By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor
When you think about digital cameras, most people first think about megapixels, but there a lot more things to consider:
A quality glass lens produces a better picture than a plastic lens. I've seen a 3 meg camera with a quality glass lens produce a better printed picture than a 5 meg camera with a cheap lens.
Lenses are probably the most difficult thing for you to know when looking at a camera. This is something you might want to go to a camera store where they can answer your questions better than a "big box" electronics store.
Most cameras have some kind of ability to zoom-in to the subject you want to photograph. You might see 4 /10 or it could be 4 optical - 10 digital or any other numbers. The optical number, tells you the lens on the camera is going to physically move to provide an image that is up to, whatever the number is, times closer looking. The higher the number, the better.
Think of digital zooming like enlarging a film negative. The more you enlarge the image, in effect zoom-in, the grainer the picture becomes. Same with the digital zoom. I recommend getting the best optical zoom that is in your budget to buy.
A cool function worth the money is image stabilization. It's a fabulous feature that'll prevent your pics from turning out blurry, generally caused by the difficulty of holding these small lightweight cameras steady. Newer features to look at include face recognition. It insures your subject's face is in focus instead of the light pole behind them. There's now even smile detection. If the camera doesn't see those pearly whites it won't take the picture.