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High-Tech Cameras Fight Back In A Smartphone World

Blame the iPhone. It was the first in a wave of smartphones with cameras that pack the pixels and precision of the real thing. In 2012, camera-equipped phones outsold cameras by a six-to-one ratio. Now the old guard is fighting back with these souped-up models.

Polaroid iM1836 [1] The iM1836 runs the latest version of Android and has built-in Wi-Fi, so users can download Photoshop, Instagram, and Facebook and upload photos on the go (or just play Angry Birds). The camera's crowning feature: It's the world's first Android-powered camera with an interchangeable lens. ($400,

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 [2] Think Instagram, with a printer. The Instax pumps out credit-card-size photos in seconds and offers settings such as "partly sunny" to mimic the retro look of photo filters. It's a new social media: Rainbow-colored frames leave space for tipsy party attendees to scribble captions. ($100,

Canon PowerShot N [3] Content sharing is where the PowerShot excels: One touch will upload photos to your social site of choice, via Wi-Fi. The rings around the lenses control the zoom and snap actions, priming the camera for casual, one-handed shots—just like the ones you take on your phone. ($300,

Pentax MX-1 [4] Despite the plural functionality of today's phones, their cameras suffer from bad performance in dim settings. Pentax, a nearly 100-year-old company, is betting that the MX-1's low-light sensitivity—its night vision far surpasses the industry standard—is enough to lure back buyers. ($500,

[Photo by Joel Stans; Prop Styling: Janine Iversen]

A version of this article appeared in the May 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.