The holiday shopping season is upon us. A new digital camera is on many people’s wish list. If you are thinking of buying a new camera for yourself or a photo fanatic in your family and are not sure where to start Yahoo! has posted a shopping guide by David Elrich of DigitalTrends that can help. The most sensible advice is to purchase a camera that most fits your needs. If you plan on making big prints make sure you buy a camera that is 8 megapixels or larger.

Digital Cameras: Buying Made Simple

You’ve decided to buy a digital camera – or upgrade to a newer, more powerful one. You’re not alone.

According to industry experts, close to 30 million digital cameras will be bought this year. And these hefty figures don’t include the millions of camera-phone owners who take zillions of snapshots every day.

When you’re researching different cameras, manufacturers will state the maximum file (or picture) size you can take. In the case of a 6 megapixel camera, it’s 2816 horizontal pixels x 2112 vertical pixels, with 7MP it’s 3072 x 2304 and so on. Simply multiply the numbers and you get the effective resolution of the imaging device. We suggest you avoid anything less than 6 or 7MP at this point unless you’re looking for an inexpensive camera for the kids.

Pros have access to 21-megapixel imagers in very expensive D-SLRs. You don’t have to go this route or spend that much money for great everyday photos, but 6MP should be your minimum. If you plan on making very large prints, such as 13x19s, or you think you might experiment with imaging software, consider 8 or more megapixels. There are no hard-and-fast rules, since so much depends on your final end use.