Digital cameras have vastly changed the landscape of photography. Today, there is a whole range of digital cameras covering the compact cameras to the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras. In the whole gamut of competing models and functions, what exactly is critical to buying a digital camera? How can you select the best one that fits your needs? Here are some tips that are worth considering before you make your purchase and be on your way to taking some great photos!

1. Megapixels are not that important
Present models of digital cameras, even for the compact cameras tout ever higher megapixels resolutions of 10 megapixels or more. Unless you are going to make extra huge poster sized prints from your camera, this is far more than what you'll ever need. For a 3R or 4R photo print out, a 3 megapixel resolution more than suffices. Hence, don't be so obsessed with the megapixels.

2. Optical zoom is important, Digital zoom is not.
Only optical zoom would give you zoomed in images at the same image quality. They actually involve physical lenses to focus the light onto the digital sensor. In contrast, digital zoom makes use of software to extrapolate the information to mathematically enlarge the photograph. What you are getting is a large picture of poorer resolution and sharpness. This isn't that great. Hence, check out the optical zoom capability and ignore the digital zoom specifications for the camera. Most compacts have a basic 3.0x optical zoom. Do not settle for anything less.

3. The processor of the camera is important.
The speed of the processor determines how fast does the camera capture, process and store your shot. Ever used a camera that felt sluggish and you have to wait for a long time before you can take the 2nd shot? That is due to a slow processor being installed in the camera. Often, this is often overlooked when buying a camera so do try out the model by taking a few shots and see how fast does the camera work.

4. Batteries.
Camera batteries are split into proprietary Lithium ion batteries and the common AA batteries. If you are a frequent traveler, perhaps you may want to consider a camera that runs on AA batteries as you can easily buy them when you run out. In contrast, although the Lithium batteries may last longer, you would require a power point for charging or carry extra batteries with you.

5. Weight
Depending on the use of the camera, it's no fun to lug a DSLR around with you all day long. On the other hand, a digital compact camera does not have the capabilities and take far less impressive photos than a DSLR. You should consider your needs and requirements before selecting the correct size and weight of camera.

6. Storage
Current digital cameras store the images on memory cards, the most common being the SD card and the memory stick (for Sony cameras). Remember to use more than 1 card although the capacities for memory cards have drastically improved. An 8 GB card can store up to thousands of photos at a 3megapixel resolution but that is akin to placing all your eggs into 1 basket. In the event of data corruption, you would not lose all your photos if you have more than 1 card in use.

7. Flexibility
DSLRs have the added advantage of flexibility to place add-on filters onto the main body while digital compacts are pretty much what you see if what you get. Hence if you intend the camera to be flexible to take multiple type of photographs, you 'd have to factor that in.

With the few points above, hopefully you'd be able to decide on your needs to get the most suitable digital camera for your needs. Meanwhile, in contrast to the standard boring digital cameras, it may be interesting to explore a whole new world of lo-fi photography with lomo cameras to go with it. These cameras are used in casual photography and will add spice to the mundane photography process.