As I am leaving for Dubai next month, I needed a digital camera because I sold the one I had on eBay few months back. It was a Kodak DX4530 5.0 megapixels and I really loved it. Picture quality was great, had a nice little screen, easy to use, and not that heavy but gave an excellent grip. I bought it in 2004 when most people were happy with 3.0 megapixels.

To replace it, I was considering Kodak V1273 and Sony DSC W220, both 12.0 megapixels. I decided to go for Sony because of this one feature it has that is simply too cool. It is called the smile shutter, if turned on, it only takes the picture if you smile. I am serious, it is really like that. According to the user manual, it looks at three features of your face.

1 – Your forehead (if you have bangs, it might be difficult but then it uses your eyes and teeth)
2 – Your eyes (when you smile, your eyes become narrow)
3 – Your teeth (visible teeth, cheeks widen)

Once you put it in smile mode and press the shutter, it starts searching for the above mentioned features. Depending on the smile detection sensitivity, low, medium and high, it starts taking pictures as soon as it detects a smile. If this feature is not really giving you the results you want, I have another good news. You can go to photo editing mode and make the person in the picture smile.

After you take a picture, go to the Play mode and look for Retouch option. Once there, browse to Happy Faces tool. Select the level of smile you want for your subject, up to 5 levels. Press OK and there you are, you just forced a smile on your subject.

I know I got little carried away with the smile feature of Sony DSC W220 but there is a a lot more to the camera then the smile function.

Features
12MP, 2.7″ LCD, 4x optical zoom, Intelligent Scene Recognition, Dynamic Range Optimizer, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, Smile Shutter technology and HD output.

Battery Life
Sony says 370 photos on a single full charge. I would say about 320 – 350 photos on a single charge in not so ideal conditions.

Memory
Doesn’t come with a memory card, bummer. Get at least 2GB, will hold approximately 450 pictures at 12MP picture quality. I got 4GB, holds about 830 pictures at 12MP.

Price
I bought it from Amazon for $175 with the memory card. I had a coupon for $25 and because the camera doesn’t come with any kind of external memory, it made sense to get at least 4GB memory card.