Monday, Nov. 13, 2006

Digital Cameras

1. Nikon D80 $1,300
For old pros and ambitious amateurs, the 10-megapixel D80 digital SLR takes beautiful pictures, no matter who's wielding it. New Nikon tricks: in-camera editing and auto slideshow.

2. Panasonic Lumix DMC-F7Z $350
Six megapixels and a 12x optical zoom lens make a soccer-mom special that's great for action shots. An image stabilizer and high-sensitivity shooting deliver crisper pics in lowlight.

3. Canon PowerShot SD800 IS $400
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its ELPH design, Canon's tiny 7-megapixel camera is fully loaded with a 3.6x optical zoom lens and an image stabilizer for no-jitter movies and less blur.

Need a new camera? Now that digital photography has all but eclipsed film, people are starting to pay attention to the quality of their pictures. If you get blurry shots in low light, or could use some more zip in your zoom, help is at hand.

What kind? Digital cameras tend to fall into three categories. Digital SLRs have interchangeable lenses and offer performance comparable to their film-based forebears. High-zoom point-and-shoots are built for great action shots and video; no lessons required. Compact cameras shoot both video and stills and come in handy at the beach or a nightclub; they're for producing good-enough images on the spur of the moment.