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Optical Zoom

A high megapixel rating isn't the only thing to consider—megapixels mean nothing without a great piece of glass to absorb the light. Along those lines, many "point-and-shoot" cameras start at about 3X (three times) optical zoom, though I'm a fan of getting a bit more than that—even as much as a 10X optical zoom, if you can find it for a decent price. Otherwise, you tend to turn into the "human zoom," dodging and weaving to get closer to your subjects. And I'm not all that enamored with "digital zooms" since the resolution drops fast when they're used. The key is matching a decent lens with good usability.
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