Ten Stylish Cameras
All decked out for the holidays? You need one more accessory: a sexy snapper (a camera, not a fish) that will let you capture precious holiday moments without detracting from your outfit. We've rounded up ten of the slimmest, most stylish point-and-shoots of the season, all of which are sure to wow your family and friends. (And any of these cameras would also make a great gift for the fashionistas in your crowd.)
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1
The sexy Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 10.2-megapixel, touchscreen camera comes in five different colors--gold, silver, pink, blue, and black--and features a sliding front panel to protect the 4X-optical-zoom lens. Weighing in at 5 ounces and measuring 3.75 by 2.38 by 0.66 inches, it's light enough and slim enough to fit in a coat pocket or a clutch.
Though we found the touchscreen a bit gimmicky--and not terribly useful if you want to switch settings quickly--it was implemented well. Since you're unlikely to be changing settings quickly in, say, a casual holiday-party situation, the touchscreen shouldn't be a problem.
The Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 has satisfying image quality, shoots video in 720p HD, and features some cool settings, such as "Anti-Motion Blur" (which takes six pictures at once and combines them to create a sharp image). It costs $324 as of 12/9/09.
Samsung DualView TL225
The Samsung DualView TL225 has a nifty, never-before-seen feature: a second, front-facing LCD screen that sits to the left of the 4.6X-optical-zoom lens. Though the extra screen saps battery life, it's perfect for fashion-conscious snapshooters who might like to, well, take photos of themselves in their latest ensembles before going out. The secondary LCD screen does a number of things: It displays a 3-2-1 countdown in self-timer mode, lets you compose a self-portrait in Portrait mode, and shows an animated clown in the Children scene mode.
You control the TL225 primarily through its bright 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen, which supports gesture controls (such as drawing an "X" on the screen to delete pictures); the camera also features a built-in accelerometer.
Regrettably, its images lack sharpness and color accuracy. The battery life is another significant drawback: The TL225 managed to get through only 182 photos on a single charge (most point-and-shoots take about 300). The camera costs $300 as of 12/11/09.
Canon PowerShot SD940 IS
The 12-megapixel Canon PowerShot SD940 IS comes in four colors: brown, black, blue, and silver. It's sleek, fashionable, and very compact at 3.5 by 2.2 by 0.8 inches and 4.9 ounces.
It features a wide-angle lens with 4X optical zoom (28mm to 112mm), a 2.7-inch LCD screen (no viewfinder), and good optical image stabilization. It shoots video in 720p HD (though movie mode has no optical zoom), and offers an HDMI output port.
The PowerShot SD940 IS costs $253 as of 12/11/09.
Canon PowerShot SD780 IS
The Canon PowerShot SD780 IS, the SD940 IS's less feature-packed sibling, is available in black, gold, red, and silver. It's as fashionable and sleek as the SD940, but it lacks a wide-angle lens (its lens has only 3X optical zoom, too). The SD780 IS, which measures 0.7 inch thick, sports a 2.5-inch LCD screen and an optical viewfinder, which is hard to find on digital cameras these days.
Along with a great flash, the PowerShot SD780 IS has impressive image quality (it received an image-quality score of Very Good in our tests) and good optical image stabilization. The camera also provides 20 scene modes, shoots video in 720p mode, and has an HDMI output port.
The PowerShot SD780 IS costs $200 as of 12/11/09.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8, equipped with a 4.8X optical zoom and optical image stabilization, is a pretty, 12.1-megapixel digital camera that comes in black, red, or silver. It features a Leica DC lens with "folding optics," and blue-LED buttons on the back.
The Lumix DMC-FP8 records video in 720p HD, offers an HDMI output port, includes 27 scene modes, and features face-recognition mode (which can recognize and name up to three people at once). At just 0.8 inch thick, the DMC-FP8 is ultraslim, so it can easily fit in a pocket or purse.
The Lumix DMC-FP8 costs $230 as of 12/11/09.
Touted by its maker as the "world's slimmest shock-resistant digital camera," the Casio EX-G1 is supposedly drop-, cold-, dust-, and waterproof. The EX-G1 isn't quite as stylish as some of the other, ultrachic cameras in this slideshow, but occasionally you have to sacrifice aesthetics if you want a tech device to survive.
Though the EX-G1 is only 0.78 inch thick (and 5.4 ounces), it should be able to withstand such extreme conditions as a drop from a height of up to 7 feet, or 60 minutes of use underwater (down to 10 feet deep). The 12.1-megapixel camera can shoot 480p movies, and it features fancy shooting modes such as "advanced dynamic photo" (which allows the user to cut a moving subject out of a number of images and put the subject in a separate still shot).
The EX-G1 is available in black or red, and costs $300 as of 12/14/09.
Nikon Coolpix S70
The 12.1-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S70 comes in four chic color combos: red/red, champagne/light brown, black/black, and champagne/beige. It features an awesomely large 3.5-inch touchscreen that supports gestures (such as finger swipes and pinching), dual image stabilization, and a 5X optical zoom.
Capable of shooting 720p HD video, the S70 is attractive overall. It measures 3.8 by 2.4 by 0.8 inches, weighs 5.7 ounces, and has a protective sliding front panel that covers the lens.
Though it is eye-catching and sexy, the Coolpix S70 is a bit on the expensive side for point-and-shoots: It costs $270 as of 12/14/09.
Pentax Optio P80
The 12.1-megapixel Pentax Optio P80 (follow-up to the Optio P70), is 0.8 inch thick and has a 4X-optical-zoom, ultrawide-angle lens (27.5mm to 110mm). It features a 2.7-inch LCD and digital image stabilization.
The Optio P80 can shoot video at 720p HD (at 30 frames per second, versus the Optio P70's 15-fps rate). It also has some nifty features, such as motion tracking (which keeps moving subjects in focus) and face detection (which can recognize up to 32 faces).
Available in light green, black, and white, the Optio P80 costs a decent $152 as of 12/14/09.
Fujifilm FinePix Z30
The Fujifilm FInePix Z30 is a fun, fashionable camera for the young--or the young at heart. The 10-megapixel camera comes in five colors: bright pink, bright purple, bright orange, white, and black. The case features rounded edges and a sliding panel that protects the lens.
In our image-quality tests, the FinePix Z30 received a score of Very Good for its sharpness and its superior exposure levels. The Z30 has a slightly grainy, 2.7-inch LCD and rubber button controls, which add to the camera's toylike feel.
The Z30 costs $100 as of 12/14/09.
Though the Olympus E-P1 shoots photos that approach DSLR quality, it's considerably smaller than such cameras, at only 4.75 by 3 by 1.5 inches. The 12.3-megapixel E-P1, evocative of old 35mm rangefinder cameras, is designed in a retro style, sporting silvery brushed metal and a black leather grip.
The EP-1 ships in two different configurations: with a 14-42mm zoom lens, or with a 17mm f2.8 lens and a clip-on viewfinder. The camera has no built-in flash or viewfinder, and the interface is a bit clunky and confusing. It is a pioneer of the Micro Four Thirds System, a standard for interchangeable lenses designed by Olympus and Panasonic.
For the casual shooter who wants close-to-SLR image quality, or the professional photographer who wants a good compact camera, the E-P1 is a great choice. It costs $689 in the 14mm-42mm lens configuration, as of 12/14/09.
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