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Sony Cyber-Shot T500

Sony Cyber-Shot T500

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.

  • Olympus Stylus 1050 SW

    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.

  • Nikon Coolpix P6000

    Another half-way-between-a-point-and-shoot-and-an-SLR-camera is the Nikon Coolpix P6000 ($500). The 13.5-megapixel flagship Coolpix camera features a 4x wide-angle optical Zoom-Nikkor glass lens, a 2.7-inch LCD and optical viewfinder, and a built-in GPS unit that records the exact location where your pictures were taken. The P6000 also offers my Picturetown connectivity, Nikon's EXPEED image processing concept, and support for Coolpix RAW mode (.NRW) with Windows Imaging Component.