There are so many snapshot cameras available that it can actually be a fairly miserable experience shopping for one. Add in concerns about pricing and you're likely going to continue using your camera phone as your primary point-and-shoot for digital photos.
Finding the right camera at the right price is easier if you start by asking yourself two questions: how will I use the camera and how will I use the photos? These are important for determining what type of user you are and how little you can expect to spend without being disappointed with your choice.
Check out our full digital camera buying guide to help determine what specs will meet your needs. Then, use the tips below for finding the best deal on your new camera. Happy hunting.
Eliminate features There are three key components most people look for when picking a camera: megapixels, LCD size, and zoom range. Current entry-level models start at 10 megapixels for the most part, which is plenty of resolution for snapshot prints of 8x10 or smaller. The common LCD size on these models is 2.5 inches, and they typically have a 3x or 4x zoom. Features on these cameras usually include basic face detection, a dozen scene modes, a low-resolution movie mode, a full automatic mode, and a program auto mode giving you controls for ISO, white balance, light metering, and focus. (Here are some good examples.)
Any additional features start to drive the price up--in other words, they are things used to upsell you to another model. So if you don't think you'll ever want to control shutter speed or aperture settings, don't need a 3.5-inch touch-screen display, you won't be using the movie mode for anything except YouTube clips, or a 10x zoom will get you way closer to your subject than you want to get, feel free to skip them.… Read more