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The Perfect Picture
The small, sleek and easy to carry digital cameras make the experience of photography even more exciting.
Twelve manufacturers entered the fifth annual digital camera cook-off in New York, recently. Here are a few observations about the latest trends in digital cameras.

The picture quality of digital cameras is improving and the mega pixel race continues; but this year, five and six mega pixel cameras are standard.

Screens are bigger, too. Most candidates have beautiful 2.5 -inch screens. But upsizing the screen eliminates the optical viewfinder. Also, camera companies used to supply a starter memory card. But now most companies build 16 or 32 megabytes of memory right into the camera.

Thin has always been in, but this year it is thinner than ever. Many of this year's wonder cams are not much bigger than a credit card: brushed-metal beauties under an inch thick with a USB docking-recharging stand. (The best photos, however, still come from fatter cameras.) The cameras that survived the test are:
CANON A610
The year's photo-quality derby, it top ranked in the 12 out of 20 tests. This camera takes fantastic pictures in almost every situation. Although the biggest, ugliest camera, it is great for shooting over people's heads, or down low for baby shots.

FUJIFILM FINEPIX F10
This 6.3 mega pixel machine is ranked first in 10 of the 20 torture tests. Its low-light work is great and candlelight photos are entirely grain-free. On the downside, this camera offers few scene presets or manual controls, it requires expensive XD memory cards and it is boring looking too.

KODAK EASYSHARE V530
This camera, too, prides itself on thoughtful button layout and onscreen displays. Too bad the but-tons themselves are the size of atoms: pushing them requires skinny fingers or toothpicks.
The camera is fast and takes excellent photos. The movies play back at TV size and smoothness (640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames a second).

CASIO EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z57
This shiny sleek cam is a joy to use, thanks to the largest screen of 2.7 inches, 400-shot battery life and 23 scene presets with illustrations.

It does not suffer from shutter lag-the infuriating focusing delay before the camera actually clicks a shot. You can usually eliminate it by half-pressing the shutter button to pre focus, and then fully pressing at the moment of truth. But fun while clicking is not all you want in turn of Rs. 17,500.

HP PHOTOSMART R817
The HP's 5X zoom is worth appreciating. Colour fidelity and contrast are excellent. The clever button placements and beautifully written onscreen help messages make this a supremely friendly partner.

With a slow start up, it is best suited for the very patient.
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Posted on : 26/12/2005
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