly priced but older models from Canon and Nikon.
The outlook: Essentially a miniaturized version of the EOS Rebel T5i, the SL1 promises to be the smallest dSLR to date. Plus it incoporates an updated version of the hybrid CMOS sensor which integrates both contrast autofocus and phase-detection AF technologies for better autofocus during video shooting.