Many camera buyers put too much emphasis on the megapixel camera feature when judging a camera's worth. While megapixel count is important, so are a number of other camera features. These include:
If a 5-meg camera outshines a 6-meg camera in the variables above, it's going to be the superior camera.
Better lenses more accurately capture and better sensors more accurately digitize the image.
Some compacts have 3-inch LCD screens, like the one above. These larger-sized LCD screens are easier to view (but consume more battery power). LCD quality is another variable. Better LCD screens are clearer and are easier to see in the sunlight.
Some cameras have better, easy-to-use shooting modes (such as "nighttime"). These modes are highly useful for beginners. They are even beneficial to experienced photographers when they don't have time to adjust the setting for a particular scene or condition (such as market vendor in action). The camera will automatically adjust the settings for you.
Some cameras have shorter shutter lags (minimum time between photos) than others. This could be important when, for example, you are photographing an impromptu sequence of pictures at an active party.
It reduces camera shake. Although most new SLRs have the image stabilizer camera feature, many compacts don't.
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