Basic point and shoot with these minimum settings:
Canon Image Stabilization
Minimum of ISO 400
No touch screen
That's basically it for us. Image Stabilization, ISO, and flash are features to balance light (what photography is all about). These are the most important features because taking photos inside cars is always dark and the best time to take photos is actually in the evening. Touch screens can get tough to use in the dead heat of July and August in Virginia Beach - they don't like sweaty fingers. Macro is a necessity for taking pictures of the odometer and any other close up items. 8 Megapixels really isn't that important because you're taking photos at 640 x 480 pixels, but anything less than 8 Megapixles is typiacally a POS these days. Oh....and another important thing.....Point and Shoot camera for speed, agility, pocket-ability, and less worry when it breaks.
I go there exclusively for the time they put into taking the same shots with different cameras so you can see exactly the difference.
You obviously won't need a camera higher resolution than a computer monitor can display, so 1920x1080 = 2,073,600 = 2 megapixels.. Any camera is overkill. Because of this, look for the other features. A huge glass lens made by an excellent manufacturer. A good high quality CCD to capture the images (the pictures mentioned above will help differentiate the good from the bad) and a macro/close-up mode for shooting instrument panels.
What these guys already said, only thing to add would be make sure it has some form of regular zoom. Many are coming with digital zoom only. Any Basic point and shoot these days is miles ahead of what you will need. The only issue when I get them is battery life and compatibility. I don't use ones that are regular batteries or we would go through 8 batteries a day per photographer... We use ones that have batteries that are made for the brand so you can get an extra and always have it charged.
I did like the Fuji when I used it since it had ample power( 4 aa batts. and a 15 min charger) . I also liked the fact the lens did not move when focusing ( it was a sealed len) . When I came on board here two months ago they were using a Kodak and it is great for the family photos but as we all know.. drop it once or take 100+ photos and it is dead. In two months time it is now deciding not to focus.
Alex, Thanks for the insight.
Ghen, Ill will check out the reviews
The main feature we need here is solid performance day in and out. Summer or winter. I
Another thing to keep in mind when shooting interior photos on a vehicle with your own digital camera is that you will also have the opportunity to do some post processing of the photos.
We have used both Aperture and Lightroom in our photo editing (as well as my own personal photo touch ups) to adjust colors, white balance, etc. Sometimes what a photo needs is a more diffuse light source and then to clean up the image quickly in post production. Don't know what your budget and time allowance for the photos are, but it might be something worthwhile to look into.
As a couple other posters have mentioned, make sure that your camera isn't just a digital zoom, but it should have something of an optical zoom as well. 4 or 5 MP will be more than sufficient, seeing as how these are just going to be used on the web.
We recently picked up a Sony Cybershot DSC-W350. We had a Kodak before this so it would not be comparing apples to apples but, I love this little camera! I can fit it in my pocket and it takes great photos!
Great info on the camera. I am thinking about swithching from Ebiz to inhouse for our used car and new car photos. Is there a software I can buy to handle the uploading of photos of numerous vehicles. We do about 10 used cars a day plus another 15 to 20 new cars and uploading one by one is tedious.