Four tips for buying a new digital camera

April 21, 2010 2:35:21 PM PDT
With summer quickly approaching, it is the time of the year many people consider getting a new digital camera. But there are so many different options and features. Experts say there are three things to look at to pick the camera for you.

One size doesn't fit all when it comes to a digital camera. How many pixels do you need? Which type of lens is the best? Is optical zoom better than digital?

Researchers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute say for starters, most consumers only need a point-and-shoot camera and not a digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera.

Next, you will want to check for the number of megapixels.

"If you do lots of crafts or you want to make big poster-size images, then you need a lot of megapixels on your camera," the institute's Stacy Genovese said. "If you're just printing out regular sizes for your home, even an 11x17, you don't really need more than 10 or 12 megapixels."

Another important feature is the zoom.

"You want to make sure that you have optical zoom, and it usually says it right on the camera," Genovese said. "What this means is that the lens itself is zooming in on whatever you want to take the picture of. A digital zoom just means the software is zooming in, and when you're looking at pictures on your computer, when you zoom in they get fuzzy. You don't want to ruin your pictures like that."

Point-and-shoot cameras can be small enough to drop in your bag and go. And with all these digital options, it's never been easier to capture the moment.