If you've already got an HDTV at home but don't yet have camcorder to match, check out the Canon HV10 HD Camcorder ($1020). This puppy is diminutive in size, but big on features — features like true 16:9 recording in everything from 480 to 1080p, with a 10x zoom, 2.96 megapixel sensor for still images, a Super-Range Optical Image Stabilizer to reduce "shakey-cam" footage, and a 2.7 widescreen LCD. You'll never have another Standard Definition holiday.
With all the focus being put on prosumer digital SLR cameras, it's about time someone designed one for the point-and-shoot crowd. With the capabilities of a dSLR and the ease-of-use of a pocket shooter, the compact and lightweight Nikon D40 ($600; Dec. 06) is ready to go with a 6.1-megapixel sensor, nearly instant startup, the ability to shoot 2.5 pictures per second, in-camera image editing, and a simplified menu system with built-in help. It's got a 2.5 inch LCD, eight preset modes, SD storage, and a 18-55mm Nikkor lens. The perfect model for a photography novice looking to make the jump to an SLR.
We've said before on Uncrate that a camera is really only as good as its lens, and that lens won't do you much good if it's covered in smudges and dust. The Nikon Lens Pen Cleaning System ($8) is a simple, easy-to-use lens-cleaning system. One end holds a retractable brush that takes care of wiping any dust or debris away, while the other end polishes out
smudge marks. It's highly portable, and
will work on other optics as well — such
as binoculars and telescopes.