Savvy shutterbugs understand that compact cameras remain among the finest options on the market. These point-and-shoot devices capture breathtaking images instantly. In combination with editing software, even a first-time camera operator can take pictures that seem publication-worthy. The only catch is that you’ll need to understand the product itself, which is confusing for amateurs. Here’s a guide to the four details to look into when buying a point-and-shoot camera.What’s in a Brand?Image via Flickr by J. SchröderYou’ll want to educate yourself about the various manufacturers in this oligopolic industry. Only a few major players dominate the compact camera marketplace. What’s important to understand about each one is that every business possesses its own quirks.Not every manufacturer includes the same features on its cameras. Even more puzzlingly, some camera designers offer certain features on only a few of their models — and not necessarily even the most expensive ones. You’ll want to compile a checklist of the features that are most important to you, then compare it to the various models to see which one comes closest to meeting your expectations.Don’t Obsess Over NumbersOne of the easiest mistakes to make involves megapixels. Smartphone marketers have expended a great deal of effort in selling the idea that their cameras are great due to the megapixels. Professional photographers know two things. The first is that no smartphone offers anywhere near enough megapixels to brag on the topic. The second is that a lot more goes into making a great camera than a megapixel count.Resist the temptation to reduce your decision to a numbers game. The number of megapixels reveals only a small part of the overall quality of a device. When you look at a selection of the best digital cameras from Sony, you’ll note that some of the most expensive and popular models have fewer megapixels than models from competitors that have negative reviews. Which proves that pixels aren’t the biggest factor in choosing a high-quality camera. Don’t Lose FocusOne of the critical elements of a great image involves focus. Some cameras suffer from manufacturing defects that you’ll never overcome, no matter how great a photographer you are. When testing out potential new cameras, pay special attention to the sharpness of the picture. One of the attributes of poor focus is fuzzy imagery. You’ll have to make sure that you’re capturing still images, as unexpected movement produces the same output as poor focus. You don’t want to discredit a camera for the wrong reason.A great feature some compact cameras offer is quick focus. By combining this with a few camera focus techniques, you can accurately identify the focus quality. If it’s not satisfactory, you should scratch the model off your list of potential purchases. Poor focus is one of the photography issues that’s difficult to overcome.The Right TypeCompact cameras include several variants. Shoppers who are new to the industry may experience frustration when deciding what they need from a product. The best strategy is to familiarize yourself with your options. The basic compact camera is the deluxe version of a cell phone camera. You don’t need a lot of photography experience to use one effectively. It’s point-and-click at its simplest level. The appeal of these lies in their user-friendly nature. These cameras are limited to 1080p video and auto mode for photography.Advanced compact cameras are the intermediate level of the product line. You won’t see many professional photographers using them as their primary cameras, but they often own one as a portable device capable of taking high-quality images. Meanwhile, skilled amateurs love them for their robust features. Expect an advanced compact camera to include manual controls for adjustable functions like aperture, ISO setting, and shutter speed. This added level of control allows you to capture the perfect moment.The best compact camera is the megazoom, whose name tells the story. This device includes a giant lens that offers up to 15× zoom. You’ll know a megazoom when you see it, as the lens is extremely large relative to the overall size of the camera.When you arm yourself with photo editing software and perhaps a couple photo backdrops to dress up your images, point-and-click cameras remain the best way to take high-quality images.