Best New Digital Cameras

Shoot to Thrill

The best new point-and-shoots, SLRs, and camcorders for the digital man

Best New Digital Cameras
Kevin Arnold

Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.

1. Portable Telescope

The OLYMPUS SP 560 UZ’s wide-angle, 27mm lens can handle arm’s-length group shots of you and your buddies, but it also goes the distance: Thanks to its eight megapixels, an 18x optical zoom (486mm equivalent), and anti-shake technology, you can fill a frame with a razor-sharp Sasquatch 100 feet away. Reference photos make navigating the 25 scene modes a cinch, even for Luddites. $500;

2. Style Maven

Sure, it looks sexier than most LEICAs, but the C-LUX 2’s speedy autofocus, 7.2-megapixel sensor, and instantaneous shutter response mean it’s more than just eye candy. The brilliant, 2.5-inch LCD screen features full-time stabilization for blur-free composing, and the auto mode produces much better images than other cell-phone-size cams. $495;

3. Pocket Rocket

Don’t be fooled by its size. With its 12.1-megapixel sensor and ability to shoot in RAW format (best for post-processing), CANON’s G9 captures images so crisp and detail-rich you can blow them up to magazine-spread or poster size. Plus it’s quick on the draw: Well-positioned controls put image and exposure settings quickly at hand. $500;

4. Pro Tool

Want pro shots on an amateur’s budget? The weather-sealed NIKON D300 raises the bar on its predecessor, the popular D200, with a 12.3-megapixel self-cleaning sensor, a three-inch high-res LCD screen, and snappy six-frame- per-second processing. Bring it to the game: The autofocus system locks in on moving subjects at 51 spots on the sensor for pinpoint accuracy. $1,800 (body);

5. Easy Rider

Action cams don’t get any simpler. From wrist or helmet, the GO PRO DIGITAL HERO 3 takes respectable high-speed shots and video with just two buttons and three megapixels. Better yet, it features an SD card for easy uploading and a waterproof, smash-resistant housing. The only bummer: no LCD for on-site viewing. $140;

6. High Definition Jr.

It’s hard to believe a camera as tiny as the 7.5-ounce SANYO XACTI HD700 produces crisper HD movies than competitors three times its size. Even more impressive is its 5x zoom lens (38–190mm equivalent), built-in light, and 7.1-megapixel sensor. Plus video is compressed and saved to SD memory cards for easy YouTubing. $600;

7. Smart Cam

Of all the digital point-and-shoots we tested, the eight-megapixel CANON POWERSHOT SD 870 IS produced the most consistently beautiful, well-exposed photos. The key: Canon’s Digic III image-processing software—the same guts found in the company’s high-end SLRs—plus image stabilization, faster shutter response, and a better battery than that of older models. $400;

8. Hard Driver

Forget about tapes and discs. The SONY DCR-SR300 HANDYCAM records directly to an internal 40-gigabyte hard drive, so all you have to do is shoot, download, and view. The Carl Zeiss 10x zoom and new ClearVid CMOS image sensor ensure video quality that’s sharp enough to watch on your big-screen TV. $900;

promo logo