The very first impression that comes to the mind is, the greater the mega pixel of a device the better will be the picture quality. Is that true or is that what we have been fed with this myth? This is the fact which I also came to know about it very lately. I was also under the same impression that the higher the mega pixel the better the quality. But I had to do some research before advising one of my friends to buy a digital camera. And so it all started.
So what camed out was the fact that mega pixels have nothing to do with image quality. Cramming more mega pixels into a smaller image sensor can even lead to reduced picture quality.
Before buying, one should always check out for the optical zoom (the more the better), LCD (size, quality), optical viewfinder (useful to frame photos in bright sunlight) and video recording (should be at least VGA quality @ 30 fps). Along with the above take a note of the battery type, the accessories (lens, flash, remote) and the manual modes. Ensure that the buttons are freely accessible as smaller cameras have really tiny and hard-to-use buttons.
Cameras with touchscreen LCD’s reduce the number of buttons, but attract a lot of fingerprints. Also check if the responsiveness of the screen is good enough.
There are different terms (in layman’s language, to impress the features) that are used to sell the camera’s.
CCD/CMOS (charge coupled device/complementary metal oxide semiconductor): The type of image sensor used in a digital camera.
Digital zoom: This type of zoom digitally enlarges a portion of the image to make it appear bigger/closer.
Image stabiliser: A technology/mechanism by which camera shake is automatically countered (to a certain degree). It can be electronic or optical. Electronic is cheaper, not as effective.
ISO/ASA (Industry Standards Organization or American Standards Association): Denotes sensitivity to light, assigned to a number. Higher ISO/ASA means greater sensitivity and vice versa. It can help reduce camera shake, and can also lead to increased image noise.
Optical zoom: Refers to the use of movable lens elements to bring an object closer. Look for optical zoom figure, not the digital zoom. That is the base of it.