Higher resolutions: 12-megapixel cameras

Cameras might be staying small, but their photos are getting bigger than ever. While once only digital SLRs could hit such high resolutions, now even inch-thick point-and-shoot cameras can reach or surpass 12 megapixels.

These three models can shoot 4,000x3,000 photos that you can blow up bigger and crop down closer than smaller pictures. They're hardly perfect, though; cramming so many pixels into such tiny sensors means all three of these cameras suffer from some pretty frustrating picture-quality and performance problems.

They're also a bit pricey, especially when 7- or 8-megapixel cameras that cost half as much will be sufficient for most casual shooting. If you really want that many megapixels, the Canon Digital IXUS 960 IS or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100 are your best bets. The IXUS 960 IS combines a great feature set and excellent picture quality, while the FX100 remains the only 12-megapixel point-and-shoot camera with a 28mm-equivalent.

On the other hand, the Casio Exilim EX-Z1200 offers manual exposure controls, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200 offers an optical viewfinder and a much smaller price tag than the IXUS 960 IS, the only other 12-megapixel snapshot camera with a viewfinder.

The Kodak EasyShare V1253 delivers more non-photographic perks, like a large 3.1-inch LCD and 720p movie capture.

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