2006 was a big year for digital photography. We saw standard features improve and new technologies enter the market.
An ever-increasing number of units added image stabilisation to their feature set, megapixels increased as did the size of LCDs, and a slew of new entry-level dSLRs tempted point-and-shoot users to take the plunge into professional photography.
The development of waterproof and shockproof capabilities in models such as Olympus' Wi-Fi means you can now tranfer images wirelessly from the camera itself, rather than having to fumble with cords and connect to a computer. Cameras such as the come bundled with software that pair the camera to a GPS module, allowing images to be geographically "tagged" with to pinpoint where they were taken.gave us more flexibility to capture an active lifestyle without worrying about damaging hardware. Built-in
Making the most of its three-inch LCD screen, the IXUS 65 lends itself to those who prefer to show off their photos immediately. An array of colour options gives the best possible chance to get the shot right first time, so you can make the most of the camera's slideshow presentation.
Olympus' upgrade to the Tough 720SW increases its waterproofing to 5 metres, offers an Underwater Snap scene mode and adds Nightproof technology via a dedicated "ISO booster" button.
Nikon's newest midlevel dSLR has a solid feature set that should make it a favourite for experienced photographers or even for SLR newbies who crave more power than the D50's.
The Cyber-shot DSC-T10 is a good overall camera. It combines functionality with a beautiful design and the built-in features mean that even the least experienced photographer can take a decent shot.
The Ricoh Caplio R4 is a great point and shoot camera with impressive zoom capabilities, but it's not for those with large fingers or tight jeans pockets.
With its built-in image stabilisation and comfy mix of manual and automatic features, the Pentax K100D is one of the best dSLR bargains on the market.
It's small, cheap, and fast, but this 7-megapixel shooter is hindered by a couple of irritating flaws.
The Nikon Coolpix S6 is a stylish performer with a handy control wheel, but its Wi-Fi implementation feels almost like an afterthought.
Low-light shooters will love that the Fujifilm FinePix F30's screen actually lets you see through the darkness and that its high ISOs produce usable photos with acceptable levels of noise.
While the FX07 may not be as enticing to users who own a similar, but older, shooter, we feel it warrants a quick look to unearth the differences.