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Everybody's doing the dSLR

It was formerly only the Nikons and Canons of the world who dared tread the treacherous path to the sacred cave where the digital SLR monster lurks -- now everyone wants a piece

Seems like we're back in the days of the North American land-grab all over again. But instead of settlers galloping cross-country on horses to seize land, it's electronics companies driving tinted Mercedes to digital SLR component manufacturers and begging for parts.

It seems like everyone wants a bit of dSLR action these days. It used to be that only the big guns like Canon (most recently with the 30D) and Nikon (with the D200) had any interest in this professional market. But corporate visionaries at Samsung and Panasonic have been keeping a greedy eye on the wedge-shaped graph that plots dSLR sales. Now they want to line their nests with the easy greenbacks this market is raining.

Samsung's man, sweating in the corner of the ring, is the GX-1L, which is the second dSLR model Samsung has developed jointly with Pentax. It's an entry-level, 6-megapixel camera with a very respectable Schneider lens system.

Panasonic are also new to the game. Yesterday it announced the DMC-L1, which "combines the operating feel of an analogue camera with Live View shooting and other ease-of-use features that are unique to digital cameras". The DMC-L1 uses Live MOS sensor and a Venus Engine III image-processing system. The DMC-L1 will ship later in the year. -CS