Somewhere between dSLR and pocket cam lies the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 ($TBA; November 2008). As the world's first camera to use the Micro Four Thirds standard, the G1 offers the interchangeable lenses and power of a dSLR, but in a more compact body. Features include a 3-inch flip-out LCD, contrast Autofocus, a 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor, and a full complement of manual, semimanual, automatic, and semiautomatic shooting capabilities. Just give us a Leica Micro Four Thirds lens, and we'll be all set. [via]
Forget the plain ol' pocket cam — the new Sony Cyber-Shot T500 ($400; September 2008) shoots both pictures and 720p HD video. It packs a 10-megapixel sensor, a Carl Zeiss 5x optical zoom lens, optical Steady Shot image stabilization, Memory Stick storage, and more. Big camera power in pocket-friendly form.
Finally something to get excited about in the land of cameras. The long-rumored Nikon D90 is the world's first digital SLR camera to do HD video recording. That's right, in addition to taking beautiful photos, you'll now be able to flip a switch to record 720p/24fps HD movie clips directly to your SD card. At the heart of the D90 is a powerful CMOS image sensor and 12.3 effective megapixels, supported by Nikon's Scene Recognition and Face Detection systems, a broad ISO range (200 to 3200), and a 3-inch high-resolution LCD screen with Live View shooting mode. The D90 will be available as a body only ($1,000) or with a new AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens ($1,300).
Canon takes another leap forward in the dSLR arms race with the Canon EOS 50D ($1,400; October 2008). The 15-megapixel prosumer model is the company's first to sport the new DIGIC 4 processor, promising features like peripheral illumination correction, ISO sensitivity of up to 12,800, a 3-inch, 920,000 dot LCD, Live View, a self-cleaning system, and more. Pair it with Canon's new 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens ($700) and get shooting. [via]
Like its predecessor, the Olympus Stylus 1050 SW ($300; Oct.) is one of the toughest compact digital cameras you can buy. But there's more brains to go with the ruggedness this time around. This shockproof (5ft.), waterproof (10ft.) and freezeproof (14°F) camera has new Tap Control functionality that lets you activate settings just by tapping the top, back or sides of the motion-sensitive camera body. Buttons? We don't need no stinking buttons. The 10.1-megapixel shooter — available in blue, champagne, silver and black — also features Face Detection, Smile Shot, and an in-camera panorama mode.