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This Month in Digital Cameras

Price when rated: $550

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • 5x zoom lens in compact body
  • Great performance
  • Impressive macro mode
  • Unique 3-D, color-filter features
  • Full manual controls

Cons

  • Images somewhat noisy
  • Red-eye
Ricoh Imaging Company, Ltd. 18273
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Price when rated: $699

Pros

  • VGA movie mode
  • Expandable
  • Excellent battery life
  • Raw images can be edited in camera
  • Nice wide-angle lens (that still has some zoom power)
  • Tons of manual controls
  • Two histograms in record mode

Cons

  • Manual only on CD
  • Images noisy at default camera settings
  • Some red-eye
  • Controls can be confusing at first
Olympus Corporation 225420
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Price when rated: $1,799

Pros

  • Well built
  • All the benefits of a D-SLR
  • Long battery life
  • USB 2.0 and FireWire
  • Robust performance
  • Splash-proof
  • Great image quality
  • Innovative dust-removal system
  • AF illuminator

Cons

  • Expensive compared with other cameras in class
  • Nonstandard lenses
  • Images sometimes underexposed
Olympus Corporation 262005
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Where to buy
Price when rated: $399
Lowest price: $244.00 via Amazon.com Marketplace

Pros

  • VGA movie mode
  • Excellent LCD
  • Robust performance
  • Voice-activated self-timer
  • Plentiful scene modes
  • Impressive macro performance
  • AF illuminator
  • Compact metal body

Cons

  • Images can be noisy if ISO boost is used
  • Limited manual controls
  • Movie mode has a few bugs
  • Red-eye
Nikon Corporation 25514
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Price when rated: $899

Pros

  • Very useful antishake system
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Sharp 7x zoom lens
  • Easy to see electronic view-finder and LCD, even in low light
  • Great photo quality
  • Superb performance, even in Raw or TIFF mode

Cons

  • Not an easy camera to use
  • Unimpressive software bundle and macro mode
  • Images slightly noisy
Konica Minolta 2782-301
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Price when rated: $999

Pros

  • Robust performance
  • Useful Night-Framing feature
  • Supports external flash
  • Fullmanual controls
  • Very high resolution
  • Well-designed, sturdy body
  • VGA, 30-fps movie mode
  • Dual memory-card slots
  • Fast 7x zoom lens

Cons

  • Software not compatible with OS X
  • Too much purple fringing in images
  • Not as many manual controls as other cameras in class
  • Slow Raw-mode performance
  • Competition from D-SLRs
Sony Corporation DSC-F828
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Price when rated: $599

Pros

  • Well built
  • Fast, stabilized 12x zoom lens
  • Sharp and large LCD and electronic view-finder
  • Excellent continuous-shooting modes
  • Full manual controls
  • Very good photo quality
  • Support for add-on lenses and external flash

Cons

  • No AF illuminator (and therefore poor low-light focusing)
  • Must use manual focus for macro shots in manual shooting modes
  • Electronic view-finder can be hard to see in low light
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Price when rated: $499

Pros

  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Great value
  • Electronic viewfinder usable in low light
  • Digital Flash feature lives up to hype
  • Full manual controls

Cons

  • Audio-video cable costs extra
  • Dated movie mode
  • Slow write speeds
  • Burst mode not usable since screens shut off
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