The coolest camera features of 2010

Sometimes, choosing a camera demands considerations other than image quality and battery life. These cameras have innovative extras that may win you over as soon as you try them.

Olympus's Live Guide

Good for: Learning the ropes without reading a manual

In addition to its interchangeable optics, compact size, and big sensor, the Olympus Pen E-PL1 Micro Four-Thirds camera offers a beginner-friendly Live Guide feature. To help novice shooters master the camera, this on-screen setting offers quick tips for shooting different subjects (kids, pets, and flowers, for example) and describes some of the more complex in-camera settings (aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation, for instance) in plain English. Creating a shallow depth of field by widening the aperture becomes 'Blur Background' in the on-screen help; adjusting the shutter speed becomes 'Express Motion', and tweaking various exposure settings becomes 'Change Color Saturation', 'Change Brightness', and 'Change Color'. As a result, creative casual shooters can easily capture the look and feel they prefer, and then check the metadata for each image to see how to achieve that image manually on later occasions.

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