Fast Forward: Snappy Christmas

Whether you're looking for a disposable snapper or a top-of-the- range camera, check out our round-up before you buy

Without a doubt this Christmas and New Year will be the most celebrated for a long time - people really will be partying like it's 1999. So it's vital that all those special occasions are documented in the best way possible - and with the range of cameras available to capture those magic moments, there's no excuse for fuzzy photos or boring films.

1. Sony DCR-PC100 digital video camera

With a near-broadcast resolution of 520 horizontal lines, Sony's latest digital video camera will capture the kids perfectly as they tear into the wrapping paper. The 40x digital zoom means you don't have to get too close to the action, and you can record all the noise in quality stereo. If you prefer, you can take still pictures at high resolution, and the i.Link terminal allows downloading of all images on to a PC for viewing and editing. pounds 1,500. For information and stockists call 0990 111999.

2. Toshiba PDR-M5 digital camera

The M5 is equipped to handle most photographic situations and because it's digital, the results can be viewed by everyone instantly, either on the built-in LCD screen, a television or a computer. A maximum resolution of 1,600x1,200 pixels will provide detailed pictures that are as good as most conventional photographs (if printed on photographic paper). What's more, everything can be automated, allowing you to get on with the business of framing the picture and capturing the moment. pounds 650. For information and stockists call 01276 622622.

3. Fuji C100 cine camera

If you still want that authentic film look and the hands-on approach to editing, try a real movie camera. The C100 takes new Super-8 cartridges which last more than three minutes each. It's affordable, straightforward to use and ideal for the next generation of Kubricks. pounds 45. For information and mail order enquiries call The Widescreen Centre on 0171-935 2580 or visit www.widescreen-centre.co.uk

4. Agfa Party 2000 disposable camera

The obvious choice for Christmas parties and New Year celebrations. It's idiot proof - press the button and there you go - and contains 27 exposures. You return the whole camera for processing and the box is recycled. pounds 4.99. For nearest store ring 0990 500049 or for mail order call 08000 682868.

5. Leica M6 35mm camera

The Leica can take rough treatment in extreme environments and still give a lifetime's service. Definitely for those who know their f-stops from their focal lengths, the M6 is compact, totally unassuming and very much a manual affair. pounds 1,800 (plus pounds 1,700 for optional 35mm Leica Summilux- M lens pictured). For information and stockists call 01908 666663.

6. Nikon Nuvis S APS camera

The point-and-shoot camera developed for those who don't know about, or can't be bothered with, exposure and shutter speeds. The Nuvis is an advanced version that can take care of all your flash worries (including red eye) and you can add titles and dates to the backs of your pictures. Ideal for impromptu shots at a party or around the dinner table. pounds 230. For information and stockists call 0800 230220.

7. Canon EOS 3 autofocus SLR camera

Even non-digital cameras have mini-computers in them. The 35mm EOS 3 uses one for high-speed focus tracking and eye-control operation - the point of focus can be selected with the user's eye through the viewfinder. With professional features and additional lenses available, perfect pictures are just a click away. pounds 999. For further information and stockists call 0800 616417.

8. Barbiecam instant camera gift set

The kids can join in the fun as well. The Barbiecam is basically a Polaroid dressed up in lovely girlie colours. It takes Polaroid 600 film and should be easy enough for most little fingers to use. There's also a Taz version, so stand by for plenty of shots of Granddad snoozing. pounds 29.99. Available from Argos. For nearest store ring 0870 6003030. n

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