A Quick Clique
Hand-held HD. High-definition video is reaching the masses, for recording as well as watching. The Canon HV10 high-definition camcorder is the most consumer-friendly version we've seen, if the price is still a bit steep at $1,300. It fits nicely in one hand, leaving the other to manipulate its many buttons-though the placement of the zoom control near the lens seemed awkward. The cam saves video to MiniDV tapes in glorious 1080i high def (even birthday parties look good) or standard resolution. One downside is that no editing software is included, and not all third-party programs can handle the MPEG format of the high-def video.
Freeze frame. Nikon leapfrogs its competition with this latest digital SLR. The Nikon D80 ($1,000, or $1,300 with 18-135 mm zoom lens) is a delight for either pros or amateurs. It also has a lightning-fast shutter and focus that can freeze the most rambunctious toddler. The D80 captures 10.2 megapixels, which allows for cropping a photo and having plenty of detail left. It also adds basic editing while pictures are still in the camera, including red eye removal. For memory, it uses Secure Digital format cards, which are smaller in physical size and maximum memory than the Compact Flash cards.
Pretty in Pink. Going small no longer means doing without. The $349 Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T10 has everything a snapshooter could want, plus it slips into a shirt pocket and comes in four different colors. It packs 7.2 megapixels into a photo for sharp pictures, has a 3x optical zoom, and offers image stabilization, which reduces blurry photos. It comes with 56 MB of built-in memory, good for about a half-dozen pictures. But to take more, you'll have to use the pricier Sony Memory Stick format.
This story appears in the November 27, 2006 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.