Identical-twin 10.2MP DSLRs, a 5MP Zeiss-lens camera you can talk with, AA
batteries charged by computer, and a cool bag to carry it all.
Two of a Kind?
Samsung is now the fifth camera maker to offer a sub-$1,000 10-megapixel DSLR in the U.S. But its new 10.2MP GX-10 may look oddly familiar. Check out the sensor-based Optical Picture Stabilization... the self-cleaning CCD... the thoroughly sealed and gasketed body...
Could it be? Yep, it is: The GX-10 is essentially the clone of the Pentax K10D (see our Lab Test, or view specs and pricing).
Sure, there are subtle cosmetic differences, and the GX-10 comes with Schneider-branded D-Xenon kit lenses (the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 50-200mm f/4-5.6 we tested in July 2006). But otherwise the GX-10 has the same specs and features that make the K10D such an attractive proposition: a 2.5-inch LCD monitor with wide viewing angle, burst capture of three JPEGs per second until the card is full, and wireless TTL flash capability. Samsung is adding five more Schneider lenses, plus it takes all Pentax K-AF2, K-AF, and K-A lenses -- that's a lot of glass. ($900, estimated street, body only; $1,000 with 18-55mm lens; www.samsungcamera.com)
It Also Makes Phone Calls
How much technology can you squeeze into the palm of your hand? More than you ever imagined with Nokia's new N95 ($700, estimated street, including carrier rebate). Small and light (4.2 ounces), it features a 5MP camera with an autofocus Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 35mm (equivalent) f/2.8 lens, 2.6-inch LCD, removable 128MB MicroSD card, and stabilized VGA-quality video. As a cellphone, it operates on four EGSM bands and super-fast HSDPA 2100 networks (Cingular, T-Mobile, and other GSM-based carriers), plus it has built-in GPS and mapping software, a web browser, stereo MP3 player and FM radio, Wi-Fi connectivity, and video out. (www.nokia.com/nseries)
Make Enormous Panoramas
Sometimes stitching together a few images to make an 11-inch-wide panoramic photo just isn't enough. Time to bring out the big guns: Seitz's 6x17 Digital panoramic camera can shoot a 160MP image in a single second. Sure, at about $36,000 it's a bit steep, but that's a small price to pay for a picture you could print almost 6 feet wide at 300 dpi with no upsizing whatsoever. If you still need to go bigger and don't mind spending an extra $1,000, consider the Seitz Roundshot D3, which will shoot a 470MP, 360-degree panorama in two seconds. Now that's a big picture. (www.roundshot.ch)
Pocket Your Projector
What we love about digital projectors: showing our photos bigger than life. What we don't love: lugging them around. But now Toshiba has a new compact projector, the TDP-FF1AU DLP. Weighing just 1.1 pounds, it runs on batteries and projects SVGA resolution at a rated brightness of 400 lux, enough to take your show on the road. ($700, direct; www.toshiba.com)
That Touch of Suede
Want to go upscale with your camera bag? Check out the new Express series from Tamrac. With sueded microfiber accents (tan on khaki, black on black), its classic look goes well beyond the usual camera-and-lens lugger. Inside, the protection is just as impressive. For instance, the well-padded main compartment of the Model 3536 Express 6 Camera Bag ($40, street) has space for an SLR loaded with a 5.5-inch lens, as well as other gear nestled amid the adjustable foam dividers. A zippered area under the flap is ready for your filters and memory cards or film. But where do you put your cell phone or MP3 player? In the side pocket with its own sueded flap, of course. (www.tamrac.com)
Recharge With Your PC
Rechargeable AA batteries are great to have around, but carrying the charger with you can be a pain. One wacky, yet elegant, solution: Moixa Energy's USBCELL rechargeable batteries. These flip-top power packs can be jacked into your computer for a quick boost, no auxiliary charger needed. ($24 per pack, direct; www.usbcell.com)
Shoot Silly Video
What's more fun than a snapshot of people posing for a picture? A video of them in the act of posing! For a funny prank, switch your point-and-shoot to video mode, and tell your subject to smile. Keep recording. Trust us, that film of your four-year-old saying "cheeeese" for 30 seconds or your father's growing frustration as he tries to maintain his dignified aspect will be priceless. If you get a really good one, submit it to the video blog where we got this idea: www.longawkwardpose.com.
High Res, Low profile
How does Sigma stuff 14 megapixels into its light, compact DP1 digital compact? By using the same Foveon sensor it put into its new SD14 DSLR. Foveon's chip stacks three imaging sites (red, green, blue) at each pixel, which allows Sigma to multiply out the 2652x1768 sensor layout to arrive at 14 active megapixels. However, due to that design, the camera will probably deliver closer to 9MP effective resolution. A matte-black body, with a 100-percent accurate, 2.5-inch LCD, the new Sigma captures RAW and/or JPEG files, and uses a fixed 28mm (equivalent) f/4 lens. The camera isn't due in stores until sometime this spring, which should give you some time to save up for it: We hear those megapixels are gonna cost ya. (www.sigma-photo.com)