Digital Cameras

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March 18, 2011

Retailers discount last year's models in the spring to make way for new ones. Here are tips for choosing a good one.

STOP COUNTING MEGAPIXELS (MP) For snapshots, 10MP is probably plenty-they can produce great prints up to 11" by 14".

SPLURGE ON A GOOD ZOOM INSTEAD A lens with a high optical zoom is worth the investment: 5x is good; 10x is excellent. (Ignore digital zoom, though. A function of a camera's software, it blows up an image as you shoot it and crops it off-it can yield pix-elated photos.)

LOOK FOR IMAGE STABILIZATION Again, optical (rather than digital) image stabilization is the way to go, to help prevent blurry action shots.

ALSO CONSIDER Low-light sensitivity; a 3"-plus screen; a "burst" mode for taking rapid-fire shots; smile, blink, or face detection for capturing groups; and HD video recording (720 is good, 1080 is better)

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