photokina Special Coverage; Digicams: Integral Lens Digital Cameras—Anti-Shake, Higher Megapixel Counts, And Face Detection, Too Page 2

Although Olympus was the first manufacturer to employ an Optical Image Stabilizer in a digital camera with a built-in lens, the company has not used this technology for several years. But now, the 7-megapixel Olympus Stylus 750 with high-grade 36-180mm zoom, features a device that provides correction of camera shake by shifting the entire CCD sensor in the appropriate direction. Olympus also includes a Digital Image Stabilization shooting mode--a feature used by other manufacturers, too--but that function merely boosts ISO for faster shutter speeds; hence, it's not really an Image Stabilizer, per se. The Stylus 750 is a full-featured camera, with 27 shooting modes, lots of overrides, and a 2.5" LCD; it's also weatherproof and available in silver, green, black, and red. (Street price: $399.)

Olympus Stylus 750

Canon is installing an Optical Image Stabilizer in an increasing number of cameras, including the 7-megapixel PowerShot SD800 IS. This model features a very compact stainless steel body with a 28-105mm wide angle to short telephoto zoom and 2.5" LCD screen, DIGIC III processor, Face Detection Technology, and a long list of capabilities for both simplified shooting and more serious photography. (Street price: $399.)

Canon PowerShot DS800 IS

Sony has also become prolific in adding the Super SteadyShot Optical Image Stabilizer to its cameras. That amenity is available even in an ultra-slim (0.9") digicam like the 7-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-T50 with a non-protruding Carl Zeiss 38-114mm zoom. This camera with metal body was designed for simplicity of operation that families demand and it includes a bonus that most will love: a huge 3" touch-screen LCD for quick access to shooting and playback functions. (List price: $499.)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T50

Not everyone needs an Image Stabilizer in a camera with a 3x zoom lens and many would be happy with the super-slim (0.8") Pentax Optio T20 with an aluminum-alloy exterior, 38-113mm zoom, and oversized 3" touch-display LCD; functions can be selected merely by touching icons on the LCD monitor. Pentax even provides a "My Drawing" mode; using the stylus pen, you can create your own original picture by writing directly on the image displayed on the monitor. This 7-megapixel camera was designed for ease of use but includes 12 shooting modes and a surprisingly wide range of options and overrides. (List price: $399.)

Pentax Optio T20

We found only two new super-zoom cameras at photokina and that was surprising; perhaps the market is already saturated with such models. The first was the Leica V-LUX 1 mentioned earlier and the second was the 7-megapixel budget-priced Kodak EasyShare Z710 Zoom. This one offers a non-stabilized Schneider-KREUZNACH 38-380mm zoom, 2" LCD monitor, 19 automatic Scene modes, a few essential overrides plus in camera enhancing features. (List price: $299.)

Leica V-LUX 1

Kodak EasyShare Z710

Canon's PowerShot SD40 with 38-90mm lens and DIGIC III processor is quite versatile for a family camera, with 17 shooting modes, all the essential overrides, ISO levels to 1600, and the new Face Detection AF/AE technology. This very compact model with metal exterior body is available in four "chic" colors: Twilight Sepia, Precious Rose, Noble Blue, and Olive Grey. And no, I am not kidding; those are indeed the color designations published by Canon. (List price: $349.)

Finally, in some respects--particularly in terms of sophisticated technology--Fujifilm stole the show in the very popular 6- to 7-megapixel category. The company did a great job illustrating the effectiveness of the "world's fastest" Face Detection Technology, capable of locating up to 10 faces in the frame and making sure they're properly focused. They did so by hooking up the new FinePix F31fd to a video display that visually illustrated face detection autofocus with live images of visitors to the Fuji stand; the oversized display seemed to stop most people in their tracks. This is "only" a 6-megapixel camera with a 36-128mm zoom and 2.5" LCD screen, but it's unusually versatile and loaded with great features. That includes a very sophisticated i-Flash system, a Super CCD HR (High Resolution) sensor, ISO levels up to a full 3200, a highly effective Real Photo Processor II engine, and a wealth of useful capabilities. (List price: $399.)

Fuji FinePix F31fd