Seven Unique Cameras That Do Things Differently

These new DSLRs, point-and-shoots, and camcorders have special, unusual, and just plain cool features that set them apart from the camera crowd.

These Cameras Are Not Like the Others

Among all the new point-and-shoots, DLSRs, and camcorders that were recently announced, quite a few have unique features that make them stand out. From a complex new DSLR mirror (Sony a55) to a simple idea that we can't believe took so long to become reality (the USB connector on Samsung's PL90), each of these cameras has a little something special.

Fast DSLR With a Translucent Mirror

What makes Sony's normal-looking a55 DSLR a speedy, state-of-the-art camera is its translucent mirror. Light can pass through the mirror, straight to the camera's sensors and phase-detection autofocus sensor. This design allows the camera to capture images faster, particularly during continuous shooting. The 16.2-megapixel a55 can shoot up to 10 frames per second in speed priority mode, and an impressive 6 fps in continuous-shooting mode. Users can record HD video with continuous autofocus, and the camera even has built-in GPS.

Two Lenses, Three Dimensions

If you haven't had your fix of 3D entertainment yet this year, Fuijifilm has the camera for you. The recently released FinePix Real 3D W3 is the company's second 3D camera; the Real 3D W1 was unveiled at PMA 2009. The compact W3 offers impressive features for a point-and-shoot, such as manual controls and innovative shooting modes--but it also has 3D abilities that set it apart. The two-lens camera has dual 10-megapixel sensors that capture the same image from different perspectives. It can shoot 720p HD 3D video, and it has an HDMI-out port for viewing photos and videos on compatible TVs. In 2D mode, the W3 has a wide range of effects and settings for each lens.

Built-In USB Connector

At first glance, Samsung's PL90 point-and-shoot camera doesn't look different from other inexpensive compacts. But hidden within is a pop-out USB connector that saves you the trouble of hunting down a cable to upload images or charge the battery. Although a built-in USB connector is not uncommon in pocket camcorders, it sets the PL90 apart from other point-and-shoot cameras. Beyond the connector, the PL90 is a solid point-and-shoot with decent specs. The 12-megapixel camera has a 2.7-inch LCD screen, and a 4X optical zoom. The video isn't HD, but not having to dig through drawers for a cable might make up for that.

Miniprojector and Camera in One

The Coolpix S1100pj isn't Nikon's first attempt at a point-and-shoot with a projector, but this second-generation camera packs a little more punch than its predecessor. The front-mounted projector has a brightness rating of 14 lumens. As if that weren't enough, the S1100pj also has a decent selection of in-camera editing modes and transition effects, plus the ability to add music to in-camera slideshows. Its 3-inch touchscreen LCD allows users to draw on the images projected. In addition to being boardroom-savvy, the Coolpix S1100pj holds its own as a point-and-shoot camera, with the ability to record 720p HD video.

A Compact Camera Built Like a Tank

An active lifestyle can be pretty rough on a camera, but Panasonic's new rugged point-and-shoot can take the abuse. The Lumix DMC-TS10 can survive the elements better than most humans: It's shock-proof, dust-proof, freeze-proof (down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit), drop-proof (for falls of 5 feet or less), and waterproof (as deep as 10 feet under the surface). Additionally, the 2.7-inch LCD screen has an antireflective coating. This tough camera's features are sure to come in handy when you're outdoors, but its optically stabilized 4X-optical-zoom lens, 14-megapixel sensor, and high-speed autofocus make it a great tool anytime.

Camcorder Shoots in 2D, 3D, and HD

Panasonic's new 3D camcorder, the HDC-SDT750K, is a consumer-level version of the professional-grade Panasonic AG-3DA1. It offers a detachable dual-lens 3D converter that lets you record three-dimensional footage and play it on a compatible TV set. The specs are impressive: It supports optical zoom up to 12X and records 2D in 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 60 frames per second, as well as right-and-left-eye 3D video at 960 by 1080 pixels. For playback (viewable with active-shutter 3D glasses), you can connect the camera to a 3D-capable HDTV with an HDMI cable or use a Blu-ray player attached to a 3D TV. You'll be putting Avatar to shame in no time.

Point-and-Shoot With Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi on a camera is a convenient timesaver, and with products such as an Eye-Fi card, it's accessible on most devices. Samsung cuts out the middleman with its Wi-Fi-enabled ST80. When you buy the 14-megapixel touchscreen camera, you get a free 90-day trial of Boingo Wireless, which hosts Wi-Fi hotspots at many restaurants and hotels; afterward, subscribing to the service costs $8 per month. Once you're connected, you can e-mail or upload photos and videos directly to sites like Facebook, Photobucket, or YouTube. The ST80 can also connect wirelessly with DLNA-compliant devices such as digital photo frames.

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