The Gear Ahead
3. RETRO IN STYLE ONLY While Pentax's coming DSLR follow-up to the *ist D will be big news, the new Optio 750Z deserves attention. Its 7.4 megapixels, 5X optical zoom, and 1.8-inch swiveling LCD make for quite a nice-looking spec sheet. And the retro-styled body looks mighty fine, too.
4. FASHIONISTA FIREPOWER At September's Olympus Fashion Week in New York, Olympus made its fashion statement with the Stylus Verve ($350 street). Resembling a spacey cell phone, the 3.7x2.2x1.1-inch, 3.7-ounce Verve has a 2X (35-70mm equivalent) optical zoom lens, 4MP CCD, and 1.8-inch LCD. Like any good fashion accessory, it's available in several colors, including silver, blue, black, white, red, and copper.
5. GLASS LENSES, MOVE OVER Casio is about to release its small (3.5x2.2x0.7 inches with lens retracted) EX-S100 ($399.99 MSRP) a 3.2MP, 2.8X zoom digicam. It's the first camera in the world with a Lumicera transparent ceramic lens element. Casio announced the impending release of ceramic lenses earlier this year, touting the new material's high refractive index and strength, and its ability to transmit light as well as optical glass. The company claims that ceramic lenses can be made thinner than today's glass lenses, without compromising image quality. That sounds like a challenge worthy of the Pop Photo Test Lab.