The nice thing about smartphone cameras is that you can instantly share photos using your data plan--but the quality of a point-and-shoot like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5K trumps your phone shots, and we're recommending it in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. Even better? The SZ5K packs onboard Wi-Fi that allows you to take great pictures, and then share them immediately to your smartphone for sharing (it works with both iOS and Android devices.) You can a 14.1 megapixel sensor with 720p video recording and 10x optical zoom. They sell for $199.99, but you can pick one up on Amazon for $189.99, saving yourself 5%.
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This morning Panasonic hit us with the details of the forthcoming Lumix LX5 camera, and we’ve gotta say, it sounds awesome. Previously, the Lumix LX3 was the Lumix point-and-shoot that was most coveted in the line, with Panasonic focusing that camera on being able to take fantastic photos, despite boasting fewer megapixels than competing models. The LX5 takes things to the next level. It keeps the 10-megapixel CCD sensor (which we like,) and improves upon dynamic range and low-light performance. It’s got a better Leica lens and a new image processing engine—again, all focused on making your photos look great.
The Lumix LX5 Leica lens is an F2.0 24mm, and has 3.8x optical zoom (the LX3 has 2.0 zoom.) Obviously, if you want more zoom, you’ll have to look elsewhere, but if you can live with that limitation, you should seriously check this one out. It also records 720p video in AVCHD, and has an LED backlit display for better color reproduction and better visibility outdoors. Rounding things out are image stabilization, face recognition, and creative movie mode. The Lumix LX5 goes on sale in August for $499.