How do I know if a 5 megapixel camera is enough for me?

5 Megapixels – a Multitude of Options

Prices for fixed focal length 5 MP cameras start at around $100 – and about $25 more will get you a 3x optical zoom. Some of these cameras are feature-rich, and the number of models to chose from borders on amazing. Below are examples of the wide range of features available in this category.

Point-and-Shoot: Kodak EasyShare C533 – This inexpensive point-and-shoot offers a 3x optical zoom lens (37mm - 111mm in 35mm terms), 13 scene modes, selectable ISO and two auto focus options. The C533 has a movie mode with sound. As with most basic digital cameras, exposure is fully automatic.

Advanced: Fujifilm FinePix S5200 – Super-zooms aren't found just in the 7 and 8 MP realm. The FinePix S5200 packs a 10x optical zoom (38mm - 380mm in 35mm terms) for under $300. It also offers five exposure modes – including full manual. The S5200 records images as either JPEG or RAW files, offers three focus modes and has selectable ISO settings from 64 – 1600. Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 15 seconds. It even has a movie mode with sound and a small (3 frame) burst mode at 2 fps.

Unusual: Sanyo Xacti VPC-C5 – It looks like a tiny, hand-held digital video camera, because it is… but Sanyo's VPC-C5 is also a 5 MP digital camera with a 5x optical zoom. And just to confuse matters further, the Dual Shot function enables you to shoot both VGA-quality video and 5 MP stills at the same time! The VPC-C5 offers three metering modes, selectable ISO settings from 50 – 800 and even plays slide shows.

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Jerry Mayo