While we're not sure about its "background defocusing" feature — seems like opening up the aperture would do the same thing — the new Olympus SP-800UZ ($350) is a strong contender otherwise. It sports a 30x optical zoom, a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, a 3-inch wide-screen LCD, 720p HD video recording, CCD-shift image stabilization, SD/SDHC compatibility, Face Detection AF, and HDMI output, all crammed in a compact, stylish body.
We don't know why it's taken them so long, but Nikon has finally outed a camera capable of Full 1080p HD video recording. The Nikon Coolpix P100 ($400) packs HD video in a semi-compact body, as well as a 10.3 megapixel backside illumination CMOS sensor, a 26x Optical Wide Angle Zoom-NIKKOR lens, a 3-inch variable-angle LCD, program, shutter priority, aperture priority, and manual modes for complete photographic control, five-way vibration reduction, ISO up to 3200, built-in HDR, 10fps shooting at full resolution or 120fps at 1.1 megapixels, Active D-Lighting — one of our favorite features on the company's DSLRs — and HDMI out, all adding up to a do-it-all camera that can easily fit in a man bag or cargo pocket.
Been lusting after the SLR styling of a micro four-thirds camera but can't foot the sizable bill? The Pentax Optio I-10 ($300; February 2010) is a reasonable alternative. Available in black or white, it features retro SLR styling, including a leatherette front panel, Pentax logo front and center, and a decidedly old-school control layout, and while it lacks the interchangeable lenses of a micro four-thirds cam, it partially makes up for it with a 5x 28mm-140mm equivalent optical zoom lens, a mechanical sensor-shift shake reduction system, a 12.1-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch widescreen LCD, ISO up to 6400, and 720p HD video capture.