The Pentax K-x is an entry-level DSLR that packs in plenty of advanced features such as Live View, HD video capability and a high-dynamic-range mode. The loaded and ready 1.3-pound camera has a 12.4-megapixel CMOS sensor with Shake Reduction. The 2.7-inch LCD features Live View with three different autofocus modes, including Face Detection, Contrast Detection and Phase Difference autofocus, which accesses the AF sensor in the camera body for optimal focus. Other key specs include 1280x720 HD video recording at 24 fps, an 11-point autofocus system and a continuous shooting rate of 4.7 fps. Estimated Street Price: $649 (with 18-55mm lens). Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
LEICA M SYSTEM Leica users with a collection of Legacy M lenses can make use of them now with the M9, the first digital rangefinder to feature a full-frame (24x36mm) sensor. The camera’s compact size and full metal housing give it a portable, rugged build that’s identical to the M8.2. The 18-megapixel CCD image sensor was developed by Kodak and contains microlenses that help corral light onto each pixel for increased resolution and image quality. The bright viewfinder allows for fast and precise focusing even in low light. Navigation is designed to be simple and intuitive, with controls operated by a four-way switch-and-dial combination used in conjunction with the 2.5-inch LCD monitor. Estimated Street Price: $6,995. Contact: Leica, (800) 222-0118, www.leica-camera.com.
Fill out your lens kit with the latest Canon wide-angle to moderate-telephoto zooms. The EF-S 15-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS USM delivers a focal-length range equivalent to 24-136mm in 35mm format, image stabilization and high-precision optics for excellent image quality. The EF-S 18-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS covers 29-216mm in 35mm format and features shake compensation of up to four shutter-speed stops. Estimated Street Price: $799 (15-85mm); $499 (18-135mm). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
WIDE-ANGLE TO TELE-ZOOM Nikon’s most popular zoom has gotten an upgrade. The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR II lens features second-generation Vibration Reduction for handheld shooting at up to four shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible. When space is limited, this is a great lens to take because it provides a 35mm-equivalent focal-length range of 27-300mm, weighs 1.2 pounds and measures just 3.8 inches long. The zoom lock switch secures the lens barrel at its minimum length so the barrel isn’t pulled downward during transport. Estimated Street Price: $849. Contact: Nikon USA, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.
Conceal your expensive camera gear in the Tenba Messenger Camera Bag, which allows you to keep a low profile when traveling with valuable equipment. The rugged, lightweight bag holds one or two SLRs, three to four lenses, a flash and other accessories. It weighs 2.5 pounds with a padded removable insert that allows you to use it as a general-purpose bag. The Messenger is made from Cordura nylon so it can be machine-washed if it gets dirty. Color options include black, olive and burnt orange. Estimated Street Price: $129. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300, www.tenba.com.