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Cameras have certainly came a long way over the years. Ever since Kodak created the first point-and-shoot digital camera in 1997, cameras have increased in popularity and function. The ability to digitally download photos to your computer has essentially eliminated the need for film and the waste from bad pictures. With a digital camera, you’re only limited to the size of your removable media, plus you can delete bad pictures on the fly, saving room for the gems. We reviewed several great cameras. All of the digital cameras we tested were 3.2 mega pixels.

   

i-Zone Polaroid

i-Zone instant pocket camera gives us new and different ways to take pictures. This lightweight, compact, cool camera takes instant color photos or can make photo stickers measuring 1" x 1.5". Focus-free lens, fast shutter speed and built-in flash are all there. Retails around $20, regular film or sticker film cost around $7. www.polaroid.com

 

You can easily with one button change the flash mode, picture quality or photo mode. In addition all of the controls or functions were easy to get to and use. User interface often gets overlooked compared the numbers and stats, but it truly made us enjoy using this camera.

The Photosmart also includes a very easy to use video and sound capture capability. This not only allows you to collect video clips, but also captures audio with still photographs. We appreciated the ability to annotate your photos with verbal notes to remind you of additional information about a particular photo.

No matter what your digital camera choice, you’ll want to buy more memory flash cards. The good news is you can now get gigabytes of data on a flash card the size of a stamp. While you might see a card du jour at the store, you should stick with SanDisk products to ensure that they are compatible and up to the correct media specifications. SanDisk is the world’s largest flash card manufacturer and produces every major media type from CompactFlash®, SD™, MemoryStick®, Smart Media™, to MMC. www.sandisk.com

 
 
 

Exilim EX-S3 Editor’s Choice

The Exilim by Casio and perhaps it should have been called "Exilslim", as this little camera’s size is amazingly thin. Weighing in at 2.54 oz. without a battery and with it’s slim .46 in. depth, you can easily carry this camera wherever you go. A point can be made that the best pictures are those when you actually have a camera to take them. While cameras as a whole have definitely gotten more compact, you still probably won’t take them wherever you go. The Exilim, because of its credit card size can truly be taken with you all the time, making it a great camera choice.

 

Also as an option, is the HP 8886 camera dock which connects easily to your PC or TV, and includes a remote control for viewing photos, and recharging your camera batteries.

The HP Photosmart 735 has an estimated retail of $229-$249. The Hp 8886 camera dock price is approximately $79.www.hp.com

6-in-1 Reader

The SanDisk 6 in 1 Reader allows you to read any of the major flash cards, that way you can easily share your photos with your friends or ensure compatibility no matter what camera you use. The ‘6 in 1’ also has high speed USB 2.0 with transfer speeds up to 480 Mbits/second which makes it approximately 40 times faster than most USB readers.

 

1 GB Compact Flash Enough storage even for Japanese tourists

 
 

The Exilim also excels in other areas, such as it’s 2.0" LCD screen which lets you actually get a good idea of the picture you’re about to take. It also makes screen feature navigation much easier to read.

The Exilim has a photo stand or "cradle" in which you can easily download the photos to your computer or make the camera show a slideshow on it’s LCD. This amazing camera can also capture short video and audio clips. The Exilim handles this very well. The Exilim also has 10MB of built in memory with an expansion slot for SD/MMC memory cards. We appreciated the built in memory, so even if you forget you media card or have it off being developed, you’ll always be able to take pictures with your camera.

The Exilim EX-S3 also included the fastest startup time of the cameras we tested which in 1 second, goes from an off position to a photo ready state. This is an important measure, which allows for a greater chance to get that sudden great picture you might want to take when your camera happens to be off.

In all, we give the Exilim our Editor’s choice for all around great camera. We tested the EX-S3, which has a MSRP of $349.99, but we also would recommend the new EX-Z4U 4.0 mega-pixel model with a 3x optical zoom, which is being released in October for $399.

www.casio.com

HP Photosmart 735

The HP Photosmart camera is also an excellent all around great digital camera. It is a compact powerhouse full of features. The Photosmart 735 features 3.2 MP resolution and 15x total zoom (Pentax 3x optical lens, 5x digital) which delivers photo quality enlargements up to 11 x 14 inches. Out of all the cameras we tested, the HP had the best navigation controls.

 

The Cybershot DSC-P72 is a solid piece of technology like any SONY product. It is a 3.2 mega pixel, 3x optical zoom, 3.2x digital zoom camera with many of the same advanced features found in the HP such as MPEG movies clips, voice memo and e-mail modes. There were a few things though that we did not care for. First is the small 1.5" color LCD, which we found…well, small. We also did not care for the navigation controls. A blue and yellow color is used and it’s hard to determine which is supposed to be the neutral color and which is supposed to be the highlight color. Furthermore, they just are not very intuitive. From a form factor perspective it was also a one inch longer than the Casio and 1/2 inch longer than the HP in a contest where bigger is not better. The Cybershot does having a redeeming factor in its rechargeable batteries which is a notorious Achilles’ heel to most digital cameras. The P72 retails for $329. www.sony.com

Sony Ericsson T610 Camera Phone

A camera and cell phone in one. Small and powerful, this compact phone has a large screen and can show over 65,536 colors on screen. Sophisticated design and easy-to-use features make this a camera to take with you everywhere. QuickShare™ technology lets you save and send your pictures to anywhere in the world with just two clicks. One click activates the camera, the second click takes the picture. That's it. You can then save and send your pictures anywhere. You can also store up to 2MB of images, screensavers and sounds. Bluetooth™ wireless technology allows you to transfer and sync data with your computer. This great product retails for around $369. www.sonyericsson.com

 

4-in-1 PC Card Adapter No wires, no fuss for your laptop

 
 
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