5 Cool Compacts

These little compacts have some special features under the hood.

5-Cool-Compacts

5-Cool-Compacts

1. Canon PowerShot TX1

It's a palm-size camcorder! It's a still camera! It's both! The TX1 can capture High Definition (HD) 720p video in widescreen (16:9) format -- with stereo sound -- and can play back directly on an HDTV through its HD-component video-out terminal. It can also shoot standard movies and 7.1MP stills, and the 10X (39-390mm equivalent) zoom is optically image stabilized. ($500, est. street; www.usa.canon.com)

2. Nikon CoolPix S50c

Most media centers take up half a room. The 7.2MP CoolPix S50c takes up a shirt pocket. Do a slide or video show on the 3-inch LCD monitor, and add up to 10 songs of your choice. You can e-mail images directly through public Wi-Fi hotspots, and if you're low on memory card space, send up to 2 gigs of images to a secure Nikon server. It has a 38-114mm equivalent 3X zoom (with Vibration Reduction) and 7.2MP capture. ($350, est. street; www.nikonusa.com)

3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3

Most superzoom cameras are either chunky boxes or SLR lookalikes. Not the 7.2MP TZ3, which packs a 28-280mm 10X zoom into a rangefinder-style body that slips into a jacket pocket. No viewfinder, but with a 3-inch LCD and very effective image stabilization, you won't miss it. Plus, press a button and the LCD switches to High-Angle Mode for viewing with the camera held overhead. You can record in three aspect ratios, including widescreen 16:9. ($350, est. street; www.panasonic.com)

4. Samsung L74 Wide

Lots of compacts are billed as travel cameras, but the 7MP Samsung L74W is uniquely qualified: Its Tour Guide feature provides travel info and photo ops for 4,500 regions in 30 countries, accessed through the 3-inch touch-screen LCD. A soon-to-arrive GPS pocket module (price not available) will let you add latitude, longitude, elevation, and time to the picture file using the charger port. Also vagabond-friendly: wide-angle 28-100mm 3.6X zoom, Face Recognition AF. ($350, est. street; www.samsungcamerausa.com)

5. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G1

It's a wireless world, and the 6MP G1 can send photos wirelessly to any Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)-enabled Wi-Fi device -- another camera, or a computer. Up to four camera users can send each other photos in real time. No problem viewing them, as the G1 has a huge 3.5-inch LCD with nearly a million pixels. Storing them is also easy with its 2GB of internal memory, and Memory Stick PRO Duo slot. The 6MP camera has a 38-114mm equivalent 3X lens with image stabilization. ($600, est. street; www.sonystyle.com)

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