The best and worst in-camera touch-up tools

These in-camera tools can minimize a subject's faults, exaggerate them, or take you on a weird trip to a distorted destination.

Better, worse, or just a tad creepy?

Can a camera really make you look better? Manufacturers have scrambled to produce cameras with various settings designed to make subjects look thinner, have whiter teeth, or appear wrinkleless. Unfortunately, in many cases, the pictures look like the results of amateur Photoshop editing. Here's a visual tour of such cameras--and their output--plus some fun new shooting modes.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290

The 12-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-W290 has a dedicated Smile Shutter button on the top of the camera (next to the shutter button) that automatically takes a picture when the subject smiles. But the more interesting feature is the Happy Faces mode, which lets you add a fake smile to underwhelmed photo subjects.

Price: $231 and up

Click through for examples of Happy Faces mode...

Presidential power smile


Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W290 can put a (strangely Joker-like) smile on a serious-looking Barack Obama.

(Image courtesy of Aperowboat via Flickr)

Mona Lisa smile

Mona Lisa can't help herself but smile with Happy Faces mode on Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W290. Maybe she's imagining herself morphing into Rodney Dangerfield.

(Image courtesy of Aperowboat via Flickr)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP7

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP7 has a built-in Beauty Retouch mode designed to tone down wrinkles, whiten teeth, and add some color to the subject's cheeks. The camera has a 16-megapixel-resolution sensor and a 3.5-inch touchscreen for touching up photos.

Price: $229 and up

Click through for examples digital makeup with this camera.

Before and after

Digital makeup (and teeth whitening), courtesy of the Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FP7.

(Image courtesy of Tobey Grumet for StyleList)

Quick touch-ups

You can apply digital makeup to photos via the touchscreen on the camera's back, which serves as a viewfinder as well.

(Image courtesy of Panasonic via Blugga)

Casio Exilim EX-H20G

The 14-megapixel, 10X-optical-zoom Casio Exilim EX-H20G has 28 different scene modes (which Casio dubs Best Shot selections in the camera's menus). The camera's Dynamic Photo setting lets you superimpose animated animals, text, or other cartoony graphics over your images.

Tuna for supper again?

You can overlay animations--such as the cat posing as a PCWorld editor's good angel--and preview them on the Casio Exilim EX-H20G. You can download animated GIFs or movies afterward.

See the animated version here.

HP Photosmart Range

A slimming feature available on several HP camera models can instantly trim off pounds from the subjects in your photos. You can adjust the filter to control your subject's (apparent) weight.

Price: $139 and up (new)

Slim pickings

HP's slimming filter allows you to keep shots before and after the effect is added. The company estimates that its adjustable filter can reduce a subject's weight by 10 pounds. If that's too much, you can try to use the minimum slimming effect on HP's cameras.

(Image courtesy of HP via Stylish With Substance)

The Nintendo 3DS

The Face Merge mode on the new Nintendo 3DS portable gaming console takes a shot of two faces: one with front-facing camera, one with rear camera, and then merges the two. The results can be remarkably creepy.

Price: $249 and up

Click through for examples of Face Merge on Nintendo 3DS...


As these editors demonstrate, the Face Merge feature on the Nintendo 3DS can produce grotesque results.

Mind meld

For best results, make sure that the subjects are aligned properly on both sides.

Color me bad

In addition to including Face Time on the iPad 2 for video calling, Apple bundled an app called Photo Booth, which adds weird and funny effects in real time to pictures from the tablet's cameras.

What If?

How would you look at 70 with less hair, more wrinkles and a few dozen extra pounds? At the other end of the scale from beautifying cameras, these iPhone apps show you how you would look if you were older, fatter, and balder.

Crystall ball

An example of the chrome dome effect obtained by using the BaldBooth app for iPhone.