Time to buy a new digital camera?

The fact that more people are on a diet in the summer than any other season is probably because this is when we take the majority of our pictures. Summer fun deserves to be captured on a digital camera. And thanks to the continual improvement in technology we can now do it better than ever on the latest compact models and Digital SLRs.

If you're looking to upgrade this summer, only a 10-megapixel camera will do. With manufactures all falling over themselves to get their hands on your money, you'll get higher resolution per pound than ever before. Digital SLRs, for example, will continue flying off the shelves this season, thanks to prices becoming increasingly accessible and entry-level models being available in abundance.

Treat yourself to a DSLR

The 10.2-megapixel Nikon D40x looks set to do well, despite some technical niggles. Nevertheless, it has sensational picture quality and its amateur friendly scene-optimised Digital Vari-program modes help you capture a perfect picture. While it won't suit semi-pro photographers, it's a great step-up for creative compact users.

Interestingly, Nikon released the D40x just four months after releasing the popular D40 , which is still good value but offers only 6.1 megapixels.

Maybe the camera giant realised we expect more megapixels these days, even if (and this is a crucial point) 6 megapixels is really all you need unless you're printing photos at A3 or bigger sizes. But look at it this way: we don't need a 50-inch widescreen HD plasma telly to watch movies. We just want one anyway. Bigger is better. Size does matter.

World's fastest camera

Pro DSLR-wise, everyone in the know is waiting to get their hands on Canon's 10.1-megapixel EOS 1D MkIII. With its astounding 10 frames per second shooting ability (up to 110 frames) it's the world's fastest camera .

Add to this a new Integrated Cleaning System to eliminate dust, Dual DIGIC III processors and a new sophisticated autofocus system, and you have a very desirable camera. Demand may well out-do supply - this is certainly a model to watch out for.

Interestingly, Sigma has gone completely against the grain with the release of the new SD14 . It offers, wait for it, 4.7 megapixels with a price tag of over £1,000. This pro DSLR uses a newly developed Fovoeon chip which processes data in a completely new way and is much more detail rich.

It's only just come on the market but provides exceptionally high quality images that conventional camera sensors can't achieve. And it's getting some incredibly good reviews. Whether enough photographers, other than Sigma die-hards, can be persuaded to leave the megapixel race for Foveon-powered possibilities though is another matter. Watch this space.

There's life in digital compacts yet

Although DSLRs seem to have dominated the headlines lately, digital compacts have improved massively over the last year.

This summer sees some really sexy models coming out to play. Samsung's flagship S1050 is a newly released beauty worth keeping your eyes peeled for. As well as a 10.1-megapixel sensor, it features a sharp 5x optical zoom, Face Recognition Technology, oodles of exposure modes and a 3-inch LCD. Oh, and its retro styling is a real winner too.

Camera phones are bigger news than ever this summer, and megapixel madness is rife here too. We're not content with sending 1-megapixel pictures any more - we want more clarity for our money.

Cameraland won't be loosing any sleep from phones as an opposition though. While it's nice to have the option of taking a high(ish) resolution snap of a football match, should you be caught without a 'real' camera? They certainly aren't a viable substitute for serious snappers. Or are they?

Well, serious snappers no, but for entry level compact users, maybe. Nokia's N95 is breaking the mould of the poor quality cameras we've come to expect in phones. It offers 5-megapixel resolution and Carl Zeiss optics, not to mention the ability to instantly upload your photos to Flickr.

It's a shame we can't expect this type of quality across the board. Shop around for a phone with a decent resolution and good lens, otherwise you'll end up with pictures that look like they've been taken on a phone... Rachael D'Cruze, Digital Camera Magazine

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