Which Camera Should I Buy?

When pocket real estate is at a premium, it's nice to have a camera that doubles as a photo viewer.

Which-Camera-Should-I-Buy

Which-Camera-Should-I-Buy

I want a digital camera that can double as a photo viewer. Is there a model with a big, bright LCD screen that's also thin enough to fit in my pocket?

How big are your pockets? A variety of compacts pack large LCDs (2.5 inches or more), but most have protruding lenses or monitors that can't be seen from an angle or in bright light.

Sony's 8.1MP Cyber-shot DSC-T100 ($365, street) has a beautiful 3-inch LCD monitor with sharp 230,000-pixel resolution and a wide viewing angle. Plus, you get an internal 5X optical, f/3.5-4.4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom (35-175mm equivalent) and a 9-point AF system. Less than an inch thick, it also captures decent movies.

Want more screen, though with less zoom range? We recommend Hewlett-Packard's new Photosmart R937 ($300, street). This 8MP camera serves up an internal 3X optical f/3.5-4.2 Fujinon zoom (39-188mm equivalent) and a plethora of cool image-retouching features. At just over an inch thick, it packs a giant, 3.6-inch, touch-screen LCD.

All of the menu controls are a finger- or stylus-tap away, and the LCD's viewing quality rivals personal media players: wide viewing angle, sharp detail, and automatic brightness adjustment.

The R937 lets you tag photos with metadata visible in Microsoft's Vista OS, and captures M-JPEG video with sound (VGA-res at 24 fps). It boasts in-camera editing functions including human and pet redeye reduction, HP Adaptive Lighting for portraits, and cool effects, such as a filter to make people look slimmer.

Manual exposure controls are missing, but there's autoexposure bracketing, AE metering, EV compensation, and a selectable spotmeter. SD and SDHC cards are supported, and there's 32MB of built-in memory. Large LCDs gobble power, so the R937 also includes a Li-ion rechargeable battery. Put simply, fairly heavy-duty imaging from a double-duty unit.

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