Pentax K-7
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

Ten Cutting-Edge Cameras

Pentax K-7

Whether you’re looking for a compact point-and-shoot or a high-end SLR, we’ve selected a sharp shooter for every photographer and budget.

: Sony DSC-HX1 $500

Sony DSC-HX1
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

The cake: Ten frames per second, with a 28–560mm optical zoom and HD video. The icing? A sweep mode—for automatically spliced, 224-degree panoramas from the summit. Our only gripe: no raw format.

: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 $400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-TS1 $400 This is what we’ve been waiting for. With minimal shutter lag, HD video, and a clear 128mm optical zoom, the 12-megapixel Lumix is the sharpest and quickest waterproof (down to ten feet), armored point-and-shoot we’ve tested.

: Casio EX-FS10 $350

Casio EX-FS10
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

CASIO EX-FS10 $350 Now that every pocket camera is in direct competition with the iPhone, manufacturers like Casio have started packing some truly amazing features into small packages. The 9.1-megapixel FS10 shoots an astonishing 30 JPEG images per second and 1,000 frames per second in HD video—enough to capture a balloon popping.

: Pentax Optio W80 $300

Pentax Optio W80
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

The 12.1-megapixel Optio is the favorite topside point-and-shoot of pro dive photographers, thanks to its extra-rugged seals—good down to 16 feet for two hours—and Super Macro mode, which allows it to focus on tiny sea critters less than an inch away.

: Sigma DP2 $870

Sigma DP2
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

A compact that even camera snobs will love, the DP2 miraculously packs in a 14.5-megapixel sensor, video, and intuitive manual overrides like a focus wheel and exposure compensation. It’s slower than an SLR but stacks up in every other way.

: Nikon D5000 $821

Nikon D5000
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

Two hundred and fifty bucks less than last year’s prosumer model D90, the HD-video-enabled D5000 has a 12.3-megapixel CMOS (that’s the good kind) sensor capable of shooting in extremely low light. What’s missing? An internal focusing motor to power Nikon’s beefiest lenses.

: Canon Rebel T1i $800

Canon Rebel T1i
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

For the money, you won’t find a better entry-level DSLR. The T1i bundles HD video and 3.4 frames per second of 15.1-megapixel raw shooting into a tiny, lightweight body compatible with all of Canon’s lenses.

: Leica D-Lux 4 $995

Leica D-Lux 4
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

Like the Sigma, the D-Lux 4 packs SLR punch into a point-and-shoot body. The D-Lux lacks the huge sensor of the Sigma DP2 but gains ground with a blazing-fast f/2–2.8 lens and the German engineering that’s made Leica the BMW of the camera world.

: Casio Exilim Mobile $280

Casio Exilim Mobile
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

In an age when camera phones have become the tools of citizen journalists and Facebook addicts, this water-resistant, 5.1-megapixel, flash-, GPS-, and 3G-network-enabled cell could level the field between armies and the unarmed—or simply make for better status updates.

: Pentax K-7 $1,300

Pentax K-7
(Photograph by Shana Novak)

It’s a long way from the K-1000 we all learned on in high school, but the 14.6-megapixel prosumer-level K-7 retains the rugged steel construction and many of the intuitive features of its classic film ancestor. Bonus: HD video.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: Photograph by Shana Novak