Stories by Kathleen Cullen

Olympus E-30 Digital SLR Camera

The Olympus E-30 has a well-rounded feature set that should appeal both to consumers upgrading from lower-end <a href="">DSLR cameras</a> and to buyers looking for something of a more semipro caliber. The E-30 is sold as a kit ($1350 as of 7/7/09, including a 14mm-to-54mm lens) and as the body only ($950 as of 7/7/09).

Casio Exilim EX-Z150 point-and-shoot camera

The slim, 8-megapixel Casio Exilim EX-Z150 <a href="">point-and-shoot camera</a> aims for the teen-friendly sweet spot of slick looks and functionality. For US$200, this little camera comes in a variety of bright candy colors, in addition to black and silver. It also has an impressive 3-inch LCD on the back, a feature that several of my friends with older cameras saw and coveted. Mostly metal, this camera feels sturdy, and its matte shine is quite attractive.

Casio Exilim EX-Z80 point-and-shoot camera

The tiny Casio Exilim EX-Z80 packs a lot of features for US$180, going above and beyond much of its competition. About the length and width of a credit card and just 0.5 inch thick, this camera fits into a pocket with the ease of a flip phone. Encased in a combination of sleek brushed metal and matching faux-metal plastic, the EX-Z80 is available in a range of metallic colors. And at 8 megapixels, it produces acceptable prints at 8 by 10 inches, with nice colors but a bit of blur.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2

A photo organizer and an impressive photo editor in one, Adobe's US$299 Photoshop Lightroom 2 ($99 as an upgrade) adds new editing tools that extend the scope of <a href="">Lightroom's familiar environment</a> while keeping things simple, further reducing the need to jump over to Photoshop (now required only for truly nitty-gritty edits). Though the interface looks much the same as before, Adobe has made numerous workflow improvements that should delight professionals and enthusiasts alike; for example, searching is now quicker and more customizable.