Ahead of CES, Samsung has announced the latest — albeit incremental — update to their point-and-shoot, the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 ($TBA). While much of it remains pretty much the same (you'll still find a 16-megapixel sensor, 21-times zoom lens, and a 4.8-inch LCD screen), it gets enough improvements to make most casual photographers happy. With increased battery capacity and reduction in weight, this web-connected, Android-powered camera-phone hybrid is now much more friendly for shooters on the move. Combine that with NFC photo sharing to your actual phone, a newer 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and an update to Android 4.3, and you get a powerful, fast camera that can easily share photos to a range of services no matter where you are.
If you're looking for a camera that flawlessly combines the aesthetic and feel of analog, with the functionality and utility of digital, then you need the Bolex D16 Cinema Camera ($3,300). From legendary 16-millimeter film camera makers Bolex, this camera features a Super 16mm-sized CCD sensor, a high-capacity solid state drive, and captures studio-quality sound and organic-looking video. It's designed to fit comfortably in your hand while you shoot, and accommodates a range of interchangeable lenses including traditional Bolex and C-mount. With plenty of ports, including HDMI, USB 3.0, the ability to hold dual CF cards, and included LightPost software, there's no limit to what you can do with your footage.
While their idea of pricing for a so-called consumer-level camera may leave most nonprofessional photographers scratching their heads (and checking their bank accounts), the Hasselblad Stellar Special Edition Cameras ($3,175) are still something to behold. With several options available, you can choose a white, black, or orange body, with either a carbon fiber, padouk, or wenge wood grip. Inside they feature the workings of the excellent Sony X100 camera, with a 28-100mm Carl Zeiss zoom lens, a 20-megapixel sensor, a wide ISO range, full HD video capability, and 3.6x optical zoom capability.
With all the advances in DSLR technology we've seen on the market lately, camera makers run the risk of losing touch with where they came from. The Nikon Df Camera ($3,000) is deeply in touch with its roots, bringing us a camera that's aesthetically inspired by classic 35mm film cameras, but packed with professionally-focused digital tech. Wrapped in leather and chrome and covered in dials and knobs galore, this full-frame camera features a 16.2 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor and Nikon's Expeed 3 processor. It ships with a 50mm f/1.8 lens, and is priced for professional photographers who want a slightly smaller body that doesn't sacrifice features (save, of course, its hard-to-ignore lack of video capability).
When you're packing to head out on a quick weekend trip, space can be tight, especially if you want to avoid checking your bags — so when you need a compact semi-professional camera that doesn't sacrifice image quality, you need the Olympus Stylus 1 Camera ($700). It features a single built-in f/2.8 10.7x 28-300 millimeter lens that retracts fully into the camera body, so you get great zoom without the bulk of a full telephoto lens. A 12 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor combined with the TruePicVI image processor gives you great images with fast response times. Additional features include an electronic viewfinder, three-inch LCD screen, WiFi connectivity, and a range of shooting modes.
While it retains all the internal specs of the previously-covered, non-limited-edition version, the Ricoh GR Limited Edition Camera ($900) receives a striking new visual treatment to help set you apart from the pack of shooters out there. This lightweight point-and-shoot still has a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, a fixed 28mm f/2.8 lens, full HD video, but it now has a metallic green wave-tone glossy body and a marbleized ebony grip. It will be available in a limited quantity starting in November, so get your hands on one before they all run out.
Whether you're trying to capture fast-moving adventure sports, or your kid's first soccer game, you need a camera that can handle motion without missing a beat. The Fujifilm X-E2 Camera ($1,400) features a lightning-quick processor, giving it the fastest autofocus speeds of any competitive cameras at just .08 seconds — so you'll never end up with an out-of-focus action shot. A 16 megapixel X-Trans CMOS II sensor in combination with the fast processor give it incredible image quality, rivaled only by full-frame cameras. Creative modes, WiFi connectivity, a three-inch LCD screen, full HD movie capability, and a range of compatible interchangeable lenses make it a great choice for the casual photographer.
Chances are — unless you aspire to be a professional-level photographer — you don't need a complex camera system with interchangeable lenses and a bunch of expensive accessories. If that's all you need, then the Panasonic Lumix GM1 ($750) single lens mirrorless camera is the one for you. Built with a 16 megapixel digital live MOS sensor on the micro four-thirds system standard, this camera captures high-resolution images and video, even in low light situations. The touch-operated three-inch monitor lets you easily view shots, while controlling the focus and shutter. WiFi connectivity lets you easily sync the camera with your smartphone or tablet, so you can instantly transfer photos or use it as a remote. The reinforced metallic alloy case means you won't have to worry about the occasional bump or ding, this camera will last for a while.
Like it or not, mirrored digital SLR cameras are quickly going the way of the 35 millimeter, being replaced by smaller, high-functioning mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras — and the Sony A7 Camera ($1,698) may just be the final coffin nail. The latest from Sony, this camera is the first mirrorless interchangeable lens system to feature a full-frame sensor (meaning its sensor is the same size as 35mm film), bringing it in line with a range of professional-quality DSLRs. The camera also features a weather-sealed body, compatibility with Sony's line of E-mount lenses, a 24.3 megapixel sensor, tiltable three-inch display, OLED electronic viewfinder, and much more. With all of that packed into the size of an average point-and-shoot, the days of bulky mirrored cameras are certainly numbered.
It's tough to find beautiful design and a good cause — it's especially tough to find them in one great product — but the Leica M RED Camera ($TBA) seems to have it all. This one-of-a-kind camera sports a machined aluminum aesthetic designed by Apple's unparalleled Senior Vice President of design Jony Ive, and is based on the Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera. Available at the next (Product) RED auction, this camera features (along with its gorgeous, unique design) a full-format CMOS sensor, a powerful processor, and a 50mm f/2 ASPH lens. It's the ideal intersection of design, craftsmanship, and charity.
For every luddite out there who misses the old days of analog photography, when photos weren't instantly shared to the web, but instead passed around from hand to hand, there's the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Camera ($200). This well-built, high-end instant camera goes beyond most of its competitors, adding various shooting modes for a range of applications, including: double exposure and macro modes for greater shooting creativity, party mode and speed mode for those tougher shots, and a bulb mode for long exposures at night. After you shoot, just develop, print, and pass around your photos on the spot — now that's sharing.
If you're in the habit of treating your camera like crap — or you just find yourself in situations that inevitably lead to it getting wet or dirty — it might be time to think about a Nikon 1 AW1 Camera ($800). As the world's first waterproof and shockproof interchangeable lens camera, it'll survive even the least-kind owner (it keeps water out down to a depth of almost 50 feet, and can withstand a six-foot fall). It comes standard with an 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and a wide angle 10mm f/2.8 lens is also available, both waterproof. It features a 14 megapixel sensor and HD video capability, as well as some features for adventurers like an altimeter, depth gauge, GPS, and a compass.