Snappy Digitals For $100 Or Less

Do you have someone on your holiday list who really wants a digital camera? One of the hot new cameras this season is a Nikon that comes with a built-in projector.

Consumer Reports just took a look at this groundbreaking new gadget.

This may look like a weird, grainy home movie, but it's not. It's footage from this Nikon Coolpix, the first digital camera with a small, built-in projector.

"Like many new, innovative products, the Nikon is expensive. It costs around $430." said Consumer Reports Elias Arias.

To test the Nikon, Consumer Reports projects 40-inch diagonal images at a distance of six-and-a-half feet onto a white screen.

But the images could only be viewed if the room was extremely dark.

"We found the projected images to be pretty good, but your photos will look better, more detailed, on a computer." said Arias.

And the remote control buttons don't light up, so they're tough to see in the dark.

Also, a fully charged battery will only last an hour in projector mode, or less.

"If you've been taking photos and then you want to use the projector, you're going to find it drains much more quickly." said Arias.

But if you don't' need a projector, Consumer Reports found two subcompact cameras that do a very good job for a hundred dollars or less.

"In the past, subcompacts under $150 usually didn't perform well enough for us to recommend." said Arias.

But that's changed with two Kodak EasyShare cameras. Both performed very well in tests and at 90 and a hundred dollars are Consumer Reports Best Buys.

Consumer Reports says if you want to get a compact digital-which are slightly larger and the controls can be easier to operate-testers recommend the Canon PowerShot A 1000 IS. It costs $150.


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