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finepixblue.jpgThe world of digital photography is changing rapidly. If you are asking yourself if this a good time to buy a digital camera, this article will answer your questions as well as tell you what to look for in a digital camera.

finepixblue.jpgFor the last few years the number of megapixels in a digital camera was the main indication of the quality of the camera. Suddenly, it's not about megapixels anymore. Instead it's about size, shape, processor chip, zoom, and additional features like face-recognition technology.

Most cameras today have  5-megapixels or more, which is enough for taking quality photographs that can be printed to fit most picture frames. While you will still see cameras with more and more megapixels, the megapixel race is really over. Camera creators are finding other ways to improve their cameras. Suddenly we have entered a new age in digital photography where manufacturers are developing new camera processing chips, focusing on improving current features, and creating new advanced features. This is resulting in better, more feature-laden cameras that take better pictures and easier for the average photographer to use.

Manufacturers are building intelligence into their new digital cameras. Some have new chips that improve the overall photography. These new chips can enhance picture definition and quality while also increasing the speed of the cameras' startup, autofocus and shutter response. Many have new light-sensing technologies, making it easier to take non-flash pictures in low-light situations. Built-in face recognition technology  creates cameras that can focus a the face in the picture producing a perfect portrait. Improved and enlarged LCD monitors make on-site viewing of photos easier. Inexpensive burst mode cameras can take thirty, forty, or fifty shots instead of just one.........Perfect for those soccer and basketball games where you want to catch the "action" shot.

Great strides have been made in SLR (Single Lens Reflux) cameras. These higher end cameras have long been focused on the professional photographer. Now, however, models are being introduced that are geared toward the amateurs. Both Canon and Olympus have come out with smaller, lighter SLR cameras. Just about everyone has included better auto-focus features. While traditionally, pictures on an SLR could only be framed through the view finder, some new models can also use either the viewfinder or the LCD monitor to frame the picture.

There is a lot of competition in the digital camera market which keeps the prices down and creates rivalry for better technology and new features. This is all good news for the consumer. Better yet, is the fact that most major manufacturers in the camera arena produce quality cameras. You might have a favorite or a propensity toward a certain manufacturer, but whether you choose Canon, Nikon,  Pentax, Fijifilm, Panasonic, Casio, or Olympus, you'll get a good camera. When Kodak first entered the digital market, I found their cameras lacking in quality, but in the last two years, their quality has improved considerably and they are now equal competitors with the others.

So what does all this mean to the average consumer? It means this is a good time to buy a digital camera. Right now they are very reasonably priced. If you stick to a major brand, you almost can't go wrong with a digital camera purchase.  Instead of looking at the number of pixels in the camera, though, you will now want to look at other things. Decide what you will be using the camera for and then choose accordingly. If you will be doing a lot of outdoor photography, get one with a view finder or an LCD screen that you can see in the bright sunlight. If you plan on taking a lot of indoor photos look for a camera that is good in low light. If you want to take action shots, look for a camera with burst mode or fast shutter speeds. Don't worry though, if you just want a general all-purpose digital cameras, there are also plenty of choices that will fill the bill as well.

Be sure to get a camera that you won't mind carrying with you. Decide whether you want one to fit in your shirt pocket or you are comfortable carrying a camera case. No matter what size and shape you want, you are sure to find a camera that fits your personal preferences. In point-and-shoot cameras there is definitely something for everyone. Many of these new cameras even come in designer colors. I recently saw a camera color list that included colors like  Rhythm & Blue, Swing Silver, Melody Pink, Bohemian Brown, and Golden Tone.

Yes, digital cameras will continue to improve. Next year they will be even better, but right now is a pretty good time to buy.