The HDTV Picture Show Page 6

HDTV-Friendly Cameras

Photo Gallery

Virtually every digital still camera sold since 2000 has come with a composite A/V cable for connecting the camera to a TV for image playback. You'll find these cables in the back of your junk drawer. (This is, if you haven't thrown them out.)

Photographers have never taken to presenting images on a TV, and for good reason: Photos work better on a computer. After all, that's where the memory-card reader or camera cradle is hooked up, and where applications such as image editors, picture organizers, and slideshow programs reside. On top of that, the picture quality of a computer monitor far surpasses that of a conventional TV.

But HDTV might change that. Camera makers are switching over to HD component-video cables, and Samsung's Digimax L85 has an HDMI interface. Also, most digicams now have an option that lets you shoot in 16:9 to match HDTV screen dimensions. (While the standard format for compact cameras is the squarish 4:3, which gives you pronounced pillarboxing on an HD screen, most digital SLRs use a wider 3:2 format, which fills more of the screen.)

Of current cameras, the Canon Power-Shot TX1 ($500) probably meshes best with HDTV. A hybrid digicam/video palm-corder, the TX1 can capture 7.1-megapixel stills as well as 720p HD video with stereo sound, and it allows in-camera video editing. Slightly larger than a deck of cards when folded up, the camera exploits a pinkie-nail-sized CCD image sensor to achieve a 10x optical zoom range. To keep still or video shots steady, optical image stabilization counteracts hand shake. The TX1 stores to SD or SDHC cards; playback of video and stills is via an HD component cable. The 1.9-inch LCD monitor, though, looks positively minuscule compared with the 2.5-inchers and 3-inchers that have become nearly standard on compacts.

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