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New digital cameras can coach as well as capture

Consumer Reports News: August 31, 2012 10:08 AM

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Nearly every camera comes with some kind of instruction manual, either in the form of a paper booklet or an electronic document. But human nature being what it is, few of us ever get around to reading those guides. So camera manufacturers have taken another route: They've put help guides and tips right into the cameras and made them accessible through the display. Some of these cameras are now included in our new camera Ratings.

The most notable cameras with Help features are advanced models. For example, the Nikon D3200 ($700) includes an interactive guide mode that both instructs and configures the camera in one of a number of different settings. In the shooting section of the guide, you can choose between easy operation, for novice photographers, and advanced operation for more experienced shutterbugs.

Sony has also done an admirable job of including instructional content. For instance, both the Sony NEX-F3K ($600) and SLT-A37K ($600) provide you with two types of help. The first is a photography tips section, which has been included in earlier NEX-series cameras.

The second is a special portrait mode called Auto Portrait Framing, which analyzes and crops an image to create what the camera "thinks" is a more pleasing composition. According to Sony, this type of show-and-tell guide can help you learn to capture a better portrait.

For the details on other basic and advanced cameras, check out our latest digital camera Ratings.

Terry Sullivan

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