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Buying a hybrid camera
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While hybrid camera makers were shrinking lenses and camera bodies, they were also increasing sensor sizes compared to point-and-shoot cameras. Add to that the ability to switch high-quality lenses and you can see why hybrid cameras sales are surging.
Consider a hybrid manufacturer's lens lineup along with the camera itself when you're comparison shopping. Like DSLRs, you’re making a commitment to a system. Entry-level, intermediate and pro-level bodies are offered. As with DSLRs, hybrids also shoot great HD video.
To see what a hybrid camera sees, you look at a display called an electronic viewfinder (EVF). EVFs were a weak spot of early hybrids, but they've gotten much better. An EVF will be the LCD screen on the back of a budget hybrid camera. More expensive hybrids feature the back LCD plus an eye-level EVF that simulates the DSLR's optical viewfinder.
The EVF lets you see a near-real-time preview of the scene, plus adjust exposure, focus and white balance. I say "near" real time because shutter lag can be a problem with EVFs.
In a camera with an EVF, the sensor records the view through the lens, processes the view and projects the view onto the display. It takes only a fraction of a second, but that delay can translate into a missed shot. You might prefer a DSLR over a hybrid if you do a lot of action photography.