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Point-and-shoots: Picking your perfect camera

Some of you might know me as the faithful Phoenix photo editor snapping pictures around campus, but to my friends I’m just the resident camera geek. This has its perks, but it also means I get asked a lot of camera questions. By far the most common is, “Which one should I buy?” And with many of you inevitably planning on taking a lot of Facebook pics over spring break, you might be wondering the same thing. Well, here’s my answer:Ball’n on a budgetSony CyberShot DSC-W120 &- $150On the cheaper end of the camera spectrum, we have the Canon CyberShot W120. For its low price, it’s a great buy. It has a 7.2 megapixel sensor, image stabilization and a Carl Zeiss lens, which means it will take a decent shot in most situations.The W120 does have its downsides. The LCD on this camera isn’t the sharpest or best quality, and can be really hard to see in bright light. Because it’s made by Sony, the W120 only accepts their proprietary memory sticks.? 7.2 Megapixels? 32-128mm equiv lens with 4x Optical? 2.5- inch LCD? Optical Image Stabilizer? ISO sensitivity up to 3200? Face Detection and Smile Shutter ModeSwim-up bar approved?Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 – $250??The Panasonic TS1 takes great pictures and has all the features you would expect from a good digital camera. But it has a one distinct edge over the other cameras in this review: you can bring it to the pool. That’s right, it’s waterproof. It’s also dust proof and shockproof, which makes it a great choice if you’re planning on hitting the beach over spring break. Even if you’re not planning any aquatic photo shoots, it’s nice to know that an unexpected rain or snow storm won’t keep you from using your camera.? 12.1 Megapixels? 28-128mm equiv lens with 4.6x optical zoom and image stabilization? Waterproof to 10 ft.? Shock and dust proof? 720p video recording? 2.7-inch LCD screenTop dogPanasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 – $395If you’re looking for a point-and-shoot with serious photographers in mind, then look no further than the Panasonic Lumix LX3. This camera was built by photographers for photographers and has all the things any shutterbug would want. The combination of the LX3’s amazing 10.1 megapixel sensor, and it’s Leica lens creates images that rival many DSLR cameras. It also includes a few other features usually found on DSLRs, like priority and manual modes, as well as a hotshoe for external flashes and accessories; however, all of these features come at a price that might be out of reach for many.Even putting price aside, I think its biggest problem is in its size. The LX3 is considerably larger than most point-and-shoots and has a lens that doesn’t fully retract into the body. This will keep you from slipping it into your pocket and struggling to fit it into anything smaller than a small bag or purse. And for a point-and-shoot that reason alone might be enough to keep a lot of people from taking the plunge 8212; myself included.? 10.1 effective Megapixels? 24mm wide 2.5x optical with Leica lens with 2.5x optical zoom? ISO sensitivity up to 6400? F2.0 maximum aperture? 3.0 LCD monitor? Raw and JPEG modes? Up to ISO 3200 sensitivity? HD movie capture? Manual exposure and focus options

Sleek and sexyCanon Powershot S90For around the same price as the LX3, Canon offers up their sleek competitor &- the Powershot S90. It boasts a long list of features, like a 10 megapixle sensor and f2.0 lens, but is still small enough that you can easily slip into your back pocket. It doesn’t have a few things that you can find on the LX3, like the external hotshoe and video capabilities, but for me, the PowerShot wins because it’s better at what point-and-shoots do best &- being portable.

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