Digital Cameras, Good Pictures in a Snap

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

Consumer Reports Elias Arias said, "Like many new, innovative products, the Nikon is expensive. It costs around $430.00."

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.

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

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 $150.00 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 $90.00 and $100.00 are Consumer Reports best buys.

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