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Explainer: Hottest camera announcements of Fall 2010

  • It's time to get started on your wish list. These enticing cameras and camcorders are due to hit stores right before the holiday shopping season, and they offer everything from 3D shooting to pocketable perfection.

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

    Image: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: Now available ($500)

    Panasonic's highly anticipated follow-up to the Lumix LX3 offers a bright F2.0 lens, 720p high-definition video with manual controls, RAW mode, very fast autofocus, an ultra-wide-angle 24mm lens, and full manual controls. Its redesigned 10-megapixel sensor is built for low-light shooting, and a test shot taken at ISO 3200 during a demo looked incredibly crisp for a photo snapped with a point-and-shoot camera.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

  • Sony Handycam NEX-VG10

    Image: Sony Handycam NEX-VG10
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: Late 2010 ($2,000 as a kit)

    Built around the same Exmor APS HD sensor and E-mount lenses as the excellent Sony Alpha NEX-5, the interchangeable-lens Handycam NEX-VG10 has a video-focused body with DSLR-like brains. It shoots 1920-by-1080 AVCHD video at 60 interlaced fields per second, and its maximum bit rate for video capture is 24 mbps. Sony's new camcorder will ship as a kit with a new optically stabilized 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 zoom lens.

    Sony Handycam NEX-VG10

  • Nikon D3100

    Image: Nikon D3100
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: September ($700 as a kit)

    Last winter, Nikon's D3000 digital SLR was a hit with consumers looking for an entry-level DSLR, thanks to its ease-of-use, in-camera guides, relatively small size, and Ashton-Kutcher-fueled ad campaign. The new Nikon D3100 ups the ante for the category with a 14-megapixel sensor backed by the new Expeed 2 image processor, plus continuous autofocus in 1080p AVCHD video mode, a wide array of shooting settings, and expanded in-camera guides for novice shooters. The D3100 comes as a kit with Nikon's image-stabilized AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens.


    Nikon D3100

  • Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR

    Image: Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: Now available ($330)

    A few years ago, you had to look to a beefy megazoom camera if you wanted a 15X optical zoom range; but the pocketable Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR serves up a wide-angle-to-telephoto reach of 24mm to 360mm in a body that's just 1.3 inches deep. The F300EXR bolsters that impressive zoom lens with full manual controls, aperture- and shutter-priority modes, 720p high-definition video capture, and Pro Focus and Pro Low Light settings that make good use of its EXR sensor's multiple shooting modes.

    Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR

  • Canon PowerShot S95

    Image: Canon PowerShot S95
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: Now available ($400)

    Canon's latest pocketable powerhouse has some big shoes to fill. Its older sibling, the Canon PowerShot S90, is currently our top-rated point-and-shoot camera. The new PowerShot S95 starts with a spec list that boasts all the strengths of the S90--an F2.0 lens, RAW mode, focus- and exposure-bracketing, and manual controls--plus a little bit more: It adds 720p high-definition video recording, a new stabilization system for macro photos, Smart Auto mode, and Miniature and Fisheye scene selections, all for the same price as the S90.

    Canon PowerShot S95

  • Samsung DualView ST600

    Image: Samsung DualView ST600
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: September ($330)

    We liked the front-facing LCD screen on last year's Samsung TL225, and the camera also delivered nice image quality and had an excellent touchscreen-and-gesture-sensitive user interface. The new Samsung ST600 leads the charge for the company's second-generation DualView lineup, offering a larger front-facing LCD, a huge gesture-controlled touchscreen LCD on the back, and an ultra-wide-angle 5X optical zoom lens.

    Samsung ST600

  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2

    Image: Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: September ($170)

    It took a while, but at long last Sanyo has produced the first HD pocket camcorder equipped with an optical zoom lens. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2 has a 3X optical zoom lens that covers a range from 38mm wide-angle to 114mm telephoto, and it can shoot 10-megapixel stills in addition to 1080p high-definition MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second. The stereo microphones on either side of the camera are a nice touch, too.


    Sanyo VPC-PD2BK

  • Panasonic HDC-SDT750

    Image: Panasonic HDC-SDT750
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: October ($1400)

    There's not a lot of great 3D content out there to watch, so why not shoot your own? The three-CMOS Panasonic HDC-SDT750 HD camcorder uses a detachable dual-lens setup to capture 3D video footage. Viewed on a compatible 3D HDTV with compatible active-shutter 3D glasses, videos and 14-megapixel stills shot with the camcorder will show a three-dimensional effect. Without the 3D conversion lens, it uses its F1.5, 12X optical zoom Leica lens to capture 1920-by-1080-pixel full HD video at 60 progressive frames per second.


    Panasonic HDC-SDT750K

  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5

    Image: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: September ($300)

    While we're on the topic of 3D, here's a more-portable 3D-shooting option for casual photographers. The Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 offers the same basic specs and shooting modes as the excellent Cyber-shot DSC-WX1, but with an added dimension. The WX5's 3D Sweep Panorama mode lets you capture panoramic images that show eye-popping depth when viewed on a compatible 3D TV with compatible active-shutter glasses. In addition, the camera's innovative Sweep Multi-Angle Mode provides an innovative 3D effect when you view photos on the camera itself.

    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5

  • Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3

    Image: Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: September ($500)

    You have not yet exited the realm of the third dimension. Fujifilm's second-generation 3D digital camera, the FinePix Real 3D W3, boasts two lenses, two sensors, 3D video recording in 720p high definition, manual controls for each of its lenses, and a unique screen that lets you view three-dimensional effects without having to wear special glasses. This camera doesn't have much competition so far, but at the moment it's clearly the most advanced 3D-shooting point-and-shoot camera for consumers.


    Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3

  • Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

    Image: Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: September ($350)

    This may be the only camera in the world that's equally at ease displaying images in a business meeting and projecting drive-in movies for your Barbie dolls. The Coolpix S1100pj, Nikon's second-generation projector camera, uses a front-mounted projector with a 14-lumen brightness rating to share images and video with the people and walls around you. The S1100pj's latest trick is the ability to work as a peripheral projector for desktop presentations when connected to a computer via USB.


    Nikon S1100pj

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700

    Image: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: Now available ($400)

    Usually, buying a touchscreen camera involves a compromise: You obtain a quick, easy way to access menus and other in-camera settings, but you rarely get the benefit of manual controls. The Lumix DMC-FX700 is the first touchscreen camera we've seen that offers full manual settings along with aperture- and shutter-priority controls. Its fast-focusing F2.2 lens is another key drawing point.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700

  • Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS

    Image: Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS
    Courtesy of PCWorld

    Release date: September ($350)

    The pocketable Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS starts with a one-two punch of a 10X optical-zoom lens (36mm to 360mm) and 1080p high-definition video recording, and then follows up with a three-four punch of a low-light-optimized 10-megapixel CMOS sensor and a high-speed burst mode that reaches shooting rates of up to 240fps.

    Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS

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