Point and shoot digital cameras are well appreciated for their ease of operating and affordability, and of course the compact built. Therefore, they are extremely popular with novice and casual photographers – who just want to take the best picture without being hassled with the technical aspect. Well, taking a perfect photograph is no mean achievement, as any photographer worth their salt will tell you! With point and shoot cameras, ANYONE can take a great picture – just point and shoot, that's all!

Whether you want to capture the memories of a family reunion on Christmas, or just want to share your day out on the beach with your friends, a point and shoot digital camera is the best choice. You are free from the hassles of ordinary roll film camera – no need to run to the store to get a new roll and then another trip to get them developed. Plus, with the right memory card, you can shoot all the photographs that you want – without ever worrying about the roll running out! No wonder, everyone is opting for a point and shoot digital camera these days!

Another benefit of point and shoot camera is that it gets ready to take a shot within a moment's notice. Most of the currently available point and shoots can actually shoot multiple snaps in a matter of few seconds. So, if you want to capture the first steps of your child, you an trust your camera to keep in step!

Buying a Point and Shoot Camera – 10 Things to Look For

So, now that you have finally decided to buy a point and shoot digital camera, let us discuss some of the things that you should look out for. Most of the point and shoots are quite cheap and affordable, although some are relatively pricier. Yet, on a whole, nothing should prevent you fro demanding the best value for your money!

So, here goes -

Resolution –

Don't become a megapixel junky – a higher megapixel count does not always translate into a better camera. Most of the currently available point and shoots have a image sensor resolution of 10MP and above. Some even go as high as 15 MP. To tell you the truth, you won't even notice the difference between photographs from a 10 MP camera and a 15 MP camera, unless they are blown to poster size.

Lens Type –

Another factor to look for is the lens capability – popularly called the optical zoom capability. In this area too, there is a very wide variety and range of optical zooms available for point and shot camera. For example, while some cameras have a comparatively modest optical zoom of 3X to 4X, some compact cameras go all the way up to a humongous 12X. Also check for the wide angle capability – the ability to take good shots at close quarters.

Price –

The price of the camera is an important determinant for the buyers in the point and shoot compact camera category. The models of well known brands in this category cost anything from a low of $ 80 to a high of $ 500. That is quite a wide a wide range of prices indeed! Be clear about your budgetary constraints too. A cheap compact camera will work fine too. If you are a serious amateur, please be aware that you will get what you pay for.

Focus Controls –

For casual photographers – auto focus is the best bet. However, if you are a serious amateur, you may want some control over the ability to focus on your subject. In that case, a manual focus comes in handy. Select point and shoot cameras have a manual focus capability – the main being Canon PowerShot S90 and Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS7.

Flash –

All the camera available currently have the flash function inbuilt, while a select few, advanced models have a hot shoe option – where you can attach an external flash if you so desire. Some models have a fill mode – which helps in taking goo photographs against even bright backgrounds. Red eye reduction facility is another thing that you should look for.

Video Shooting Capability -

Almost all the point and shoot cameras have a movie shooting capability – although you cannot obviously not expect the performance of a video camcorder. Some models even offer an advanced video shooting in High Definition mode - you can shoot and display movies on your favorite HD television.

Picture/File Storage-

While each and every digital camera has a base storage capability, it is at a bare minimum, enough to hold just a few photographs. You will need to invest in extra storage capacity in the form of SD, mini SD or xD memory cards. Check out the compatibility of your compact camera.

Photo File Format -

The pictures that you take are compressed for easy storage, and stored in the JPEG format. Some cameras have the capability to store pictures in RAW format as well – this option is suitable for advanced users who are looking for complete creative control over their photographs.

Battery Life -

Most compact point and shoot cameras use the Lithium Ion battery – which is good enough for a few hundred pictures before it needs a recharge. Some cameras still come with the standard AA batteries – they are easy to get in any part of world, but don't last as long as their Li-ion counterparts. If you tend to take a lot of pictures, invest in a spare battery.

Software –

Most of the point and shoot digital cameras are equipped with a bundled software, which helps you to connect the camera with a computer, and do some basic photo editing work. Some compact cameras have quite advanced software packages with advanced features such as sorting according to face or date or place of shooting.