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If you like detail, you'll like 6 megapixel cameras. And some models are relative bargains. Right now, they provide the best of both worlds: detail enough for 10” x 15” enlargements, but at a very affordable price. Here are three typical models:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX01 – Panasonic isn't usually the first name that jumps to mind when you think of digital cameras, but they're becoming a serious contender. This model features a 4x (28mm - 102mm in 35mm terms) Leica zoom lens and six focusing modes – including two “high speed” modes. There are also seven white balance modes and a dozen pre-set scene modes. The DMC-FX01 even has a burst mode capable of 2 fps for up to 8 frames (or 6 frames at the JPEG Fine setting). But its most amazing feature may be the shutter lag. It's only 5/1000 sec.
Canon PowerShot S3 IS – The 12x zoom (36mm - 432mm in 35mm terms) on the Powershot S3 IS is pretty fast. It has a variable maximum aperture of f/2.7-3.5. And the S3 IS has something else nice: vibration reduction. This model only saves JPEG's, but it can shoot movies – with files as large as 1 GB. The S3 IS has four focus modes and ISO is selectable from 80 – 800. Exposure control includes program auto, shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual. There are four focus modes, and the S3 IS can focus to 0” in Super macro mode.
Pentax *ist D – As the “megapixel wars” continue, the *ist D is one of only a handful of 6 megapixel d-SLR's left. But it offers a full slate of features. The *ist D saves images as JPEG, TIFF or RAW files. It offers three focus modes, with a selectable auto-focus sensor point (good for off-center subjects). There are five exposure modes, including full manual, and auto-bracketing is available. It can shoot bursts of six frames at 2.6 fps. The *ist D has three metering modes, and ISO selectability from 200 – 1600.