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aug 30 2007

Before you buy a camera, check here

If you're planning to spend more than $200 on a digital camera within the next six months, and if you care about F-stops, lenses, and other advanced functions, be sure to visit Digital Photography Review. Think of this website as a hyper-detailed Consumer Reports for high-tech cameras. It specializes in thorough product testing and detailed reviews. This website also offers video clips of hard-to-explain camera features and functions.

This morning, for example, Digital Photography Review was the first website to offer a full review of the the Panasonic DMC-L10, which is in the running for being the most interesting new camera of the year.

With a $1,299 list price (ouch!), this camera isn't for most travelers. (For price comparison, Nikon offers a D40/D40X at about $550/$700 and Canon offers a Rebel XTi at $700.) But the features that this Panasonic camera is debuting may set the some standards for digital "single-lens reflex" model cameras, and many of its features will likely trickle down to cheap cameras within a few years.

Among its many tricks, this camera can detect up to 15 human faces and automatically set the best focus and light exposure to capture the subjects clearly. The camera also has a viewfinder that flips out as much as 180 degrees, a feature common on many videocameras but relatively rare on digital "still" cameras. The screen also automatically adjusts its brightness depending on the surrounding conditions--becoming brighter on a cloudy day, for instance. The camera even uses supersonic vibrations to shake off dust clinging to the sensor and marring images when you change lenses. [via Digital Photography Review]

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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