LENSES AND SENSORS
Two of the most important features of the digital camera - sensors & lenses.
Both make the difference between expensive camera at over R 4 000 and a cheaper version costing R 1000 and above. Bear in mind, “computers with a lens” are cheap, but great lenses are very expensive. Megapixels are no replacement for good quality lenses and sensors. Think of the sensor in your camera as the direct equivalent of film. In many cases, they are even the same size – the negative of APS C-sized film is exactly the same size as the sensor of many modern digital cameras. If you want to test the quality of a sensor, upload your photo onto a computer and study the dark areas closely. Lesser quality sensors will not differentiate the contrast between of light and shade efficiently and the shade will appear as a series of 3-coloured dots under 100% view.
The lens is more important – for much the same reasons as film cameras.
Bear in mind that the lens of a "point and shoot" compact can never achieve the same degree of precision as that of an SLR (single lens reflex) camera. Ask to test a camera before you buy it.