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5 things to know before buying a camera

5 things to know before buying a camera

It's the hottest selling camera now. Hybrid cameras, also called mirrorless or compact-system cameras, are compact like a point-and-shoot camera but offer a larger image sensor for better-quality shots. Plus, like more expensive DSLRs, you can change lenses to fit the scene you're shooting.

It's no wonder hybrids are a favorite of hobbyists and professionals alike. Before you head to the store, here are five things you need to know about buying the perfect hybrid camera.

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1. Know your image sensors

The image sensor is what captures the light from the object you're shooting. The two main sensor sizes for hybrids are Micro Four Thirds and APS-C.

The smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor is great for portability, but can sacrifice some picture quality. The larger APS-C sensor will add bulk, but can provide better image quality and low-light shooting.

Along with size, you have to consider megapixels, or the number of pixels the sensor can capture. Hybrids typically have 14MP to 24MP. For standard-size photo printing, any amount will work. If you're printing large posters or doing detailed photo editing, more megapixels is better.

If you need a big sensor and lots of megapixels, consider Sony's NEX 7 ($1099 with 18-55mm lens) with its 24.3MP, APS-C sensor. For a Micro Four Thirds camera, the Panasonic Lumix and Olympus PEN lines are popular options.

Click here to avoid the one mistake every new camera owner makes.

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