Consumer Reports has just added 20 new cameras to our Ratings, including 13 basic models and seven advanced models.
Here are some of the trends illustrated by the new models:
- Going long, going wide: Manufacturers continue to expand the zoom range of all types of point-and-shoots. In our basic camera Ratings, you'll find a Leica subcompact with a 12x zoom, a Canon compact with a 14x zoom, and a Nikon superzoom with a 26x zoom. In our advanced camera Ratings is a Fujifilm point-and-shoot with a 30x optical zoom. Each of these cameras, along with many other models, include wide-angle capability too, which is helpful for capturing group portraits and landscapes. We're also seeing wide-angle capabilities in less expensive cameras, including a $170 Casio, a $130 HP and a $120 Panasonic basic model.
- Reinventing the LCD on advanced models: One of Panasonic's two SLR-like cameras in our Ratings, the Lumix DMC-G2K, $800, is a bit pricey, but it includes some innovative features. For starters, it's the first in its class to sport an articulating LCD that's also a touch screen. But you can also use that touch screen to set your focus points, providing you with an intuitive way to compose photos.
- Physical controls make a comeback: Most basic models, especially subcompacts, have done away with physical controls, particularly if the camera includes a touch screen. However, select basic superzooms and more and more advanced cameras, including the Samsung TL500 and Fujifilm FinePix HS10, appear to be adding knobs, toggles and buttons. Who knows? Maybe camera companies will resurrect optical viewfinders and start putting them back into basic cameras, too.
You can check out how well the latest models fared on our Ratings pages.