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sep 28 2011

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Camera

(Courtesy Steve Keys/Flickr)

When you’re shopping for the perfect point-and-shoot, don’t be fooled by flashy specs. In some cases, all you’re paying for is a number. Here are three key features to reconsider.


DON’T MAX OUT ON MEGAPIXELS

Even blown up to poster size, a 5 MP shot and its 16 MP counterpart can’t be distinguished by the human eye. Not only that, higher megapixel counts can actually work against you; they fill up your memory card faster, leaving you with fewer chances to frame just the right family portrait. A 5 MP to 8 MP model should suit average shutterbugs.

FOCUS ON OPTICAL ZOOM

Sure, the phrase digital zoom sounds high-tech, but it’s the optical zoom—a measure of how far the lens physically moves toward the subject—that determines the quality of an image. Always favor a more robust optical zoom (at least 3X) if you hope to land, say, sharp wildlife shots from the safety of your Jeep.

INVEST IN ISO (WITHIN REASON)

Candlelit restaurants and shadowy cathedrals pose challenges for point-and-shoot cameras. To make sure yours will perform well in low light, look for an ISO (or light-sensitivity rating) that goes up to 1600. Note: While there’s no real downside of having a higher ISO, anything above 1600 will be superfluous for most folks.


MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL:

11 Fascinating Cameras

Online Resource Guide: Gadgets, Gear and Travel Tech

Touch-Screen Cameras

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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