The midpriced Nikon D200 D-SLR offers nearly the same image quality, and most
of the features, of Nikon's professional D2X -- in a smaller, lighter, and
much more affordable package.
Though Olympus gets credit for creating the world's first D-SLR with a "live view" LCD screen, this close second arrives with advanced advantages -- and the unmistakable look and feel of a Leica rangefinder. Panasonic's top Lumix is cosmetically and mechanically distinct from the Olympus E-330, but both models share core components, the result of one of the new alliances between camera companies and consumer electronics colossi.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1
Panasonic developed the unique 7.4-megapixel Live MOS chip employed by both cameras. Olympus contributed both the sideways porro finder, which is why the L1 can affect its M-like flat top, and the valuable Supersonic Wave filter, which shakes dust off the image sensor. But unlike the E-330, which for normal shooting gets its live view from a small second sensor, the Lumix relies on the Live MOS chip to create a crisper, more detailed image on the LCD. (The L1's screen is fixed, not articulated as it is in the E- 330.) And the DMC-L1 is sharp in every other way, with premium build quality and traditional, manual-style controls.