Cameras are steadily evolving into advanced video cameras, each capable of highly detailed images with excellent qualities and exposure. With today’s impressive technology, one can expect to find a variety of brands and features when it comes to digital cameras. Megapixels, lenses, auto-focus, face recognition, and memory or WiFi should be on your checklist the next time you go shopping for a digital camera.

More Megapixels
When you’re sorting through your pictures in your online album and click to get a closer view, what do you see? If pixels and blurry faces is all you get, then try finding a camera with more megapixels. Five used to be the standard, but today’s cameras have up to 14 megapixels–allowing for more detail and better pictures.

Note: the bigger the photograph in pixels, the more it will take up in space. Take this into account when buying an SD card, especially when no hard drive or onboard memory is present.

Better Lens – Better Pictures
Canon is a leader in the business of professional photography. When you think of National Geographic, chances are Canon comes to mind. If, for any reason, you decide to get a lens for your digital camera, check to be sure it will work with yours…and look for bargains. Spending $100 on a lens may be justified–though you should not go shopping for one without expert advice that you can rely on.

Lenses are easy to break without a proper carrying case, and some do not function properly with varying brands. Secure the information for the purchase using CNET.com’s review section — the editors know what they are talking about.

Auto-focus and other features for better pictures
Sometimes you’re caught off guard during a perfect photographic moment–you snap the photo–and when you get back to your laptop or PC to check the quality….you find a disappointing result; blurry photographs, strange angles, and awkward expressions.

To remedy this problem, higher-end cameras now have auto-focus and auto-frame features which remove the need for the photographer to be on their feet at all times, ready for the perfect moment.

Memory and WiFi
Some newer digital cameras now come with Wi-fi built in, which enables them to share your photos with your home network; no need to upload using USB wires, or waiting for pictures to show up in your Flickr account. Just choose the photos to share, and they’ll show up. Facebook and Myspace integration is also becoming more commonplace with these types of cameras.

Memory on a digital camera can be anywhere from 1GB to 8GB, depending on the brand; although, in some cases, brand cameras don’t carry any onboard memory for your pictures. These will often require you to buy an SD or SD-mini card; Sony’s digital cameras require Sony brand memory cards.

Face recognition on digital cameras
The face recognition features are still relatively new and only available on a few rare models–such as the Sony HD cameras. These cameras will automatically take a picture when everyone is facing the camera, smiling or some other goal-setting that you choose.

This feature can be a real treat when you are on vacation with lots of people and picture-taking isn’t your forte. Simply wait for the camera to respond with a chime, and click to take a snapshot. Everybody will be smiling, so don’t worry about re-taking the shot.

Where to Shop
Frys.com, newegg.com and amazon.com are great places to find new cameras, especially the stylish ones for hobbyists. As for used, or refurbished cameras- look to eBay and iBid.com where sellers are people just like yourself, hoping to make a small premium from a product that they may have overspent on during the Christmas shopping period.

What to Avoid when shopping for a camera
Always stay away from sellers who are marking their cameras $50 or more dollars than their competitors, or adding additional shipping costs. These are scam-like tactics that you shouldn’t have to stoop to dealing with…find a source that your friend or relative has used in the past and ask some questions. Perhaps you can even test out your friend’s digital camera, and then offer to buy it.

Conclusion
Digital cameras are very common today–and their uses are becoming more diverse as Flickr and other online accounts are integrated into image-sharing and mobile gadgets. To find the best one, shop for bigger built-in memory and face recognition technology…if it has this latter feature, it’s likely to be a long-lasting camera that includes the most worthwhile features.