Development and Scripting
4th Dimension 2003 Standard Edition ($349), from 4D (www.4d.com): It’s not easy to learn or to use, but the company is trying to fix that, as evidenced by its well-integrated XML and Web-services support. If you’re an established 4D developer, it’s well worth buying this edition ( July 2003 ).
RealBasic 5.0 ($100), from Real Software (www.realsoftware.com): With a rebuilt compiler and debugger, and the incorporation of Mac OS X’s interface features, RealBasic remains the most enjoyable way to develop modern and muscular Mac applications ( July 2003 ).
Revolution 2.1 ($149), from Runtime Revolution (www.runrev.com): Revolution 2.1 is an accomplishment: a development environment for newbie programmers and experienced consultants who need to get working apps quickly into the hands of clients ( February 2004 ).
TextWrangler 1.0 ($49), from Bare Bones Software (www.barebones.com): This is a moderately powerful tool for sorting, processing, and editing text files. If you spend a lot of time looking at config files or database exports, TextWrangler is a good option ( July 2003 ).
Digital Cameras — Consumer
C-740 Ultra Zoom ($499), from Olympus (see ” Our Favorite Digital Cameras “).
Coolpix 3100 ($349), from Nikon (www.nikonusa.com): This
Coolpix 5400 ($699), from Nikon (www.nikonusa.com): With a 4x zoom lens, a 5-megapixel CCD, a complete set of manual controls, a hot-shoe, and an incredible 1cm macro mode, this is one of the best high-end cameras out there ( January 2004 ).
Cyber-shot DSC-P72 ($329), from Sony (http://eqmac .station.sony.com): This camera is a little bigger and has a few less features than its sibling, the P8; the trade-off is between size and battery life (the P72’s battery lasts longer). The movie mode is the best we’ve seen ( July 2003 ).
Cyber-shot DSC-P8 ($399), from Sony (http://eqmac .station.sony.com): The P8 has a few more features than its sibling, the P72; the trade-off is between size and battery life (the P72’s battery lasts longer). The movie mode is the best we’ve seen ( July 2003 ).
Cyber-shot DSC-V1 ($699), from Sony (http://eqmac .station.sony.com): This 5.0-megapixel camera supports full manual mode, has a very good user interface, and includes a hot-shoe. Despite a well-designed metal body, the Cyber-shot disappointed with poor battery life and photo quality ( October 2003 ).
D-560 Zoom ($349), from Olympus (www.olympus america.com): This easy-to-use camera provides good-quality images. It has the same feature set as the Stylus 300, without the fancy body ( July 2003 ).
Digital Rebel ($899), from Canon (see ” Our Favorite Digital Cameras “).
Dimage F300 ($599), from Minolta (www.minoltausa.com): This camera is worth considering. It has a tracking autofocus mode, which keeps moving subjects in focus, and it features sharp images and full manual controls ( July 2003 ).
Dimage Xt ($399), from Minolta (www.minoltausa.com): This ultracompact 4.2-ounce, 3.2-megapixel camera has a nice movie mode; however, in our testing, soft images didn’t turn out as well as those from a digital camera with a standard lens system ( October 2003 ).
EasyShare DX6490 ($499), from Kodak (www.kodak.com): This digital camera has a 10x optical zoom and a healthy number of manual controls. Photo quality is very good, but the most interesting part of this camera is the EasyShare software package, which lets you mark photos for later e-mailing, printing, or saving in photo albums ( January 2004 ).
Finecam L3v ($349), from Kyocera Electronics (www.kyoceraimaging.com): This is an average 3.2-megapixel model that’s interesting only because of its 2.5-inch LCD. Photo quality is decent, but images are on the soft side ( January 2004 ).
Finecam S5 ($599), from Kyocera Electronics (www.kyoceraimaging.com): The Finecam S5 is mediocre in all respects, unfortunately. It isn’t a bad camera, but it can’t handle the fierce competition in the 5-megapixel category ( July 2003 ).
FinePix F700 ($600), from Fuji (www.fujifilm.com): This camera is compact, well designed, and fast, and it produces good-quality photos. In addition to its native 3.1-megapixel resolution, it can interpolate to 6 megapixels. It is a tad expensive, though ( January 2004 ).
FinePix S5000 ($499), from Fuji (www.fujifilm.com): This camera can produce 6-megapixel images, but their quality isn’t as good as that of the F700’s images. In the end, the FinePix S5000 is just average in a growing field of ultrazoom cameras ( January 2004 ).
Lumix DMC-FZ1 ($449), from Panasonic (www.panasonic.com): This fast automatic camera has a stabilized 12x zoom, good picture quality, and no manual controls except for white balance. Considering its price, the DMC-FZ1’s 2.0-megapixel resolution is surprisingly low ( October 2003 ).
PDR-M700 ($449), from Toshiba America (www.toshiba.com): This digital camera has a 2.5-inch LCD, but it’s too bad that the resolution of the LCD isn’t very high. The photo quality is good, but not spectacular. It’s an average ultrazoom camera ( January 2004 ).
PowerShot A70 ($399), from Canon (www.power shot.com): A full suite of manual controls, a nice movie mode, and support for conversion lenses and for an underwater case put this 3.2-megapixel digital camera way ahead of the competition ( July 2003 ).
PowerShot G5 ($899), from Canon (www.powershot.com): A good 5-megapixel camera with impressive features and excellent photo quality. However, our photos had a surprising amount of purple fringing for a camera this expensive ( October 2003 ).
PowerShot S400 Digital Elph ($599), from Canon (see ” Our Favorite Digital Cameras “).
PowerShot S50 ($699), from Canon (www.powershot.com): Almost identical to the PowerShot S45, the 5-megapixel S50 has a full suite of manual controls, an AF illuminator, a good movie mode, and excellent photo quality ( July 2003 ).
Stylus 300 ($449), from Olympus (www.olympusamerica.com): What makes this point-and-shoot camera stand out is its weatherproof metal body. It’s easy to use and its picture quality is good, but it could use an AF illuminator ( July 2003 ).
Digital Camera — Professional
EOS 10D ($1,999), from Canon (www.powershot.com): The EOS 10D is simply a great digital SLR camera. Its well-balanced mix of features, comfort, image quality, and reasonable price should appease even finicky film-camera stalwarts ( September 2003 ).