The coolest camera features of 2010

Sometimes, choosing a camera demands considerations other than image quality and battery life. These cameras have innovative extras that may win you over as soon as you try them.

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Sony's Handheld Twilight Mode and Advanced Scene Recognition



Good for: Crisp low-light photos without a flash

Shooting in dark conditions without a DSLR normally involves an image-quality compromise. If you use the camera's flash, you blow out foreground subjects while making the background pitch black. But if you boost the ISO on a small-sensored point-and-shoot camera to create an evenly lit photo, you usually generate a noisy, sometimes unusable image.

A couple of useful features in Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-WX1, DSC-TX1, DSC-HX5V, and DSC-TX5 cameras offer solid alternatives for shooting in low light. Handheld Twilight mode takes up to six photos at different exposure settings in rapid-fire fashion, and then overlays them to generate a smooth, noise-free low-light image. Advanced Scene Recognition mode allows you to take two shots in quick succession--one with the flash on, and one using low-light-optimized settings with the flash turned off--and lets you view the two shots side by side.

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The coolest camera features of 2010

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