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Digital Camera Fall 2009 Preview

From $249 point-and-shoots to high-end D-SLRs, take a peek at upcoming models from Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Fuji, Panasonic, Lumix, Sony, Samsung, and Leica.

Leica S2
(click for image gallery)

In October, photographers with an avid interest in the legendary Leica brand of cameras will gather in Seattle for their annual meeting. Among the usual chatter about lenses and megapixels and the speed ratings of various SDHC memory cards, they'll have a chance to take a digital imaging workshop on the Microsoft campus.

But for some, the choicest bit of the trip will be the chance to test drive the Leica S2, a camera with a jawdropping 37.5 megapixels and a price tag to match. The S2 won't be available in the U.S. before the show opens October 9, but tongues are already flapping about its rock star pricing -- $22,995 for the body alone.

If you love cameras, but don't have that kind of cash, we've rounded up the top new cameras of the season here -- starting at $249. Most will be released in September; a few have just come out. All of them are packed with features, and some of those are unexpected -- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, a built-in projector -- one even shoots 3D movies. Keep reading, and be sure to check out the image gallery.

Nikon D3000
(click for image gallery)

Nikon D3000
Class: D-SLR
Price: $599
Available: Sept.
Nikon USA

For a D-SLR (digital-single lens reflex) experience at a softer price point than the Leica S2, Nikon's D3000 commands attention. At $599 this is the lowest-priced D-SLR Nike offers, but its feature set and quality make it a solid choice for anyone wishing to step up from a point-and-shoot device.

The 10.2 megapixel D3000 features a split-second shutter response and VR image stabilization for clear images.

It shoots at up to 3 frames per second and has 3-inch LCD. An onboard image editor allows for red-eye correction, the application of filters, and color balancing on-the-fly. A range of Nikkor lenses extends the abilities of the D3000 well beyond the capabilities of any point and shoot camera.

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