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Digital Cameras

Not all digital cameras are well-suited to the unique challenges of taking pictures of babies. First, babies don't sit still to smile and pose for a camera, so your camera should take the picture immediately after you've pressed the button ("shutter lag" or "processor lag") and also allow you to take a second shot quickly. Second, many babies, especially sleeping ones, are not big fans of flashes, so your camera should take high-quality pictures in low light. Third, features such as face recognition and image stabilization help ensure that none of your "perfect" shots end up blurry and unusable. Rapid improvements in technology mean that you can get all of these features in a compact digital camera that takes great pictures for $250 or less. For skilled photographers, high-quality digital cameras with traditional (SLR) lenses for $1000 or less outperform models from only a few years ago that cost many times more.

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Canon PowerShot SD850 IS (ELPH)
Canon PowerShot SD850 IS (ELPH)

$230

An amazing value for the money. Very strong on all the dimensions you'll care about for baby pictures: fast, good in low light, image stabilization and face recognition, and compact enough for the smallest bag or pocket.

Fuji FinePix F50fd
Fuji FinePix F50fd

$210

A great value for the money. A little slower between shots than the Canon ELPH but otherwise has many of the same strengths: fast, good in low light, image stabilization, face recognition, compact enough for the smallest bag or pocket.

Canon A630
Canon A630

$330

If you don't mind (or prefer) the feel of a chunkier compact, the Canon A630 is a strong option. About $100 more with additional features, such as more manual controls. 

Canon Digital Rebel XTi
Canon Digital Rebel XTi

$630

A very good option for the first-time buyer of a digital SLR camera. Unfortuately, the XTi costs $200 more than its predecessor the XT and isn't that much of an upgrade. But it is still a very good camera for the price.

Nikon D80 Digital SLR Camera
Nikon D80 Digital SLR Camera

$1000

An outstanding digital SLR camera. Without going crazy and spending thousands of dollars, this is a terrific option.