With so many compact digital cameras on the market, it's hard to keep up with the latest models and decide on which features are needed to take the best pictures.
According to Tom Cavalieri, a student advisor at the New York Institute of Photography who works with aspiring photographers, digital cameras often tout features at higher price points that aren’t essential for taking great pictures.
"There are tons of high-quality models out there that aren't too expensive, so people shouldn't fall into traps of paying more for features they don’t need," he said.
For example, Cavalieri said selecting a device that has the ability to take very high-resolution images isn't as important as one would think.
"If you can save a couple of dollars deciding between a 10-megapixel camera and a 18-megapixel cheaper, go for the cheaper one," Cavalieri noted. "You don’t need 24 megapixels to take decent pictures, especially when so many images today are just being viewed online."
So here is a look at some of the best digital cameras out there, suitable for both amateur and budding photographers:
Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR
The Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR compact digital camera is the best designed digital camera on the market. With a 15x zoom and a super wide angle lens, the device is a standout when it comes to narrowing in and taking professional-looking snapshots. The sleek body of the camera is intuitive, molding your hand with the buttons and giving you control. It also uses sensors with both contrast and phase detection auto focus and comes with high-definition video capabilities.
The magic of the Panasonic FX75 camera lies within its 24mm wide-angle lens, allowing photographers to capture bright, clear and vivid images. The model also embraces touch screen technology, so users can tap their way into different settings and modes. The controls and displays are easy to use, and although the body of the camera is a bit larger than other similar models, it doesn’t weigh you down. In addition, the Panasonic FX75 has G PS tracking, so users can keep track of where the image was geographically taken -- a nice perk for using the camera while traveling.
Panasonic Lumix ZS7
The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 moves beyond automatic settings and gives users a lot of manual control to get creative. Although its 12x optical zoom is not as powerful as the Fujifilm model, it still gives a lot of flexibility, takes crisp and clear images and is easy to use. In addition to a GPS feature which tracks where the image was taken, it also includes real-time histogram, composition guide line, built-in memory and calendar display, as well as red-eye correction and a long-lasting battery.
Canon Powershot A1100IS
The Canon PowerShot A3100IS is a simple, intuitive model perfect for beginners. With a 4x optical zoom and face recognition technology, it's a good choice for those that don’t want to think too much about taking pictures. The camera -- which comes in four colors and features an optical image stabilizer -- has a metal front grip that makes it easy to hold and carry, although it does make the device a bit heavier. Another downside is that the battery life falls a bit short. However, overall, it’s a strong choice for people just looking for the basics.