Point & Shoots Evolve: 10 Models Embody the Latest Enhancements

Point & Shoots Evolve: 10 Models Embody the Latest Enhancements

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Is the point-and-shoot camera an endangered species doomed by the inexorable rise of ever more competent, convenient and omnipresent cell phone cameras? Not quite, but recent sales figures indicate the broad point-and-shoot class has definitely taken a hit. Of course, that’s partially due to the impact of compact interchangeable-lens cameras (CILCs) and broad-spectrum DSLRs, which are also effectively competing for the consumer’s limited discretionary dollars.

The good news is that camera manufacturers have responded by offering point-and-shoot cameras with vastly enhanced capabilities, such as expanded zoom ranges, greater responsiveness, higher resolution, improved video capture and a host of other tantalizing features to redefine and refresh the entire category in amazing new ways.

And they’ve also been lowering prices in a classic bid to attract more buyers. The result is a plethora of incredibly full-featured P&S models designed to entice consumers and to provide levels of performance one could have hardly imagined a few years ago.

We’ve picked some of the latest P&S models and interspersed them with proven sellers that are now available at their lowest street prices ever.

Nikon Coolpix S6200. This slick little beauty crams an impressive array of high-tech features into its pocket-size 3.7×2.3×1.3-inch, 5.7-ounce body, including a 16MP CCD sensor, a 10x, 25-250mm f/3.2-5.8 Nikkor zoom lens, four-way VR image stabilization and a 2.7-inch high-res 230k-dot TFT LCD with five-level brightness adjustment. It can shoot HD video with stereo sound at 720p, provides ISO settings to 3200, has subject tracking autofocus, 20 scene modes including pet portrait, offers in-camera picture editing, and it gets down to 3.94 inches in macro mode. It comes in a choice of silver, black, pink or blue. Street price: $139.95. nikonusa.com

Kodak EasyShare Wireless M750.
Having made its debut at CES, the M750 is Wi-Fi enabled so users can e-mail images to social sites like Facebook directly from the camera. Using the Kodak EasyShare Camera App for Apple iOS, Android and Blackberry, it can also wirelessly send copies to smartphones and tablets. Also notable is its auto Wi-Fi backup function to a computer. Other features include: 16MP image capture; 5x optical zoom with OIS; a dedicated video record button for HD video capture; a 3.0-inch capacitive touch-screen LCD; Kodak’s “share” button tags to Facebook and other sites, like YouTube, Walmart.com and CVS.com; and Smart Capture technology to allow users to take better pictures more easily. The M750 will come in silver, teal and red. Street price: $169.95. kodak.com

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55. This slim, stylish compact packs an amazing array of features into a petite pocket-size package, including a 16.2MP Exmor sensor, a 5x Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom lens (up to a lossless 10x with Pixel Super Resolution technology), a 3.3-inch OLED touch screen, 1080/60i HD video capability, 3D still and sweep panorama modes, optical SteadyShot image stabilization, built-in flash, HDMI output and seven picture effect options, such as HDR painting, Reich-time, monochrome and pop color, and soft high-key. It has slots for Memory Stick Micro and SD/SDHC cards. It comes in black, red, silver and violet. Street price: $289. sony.com

Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS. Introduced at CES, this point-and-shoot digital camera is equipped with a newly developed 10.1 megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor. Canon says the Elph 520 HS is “ideal for the photographer on the go who places a value on image quality.” The Digic 5 image processor has been incorporated into the camera’s HS system to help improve low-light image quality in even the toughest of settings. This new PowerShot camera also offers a 12x image-stabilized optical zoom lens, Full HD 1080p video capture capabilities, a 3.0-inch LCD for easy viewing of images and high-speed burst mode. Street price: $299. usa.canon.com

Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS.
Cool-looking, competent and rugged, this waterproof (to 33 feet), crushproof, shockproof, 14 megapixel cutie has a 2.7-inch LCD, a 5x, 28-140mm f/3.6-5.6 lens with a digital wide feature for a 21mm ultra-wide view, and built-in GPS that tracks and records geotagging data. It can shoot 720p HD video at 30 fps, provides wireless connectivity using an Eye-Fi SD card and has a unique digital microscopic mode for capturing tiny objects utilizing five LEDs placed around the lens for ultra-macro illumination. Other features: shake reduction for stills and video; a collage function; 12 digital filters; and infrared remote control. Resembling mountaineering equipment, it comes in black/purple, black/yellow-green, or black/orange with a carabiner. Street price: $281. pentaximaging.com

Samsung SH100. With classic understated styling, this Wi-Fi enabled 14.2 megapixel compact lets users easily share over the Internet and on social networks. It connects directly to Android phones or a PC, and also e-mails pictures. It records GPS information for geotagging, shoots 720p HD video at 30 fps and has a 5x, 26-130mm f/3.3-5.9 zoom lens. Other features: a 3.0-inch 230,000-dot LCD; an auto backup function; face recognition; beauty shot; and remote firing capability via smartphones. It’s available in black, silver and red. Street price: $119.50. samsung.com

Fujifilm FinePix F750EXR. The just-announced F750EXR is the next evolution in the sleek, compact F series that combines intuitive use with a new ½-inch 16MP EXR-CMOS sensor engineered to deliver improved image quality, especially in low light situations. It also has a Fujinon 20x super-wide-angle lens (25-500mm equivalent) and 3.0-inch, 460K resolution LCD. It offers full-res high-speed shooting at 8 fps (11 fps at medium resolution) and Full HD movie capture, along with intelligent digital zoom said to double the telephoto capabilities to 40x. Also featured is 360º motion panorama. The F750EXR will be available in March. MSRP: $349.95. fujifilmusa.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7. The brand-new SZ7 combines a 10x optical zoom with a 25mm ultra-wide-angle Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens, in a slim, easy-to-carry body. Offering 14.1 megapixels, it also shoots Full HD 1,920×1,080 60i videos with stereo sound. Its fast 0.1-sec response time makes it easy to capture spontaneous photos. Panasonic’s iA (intelligent auto) mode, which automatically chooses the best settings, engages a suite of technologies that include high dynamic range, intelligent handheld nightshot, motion deblur with AF tracking, intelligent ISO control, Mega OIS, face recognition, intelligent scene selector and intelligent exposure. Other features include: two new shooting modes—miniature effect and panorama shot; creative retouch with six filters (toy effect, soft focus, dynamic monochrome, expressive, high key, retro); an auto retouch function that adjusts contrast and brightness with a press of a button; a 3.0-inch LCD that adjusts backlighting; and 3D photo mode. panasonic.com

Nikon Coolpix P7100.
The top-of-the-line Coolpix 7100 is clearly targeted at serious enthusiasts who want an attractive, high-performance point and shoot. It’s 7.1x Nikkor ED 28-200mm equivalent lens and 10.1MP 1/1.7-inch CCD deliver framing flexibility and high image quality, and it also provides four-way VR image stabilization and ISO settings to 3200 to enhance its shooting range. Other features: a 921,000-dot 3.0-inch vari-angle LCD, RAW capture, a built-in level, 720p HD video, P, A, S and M shooting modes, high-speed bursts and a wide range of in-camera special effects. Street price: $425. nikonusa.com

Canon PowerShot SX150 IS. This long-range zoom camera delivers an engaging combination of high-performance features and value thanks to its 12x, 28-336mm equivalent f/3.0-8 lens, 14.1MP resolution, 3.0-inch LCD and Digic 4 image processor. It also provides built-in intelligent IS image stabilization, 720p HD video capability, a smart auto function, advanced subject detection tracking AF, and iFrame movie support. It’s powered by two readily available AA batteries and comes in red and black. Street price: $164. usa.canon.com

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