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In the current market filled with hundreds and thousands of types of camera from another hundred manufacturers, it can be a really disorienting experience for an amateur looking to buy a camera to suit his purpose. There are the usual point and shoot camera, video only cameras and the huge and professional DSLRs.
The first thing to decide when buying yourself a camera is to decide what you plan on using it for. Decide if you need a camera to pursue professional streams like NYC photography or be an amateur portrait photographer or if you just need a good camera to take pictures of your vacation. If the latter is your case, you should stick to a basic point and shoot camera that can accomplish everything you need from a camera. DSLRs are also heavy, bigger, more complicated to use and takes a lot of time and effort to ensure that it is kept clean. If you plan on pursuing it as a career or as a hobby, then you should settle for a DSLR.
It is also important that you wake up and realize that megapixels do not amount to the whole story. Many sellers will try to wow you with information about the amount of megapixels present on the camera but do not fall for these cons. Unless you plan on printing large images, the number of megapixels do not really matter. Look at the amount of extra equipment you get with the camera. A camera is not a onetime purchase as you will require a carrying case, memory card, batteries, lens and usually a tripod too. Some sellers will give some or most of these extras for free or at least offer a discount on the overall price so it is recommended that you visit multiple sellers to get a good deal. Some of the dealers might also offer extras that you might not necessarily need so take a good look before choosing.
Also look round if you have any existing gear with you. Check if this gear is compatible with the camera you plan on buying as this can help you save cash on buying additional gear. If you do have additional gear, look for a camera that fits the gear you already have.
If you are buying a point and shoot camera, check if it has optical zoom or digital zoom. Digital zoom ruins the picture quality and by simply enlarging the image and pixelating it. Optical zooms can zoom into an image without ruining the picture quality so they should be chosen ideally.