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What else should I consider besides megapixels when choosing a digital camera?
When shopping for a digital camera, it's often hard to see beyond how many megapixels it produces. However, that's only one of several items to look at.

Almost as important as megapixels is the camera optics. A poor lense on a camera with a lot of megapixels will still shoot lousy photos. Poor optics can create fuzzy or distorted images.

Another consideration is shutter lag. Does the camera take the picture when you press the shutter button? Some cameras have a delay between pressing the shutter button and the actual picture being taken. Better cameras don't have this shutter lag. If you're used to the response of a film camera, a point and shoot digital with a lot of shutter lag can be frustrating.

Are you looking through the lense? While most LCD preview displays show the image as it appears through the photographic lense, the viewfinder lense often doesn't. While you will often use the screen, it uses a lot of power. If you can afford it, look for an SLR (single lense reflex) camera so you can still frame your shot properly when the screen can't be used (either in bright light or when the battery is low).

Make sure the medium your pictures are stored on is affordable. A cheap camera gets very expensive if the media costs a lot. In addition, make sure you actually can expand the memory or you'll have to dump pictures into your computer more often.

Finally, keep in mind that many digital cameras tend to burn through batteries pretty quick. Look for a model that uses standard batteries, like AAs. This way, you can use standard rechargable batteries to avoid using a lot of alkalines.

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