It's time to graduate from low-res cell-phone snapshots and grainy pocket-camcorder videos to a digital SLR that packs a potent one-two punch: old-school manual controls and cinematic HD video capabilities.

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G10
Surprisingly responsive and lightweight, this model combines full-size-DSLR features like interchangeable lenses, manual exposure settings, and 720p HD video at an entry-level price. | $600; panasonic.com

NIKON D7000
One knock against DSLRs has been that they can't shoot long video clips, but this Nikon can capture 20 uninterrupted minutes of full-HD footage. Plus, its state-of-the-art image sensor excels in low-light conditions. | $1,500; nikonusa.com

CANON EOS REBEL T2I
A top-notch mic adds great sound to the Rebel's 1080p full-HD movies, and the 18-megapixel image sensor minimizes distortion and graininess. | $900; usa.canon.com

SONY ALPHA SLT-A55
In addition to letting you "burst shoot" stills at 10 frames per second, the Alpha is adept at high-speed autofocusing while recording full-HD video. | $850; sony.com

UPGRADE YOUR STRAP
Discard the vinyl-and-nylon leash that came with your camera and replace it with one from artisan Gordon Coale. Available in wrist or neck styles, his straps are made-to-measure in four shades of quality leather and 10 hues of heavy-duty thread. From $18; gordyscamerastraps.com

EDIT VIDEOS LIKE A PRO
Shooting is the easy part; assembling footage into something coherent is another matter. Enter TrakAx's drag-and-drop approach to video editing. Made for PCs and smartphones, its software also delivers tools like royalty-free music, one-click YouTube uploads, and easy conversions that make your opus playable on almost any device. TrakAxPC, $25, and TrakAxMobile, $8; trakax.com

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