Digital SLR cameras take wonderful pictures but tend to make poor traveling companions, as the array of lenses and accessories that most photographers pack with SLRs makes the cameras clumsy to carry and cumbersome to use. The Sony DSC-R1 ($1,000) has emerged as a practical alternative. Its 10.3-megapixel resolution provides sharper pictures than most SLRs do, and its manual controls offer most of an SLR’s flexibility. Its swiveling LCD viewscreen allows you to compose your shots without pressing your eye against a viewfinder, and the full automatic mode makes operation simple, even for those who prefer only to point and shoot.
The DSC-R1’s main flaw is that, unlike almost all other electronic viewfinder cameras, it cannot shoot video. Those who want video capability will prefer one of this year’s standout digital SLRs, such as Canon’s EOS 5D and Nikon’s D200. But those who can live with photos only will love the DSC-R1.