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I am planning to buy my first new digital camera. Now I am too confused for more than 20 days about how I can choose a camera.

I want to use the camera for domestic purpose.

The Canon IXUS 220 HS looks good but it is only 12 MP and only 5X zoom. But there is a also the Canon A3300 that is 16 MP.

So I don't know what is the basis of selecting a camera. What is Image Stabilization? When should I buy a CMOS sensor camera? How much Optical Zoom is sufficient? How much does noise matter in the camera?What about if the camera has HD video recording, and if not, how much will that lack affect viewing on my 32 inch TV?

The cameras I'm currently looking at are Nikon s3100, Canon IXUS 220 HS, Canon IXUS 110 HS, Canon A3300, and Sony W370/B. This will be my first camera and I can't take any risk because I cannot afford a new one in the next few years.

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Welcome Kamal. You can find some technical discussion on megapixels here: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/14773/…. I'm not sure if that'll make you more or less confused, though; the short answer is that all current cameras are good enough and it shouldn't be a big factor. –  mattdm Nov 19 '11 at 13:44
    
@mattdm Thanks for the link –  Kamal Deep Singh Nov 19 '11 at 14:01
    
possible duplicate of What should a beginner look at in comparing two point & shoot cameras? –  mattdm Nov 19 '11 at 14:13
    
Really matters? Its price! –  ysap Nov 19 '11 at 14:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would put the number of megapixels at the bottom of the priority list. Megapixels matter, but once you get past about 10 you'll have enough for anything you're likely to do. In particular there wont be a noticeable difference between 12 and 16, theoretically you'll be able to print a 16MP image 15% larger, but that's only if the lens resolves more detail and that detail is not lost to noise.

Image stabilzation prevents blur due to camera shake when you take a photo. It becomes very important the longer the zoom lens. With a 5x it's probably not important but once you get 10x or more you should definitely look for a stabilized model. How long a zoom you need is really up to you.

All small sensor point and shoot cameras will produce noisy images in low light, it's just something you need to be aware of and plan your shooting accordingly.

HD video is a useful feature, I've seen some really good quality clips from this sort of camera, so if you plan to take videos at all I'd look at one that records HD.

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so taking 12 MP camera with CMOS sensors and 720p HD video and 2.7 inch LCD will not be a bad choice. Can you also specify what do you mean by SMALL sensor point –  Kamal Deep Singh Nov 19 '11 at 14:02
    
@Kamal Deep Singh most compact cameras have sensors much smaller than 35mm film, the sensor in the Ixus measures about 6mm x 4.5mm, this is much smaller than the 24mm x 16mm sensors typical in DSLRs. A bigger sensor catches more light, hence you get better performance in low light. There are advanced compacts with larger sensors, such as the Fuji x100, Sigma dp2 but these are more expensive. –  Matt Grum Nov 19 '11 at 17:25

Since you've already choosen a group of (compact) cameras, I'm assuming you've already used some price/size/weight criteria for your needs. The remaining factors that you could use to select a specific model could be:

  • Zoom factor: In simple terms the zoom factor of a compact camera is about how far can you zoom into objects. A 10x zoom will allow you to get "closer" to a scene than a 3x zoom, but the more you approach the scene or subject, the more steady and for a longer time you have to hold your camera in order to get a sharp picture. As a general rule, you could consider 3x-5x as enough to take any picture indoors, 10x-15x enough to take a picture of people and architectural details on the other side of the street, 20x-30x taking a picture of a pigeon on the top of a church bell. It would be quite hard to handle your camera on hand stead enough on such extreme zooms though, you would need to use a tripod or some other fixed support.

  • Image stabilization (IS): This gives you a help steadying the shot. Think of it as someone helping you handle your camera in order make the scene not blurred. Note that if the subject itself is moving (like a child running or a person laughing), IS won't help you much. Also note that IS can't work miracles, it's just a help no matter how good it is.

  • HD video: If you plan to watch your recorded videos on an HD TV/Monitor, this would be really important.

  • Sensor type, noise reduction and megapixels: For the mentioned cameras, the differences would be irrelevant, don't bother with them.

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