Regardless of how good of photos you can shoot on your iPhone, there are some situations that just call for a DSLR. The Pentax Q7 Camera ($500) presents a great compromise between size and features for when all you want to do is shoot great photos on the move. It's the smallest interchangeable-lens camera, and comes packed with everything you would expect from a full-sized camera — adjustable aperture and shutter speed, manual and auto focus, a three inch LCD screen, and a 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor. You can also customize the body and grip in 120 different combinations, letting you really make it your own.
Call us luddites if you want, but we appreciate few things more than completely disconnecting and doing something with our hands. The Lomography Konstruktor DIY Camera Kit ($35) contains everything you need to build a fully-functional 35mm camera (yes that precludes posting to Instagram) from scratch, combining our passion for the maker mentality with our love for photography. In only about thirty minutes, you can build your own plastic analog camera, customize it with decals, load it with film, and start shooting. Then all you need to do is find somewhere that actually still processes the stuff.
The name Hasselblad has inspired lust among professional photographers for decades, and for good reason — it's synonymous with quality, from large-format cameras to studio DSLRs. The Hasselblad Lunar Camera ($7,000), pays tribute to the 500C of 1957, the first camera ever in space. The 24 megapixel CMOS sensor, lenses, and other innards are all Swedish, while the exterior sports an Italian design and luxury materials (mahogany, leather, even gold). Advanced image stabilization keeps your photos clear in situations that typically call for a tripod. It comes standard with an 18-55mm focal-range lens (short- and long-range lenses are also available).
Pinhole cameras represent one of the most basic forms of photography — but that doesn't mean they have to be inelegant. ONDU Pinhole Cameras ($60-$200) are made from high-quality woods and feature classy designs with rounded corners and simple shapes, letting you enjoy and explore pinhole photography without the odd looks that can come from using more primitive devices. They're available in 135, 135 panoramic, 6x6, 6x12 Multiformat, 4" x 5", and sliding box models, and are expected to ship in October.
Sure, you can make time lapse videos using just about any camera — but if it doesn't have a built-in intervalometer, you might end up clicking the camera button yourself, and in any case you're going to spend some time converting those stills into a video. Or you could just use the Brinno HDR TIme Lapse Camera ($400). Made specifically for the task, the Brinno features a 1.3 megapixel HDR image sensor that it uses to produce 720p time lapse video, with the ability to set the interval between frames from 0.3 seconds to 24 hours. It also features a CS lens mount, so you can swap out the included 14 mm f/2.0 lens for a wide range of glass. Once it's done shooting, all you need to do is pop out the SD card, pop it into your computer, and enjoy the video that's already been assembled.
The company claims that "the only thing about it that's retro is its looks", and we tend to agree. Inside the classy, compact silver, white, or black metal body of the Olympus PEN E-P5 Camera ($1,000-$1,450) lies an advanced 16 megapixel TruePic VI Live MOS sensor that pairs with Micro Four Thirds lenses to become a formidable shooter. Features include fast Super Spot AF, a 5-axis image stabilization system, dual control dials, built-in Wi-Fi, a mechanical shutter capable of 1/8000th of a second shooting, 1080/30p video recording, and a sharp, tilting 3-inch touchscreen monitor. Coming later this month by itself, or in a kit with a 17mm f/1.8 lens and electronic viewfinder.
Used to be if you wanted a large range of zoom, you either had to buy a DSLR with a mammoth lens or go to one of the nearly DSLR-sized point-and-shoot super zooms. Boy have times changed. The Sony Cyber-shot HX50 Camera ($450) packs an impressive 30x optical zoom into a body that's just 4.4" x 2.6" x 1.2" and weighs under 10 oz, making it the smallest and lightest 30x zoom on the market. Other features include enhanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, a 20.4 megapixel sensor, a Bionz image processor, built-in Wi-Fi, dedicated exposure compensation and P/A/S/M mode dials, and the ability to capture Full HD movies at 60p. Arriving in stores next month.
Just in case you missed it, it looks like DSLR-sized sensors in compact bodies is this year's photography trend — and the Ricoh GR ($800) is the latest to join the crowd. Weighing in at just 8.6 oz., the new GR features an APS-C-sized, 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, a fixed 28mm f/2.8 lens, the new GR Engine V imaging processor, ISO sensitivity up to 25600, improved autofocus, and the obligatory 1080p video recording. It's not as super-retro as some of its competition, but its plain looks might help ward off unwanted attention — which might be more important, anyway.
Never worry about battery life again with the Sun & Cloud Camera ($200). This small, squarish camera features a solar panel on the top to charge the battery in sunlight, a hand crank on the side to charge manually, and a USB port for more traditional energy restoration. On the technical side, it sports a paltry 3-megapixel CMOS sensor that's made interesting by the inclusion of 15 built-in filters, three shooting models, high-power LED lights for nighttime shooting, and a built-in mic for video recording. In other words, it's for artsy shots, not for trying to shoot your next cover photo.
Breathtaking underwater photos? Awesome. Paying more than you paid for your camera for a dedicated housing? Not so awesome. Outex Waterproof Camera Covers ($190 and up) offer a reasonably-priced alternative, hermetically sealing your DSLR from the world and giving you protection from mud, snow, and water to depths of 30+ feet. Simply select the cover, lens attachment, and viewfinder that's right for your setup, bolt on any accessories you need, and start making some photos.
Nikon loyalists looking for a high-end compact no longer need to run to the arms of Sony, Fuji, or — gasp! — Canon. The Nikon Coolpix A ($1,100) fills this gap in the lineup by pairing a 16.2 megapixel DX-format sensor with an all-glass 18.5mm f/2.8 prime lens that allows for a body that's easily stuffed into a jacket pocket. Other features include 4 fps burst shooting, full manual exposure controls, a manual focus ring, the ability to shoot RAW files, 1080p video recording, a 3-inch LCD monitor, and a Macro mode that allows for snapping shots from just four inches away. Coming later this month.
If you're going to carry a ruggedized camera, it might as well be one that looks the part. With a camouflage, black, and dark grey body, the Nikon Coolpix AW110 Camo Camera ($350) certainly qualifies. Beyond just looking tough, the AW110 offers built-in Wi-Fi for easy, fast sharing, built-in GPS to record the location of every shot, a 16 mp sensor, Full HD 1080p video recording, and a waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof build that candle nearly any condition you can throw at it.