A New Wave of Cameras for 2011

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New Olympus Cameras: Compact Zoomers and a Sub-$100 Shooter

Olympus is the latest big-name camera manufacturer to announce a handful of new models for the coming year, introducing three new point-and-shoot cameras to its 2011 lineup today.

The 18X-optical-zoom Olympus SZ-10 pocket megazoom, 12.5X-optical-zoom Olympus VR-320, and affordable ultraslim Olympus VG-110 will all hit stores by the end of March.

Olympus SZ-10: 18X Zoom Lens and 3D Shooting

The 14-megapixel SZ-10 serves up an optical zoom range of 18X (28mm to 504mm) despite having a body that's just 1.5 inches deep. The camera offers dual mechanical/digital image stabilization and Olympus's new 3D shooting mode, which Olympus mentioned in its CES announcements this year.

Also in the feature set are three new creative Magic Art Filters, which join existing Olympus in-camera effects such as a fish-eye lens simulator, a line-drawing filter, and a pop-art effect. The new Watercolor filter mimics the look and feel of a painting; a Sparkle filter makes lights look all twinkly; and a Punk filter converts photos into two-tone images.

Rounding out the SZ-10's bag of tricks are 720p high-definition video recording in .AVI format, motion-tracking autofocus, in-camera help guides, a 3-inch LCD screen, and Eye-Fi card compatibility.

The SZ-10 appears to lack a mode dial and manual controls, meaning that the camera's Auto and scene modes probably handle shooting; navigating the camera is likely to be done entirely via on-screen menus.

Due in March, the Olympus SZ-10 will be priced at $250. It comes in black or silver.

Olympus VR-320: A Slimmer, Ultra-Wide-Angle Pocket Megazoom

A second pocket megazoom, the 12.5X-optical-zoom Olympus VR-320, offers more coverage on the wide-angle end (24mm to 300mm) and has a frame that's slightly more than 1 inch deep.

The 14-megapixel VR-320 has most of the same in-camera guides and features as the SZ-10, minus the 3D mode and the Eye-Fi compatibility. It has dual image stabilization, shoots 720p video, offers the new Magic Art Filters, has motion-tracking autofocus, and packs a 3-inch LCD.

The Olympus VR-320 is also due in March, priced at $200. It's available in black, silver, blue, or red.

Olympus VG-110: Wallet-Friendly Pocket Camera

Arriving in February, the Olympus VG-110 will sell for just $99--and the 12-megapixel camera has some decent specs for the price.

Its 4X optical zoom lens (26mm to 104mm) lacks image stabilization, but the camera has the new Sparkle and Punk art filters, motion-tracking autofocus, in-camera help guides, and a 2.7-inch LCD in a 0.8-inch-deep body.

The VG-110 comes in black, red, or silver.

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