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Hands-on with Hyundai L1030T, L8427, S800: Cars to cameras

We may only have heard of its cars, but Hyundai makes everything, including digital cameras. Next month may see UK debuts for the touchscreen L1030T, wide-angle L8427 and tough S800

With Photokina just around the corner, there wasn't a huge amount going on camera-wise at IFA. So we decided to have a look in the quieter corners of the Berlin gigantoshow to track down some stories -- we certainly weren't trying to find the fabled Penthouse magazine stand, oh no. And that's when we came across the Hyundai stand. Hyundai -- it's pronounced "day-ooooh", language fans -- is another of those foreign enormo-companies that makes everything from fridges to heatseeking missiles -- probably -- in its native land, but we've only ever heard of the cars. So imagine our surprise when we learnt that Hyundai is planning to launch a range of compact cameras in the UK next month.

Now this isn't going to turn the camera market upside down; in fact it may never happen at all, as no UK retailers are on board yet. But Hyundai has a leg up over, say, General Electric, in that people have actually heard of it, and in that the cameras look vaguely interesting, with a touchscreen, waterproof toughness and a wide-angle lens all in the mix.

Top of the range is the L1030T, a 10-megapixel point-and-shoot that only has two buttons at the back. Why? Because the 76mm (3-inch) LCD is a touchscreen. This follows the L1030, which is the same but without the T and without the touchscreen. Hang on: logical naming conventions? Hyundai really is new to the camera game!

The wide angles are covered by the L8427, an 8-megapixel model with a 28mm focal length, equivalent to a 35mm camera, and a 4x optical zoom. Zoom zoom indeed.

Thus far, these cameras are a bit like David Hasselhoff records, in that they're available in Germany but haven't quite made it over here yet. Click for the next picture to meet a camera that may -- if it's even possible -- be tougher than the Hoff himself. -Rich Trenholm

The S800 brings up memories of Olympus' successful tough range, like the mju 1030SW. It's an 8-megapixel snapper which is waterproof to 3m, drop-proof from 1m, and frost-proof to -5°C -- which coincidentally is the air-conditioning setting in Crave Towers.

The range is rounded out by a selection of AA battery-powered models starting at 5-megapixels and €59 (£48).