I was a big fan of Panasonic's DMC-FX35 until today. Panasonic just announced the new DMC-FX500 that has everything I like about the FX35 and then some. Like the FX35, the DMC-FX500 is a 10-megapixel model that offers optical image stabilization, face detection, digital red-eye correction, intelligent exposure, and the ability to record 30 frame-per-second high-definition video (1,280x720). The FX500 ups the ante with a 5x zoom lens (25- to 125mm, f/2.8-8.0) in comparison to the FX35's 4x optical zoom and adds the pièce de résistance, a big 3-inch touch-screen LCD.
Ever since I bought my iPhone, I've become more and more enamored of touch screens, though previous camera implementations from other vendors haven't wowed me. And I do find it slightly disconcerting that Panasonic felt the need to include a funky "stylus-pen" (how does that differ from a stylus, again?) because the touch screen should be responsive enough to use with your finger (and I challenge you not to lose that stylus). I'll let you know how the touch-screen really works after I get my hands on the camera, but the good news is that there's also a regular joystick-type control for some of the settings, so you're not completely dependent on the screen. To me, the 3-inch size vs. the FX35's 2.5-inch screen is practically enough for me to justify spending $50 more for this camera (which will ship in May for $399.95). Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but still, it seems a small premium to pay for the combination of the bigger screen, the longer lens, and the potential usefulness of the touch screen (touch here to set your autofocus subject, for example).