1. whether u can get a cheaper price(cheaper but doesnt mean inferior product). most big stores like harvey norman, courts etc sells at recommended retail prices. u could prob get cheaper deals from reputable shops like Cathay Photo, MS Colour, TK Photo, John 3:16
2. the size that ur comfortable with. the Canon A series gives u some manual functions despite being a compact cam, but its size is not tt compact. Casio,Sony,Canon,Nikon,Pentax Optios,Olympus all produces very reasonable compact point and shoot cams
3. battery life. some cameras like the Casio Z40/50 can give u a very long batt lifespan. something like 200-400 shots(cant remember) on a single charge. most compacts use their own batts, which are very expensive if u get the originals. of course 3rd party ones are available at places like EastGear. anyway, just get some spare batts. AA or otehrwise
4. no. of MP. 3.2,4,5 or 7.1MP??? this is a favourite question. it depends on the size of the pics that u r gonna develop, if its mostly 4R and 5R then u prob dun need a 4MP, 3.2 will suffice. but if u think that u like developing bigger pictures very often like 8R and up...then maybe u wanna look at the 4 or 5MP. 7.1MP is too much of an over kill IMHO.
5. is there a optical viewfinder. this is an impt concern if u wanna save batt life. batt life usually gets sapped by the LCD screen. if u dun have a opt viewfinder(the small little window that u look thru in those "old" cams), u will be forced to compose with only ur LCD. but if u have both the viewfinder and LCD than u can off the LCD and use it solely for reviewing of pics, hence improving batt life
6. storage formats. popular ones are xD,sD,CF,Mem Stick. xD are for Olympus and Fuji and some other brand i cant recall. they r seldom if not totally not used by the otehr brands. Same goes for Sony's memory stick. as a result, u cant swap or borrow cards. sD is very popular these days and can be used on many devices. hence it might be a good choice. CF is good if ur considering to upgrade to a DSLR in future.
7. Speed of Cards. just get a normal speed one. unless u do alot of video recording,then get a high speed on the ensure smoother recording
8. video function. look for one that preferably records at 30fps. it would provide smoother recording and also lookout for models that only allow 3min recording vs those that allow unlimited recording(limited to size of card) and also shd allow audio too. one pt to remember, this is a CAMERA, not a video cam, so dun expect it to produce stunning video
9. get a small travel tripod(i have one for sale :bsmilie: this is for night shots and selft portraits etc.
10. get a pouch, cleaning kit etc if u think its useful
thats all i can think of, hope it helps, wait for the real experts to touch on Noise, sensor size and the other stuff....haha
Go for optical zoom instead of digital zoom....digital zoom is just using the software inside the cam to enlarge the pic onli...will lose some quality in the process....
optical zoom is the actual movement of the lens itself to bring the object closer to you...quality will be the same....
In the mkt, compact cams has ard 2x optical to up to 12x optical zoom I tink....canon cam mostly is 3x and 4x onli.....
I dun realli know how to convert it to metres....but realli depend on u....with more zoom, u can take a pic from far far away.....but if u usually take close up or no need zoom too far...den just got a norm one...