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The 2007 Vest Pocket Review

A Selection of Digicams That Fit in Your Pocket

By Allan Weitz

At last count we carry over a hundred digital point & shoot cameras here at B&H. And that's not counting the 19 Bushnell Trail Scout-series cameras we carry that you can attach to the trees and fence posts that line the path to your moat, and take night vision photos of anything that waltzes by the camera's built-in motion detector.

For more pedestrian digicam gift ideas, we've selected a group of pocket digicams that stand out from the crowd. If megapixels means a lot to you, we now have a selection of digital pocket rockets that pack up to 12-plus megapixels. Included in this dense-packed crowd are Kodak's EasyShare V1253, available in Black (KOV1253B) or White (KOV1253W), which boasts a 12.1Mp sensor, a 3x (37-111mm equiv) Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon zoom, HD video capture, a 3.1" LCD, and in-camera stitching for panoramas on the fly.

Kodak's EasyShare V1253

Nikon's CoolPix P5100 (NICPP5100) also clocks in at 12.1Mp, and features a tough magnesium-alloy body with rubberized grip, a 3.5x zoom (35-123mm equiv), Vibration Reduction, ISO ratings up to 3200, a real-deal hot shoe that plays nicely with Nikon Speedlites, auto barrel distortion control for wide-angle images, advanced B&W filters for monochrome shooting, and Nikon D-Lighting image-enhancement technology.

Nikon Coolpix P5100 12.1MP

From FujiFilm we have the 12Mp FinePix F50fd (FUFPF50FD), a slim (24mm thick) package that features a 2.7" LCD, Dual Image Stabilization, ISO 6400 capability (at 3Mp), dual media slots (xD & SD and you can shoot to both cards simultaneously), full manual control, IrSimple Wireless (IR) image transfer, and Face Detection 2.0 with Auto Redeye Reduction.

Fujifilm Finepix F50fd 12MP Digital Camera

One of the most popular digital point-and-shoot cameras has got to be the Canon PowerShot SD750, which is available in Silver (CAPSSD750S) or Black (CAPSSD750B). This slim-and-trim aluminum hottie packs a 7.1Mp CCD, a 3x optical zoom ( 35-105 equiv), ISO 80-1600 plus auto, 9-point AF with Face Detection, AVI Motion JPEG with audio, 7 variations of video capture, a 3" TFT LCD, macro focusing down to 1.2", and 12 color settings, all driven by a DIGIC III image processor.

If the SD750 strikes your fancy, but you need a wider lens check out Canon's PowerShot SD870 IS (CAPSSD870), which aside from an 8Mp sensor, has a 4x zoom that offers the coverage of a 28-105mm equivalent lens, Image Stabilization, a DIGIC III image processor, a bright 3" LCD, and 18 shooting modes wrapped up in a very neat, solid package.

Canon PowerShot SD870 IS 8.0MP Digital Camera


Also from Canon is the Canon A570 IS (CAPSA570IS), a very able, 'AA'-powered digicam that features a 7.1Mp CCD, a 4x optical zoom (35-140 equiv), 9-point AF with Face Detection, ISO 80-1600 plus auto, a 2.5" TFT LCD, and Image Stabilization.

A majority of our most popular digicams fall into the 7-8Mp category. Olympus' contribution to this slice of the pie includes the Stylus 790 SW, available in Green (OLS790SWG), Silver (OLS790SWs), Blue (OLS790SWB), Black (OLS790SWB), and Orange (OLS790SWO). Dazzling colors and 7.1Mp sensor aside, the 790SW's selling points include water-resistance down to 10' below the waves (JIS Class 8), shock-resistance from heights of up to 5 feet (MIL-STD-810F Drop Test Compliant), crush-resistance, and the ability to shoot pictures in temperatures down to 14F/-10C.

Olympus Stylus 790SW 7.1MP

Other cameras in this class include the Pentax Optio Z10 (PEOZ10), which features an 8Mp sensor, a 7x zoom (38-266mm equiv), Shake Reduction, High-Speed Face Detection (of up to 15 faces), and 52Mb of built-in memory. Casio's EXILIM EX-S880, available in Red (CAEXS880R) and Black (CAEXS880B), sports an 8.1Mp sensor, a start-up time of under a second with a reported shutter-lag time of only 0.008 seconds. The EXILIM EX-S880 also includes YouTube and eBay capture modes to help free up your precious time for loftier aspirations.

Casio Exilim EX-S880 8.1MP

From Nikon we have the CoolPix S51c, which also features an 8.1Mp sensor, a 3x ED glass zoom (38-114 equiv), VR Reduction, a 3" LCD, an in-camera Help button, and Wi-Fi capability for dashing off your images wirelessly to your computer.

Available in a choice of Red (SAL830R), Black (SAL830B), and Silver (SAL830S), the Samsung L830 is an extremely slim and tidy package that sports an 8.1Mp sensor, a 3x optical zoom (38-114 equiv), ISO 80-1600 plus Auto ISO, 4 video settings, 6 levels of JPEG compression, a 2.5" TFT LCD, and 10Mb of built-in memory.

Samsung Digimax L830 8.1MP

For those seeking exotically-colored imaging trinkets, FujiFilm offers the FinePix Z10fd, the only 7.2Mp digicam available in Wasabi Green (FUFPZ10FDG), a color not seen on a consumer product since the introduction of the 1971 AMC Javelin (I know because I owned one- AW). Also available in ooooohh-baby Sunset Orange (FUFPZ10FDO), Wave Blue (FUFPZ10FDBL), Midnight Black (FUFPZ10FDB), and Hot Pink (FUFPZ10FDP), the FinePix ZD10fd features a 3x zoom (38-114mm equiv), dual media slots (xD & SD), IrSimple Wireless (IR) image transfer, and a Blog mode for quick transferring of images for the web.

Please note: If you go for the Wasabi Green version of the FinePix Z10fd, make sure you keep an eye on it at sushi bars 'cause it might end up on someone's plate.

FujiFilm FinePix Z10fd


Too Big for your Pocket, But Talk about Zoom

For those seeking zoom ranges that go on forever, we have a quartet of DSLR-style compact digicams featuring ridiculously huge zoom ranges. Though a wee bit too large to fit in your pocket, these compact SLR-style digicams all but eliminate the excuse "I didn't have the right lens with me".

Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FZ50 (PADMCFZ50S, or PADMCFZ50B for Black version) sports a 12x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit zoom lens (35-420mm equiv) that should satisfy the focal needs of the worldliest of world travelers. Other features include a 10.1Mp CCD, MEGA OIS and Intelligent ISO to ensure sharp images under the worst of lighting conditions, Face Detection, up to ISO 3200, a Venus Engine III image processor, a 'Free-Angle' LCD that swivel & twists 180 vertically and horizontally, and full manual controls.

Panasonic DMC-FZ50 10.1MP Digital Camera

FujiFilm's FinePix S8000fd (FUFPS8000FD) features an 18x zoom that covers the range of a 27 to 486mm (35mm equiv), an 8Mp Super CCD, Dual Image Stabilization, iFlash Intelligent Flash, full manual exposure and focus control, 30f/p/s VGA video, up to 15f/p/s still imaging (at 2Mp resolution), xD & SD compatibility, and runs on easy-to-find AA batteries.

Fujifilm Finepix S8000fd 8MP

Olympus' contribution to the '18x Club' is the SP-550 UZ (OLSP55OUZ) with a 28-504mm (equiv) lens, a 7.1Mp CCD, 23 Scene modes, full manual exposure control, up to ISO 5000, and up to 15f/p/s still images (at 1Mp).

And last but not least for this chapter of the story, we have Kodak's EasyShare Z812 IS (KOZ812IS), which features an 8.2Mp CCD, a 12x Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon aspheric zoom (35- 420 equiv), HD and VGA video at up to 30f/p/s using advanced MPEG-4 compression, Optical Image Stabilization, up to 30 f/p/s still imaging (at 2Mp), and a full array of automatic and manual mode choices.

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