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Cameras

Gateway DC-M50 Digital Camera

Gateway DC-M50 Digital Camera

Five megapixels don't come much cheaper. This budget-priced entry in Gateway's new digital camera line puts high resolution in a basic point-and-shoot, appealing to photographers who like easy camera operation and big prints.

Upside: While it doesn't offer a very advanced feature set, the M50 covers the basics well, with a 3X zoom lens, four automatic exposure modes and exposure compensation, white-balance presets, and a relatively large 1.8-inch LCD. You can shoot 320x240 video clips with sound and record voice memos with this model too.

Downside: It's cheap, but it ain't pretty. In case you forget you're buying a budget camera, the M50's bulky design and lack of rechargeable batteries in the box will remind you. Its somewhat slow lens, single center-weighted metering mode, and limited light-sensitivity selections (ISO 200 and 400) may have a negative effect on the camera's performance.

Outlook: We couldn't help but notice the striking resemblance between this camera and the Argus DC3810, which didn't fare so well in our tests and sells for $70 less. We'll keep an open mind until we find out whether Gateway spent the difference on firmware improvements to make the M50 a higher-quality option. It's available now for a list price of $300.

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