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Hottest Digital Cameras for Your Budget

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

There's no escaping the ubiquitous digital camera these days. It's big business now more than ever, with industry leaders Canon, Nikon and Sony duking it out for global supremacy. Whether you're looking for a quick-to-capture point-and-shoot or the top-of-the-crop pro DSLR, click ahead to see which models offer what you're looking for in a new camera. We grouped them into four categories: > > > >

There's no escaping the ubiquitous digital camera these days. It's big business now more than ever, with industry leaders Canon, Nikon and Sony duking it out for global supremacy. Whether you're looking for a quick-to-capture point-and-shoot or the top-of-the-crop pro DSLR, click ahead to see which models offer what you're looking for in a new camera.

We grouped them into four categories:
> Compact
> Sub $1000> $1000-2000
> Over $2000

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Known for its high-quality, inexpensive lenses for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, Sigma's much-anticipated compact DP1 has the same Foveon X3 sensor as the more professional Sigma SD14 DSLR has, which makes it the first compact camera ever to be made with an SLR-sized sensor. The DP1 also has QVGA video capturing ability, a 2.5-inch LCD and a wide, fixed 28mm f/4 lens.14MP Yes$699
Compact:> Samsung TL34HD  > Nikon Coolpix P6000> Canon PowerShot G10> Sub $1000> $1000-2000> Over $2000

Sigma DP1

Known for its high-quality, inexpensive lenses for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, Sigma's much-anticipated compact DP1 has the same Foveon X3 sensor as the more professional Sigma SD14 DSLR has, which makes it the first compact camera ever to be made with an SLR-sized sensor. The DP1 also has QVGA video capturing ability, a 2.5-inch LCD and a wide, fixed 28mm f/4 lens.

Max Pixels: 14MP
Video: Yes
Est. Price: $699

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Samsung considers its new TL34HD its flagship point-and-shoot camera -- and for good reason. At 14.7 megapixels the pocket-sized device also has a huge 3-inch LCD screen, which takes up most of the back of the camera. And because this is a touch screen device, there are only a handful of buttons. Other features include a Blink Detection function that snaps another three exposures in rapid succession if it analyzes a person has blinked. The camera also includes an HD movie mode that captures 720p
Compact:> Sigma DP1  > Nikon Coolpix P6000> Canon PowerShot G10> Sub $1000> $1000-2000> Over $2000

Samsung TL34HD

Samsung considers its new TL34HD its flagship point-and-shoot camera -- and for good reason. At 14.7 megapixels the pocket-sized device also has a huge 3-inch LCD screen, which takes up most of the back of the camera. And because this is a touch screen device, there are only a handful of buttons. Other features include a Blink Detection function that snaps another three exposures in rapid succession if it analyzes a person has blinked. The camera also includes an HD movie mode that captures 720p video at 30 fps through its 3.6x optical zoom lens.

Max Pixels: 14.7MP
Video: Yes
Est. Price: $329

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Nikon's answer to Canon's PowerShot G-Series, the 13.5 megapixel Coolpix P6000 offers a 4x optical zoom and utilizes Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology allowing you up to three shutter slower speeds, compensating for camera shake in unsteady conditions or low light. Other features include a built-in GPS to "geotag" your shots, an ample 64-6400 ISO range and five movie modes. The camera also has a 2.7-inch LCD display and three aspect modes (3:2, 16:9 and 1:1) to shoot in.13.5MP Yes$499
Compact:Sigma DP1  Samsung TL34HD  Canon PowerShot G10> Sub $1000> $1000-2000> Over $2000

Nikon Coolpix P6000

Nikon's answer to Canon's PowerShot G-Series, the 13.5 megapixel Coolpix P6000 offers a 4x optical zoom and utilizes Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology allowing you up to three shutter slower speeds, compensating for camera shake in unsteady conditions or low light. Other features include a built-in GPS to "geotag" your shots, an ample 64-6400 ISO range and five movie modes. The camera also has a 2.7-inch LCD display and three aspect modes (3:2, 16:9 and 1:1) to shoot in.

Max Pixels: 13.5MP
Video: Yes
Est. Price: $499

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

The 14.7 megapixel G10 offers a wide 5x optical zoom, covering a focal range of 28-140mm and uses an Image Stabilizer (IS) system to detect and correct slight camera shakes that can cause image blur. The DIGIC 4 processor included in the G10 enables advanced face detection and, a first in the point-and-shoot group, servo Auto Focus (AF) that combines high detail with extremely low noise levels.14.7MP Yes$499
Compact:> Sigma DP1  > Samsung TL34HD  > Nikon Coolpix P6000> Sub $1000> $1000-2000> Over $2000

Canon PowerShot G10

The 14.7 megapixel G10 offers a wide 5x optical zoom, covering a focal range of 28-140mm and uses an Image Stabilizer (IS) system to detect and correct slight camera shakes that can cause image blur. The DIGIC 4 processor included in the G10 enables advanced face detection and, a first in the point-and-shoot group, servo Auto Focus (AF) that combines high detail with extremely low noise levels.

Max Pixels: 14.7MP
Video: Yes
Est. Price: $499

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

As an entry-level DSLR, the A350's easy to use controls and comfortable ergonomics may help point-and-shoot users transition easier into the feature-rich DSLR realm. The A350 also features a Live-View system with a tilting LCD, allowing the user to shoot overhead or from the hip all the whilst keeping the subject in view. The camera also employs a sensor dust cleaning system and image stabilization.14.2MP No$699
> Compact> $1000-2000Under $1000:> Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1> Nikon D90> Canon EOS Rebel XS> Over $2000

Sony DSLR-A350

As an entry-level DSLR, the A350's easy to use controls and comfortable ergonomics may help point-and-shoot users transition easier into the feature-rich DSLR realm. The A350 also features a Live-View system with a tilting LCD, allowing the user to shoot overhead or from the hip all the whilst keeping the subject in view. The camera also employs a sensor dust cleaning system and image stabilization.

Max Pixels: 14.2MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $699

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Doing away with the traditional reflex mirror structure, the G1 is the first of the Micro Four Thirds System cameras employing a live view-only system. The camera's developers found that in Japan, the bulky design of modern DSLRs were a put off to consumers looking into uprgading. The new design of the G1 greatly reduces the size of the body whilst retaining the look of a modern DSLR. Use of supercompact Micro Four Thirds lenses and standard Four Thirds System lenses are available with adapter.
> Compact> $1000-2000Under $1000:> Sony DSLR-A350> Nikon D90> Canon EOS Rebel XS> Over $2000

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

Doing away with the traditional reflex mirror structure, the G1 is the first of the Micro Four Thirds System cameras employing a live view-only system. The camera's developers found that in Japan, the bulky design of modern DSLRs were a put off to consumers looking into uprgading. The new design of the G1 greatly reduces the size of the body whilst retaining the look of a modern DSLR. Use of supercompact Micro Four Thirds lenses and standard Four Thirds System lenses are available with adapter. Features include a tilt and swivel 3-inch Live-View LCD and a Supersonic Wave Filter dust-reduction system.

Max Pixels: 12.1MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $799

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Two years after Nikon introduced the very successful D80, its successor, the D90, appears on the scene as the first DSLR to offer movie capability capturing 5 minutes of high-res (1,280 x 720) HD video and up to 20 minutes at lower resolutions. The D90 has a quick startup time of 0.15-seconds, 4.5 fps continuous shooting and a new 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. Other features include a high-res, 920K-dot LCD screen with Live-View capability.12.3MP Yes$999
> Compact> $1000-2000Under $1000:> Sony DSLR-A350> Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1> Canon EOS Rebel XS> Over $2000

Nikon D90

Two years after Nikon introduced the very successful D80, its successor, the D90, appears on the scene as the first DSLR to offer movie capability capturing 5 minutes of high-res (1,280 x 720) HD video and up to 20 minutes at lower resolutions. The D90 has a quick startup time of 0.15-seconds, 4.5 fps continuous shooting and a new 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. Other features include a high-res, 920K-dot LCD screen with Live-View capability.

Max Pixels: 12.3MP
Video: Yes
Est. Price: $999

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

The highly coveted entry-level prosumer segment of the digital camera industry offers a balance of performance and affordability, luring would-be pro photographers into their loyal flock. The popular Canon Rebel series introduces a new model that offers pro features such as a vibration sensor cleaning function and Live-View operation, allowing the shooter to bypass the small viewfiender for its 2.5 LCD when shooting. 10.1MP No$699
> Compact> $1000-2000Under $1000:> Sony DSLR-A350> Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1> Nikon D90> Over $2000

Canon EOS Rebel XS

The highly coveted entry-level prosumer segment of the digital camera industry offers a balance of performance and affordability, luring would-be pro photographers into their loyal flock. The popular Canon Rebel series introduces a new model that offers pro features such as a vibration sensor cleaning function and Live-View operation, allowing the shooter to bypass the small viewfiender for its 2.5 LCD when shooting.

Max Pixels: 10.1MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $699

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

If you've reached a level where your expertise has worn out the feature set of your entry level DSLR, you may be ready for a camera offering a more sophisticated set of creative controls and professional functionality. The D300 has a new 51-point autofocus system with 15 cross-type sensors that maximize the potential of lenses with apertures as small as f/5.6, a D-Lighting system that optimizes tone reproduction in both shadows and highlights as well as improved autofocus. Built-in flash, LCD Li
> Compact> Sub $1000$1000-2000:> Leica Digilux 3> Fuji FinePix S5 Pro> Canon EOS 50D> Over $2000

Nikon D300

If you've reached a level where your expertise has worn out the feature set of your entry level DSLR, you may be ready for a camera offering a more sophisticated set of creative controls and professional functionality. The D300 has a new 51-point autofocus system with 15 cross-type sensors that maximize the potential of lenses with apertures as small as f/5.6, a D-Lighting system that optimizes tone reproduction in both shadows and highlights as well as improved autofocus. Built-in flash, LCD Live-View and sensor-dust cleaning system are also included. (Optional battery grip pictured not included.)

Max Pixels: 12.3MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $1,649

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

The Digilux 3 is the first camera of the Digilux family with an interchangeable lens, which means you can chose from an array of Leica lenses made, by hand, at Leica's main factory in Solms, Germany. The Digilux 3 is equipped with a 7.5 megapixel Live MOS sensor for a real-time live photo function and is sold with a Leica 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 Four Thirds System lens. Features include three shooting aspect ratios (4:3/3:2/16:9), a sensor-dust removal system and an image stabilization integration.7.5
> Compact> Sub $1000$1000-2000:> Nikon D300> Fuji FinePix S5 Pro> Canon EOS 50D> Over $2000

Leica Digilux 3

The Digilux 3 is the first camera of the Digilux family with an interchangeable lens, which means you can chose from an array of Leica lenses made, by hand, at Leica's main factory in Solms, Germany. The Digilux 3 is equipped with a 7.5 megapixel Live MOS sensor for a real-time live photo function and is sold with a Leica 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 Four Thirds System lens. Features include three shooting aspect ratios (4:3/3:2/16:9), a sensor-dust removal system and an image stabilization integration.

Max Pixels: 7.5MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $1,799

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

The 12.3 megapixel S5 Pro is equipped with a Fuji processor and a unique Super CCD sensor allowing it to capture a range of tones in scenes with a wide dynamic range (from deep shadows to bright highlights), making it a choice camera among wedding and portrait photographers. Five in-camera film simulation modes provide film-like replication. Based on the Nikon D200's magnesium alloy chassis and weather-sealed body build, the S5 Pro also has the advantage of utilizing Nikon lenses and accessories
> Compact> Sub $1000$1000-2000:> Nikon D300> Leica Digilux 3> Canon EOS 50D> Over $2000

Fuji FinePix S5 Pro

The 12.3 megapixel S5 Pro is equipped with a Fuji processor and a unique Super CCD sensor allowing it to capture a range of tones in scenes with a wide dynamic range (from deep shadows to bright highlights), making it a choice camera among wedding and portrait photographers. Five in-camera film simulation modes provide film-like replication. Based on the Nikon D200's magnesium alloy chassis and weather-sealed body build, the S5 Pro also has the advantage of utilizing Nikon lenses and accessories.

Max Pixels: 12.3MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $1,699

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

The new Canon EOS 50D is the first DSLR to use Canon's DIGIC 4 image processor, which the company claims provides speedier operation and more natural color reproduction. An upgrade over last year's 40D, the 50D has a wider ISO range (100-12,800), a 50% increase in pixel count and a 920k-dot LCD resolution. Other features include a Live-View system with Face Detection and a new AF Micro adjustment feature which allows you to enable the camera to analyze and correct the potential barrel distortion
> Compact> Sub $1000$1000-2000:> Nikon D300> Leica Digilux 3> Fuji FinePix S5 Pro> Over $2000

Canon EOS 50D

The new Canon EOS 50D is the first DSLR to use Canon's DIGIC 4 image processor, which the company claims provides speedier operation and more natural color reproduction. An upgrade over last year's 40D, the 50D has a wider ISO range (100-12,800), a 50% increase in pixel count and a 920k-dot LCD resolution. Other features include a Live-View system with Face Detection and a new AF Micro adjustment feature which allows you to enable the camera to analyze and correct the potential barrel distortion of Canon lenses.

Max Pixels: 15.1MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $1,399

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

As we step up in price and performance into the pro-level DSLR's, you will find cameras equipped with what working professionals and serious enthusiasts require: the latest technologies that provide the utmost quality in image capturing.Sony's DSLR-A900 is the company's flagship pro DSLR and Sony's first to incorporate a 35mm full frame image sensor and the highest resolution of any DSLR at 24.6-megapixels. The A900 offers its Super SteadyShot image stabilization, Dual BIONZ image processing eng
> Compact> Sub $1000> $1000-2000Over $2000:> Nikon D700> Canon EOS 5D Mark II> Leica S2

Sony DSLR-A900

As we step up in price and performance into the pro-level DSLR's, you will find cameras equipped with what working professionals and serious enthusiasts require: the latest technologies that provide the utmost quality in image capturing.

Sony's DSLR-A900 is the company's flagship pro DSLR and Sony's first to incorporate a 35mm full frame image sensor and the highest resolution of any DSLR at 24.6-megapixels. The A900 offers its Super SteadyShot image stabilization, Dual BIONZ image processing engines (allowing continuous shooting at up to 5 fps) and an Intelligent Preview function which let's you see the effects of manual adjustments before you take the shot, so you can determine the optimum settings.

Max Pixels: 24.6MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $2,999

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Next to the D3, the D700 is Nikon's second full frame camera and is the company's first 'compact' professional SLR, competing directly with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Sony DSLR-A900. Although considerably smaller than the higher end, $5000 Nikon D3, the D700 is equipped with similar features, sharing the same 12.1MP full frame ('FX') sensor and the same processing engine. The D700 touts good low-noise performance from 200-6400 ISO and a maximum ISO at 25,600 (Hi-2 mode). Also includes Live-Vie
> Compact> Sub $1000> $1000-2000Over $2000:> Sony DSLR-A900> Canon EOS 5D Mark II> Leica S2

Nikon D700

Next to the D3, the D700 is Nikon's second full frame camera and is the company's first 'compact' professional SLR, competing directly with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Sony DSLR-A900. Although considerably smaller than the higher end, $5000 Nikon D3, the D700 is equipped with similar features, sharing the same 12.1MP full frame ('FX') sensor and the same processing engine. The D700 touts good low-noise performance from 200-6400 ISO and a maximum ISO at 25,600 (Hi-2 mode). Also includes Live-View, sensor-dust removal system and built-in flash.

Max Pixels: 12.1MP
Video: No
Est. Price: $2,999

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Canon's much anticipated EOS 5D Mark II features a resolution of 21.1 megapixels, employs the new DIGIC 4 image processor and is able to capture full HD video at 30fps. Offered at a lower price than its widely popular full-frame 5D predecessor, the strategically priced 5D Mark II at $2,699 will attract semi-pro consumers looking at pricier models to obtain top quality. The 5D Mark II features a three-inch, 920K-dot LCD; three Live-View modes; sensor-dust cleaning system and an extended ISO range
> Compact> Sub $1000> $1000-2000Over $2000:> Sony DSLR-A900> Nikon D700> Leica S2

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Canon's much anticipated EOS 5D Mark II features a resolution of 21.1 megapixels, employs the new DIGIC 4 image processor and is able to capture full HD video at 30fps. Offered at a lower price than its widely popular full-frame 5D predecessor, the strategically priced 5D Mark II at $2,699 will attract semi-pro consumers looking at pricier models to obtain top quality. The 5D Mark II features a three-inch, 920K-dot LCD; three Live-View modes; sensor-dust cleaning system and an extended ISO range of 50-25,600.

Max Pixels: 21.1MP
Video: Yes
Est. Price: $2,699

Hottest Digital Cameras for your Budget

Not available until 2009, but still worthy of mention, Leica introduces the all-metal bodied S2 that the company claims will be waterproof, dustproof and have a 37.5 megapixel (30x45mm) CCD sensor that is 60 percent larger than that of a typical 35mm full frame sensor. The S2 will include a dual shutter system, MAESTRO Image Processor utilizing dual processor chips and a high-res, 3" LCD. The S2 will be compatible with a variety of Leica's S-System lenses. (Rumored cost: €20,000)
> Compact> Sub $1000> $1000-2000Over $2000:> Sony DSLR-A900> Nikon D700> Canon EOS 5D Mark II>> Replay Slideshow

Leica S2

Not available until 2009, but still worthy of mention, Leica introduces the all-metal bodied S2 that the company claims will be waterproof, dustproof and have a 37.5 megapixel (30x45mm) CCD sensor that is 60 percent larger than that of a typical 35mm full frame sensor. The S2 will include a dual shutter system, MAESTRO Image Processor utilizing dual processor chips and a high-res, 3" LCD. The S2 will be compatible with a variety of Leica's S-System lenses.

(Rumored cost: €20,000)

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