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Point and Shoot Camera Buying Guide

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Point and shoot digital cameras are, without doubt, the most widely purchased type of camera in any market. They are also know as compact digital cameras.

The reasons for their popularity are several. First, the price is right. Second, they are simple to use. And third, they have gotten much better over the recent past few years so that, now, many point and shoot cameras are producing much better image quality.

With the huge popularity of image sharing over the Internet in places like Facebook, Flickr, and so many other Web 2.0 sites, many more people are interested in carrying digital cameras everywhere. Most of those cameras are the point and shoot variety.

With popularity comes improved technology. The compact digitals of years ago were very expensive and very different. They had only a small number of megapixels and even less in the way of image quality. Today’s cameras can produce great pictures in comparison.

Every camera manufacturer is in the race for your attention. There is no shortage of camera models to choose from, which makes the buying process quite complicated.

Before you invest, make sure you know just what you want from your camera, because the features are just about as numerous as the number of camera models.

Here is a list of features you really want to pay attention to when buying your compact point and shoot:

  1. A good lens. Some people overlook this aspect, assuming all camera lenses are created equal. It just is not so. Some of the major manufacturers have created partnerships with excellent lens makers. Two of the best are Leica lens makers who have an agreement to supply lenses for Panasonic’s point and shoot cameras, and Carl Zeiss who provides the same service for Sony. To be sure, Canon and Nikon also produce excellent lenses, so check the reviews of the camera you are considering to make sure the lens is good.
  2. The LCD. Almost gone are the optical viewfinders in point and shoot cameras. All new models have LCDs, and some are better than others. Now, some models even have displays in the front as well as the rear. Others have touch screens. Most screens are not 2.7″ or 3.0″, but what you need to look for is the screen resolution. This is a measure of how many dots are in the display. The more dots, the better the display, especially when the surrounding light is bright, making it difficult to see the LCD. For point and shoot cameras, there should be at least 230,000 dots.
  3. Digital Zoom. Normal zoom range is about 3x to 5x in a compact camera. However, if you want a camera that has a superzoom lens, they are getting more popular as well. There are now cameras that can get up to 30x, which can get you extremely up close and personal from a long distance away. These superzooms are great for travel and vacations. However, with more zoom power, you may sacrifice image quality. Everything is relative. The image quality is not bad, but for the best quality, stick with a focal length range of under 8x.
  4. Camera size. There is a wide range of sizes in point and shoot cameras. Modern technology has allowed the production of cameras that a practically paper thin. They fit nicely into a pocket or purse. Other models are more bulky, such as the superzoom models. If you have a preference for the size of your camera, make sure you check the other features to assure that you will not be disappointed with the overall package just to get the right size.

Finding the right point and shoot digital camera can be challenging. The right method for finding that perfect camera is to do tons of research. Don’t rely on the camera name and trust that it will be a great buy just because it is a brand that has a good reputation. All the major manufacturers are capable of producing a few models that don’t meet users’ expectations.

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