Stories by Danny Palmerlee

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1

Of all the megazoom cameras I've handled, the <a href="">Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1</a> ($500 as of September 2, 2009) is by far the fastest. It starts up in about 2 seconds and has almost no lag time between shots. Its sharp, tilting 3-inch LCD screen makes shooting overhead and from the hip a breeze.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28

Panasonic's new Lumix DMC-FZ28 has features that give it a jump on many of its competitors in the <a href="">advanced point-and-shoot </a>and <a href="">megazoom</a> categories. Its predecessor (the <a href="">Lumix DMC-FZ18</a>) was already a good camera, though not without a few flaws: It couldn't zoom in video mode, and it had disappointing battery life.

Pentax Optio S12 digital camera

What do you get when you cram 12 megapixels and great battery life into a very tiny, very durable, and sublimely easy-to-use camera? You get the Pentax Optio S12, a solid competitor for the upper echelons of our <a href="">Top 10 Point-and-Shoot Cameras chart</a>. The Optio S12 is a cinch to use, fits comfortably into just about any pocket and looks as stylish as its predecessor, <a href="">the Optio S10</a>. Though it lacks some key functions (optical image stabilization in particular, but also zoom in video mode, and advanced manual capabilities), the camera earns points with its ease of use.