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Panasonic Lumix SZ1 Blue
ePHOTOzine has reviewed the new Panasonic Lumix SZ1, an ultra compact digital camera with a wide angle 10x optical zoom lens, image stabilisation, 16 megapixel CCD sensor, 3 inch screen, 720p video, lithium-ion rechargeable batter, and metal body. The camera is available in a number of colours, for around £179.

“The Panasonic Lumix SZ1 features an ultra compact body with a 25mm wide angle 10x optical zoom lens and optical image stabilisation. The camera promises “sonic speed AF” and features a focus assist lamp. New features added to the camera and a first for Panasonic Lumix cameras is a new miniature effect mode and built in panoramic stitching.”

Some would say, including me, that 2012 has been one of the most exciting years for the photography and digital camera industry, while the low-end compact camera market has been in decline due to the improvement and adoption of smartphones (such as the amazing Nokia PureView 808), there has been increasing improvements in pocket zoom cameras, ultra zoom bridge cameras, Digital SLRs and mirrorless cameras.

Bang for buck or value for money has been at it’s highest ever, with compact 10x optical zoom lens cameras available for £99 with optical image stabilisation, such as the Panasonic Lumix SZ1. Previous years you were unlikely to get such a high level of optical zoom from a branded camera for under £100.

Canon Powershot SX50 HS

Bridge cameras have reached the highest level of optical zoom ever – first with the 42x optical zoom lens Nikon Coolpix P510 (equivalent to 24 to 1000mm), then with the even more incredible 50x optical zoom lens Canon Powershot SX50 HS (equivalent to 24 to 1200mm!). WOW!

Nikon D800 Front

Digital SLRs have seen a big refresh from all of the major manufacturers, with full-frame Digital SLRs from Nikon (3), Canon (3), and Sony (1), with Nikon and Canon both offering professional high speed DSLRs the Nikon D4 and Canon EOS 1D X, mid-range professional DSLRs the 36.3 megapixel Nikon D800 (and D800E) and Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and new entry level full-frame Digital SLRs, the Nikon D600 and Canon EOS 6D. Sony recently introduced the full-frame Sony Alpha A99 with continuous AF during video.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Black

More mirrorless cameras have been introduced this year than ever before, with models from all the major manufacturers, with very few left out, in fact with those that haven’t joined the market suffered, with Kodak leaving the digital camera market for example. New models have been introduced by Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Fujifilm, Sony, including new weather-sealed models from Olympus, with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic, with the Panasonic Lumix GH3.

Next year should be exciting, with CES 2013 kicking off the year, where it’s usual for a whole new camera range to be introduced, particularly in the consumer of point and shoot range.

Looking for the best budget, pocket-zoom, ultra zoom, compact, waterproof, mirrorless or Digital SLR camera? Then why not have a look at these Highly Recommended cameras:-

For the latest view our Reviews with the Best Cameras listed first!

Here are some of our recommended digital cameras, based on using the digital cameras, and reviewing them, either here or reviewing them for other sites.

Best Budget Cameras:
Canon-powershot-a3200 IS
Best Budget Camera: Canon Powershot A3200 IS (source) £78
Best Budget Camera less than £110:
Panasonic SZ1 (source) £109
Best Budget Bridge Camera:
Fujifilm FinePix S2980, £95

Best Compact Cameras:
Canon Powershot S95 Pop Up Flash
Best Compact Camera:
Canon Powershot S95, £200
Best Pocket Zoom Camera:
Panasonic Lumix TZ30 (source) £232
Best Ultra Zoom / Bridge Camera:
Nikon Coolpix P510 (source) £283

Best Digital SLRs:
Nikon D3100 DSLR
Best Budget Digital SLR:
Nikon D3100 (source) £296
Best Full-Frame Digital SLR:
Nikon D800 (source) £2032

Best Mirrorless / Compact System Cameras:
Samsung NX1000 White Swarovski Edition
Best Entry Level Mirrorless Camera:
Olympus PEN E-PL3, £285
Best Mid-Range Mirrorless Camera:
Samsung NX1000, £399
Best Premium Mirrorless Camera:
Olympus OM-D E-M5, £999

If you know what you’re looking for, then why not have a look at our Reviews – sorted by rating with highest scoring cameras are at the top, or sorted by megapixels , or sorted by manufacturer, or simply why not have a look at our latest reviews!

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