The more pixels you have, the higher the resolution of the image.
A Megapixel is a thousand pixels. A pixel is the single 3-colored
square on your computer monitor or television. The higher the Megapixels,
the larger the image, the more you can zoom into the picture. In
1999, a one megapixel camera was 2,500.00. Today 2009, you can buy
a 7 megapixel camera for under a hundred bucks.
Only look for "Optical" Zoom, never worry about "Digital"
Zoom. Optical zoom actually zooms in at full pixel detail. Digital
zoom merely uses a simple program to "zoom" up on the
input feed from the optical lens. This pixelates a small image without
adding detail. You can do the same thing with any image on a computer.
Most cameras come with about 3X Optical Zoom. The best are in the
10X-12X Range. This function is an amazing luxury when you want
to zoom up on that bird or flying insect, and actually get a clear
image of it.
When it comes to batteries, there are two types of cameras. The
older style (which is preferred by many) is to use 4 AA batteries.
These can be rechargeable, and easily replaceable. Not to mention,
that you can buy a AA battery just about anywhere in the world.
The other style, is to use a camera-specific Lithium battery. These
batteries hold their charge much longer than the AA variety. However,
when they wear out, it is sometimes impossible to find a replacement.
Thus making your camera useless. Insurance for this is to buy 2
extra batteries, and save one in the freezer until one of the other
2 wear out. This will only prolong it so long though. Even if you
bought 50 batteries, you can be sure that the lens will get scratched,
or the zoom motor will wear out before you burn through more than
Make sure that the type of memory that the camera requires, is of
a common and inexpensive type. Buying the "Latest" format
is a risky business. You will always be better off with industry
After Zoom, the second most important thing to look for in the lens,
is the method of preservation or Lens-cap. If the lens-cap falls
off, or is designed to get lost, you will need to engineer something
to prevent it, or you will be better off not spending money on it.
Many "auto-open" lenses, are designed in such a way, that
they are easily opened by brushing into something, thus allowing
foreign matter onto the lens, once the lens is scratched, the camera
If the camera is too large, it won't be nearly as convenient as
a small one that can fit in your pocket. The large cameras are usually
not recommended for anyone except experienced digital photographers
anyway, as they sometimes have menus of functions that the beginner
will never use, and can cause frustration for the user. With constant
use, cameras should be replaced every 3-5 years or so.
Make sure the camera is 'Plug and Play' with USB and is compatible
with your computer's operating system.