One of the most prominent parts of the effort to make small but powerful cameras came when Olympus and Panasonic developed the Micro Four Thirds standard for cameras that live halfway between point-and-shoots and bulkier SLRs. The standard combines the relatively large and high-quality image sensors of the companies' single-lens reflex cameras with smaller bodies and lenses.
The first Micro Four Thirds model is Panasonic's DMC-G1, which costs about $670 with a 14-45mm lens. Panasonic and Olympus both plan other models for 2009.
Olympus has been showing off this compact Micro Four Thirds camera. Micro Four Thirds lenses are interchangeable, as shown here, and lenses from Panasonic and Olympus full-fledged Four Thirds SLRs can fit on with an adapter.
Casio's EX-FH20 can shoot video at 420 frames per second at a resolution of 224x168 or 1,000 frames per second at 224x56. That's not a lot of pixels, but super slow motion nevertheless can be entertaining to see.
The $600 camera also can shoot a burst of 40 still images per second at its full 7-megapixel resolution.
The $350 EX-FS10, announced in January, is one of Casio's lower-end cameras that brings high-speed abilities. It can shoot as many as 30 frames per second at full resolution. Casio is bringing its high-speed technology from the high end to more affordable models.
Canon's PowerShot G10, with 15 megapixels, a sturdy construction, and a price of about $410, is the latest in Canon's G line of high-end compact cameras. For the most part, its features are conventional, but it has plenty of bells and whistles for advanced photographers. Its sensor also is larger than that of most point-and-shoot cameras, though still smaller and therefore less light-sensitive than SLR sensors.