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Photography Question 
Terri Mcdowell

digital questions

i am looking into buying a digital camera. the main camera I use now is a canon al-1or ae-1. I would like to find a digital that has interchangeable lenses, manual focus, etc... my mother has a digital that focuses for you(i don't care for that), but it does have different lenses. I don't know anything about digital cameras & if i'm gonna spend money on a good one I want one that's going to last & that i'll be happy with. if you understand what i'm looking for i'd appreciate any help.

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9/22/2008 9:35:29 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Terri,

We want our cameras to accept interchangeable lenses because we have diversified needs. Sometimes we shoot wildlife from a distance; this is best accomplished when we mount a strong telephoto. Sometimes we shoot portraits; itís nice if we can mount a portrait lens. Sometimes we shoot scenic shots. You canít beat a wide-angle when it comes to capturing vistas. Sometimes we shoot bugs and coins and flowers; for this, happiness is a macro lens.

Once upon a time you needed all those lenses and more. Thatís what interchangeability is all about. What would you say if I told you that many entry level digitals with fixed lenses sport a zoom that encompasses all of the above in a shingle lens?. Additionally, many provide scads of shooting modes that range from compete manual to complete automatic.

Sounds like a dream? Well today in 2008 itís the norm. Check out the Canon S5 and because this post will generate controversy, check out the other models suggested by the gang.

Alan Marcus

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9/22/2008 10:53:11 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  No specific recommendation from me. I love my Canon 40D, but Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Sony all make terrific digital SLRs with interchangeable lenses. They are all autofocus, but can still be manually focused if desired. They'll all "last" as long as you want to use them. However the pace of development for digital sensors, processing, and features is such that any camera you buy today may feel "obsolete" in 2 years or even less. But if you've been happy with your AE-1 and never tempted by an autofocus film SLR, then you probably have the temperment to get at least a decade of service from the DSLR you buy.

The Canon cameras are based on their EOS EF-mount autofocus lens system, so there are no digital SLRs that can use the FD-mount lenses you have for your AE-1. There are adapters for fitting old manual focus lenses to the EOS cameras (not just FD, but also Nikon, Pentax and others), but the function is so limited as to make it not worth the bother in most cases. Plan on starting fresh and buying new lenses.

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9/22/2008 11:04:33 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  "& if i'm gonna spend money on a good one I want one that's going to last & that i'll be happy with"


Much of your question will be easier to answer if you define what your budget is. Do you want to spend $100 or $10,000?..maybe somewhere in between?

Digital photography is possible and even enjoyable with very inexpensive cameras. It all comes down to one's budget and your level of experience.

all the best,


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9/23/2008 8:24:21 AM

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