In order to sell a point-and-shoot camera to the average consumer, you have to tell them about the great features that this particular shooter happens to have and how it’s so much greater than the other guy. For a lot of consumers, a higher megapixel count goes a long way, as do things like optical image stabilization, face recognition, and on-camera image editing. The problem is that many of these features are now available on even the least expensive of units.
Enter HD video, a selling point that is quickly becoming the killer application in the point-and-shoot market. Most cameras are able to take video, but only a select few are doing it in 720p. Camera manufacturers are clearly recognizing our increasing need for high-definition, because we’re starting to see several offerings with this kind of functionality, including the Panasonic TZ5 (pictured), Samsung NV24HD, and the Canon TX-1.
As much as I like the idea of recording high-definition video on a consumer-level camera, I would much prefer if the the firms focused on more important things like better lenses and less noise at high ISO levels. Joe Public takes more “noisy” indoor pictures than he does HD video.