Top 10 Digital Cameras
Most small digital cameras look chic, and the latest such models we've tested are no exception. As this month's chart-topping newcomers--Nikon's Coolpix 5600 and Coolpix 7900--prove, size is no obstacle to performance. Both excelled in our image output tests; ironically, the 5.1-megapixel 5600 actually surpassed the 7.1-megapixel 7900, producing attractive-looking flesh tones and better-balanced exposures.
Though these two general-purpose units are of similar size, each has its own distinct characteristics. The silvery 5600 looks a bit chunkier than its sibling, due to its lack of a pronounced handgrip and, perhaps, to its reliance on a pair of AA batteries. By contrast, the black-and-silver 7900 is a bit slimmer, has a comfortable grip, and seems designed for easy one-handed operation. The 7900 also has a slightly longer zoom lens than the 5600.
New to our chart, as well, are models from Olympus and Casio. The zoom on the boxy Olympus C-5500 SportZoom has tremendous range, and the camera provided pleasing exposures on our test images. The Casio model has a unique form: Its stout body has a long lens that protrudes outward. Its ease of use and battery life impressed us, but its dark, muddied images will disappoint most users.