I'm sure many people like me over here are photography-savvy without being geeks in the matter.The thing is even though the marketing department of the top camera companies want you to think that megapixels is the holy grail of digital camera and that's it, it's actually not the case at all, in the contrary. Most people will need 4-7 Megapixels, and the more the pixels, the more the camera has to use digital processing to erase the aberrations which are the consequences of to much pixels on a small area.What's been evolving a lot lately in the digital camera world are the optics and the image processor.Nowadays, you can obtain a camera with a 12x optical zoom that fit in your pocket (equivalent of 25-300 mm for a regular 35mm camera). 10 years ago you would have needed a 5 lbs optics for that...Plus the image processor can create images with more and more realistic color and details and record HD movies with image stabilization...In my opinion that's were the latest revolution in digital imaging lies.Most of the big camera manufacturers are now coming with these ultimate digital companion that can shoot pictures or movies in any distance or situation.DPreview.com has a nice round-up on these cameras here.Not surprisingly, the winner are the Panasonic Lumix cameras with their very good optics and ease of use. This has been my favorite companion for years now and I plan to upgrade it with the new ZS3.
The ZS1 is an awesome digital camera that can be obtained for a bargain (around $250 online). But its movie recording are not HD.If you have kids like me and want a real HD digital camcorder then the ZS3 is a better option. It's able to shoot in real HD (720p) and encode the movie directly in H264 format which is the most efficient in space, and recognized by most computers nowadays (provided you have Quicktime installed).