Pixel This!

Take your eyes off digital photography for six months and high-tech image making reinvents itself—again. Just in time for the holidays, we bring you the latest revolution in digicams, camcorders, printers, solar chargers, and more.

JVC, Nikon, & Kodak Digital Cameras

1. JVC GZ-MG505 - RECYCLE YOUR TAPES
The MG505 records directly to an internal 30GB hard drive that stores up to seven hours of high-resolution wide-screen video. No tapes or discs needed. There are cheaper hard-drive-based camcorders on the market, but none matches the 505's video quality. The secret is a three-chip sensor that splits the incoming signal into three channels of light—red, green, and blue—and records each color separately. Once the drive is full, you download, edit, and store footage on your computer. Bonus: A still mode lets you capture five-megapixel photos on the hard drive or a memory card. $1,300; jvc.com

2. Nikon D200 - SHOOT LIKE A PRO
Trickle-down technology seems more like a flood in this digital SLR, which comes with professional-level features typically found on models that cost three times as much: a high-resolution 10.2-megapixel sensor, a dust-sealed magnesium-alloy body, five-frames-per-second shooting speed, wireless capabilities, a sophisticated 11-area autofocus system, and a battery "fuel gauge" that helps you avoid power failures at critical times. Cameras with this much going on can feel bulky in the hand, but the D200 is amazingly ergonomic and sleek. $1,700 (body only); nikonusa.com

3. Kodak EasyShare V610 - GET CLOSER
Save room in your cargo shorts for this wildlife- and travel-friendly digicam. The 6.1-megapixel V610 takes advantage of a unique dual-lens design to offer the equivalent of a 10x optical zoom, which yields higher quality than a digital zoom and reaches out to an astounding 380mm (film equivalent)—easily enough to capture hippos from a safe distance. Despite its slim, lightweight design, the V610 comes with smart upgrades like a larger-than-average 2.8-inch LCD screen and built-in Bluetooth technology for wireless image transfer. $400; kodak.com

Olympus, Sony, & Canon Digital Cameras
Dwight Eschliman

1. Olympus Evolt E-330 - SEE IT ALL
In terms of responsiveness and reso- lution, digital SLRs trounce their smaller, less expensive point-and-shoot brethren. What they lack is an LCD screen for framing shots. Enter the 7.5-megapixel E-330, a groundbreaking, interchangeable-lens SLR with an optical viewfinder and a live-view LCD. The E-330's articulating screen helped me frame awkward overhead shots in crowd scenes, and I felt like I was cheating when capturing candid travel moments in London: With the camera at waist level, subjects are much more relaxed. $1,000 (body only); olympusamerica.com

2. Sony DCR-DVD505 Handycam Camcorder - MAKE A MOVIE
As the name suggests, this camcorder records directly to mini DVDs that can be edited and formatted in the camera, then popped out and viewed instantly on a home DVD player or computer. Inside, a 2.1-megapixel ClearVID CMOS sensor records additional green pixels, the color that holds the most detail for the human eye, resulting in filmlike digital footage. That, plus the ability to record Dolby Digital Surround Sound, lets you get the most out of watching self-directed flicks on a deluxe home-theater system. $1,000; sonystyle.com

3. Canon SD700 IS - LOSE THE TRIPOD
The freedom of shooting handheld is great—until you have to delete all the blurry pics taken in low light. Canon's Image Stabilization (IS) lenses—formerly available only in digital SLRs—eliminate camera shake, allowing you to shoot at lower shutter speeds and thus in dimmer conditions. Now the six-megapixel SD700 offers the same technology in a pocket-size point-and-shoot. With it, I managed to capture low-light indoor scenes without a flash and shot shake-free videos while hiking in Vancouver Island's dark rainforest. $399; usa.canon.com

Extras+

PRINT: HP Photosmart A716
Ever try taping an LCD screen to the fridge? Prints still have their place, and you can produce them anywhere using the A716, which is road-trip portable thanks to its pop-up carrying handle and fold-out paper tray. With its built-in card slot, flip-up LCD screen, and 4GB of internal memory, it prints five-by-sevens on the spot, no PC required. $250; hp.com

POWER: Brunton Solaris 12
Unfurl this 11-ounce solar charger and its ultra-efficient panels pump out 12 watts of power—enough to charge almost any portable electronic device in a few hours. All you need is sunshine and a car's cigarette-lighter adapter to connect to your camera (car not required). $260; brunton.com

PINPOINT: Sony GPS-CS1
Clip the 3.5-inch CS1 to your pack when you're out shooting (with a compatible Sony camera) and it taps GPS satellites to record your location every 15 seconds. At home, through your PC (Windows only), it shows exactly where each shot was snapped and even displays pics as thumbnails on a digital map powered by Google Earth. $150; sonystyle.com

PROTECT: Ewa-marine Housing
Shoot underwater, in a sandstorm—heck, in the mud. Ewa-marine's flexible housings are fitted with optical-quality glass ports and are a great alternative to expensive hard-sided dive housings. Manipulating buttons through the two-ply PVC takes a little practice, but the payoff is versatile, affordable durability. From $120; ewa-marine.com

Filed To: Digital Cameras
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