The lowdown on digital cameras

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Sharp shooters

What is it? A digital camera records photographic images onto a memory card, which can then be loaded into a computer for editing, manipulation and printing.

What resolution should I look for? A 3-megapixel resolution is pretty much the minimum you need for printing photo-quality 4- by 6-inch pictures. For larger images, get a model with a higher megapixel rating.

What other features are important? The storage capacity is very important if you are going to be taking many pictures at once. Most cameras use CompactFlash media, which can store up to 1G of data.

Beyond that, it depends on the type of photography you'll be doing. If you need a powerful zoom or to use a variety of lenses, look for high-end models with SLR features. But don't overdo it'having more options than you need can make it more difficult to use the camera, especially if you only need it for the basics.

Must know info? Prices for digital cameras are falling while their resolution and number of options are increasing dramatically. If you need a digital camera, now is a good time to buy. If you don't need one yet, you'll likely find even better deals in the near future.

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