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Photography QnA: Digital Cameras

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Digital Cameras and Accessories : Digital Cameras

Interested in the consumer rating of digital cameras? How about some digital camera comparisons? Check out this Q&A for everything you wanted to know about digital cameras. Also, be sure to check out our cool digital camera calculators and digital camera comparison charts.

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Photography Question 
Jason Wood

member since: 12/5/2004
  11 .  Digital Camera for a College Portfolio
Hello all,
My name is Jason, and I'm not the first to say the search for my first digital camera just ain't working out for me!
I'm applying to a few schools for photography and need a strong portfolio. I'm interested in tropical landscapes, action, and especially macro to capture eyes. I'm not sure if I'm asking too much bang for the buck ... I can only spend 500. The camera I was looking at was the FujiFilm Finepix s7000. People mostly complain that the S7000 can only go to F8. I'm not sure what the "F" is used for, or its function. Should I eliminate this camera based on that? Do I need a higher "F"? I would rarely enlarge prints beyond 8X10, so is 6.0 MP too much? I'm lost ... all suggestions appreciated.

12/5/2004 9:59:14 AM

Sandra Harrasser

member since: 7/27/2004
  Hi Jason, I happen to have that camera, as well as my SLR. It is a great camera for the basics. You can take some great shots. You will need to have greater aperture control(f-stops) at some point in training. It is the size of the opening in which light is let it, and it controls the depth of field. I wouldn't rule it out completely, but I would do your homework as far as what is needed for classes. That camera can perform very well. It could become a great backup as it has for me. Good luck to you.

12/5/2004 10:19:49 AM

Clay Anderson

member since: 5/14/2004
  Jason, in addition to finding a good digital camera, I would suggest you take a local class (or a class here on BetterPhoto!) or pick up a good book on photographic basics. F-stop (aperture) and shutter speed are essential basics of photographic knowledge, and if you're attempting to get into a photographic program, your lack of knowledge on these topics could hurt your chances. Plus, it may be difficult for you to present an impressive portfolio if you are not able to understand and utilize some basic technical knowledge. In addition, I would recommend that you try to purchase an SLR if it all possible. Unfortunately, the cheapest DSLR on the market is the Canon Digital Rebel, which will run you around $900. But there are things you can do with an SLR that are just not possible with the limitations of a point-and-shoot model. The ability to change lenses is vital, particularly as you want to do landscape, action, and macro shots. These three are best captured by completely different lenses.

12/7/2004 7:21:21 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  My understanding is when you take photographic courses is that the camera be capable of manually controlling both shutter speed and apature. In that price range you should be looking for a film camera. I hope they are still teaching real photography instead of photoprograms as it is an art that we shouldnt loose. there, You got my opinon.

12/7/2004 10:26:31 AM

Mark O'Brien

member since: 2/11/2001
  Jason.. I hate to say this, but if you are looking to go to a photo school and and are thinking if submitting a portfolio, and don't know what an F stop is, you better go to the library and start doing some reading. You have to learn to walk before you run.

12/7/2004 12:18:08 PM

Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  Check out the Kodak 6490 4mp. with a great zoom!!!!

12/7/2004 12:40:27 PM

Victor J. 

member since: 7/29/2003
  Jason, I second what Mark O'Brien said about doing some reading. I would add subcribe to at least 2 photo magazines. Read things even if you don't understand it at first and then read it again, the more you read the more will stay with you./ "Ah that's what that means."; it will finally come to you. But if you really want to be serious about photography you will need an SLR or a DSLR. By a used one. You should know the nuances of photography. Go to any good book store and look over the text they have on the subject. Educate yourself, practise, make mistakes, get experience, then maybe go to a class. Victor J. Pizzolato

12/7/2004 5:18:20 PM

Rhonda 

member since: 7/15/2004
  Hi Jason,

looking at the dates, you probably have already bought your camera. I studied photography a few years ago in Australia and bought a Canon EOS 300 (film camera) at the time it was about A$1000 with an extra zoom lense. I have since purchased a Canon 10D (digital) $3500 - body only when I purchased 15months ago. They are both SLR cameras which means you have more creative control. This is a must when learning photography. It is imperative you get an SLR and if purchasing digital go for something more than 4MP. If you are studying photography, starting out with no money is not an option - you have to be willing to spend in this field especially if you are going to go digital as technology changes so quickly. I would up my spending amount if purchasing digital - and get a better camera and remember when learning you will save a packet on film and developing. However if at the end of the day you want to learn more about the developing and printing side buy a film camera. cheers and good luck.

12/12/2004 1:54:57 PM

Tommy Luca
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/9/2004
  Hi Jason, for just a hundred fifty nine dollars more, that's $659.00 you can buy a really awesome digital slr, a "Nikon D100", "6.1MP" to find out more go here http://royalcamera.com/nikd1digcam.html
if it's good enough for the pro's it's good enough for you at college Jason.
Hope this helped.
Tommy

12/25/2004 6:11:24 PM

Clay Anderson

member since: 5/14/2004
  Tommy -- Please do some research before recommending Royal Camera, or any of the other dozens of scam shops online. These shops are almost always based in Manhattan, and offer too-good-to-believe prices on photographic equipment. They stay ahead of the law by offering grey market products imported from Asia, which often don't carry a US warranty or are missing important accessories. Plus, after placing your order, you'll generally receive a phone call from an employee giving a hard upsell to buy memory cards, lenses, flashes, etc. that are overpriced. You'll be told your item is out-of-stock until you agree to be upsold, and then magically your item is back in-stock. Then, after agreeing to an inflated upsell, you get to sit back and pray that your item arrives. Before you shop at these shops, check sites like ResellerRatings.com (see http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1895.html for the Royal Camera rating of 2.07 out of 10). But be warned: the scam photo shops have also put together their OWN ratings websites to offer good ratings on their own e-commerce sites. (The most trustworthy ratings sites are probably ResellerRatings, PriceGrabber and Epinions; beware of others.) So please avoid recommending these scam shops to other people. These shops need to be put out of business, which means we all need to spread the word.

12/27/2004 7:08:10 AM

  'F' as in f/stop is a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge; specifically, the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system. [Source: Merriam Webster Online Dictionary]

6/3/2005 9:39:54 PM

  Jason,
In photography, the aperture (the size of the lens opening) controls the brightness of the light that reaches the film. (I don't know the terminology for digital, as that is still foreign to me). But, the aperture works like the pupil of an eye: it can be enlarged or contracted to admit more light or less. The size of an aperture is indicated by its f-number or f-stop. To learn more about the aperture and light, get the book, Photography, (I have the sixth edition) by Barbara London and John Upton. It may be available in better libraries. Or, you can buy a later but used edition, for around $40. http://tinyurl.com/7ompa

Most basic cameras today, have built in meters which measure the light. However, the camera I used when I first studied photography in 1960, had no light meter. It was totally manual. I needed a separate light meter to measure the light. For me, that very basic manual twin lens reflex camera then, cost me $35.00. You can get a basic single lens reflex (SLR) manual camera today for under $600. The following, alike the cameras I've always used are not digital cameras. They are film cameras. The NIKON FM10 35mm Camera Kit which includes the camera body, 35 to 70mm zoom Nikkor lens, carrying case, strap, batteries is available for $259.99. http://tinyurl.com/afo52 And that's enough to get you started. After all, you know nothing about photography, if you don't understand the need for an f/stop or aperture.

Almost three years ago, I spent $1000 on a new film body for an old Nikon that wore out after 30 years of use. I wanted a basic camera body that would have no learning curve because I was right in the middle of an advanced classical portraiture class and did not have time to learn a new camera.

That same camera body that I bought then, the Nikon FM3A, is now selling for $589.88 from Amazon.com. http://tinyurl.com/76mg5
You don't have to spend an arm and a leg for an expensive digital with manual capability. You can buy a good, basic manual film camera body with a minimum zoom lens on which to learn, and then increase your arsenal of lenses at a later time, when you know which ones you need or want and have more money.

And, if you find that you like Nikon, there are a whole lot of Nikon F lenses which I believe will fit Nikonís digital cameras, including the Nikon D100. Nikon (and Canon) make the most lenses to fit their own cameras as any company anywhere. So, you can keep the good Nikon lenses, and later when you know more about photography and have more money, buy a good entry level digital to go with those lenses.

Back to that basic Twin Lens Reflex, with which I started learning in 1960: When a prominant commercial photographer looked at my work which I had produced with that basic camera, he remarked that it looked like I was shooting with a Hasselblad. A "Blad" is an excellent, but extremely expensive SLR camera. One that I could not afford then, and cannot afford to maintain now. It is held in high esteem by most older photographers. But, at the same time, Iíve been told repeatedly that itís the photographer that does the creating, and to do that creativity, you must first learn and understand the manual capability of a basic manual camera that has the capability of interchangeable lenses.

You must crawl before you can walk, and learning the basics are that important! That's why I would recommend a relatively inexpensive manual film SLR camera on which to learn. You can go digital later when money and your acquired education allows.

6/3/2005 9:47:54 PM

Karthik M. Siddhun
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/19/2005
  Hi Jason,
Even if it a bit costlier for your budget, donot hesitate to go for DSLR. That is a great choice. As it looks, you are a beginner and obvious to commit mistakes,that is the best choice.
Don't spent money on digital-point & shoot.
Learn more on Aperture controls(F stops) and Shutter speeds (seconds). Both are Essentials in photography.

Best of luck,

Siddhun.M.Karthik


6/3/2005 10:03:05 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Jason, My advice echos what others have said. Do a Google search for f-stops and read. I also recommend Bryan Peterson's book "Understanding Exposure" for an excellent treatment of the subject.

Please don't buy from Royal Camera (there are too many scammer to mention here). Go to Amazon.Com and they willoffer the best shopping, often from great on-line dealers like Adorama and other reputable dealers.

Read, read, read. There's a ton of good material available.

John

6/3/2005 10:53:50 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/13/2004
  Hey, I realize this thread is a little older and seems to have been brought back after just a few months. My opinion is that you shouldn't look for digital in the higher price range to put together a portfolio for college or whatever it is. I'm in college now doing a second major in studio art which I designed myself (yay) which weighs heavily in photography. I don't believe there are any photography courses at my university that include the use of digital SLR's (DSLR's). They are all film and the classes I know of include the use of slide film(no darkroom), black and white darkroom photo 1 & 2, followed by 300 and 400 level classes that get into developing and printing color prints and getting into medium format photography and more detailed lighting. None of these classes will allow you to use digital. I would suggest getting a pretty good film camera with a good, but not kit quality, average range zoom lens. Possibly a 50mm fixed, wide aperture lens.

Something that I might suggest is checking out bhphotovideo.com and going to their used department.

Right now they have a Canon EOS 5 35mm film camera that is $209 and the condition is marked as 8+ which means it shows moderate wear or finish marks. Nothing to hinder the functioning of the camera.

You could also buy a film camera similar to the Canon EOS Rebel G/GII or I think maybe the Nikon N55 or N75. These will be around $200 and just under. I have the Rebel GII and it was great for my class that I had last semester along with my 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Again, I suggest a 35mm SLR (film, not digital) because most college classes will require 35mm format film especially in the earlier stages, not digital.

6/4/2005 11:50:02 AM

Karthik M. Siddhun
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/19/2005
  Hi Andrew,

Sorry, I never knew that DSLR's are not allowed in photography corse in university as I haven't studied photography course.

I hope so, I gave wrong suggestion to Mr.Jason.

About 35mm SLR, I too have CanonEOS Rebel GII/3000N/66. I truly like it's performance and it's 28mm-80mm zoom lens. It is a good idea to spent money on this camera.
Nikon N55 is also having the same functions and performance, comparing to canon's model.

I agree with you.

Thanks,
Siddhun.M.Karthik

6/5/2005 9:38:55 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/13/2004
  It's fine Siddhun, I could be wrong myself. Just from my experience, I've seen that the classes are al 35mm. Perhaps some schools with larger art or photography programs would use digital as their medium. If the costs weren't so hi, we would probably have used DSLR's (having to buy our own) for my most recent photo class. We didn't have the time to use darkroom because it was a "non-major" photo class so each class was only 50 minutes long. We used slides because we could get them developed at the University for under $10 or near the University for around $8 in about 5 hours or overnight. That was amazing being able to get slides back that fast because they do it all themselves.

Jason, if you still get the responses for this in your email (if you checked that box) email the undergrad academic advisor for the School of Fine Arts(I'm assuming your just starting college?) and ask them if they have a good path in digital photography. Otherwise, it's probably definitly safe to get an inexpensive 35mm camera like the ones I stated and then just change your camera body if you need to. Make sure to get a good lens though as soon as possible. 28-135 IS is great for Canon.

6/5/2005 10:42:47 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  digital

6/6/2005 9:07:15 AM

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Photography Question 
Kelly Abernathy
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Kelly
Kelly's Gallery

member since: 1/5/2004
  12 .  First Digital Camera for a Child
Hi everyone - I'm looking for recommendations for a first digital camera for a child. She's 8, so I'm looking at point-and-shoots. A zoom would be nice. I know there are some with 10x zooms out there. It should be easy to operate, but maybe with room to grow, but looking for quality as well. Durable as well - as 8-year-olds will tend to drop things. Thanks for all your help! -K

12/3/2004 7:12:58 PM

John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/24/2004
  Hi, as a dad, I can say with some truthfulness that a 10x zoom is going to be too sensitive for an 8-year-old to hold steady. The more zoom, the more sensitive the camera is to movement. Probably, since it is a first camera for a child, let the money do the shopping. Look for a point-and-shoot type that also is TTL (through the lens focus and view) and you can usually find about a 3x in the hundred dollar range. They are pretty much all automatic, so you won't have to worry about correct exposure and focus. Use the Web search under price, and/or at least 2 megapixel.

12/3/2004 10:26:07 PM

Susan Sande

member since: 3/1/2004
  Right now the Sony DSC-P52 are on sale in the $129 range. I'd like to suggest it. I bought one for my son (17 at the time) when it first came out. Pretty good optics, small body. Photo quality beat the heck out of the Sony V-1 I bought based on the photos coming out of the 52. (sold the V1 pretty quick).

I would not suggest buying less than a 2mp or an off brand. You get what you pay for and if your daughter decides she doesn't want to use it, you might as well have a camera that you can use.

12/6/2004 11:59:44 AM

Robert Brosnan
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/17/2003
  I bought my daughter a 2 mp camera for her 9th birthday. It is a Vivitar 3650. I purchased it at Walgreens for under $50 after the rebates. It only has digtal zoom (3X) but it takes good pictures and seems durable. It only has a LCD screen no optical viewfinder. It uses AA batteries (2) and SD memory.It is a good camera to start at a reasonable price from a well known company.

12/7/2004 5:18:10 AM

Robert Brosnan
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/17/2003
  I bought my daughter a 2 mp camera for her 9th birthday. It is a Vivitar 3650. I purchased it at Walgreens for under $50 after the rebates. It only has digtal zoom (3X) but it takes good pictures and seems durable. It only has a LCD screen no optical viewfinder. It uses AA batteries (2) and SD memory.It is a good camera to start at a reasonable price from a well known company.

12/7/2004 5:18:32 AM

Robert Brosnan
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/17/2003
  I bought my daughter a 2 mp camera for her 9th birthday. It is a Vivitar 3650. I purchased it at Walgreens for under $50 after the rebates. It only has digtal zoom (3X) but it takes good pictures and seems durable. It only has a LCD screen no optical viewfinder. It uses AA batteries (2) and SD memory.It is a good camera to start at a reasonable price from a well known company.

12/7/2004 5:19:10 AM

Robert Brosnan
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/17/2003
  I bought my daughter a 2 mp camera for her 9th birthday. It is a Vivitar 3650. I purchased it at Walgreens for under $50 after the rebates. It only has digtal zoom (3X) but it takes good pictures and seems durable. It only has a LCD screen no optical viewfinder. It uses AA batteries (2) and SD memory.It is a good camera to start at a reasonable price from a well known company.

12/7/2004 5:19:38 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  No zooms at all. I bought a Dimera a few years ago for 40 bucks new. It has a fixed lens on it and is capable of making small photos you can email. Think it was 600 by 400 pixels something like that. Only control on it was the shutter. And it was kind of large so small hands could handle it easily That would be a perfect kid camera. However it had weird sized and expensive battery in it. Try this. Go to Tiger Direct and look at the under 1MP cameras but find one that takes 2 AA batterys so you can use a charger.

12/7/2004 10:34:57 AM

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Photography Question 
Meghan LaRue Beard

member since: 11/19/2004
  13 .  In the Market for a Digital Camera
I want to buy a digital camera that doesn't have a long delay. I also don't want one that is more than $300. What kind should I get?

11/19/2004 8:17:16 PM

Buddy Purugganan

member since: 8/31/2002
  Meghan, why not give these digital cameras a look? Nikon Coolpix 4300, Sony Cybershot DSC-P52, Canon Powershot S30, and Olympus Stylus 300D. All have a budget of $300 or less.
Dealers like A&M Photo World (www.amphoworld.com), Broadway Photo (www.bwayphoto.com ) and The Camera Source Inc. (www.thecamerasource.com) sell all these at LOW prices.

11/20/2004 11:43:42 PM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  You want a digital that will boot up really fast? I can't spell this one but it was just featured in Pop Photo a couple of months ago now. Kyroceria..It was like a 4 or 5 mp camera, booted really fast, seemed like a really nice camera. It got a good review too.

11/23/2004 4:30:20 AM

  When you want to move up, consider the Nikon D70. It's one of the best serious amateur digital cameras around (as of today!)

11/23/2004 5:15:56 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  That Kyrocera is over your budjet. You could try Pentax Optio 30, S40, or The MX. I use a optio 230 and like it. These new ones are a lot faster than the 230's. Check out the Adorama site. When you want to move up Penax just came out with a new Digital slr the ISTD. Thats gonna be a nice one.

11/23/2004 10:08:28 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  OOP"S Wish I could go edit my posts. It the new digital slr is ISTDS, Adarama has it in stock too. Sorry about the mixup.

11/23/2004 10:31:08 AM

Ben Mora

member since: 11/9/2004
  Whatever you end up buying, do NOT buy from A&M photo. They are well known for not sending the order, and sell lots of gray market products, labeled as made in the USA. DO NOT BUY FROM THEM!

11/23/2004 11:38:52 AM

Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  Check out the Kodak 6490 4 mega pixel nice lens and zoom on this camera,since its been out awhile you might find it at a reasonable price!!!!

11/23/2004 12:24:32 PM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  You should check out these review sites:

www.dpreview.com
www.dcresource.com
www.steves-digicams.com
www.megapixel.net

And of course BP reviews!

Good luck on your search!
I personally love my camera (the Fujifilm S5000). I don't know if you meant $300 US or Canadian or other...
I love the 10 x zoom!

DDK

11/25/2004 6:30:44 PM

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Photography Question 
Melinda 

member since: 5/18/2004
  14 .  Lenses for SLR Digital Cameras
I am such a newbie in the digital field, and I have a question: Are the lenses that are used for regular 35mm film cameras interchangeable in a digital SLR camera? Thanks.

8/29/2004 10:21:36 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Mostly yes. Some exceptions with one, maybe two brands. But with Canon, all film EOS lenses fit their digital EOS.

8/29/2004 10:54:21 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Canon - yes
Nikon - yes
Pentax - yes
Sigma - yes
Olympus - no.

8/29/2004 12:15:11 PM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  Yes they are. On a digital, it makes your focal length longer so your ultra wide will no longer be the same length. It has its advantages on the long end of course.

Scott

8/31/2004 4:15:15 AM

Josh milnik

member since: 1/18/2002
  There is about 1.4 ratio between the 35 mm camers focal length and the digital focal length, so 28 mm wide angle on the old camera will give you 39 mm focal length when mounted on your digital camera.

Josh

8/31/2004 4:55:11 AM

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Photography Question 
Debra M. Watkins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/26/2004
  15 .  Beginner's Dilemma
Photography has always been my dream, even though I have a GREAT deal to learn. But, of course, my life has always been too busy or it wasn't the right time, blah, blah, blah. You've heard it all before. Anyway, I now have the time. I will wait no longer. With all of that said, here is my dilemma: I would like to eventually break into the photography business. I'm still learning and cash flow is, of course, limited ($700 or less). What is a good beginner digital SLR camera for learning that won't become obsolete before you know it, and would give me the chance to experiment and learn about several features? I would really appreciate any feedback. Thanks. Deb

8/26/2004 12:22:09 PM

  Debra,
Unfortunately, at this time there are no new digital SLRs available for under $700. You may consider buying a used Canon D-60. It is slightly older technology (but, then, any camera over a day old is older technology). But it would be a good camera to learn on - making the feedback instant and giving you files that you can work with. Or you may consider a film camera, but then you have the expense of processing, and if you are learning, you should be taking lots and lots of pictures!
Sorry for the "bad" news.

8/26/2004 4:44:40 PM

Shawn D. Spicer

member since: 8/29/2004
  Its a little more than what you say you want to spend but I just purchased a Olympus Camedia 8080 for $800.00. It takes wonderful photos and its not to difficult to learn. Also the Nikon Coolpix 8700 has been on sale with rebates at a few places. Neither are SLR but very good digital cameras.

8/30/2004 5:11:33 PM

Amy Duvall

member since: 4/21/2004
  Debra, although its a little more (but coming down from when I bought it!) the Canon Powershot Pro1 is an awesome slr-like camera that takes superior shots and was very easy for me to learn being a beginner as well. Ive invested in a gig compact flash card (ebay!) and also got a telephoto lens and play with it all the time. I absolutely love it! Keep an eye as the price goes down...

8/31/2004 3:42:39 AM

Samir Amberkar

member since: 8/28/2004
  Hey Debra, I had similar requirements .. after going through net, I found Canon EOS 300D (in US it is known as Rebel) to be the best bet ... it costed me 838/- euros (near to $1000/-) ... a little more costly (but more SLR features) bargain would be Nikon D70 ... or otherwise you might consider Canon PowerShot G6 ...

8/31/2004 3:46:58 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  Hi Debra. We are kind of in the same boat. Im a hobbiest but there are low priced Digital slr bodies. That makes the film based slr the way to go. I don't see any reason why you couldn't use an older digital body. The computer industry would like us to belive that you need the newest and biggest equiptment just so they can make money. Thats bunk! The best plan would be to stick with your film camera for now and save up for a digital body.

Scott

8/31/2004 4:34:49 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  Just took a spin through E-bay. There is an IST-D with an 18-35 mm lens currently running at $650 bucks. Pentax makes excellent cameras. I think if you want to do this as a buisness you would need to go with an slr body and lens of some kind.

Scott

8/31/2004 6:47:26 AM

Paul Illes

member since: 10/23/2003
  I don't know why, as a beginner, you want to start with an SLR. It's true that a point and shoot has a parallax problem, but with the screen on the back you don't have that problem. There are half a dozen 3 meg cameras out there for 2 or 3 hundred dollars that will let you learn about digital and its problems like shutter lag, contrast, saturation, and so on. Read a lot. Go to Barnes and Noble or Borders and spend some time browsing through a stack of digital photo books like I did. I took a whole lot of good shots with an Olympus c3020 with a moderate zoom permanent lens before I knew enough to choose an SLR. Don't forget the software you will need to manipulate your pictures afterward. There are several under a hundred dollars but it all adds up and the software will still be good with a newer camera too.

8/31/2004 7:59:55 AM

Clay Anderson

member since: 5/14/2004
  Debra,

I just bit the bullet and purchased a Canon Digital Rebel (300D), for the same reasons that you're expressing. I've long had an interest (and moderate talent) in photography, but haven't been able to develop my skills further, mostly because of the excessive costs of film development.

Digital changes all that. My wife and I went to the zoo last weekend, and I shot 300 pictures, and it didn't cost me a cent. Maybe I'll print a dozen or two of the best, but that's a decision I can make later. With film, you have to justify the cost on the spot (at least for us poor amateurs), but with digital, you can shoot to your heart's content, and make your decisions later.

Plus, there are the benefits of post-processing in Photoshop that can dramatically improve the quality of your photos. (Sure, you can scan in your film photos, but if you want acceptable quality, then you have to shell out for a good scanner, which can also cost several hundred.)

And let me encourage you: DO NOT GET A POINT AND SHOOT digital. If you want to learn photography, you need the full control that only an SLR can offer. With the 300D in particular (still the least expensive DSLR on the market by $200 or so), the image quality outstrips every point-and-shoot on the market, and it is compatible with the entire line of Canon EF lenses.

I purchased my Canon (including 18-55mm lens) at BuyDig.com for $860, and I've seen similar offers elsewhere on the web. The only additional thing you will need to buy is a CompactFlash card, which vary in price depending on size. I'd recommend at least 512MB if you can afford it.

From one amateur to another: save up a couple hundred more, and take the jump -- you won't regret it!

8/31/2004 8:08:03 AM

dennis w. mcclain

member since: 8/2/2004
  hey man the digital rebel is a good camera. save up the extra couple of hundred and go with it. I love mine, and check out adorama for digital prints good price and wow they look like real film prints. look through the galleries they are full of pics made with the digital rebel, and all the other rebel film camera produsts work

8/31/2004 8:49:06 AM

Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/27/2004
  Here's an idea...

Get a film based SLR and a digital camera like mine (Fujifinepix S5000) which offers lots of capabilities. You should be able to get BOTH for around $700! My camera allows me to set white balance, bracket, manually set shutter speed, etc...It's an "slr feel" camera. I really like it and everybody I know that has it likes it. Then to practice the more involved aspects of photography you could use your film SLR until you can eventually afford a digital SLR. It's a thought.

Karma

8/31/2004 5:09:44 PM

Debra M. Watkins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/26/2004
  From Debra:

Hey Guys! Thanks for all of the great ideas. Yesterday, I made my purchase. After weeks of going to the camera store and playing around with all of the potential cameras (and a few that were way above my budget), I fell in love. I got a Nikon D70. Yep! I took the plunge in a big way, but what an awesome camera. I don't think I will be disappointed even though I spent more than I wanted to at first. Hopefully this camera will be something that I can use to learn and grow with for some time. Anyway, thanks again for all of the info. I really appreciate it.

9/1/2004 3:48:11 AM

Gonzalo De Orense

member since: 1/24/2004
  Debra, if you are just starting, don't spend more than $250.oo in a good digital like Olympus c4000. You will learn plenty and lateer on, you can decide on a better camera after you gain experience.Many people over buy, and later realize that photography was not for them, and sell their equipment cheap, or worse end up in a closet gathering dust. Start low, and build up with the experience.
G. De Orense

9/1/2004 9:33:44 PM

John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/24/2004
  These other guys are all correct , but go get a minolta dimage z2. It is ttl tech and 10x optical zoom and 38 wide angle. It shoots what you are seeing and has all the manual aperture, shutter, and program settings to keep you busy for months. The af cant be beat the built in flash is 39 gn (very powerful) and accepts maxxum flash as well for great distances. 350.00 and 4 mgpxl too. good for 11-14

9/4/2004 5:32:46 PM

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Photography Question 
Tonya Autry

member since: 3/9/2004
  16 .  Thinking About Digital ... Please Help!
I have been looking at the Canon 20D that will be coming out. How large can you go on enlargements with these images? 16x20? Will the images be sharp?
Thanks, Tonya

8/26/2004 6:08:52 AM

  It all depends on what resolution you print at, and whether you want to interpolate your files. The 20D is 8 megapixels, so it will produce a 24 MB file. If you print at 300 PPi, you can make an 8.5x11 from a 24 MB file. If you print at 240 PPI, you can make a print a little shy of 11x14. Personally I print at 180 PPI (and I have exhibited my prints in galleries and museums). At 180 PPI, you can print a 14 x 18 with no interpolation. Of course, the files from a 20D are good enough to withstand interpolation, so you should be able to go 16x20 with no problem.
I hope that helps!

8/26/2004 5:00:54 PM

William G. Schmidt

member since: 8/28/2004
  I agree, I routinely display 16x20 and larger prints with my 10D with great success. You, of course, must have good technique, AND not all images work well in large format. Best are simple images ... an apple is better than leaves in the forest. On the plus side, the 10D is capable of capturing a great tonal range. You will not go wrong with the 20D.

8/28/2004 9:21:40 PM

Tonya Autry

member since: 3/9/2004
 
 
  exsample of what I do/ would be doing
exsample of what I do/ would be doing
 
 
Thanks for your input. This would be used mostly for portraits of people. I have read about cleaning up noise and all that. I was just curious about the size. I now shoot with a Maxxum/Dynax 9 35mm. I love it but even with proper exsposure and 100 ISO not all pictures are cantidates to go up to 16x20.

Tonya

8/29/2004 4:21:06 AM

Holly Higbee-Jansen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/10/2003
  I am considering the Canon 20D, but do not have a history of using Canon Cameras and am a little nervous to purchase without seeing it, or knowing anything about it. All the camera shops are "taking deposits", but none have the camera to show. I have been pretty happy with the Olympus product, my husband has an E-1 and he has taken awesome pictures with it. I have an E-20 and would like the sharper images that he is capturing with the E-1. He claims it's the photographer, but I don't believe him!
Does anyone have any feedback on the 20D?

9/11/2004 4:26:44 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  You can easily make an 8x12 with large/fine jpeg setting, which is around 3mb on my camera depending on iso. And I could make it bigger. So as far as the camera being able, I'm sure it'd do a good job. Couple it with good lenses, and if it's something that you plan on doing 16x20, shoot it Raw and I doubt you'd have to worry if you got it done by a good printing place.

9/12/2004 1:43:42 AM

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Photography Question 
Peter Roddy

member since: 3/1/2003
  17 .  Digital Cameras
What is the difference between the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the EOS 300D digital? Thank you.

8/26/2004 2:28:28 AM

Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/18/2004
  Hi Peter, they're the same camera. Just different ways of referring to them.

8/26/2004 5:34:34 AM

  It's the Digital Rebel in the U.S. and the 300D in the rest of the world.

8/26/2004 4:46:05 PM

Sharon Morris

member since: 6/15/2004
  The Digital Rebel is warranteed by Canon USA. The 300D is considered "gray market" and therefore the warrantee will not be honored in the U.S. If you are considdering a 300D, I would talk to a professional dealer and get his/her opinion. I have heard that the 300D has mechanical issues.

-Hope this helps.

9/5/2004 11:36:04 AM

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Photography Question 
simone 

member since: 2/26/2004
  18 .  Buying A Digital Camera: Shutter Delay?
I am a longtime film camera user who has just plunged into the ever popular digital camera realm. I purchased a Fujifilm Finepix s3000 and am a little miffed about its performance. After I depress the shutter, there is a slight delay in capturing the image - frustrating, especially when taking action shots and realizing there is nothing to show for in the frame. Is this normal? Are there "faster" cameras out there? I don't want to invest too much into something I am unsure of ... thanks in advance.

8/12/2004 12:02:46 AM

Steven Chaitoff
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/22/2004
  Unfortunately, this is common with digital cameras. The Sony DSC-S75 has, in my experience, a shutter delay of more than 1 second sometimes! But that's an old camera. Most aren't that bad at all. Digital cameras make a lot of calculations once you hit the shutter - namely, white balance, which has to be calculated appropriately before the shutter will open. However, the Canon MkII has a nearly instantaneous shutter, but that's a high-end camera. The delay will indubitably get better as cameras develop, so don't let this push you away from digital. It has its benefits. I'm sure there are consumer and prosumer cameras out there now that have an acceptable delay (or lack thereof.)

8/12/2004 9:27:17 AM

  I do a lot of wildlife photography, and the digital delay was at first extremely frustrating. However, I found that many other features (like the ability to instantly view and erase a picture if I missed the moment) made digital extremely worthwhile. I also found that the digital delay actually improved my photographic skills, because I had to anticipate, by just a fraction of a second, what the animal was going to do. The high-end DSLRs seem to have reduced the digital delay quite a bit, but it's still there.

One thing that's helped me is that my camera has a multiframe mode where it takes up to six shots in a row while I hold the shutter button down. This allows me to get sequences of quickly-changing behavior without worrying about the digital delay. You may want to see if your camera has a similar option.

I also recommend going out (since digital pictures are free) and taking shots of something you don't care too much about or something you can see/repeat often to get used to the digital delay. If you're using your camera for sports shots, get a couple of kids together and practice action shots with them. It will help you anticipate the action and get used to the timing of your digital camera.
Hope this helps ... Pam

8/12/2004 9:48:56 AM

simone 

member since: 2/26/2004
  Thank you for your words of experience. I feel better knowing it is a "digital quirk" and not an error on my part. So I will go onward and practice, and anticipate shots with this knowledge in mind.

8/12/2004 11:28:09 PM

Elisabeth A. Gay
BetterPhoto Member
expressionsbyann.com

member since: 4/2/2004
  I read a review of this camera and see that it only offers continuous shooting up to 2 frames. I bought the Finepix s7000, which, for the money, I thought was an extremely good buy. It can shoot up to 5 frames on continuous mode, and has a continuous shooting mode of up to 40 frames with 1 second intervals.

8/15/2004 10:00:00 AM

Michael Kaplan

member since: 5/27/2003
  The answers above are correct. I just want to add that you can 1/2 press the shutter in advance and then take the picture instantaneously after. If for example, you are taking a picture at a racetrack and you are waiting for the car to come around the curve. What you would do is set your focus manually or focus on something about the same distance, 1/2 press the shutter so the camera does it's thing and then when the car comes around you press the shutter the rest of the way which is instantaneous because the camera has already done it's thing. If you are taking a picture for example of wildlife waiting for it to fly or move. You would 1/2 press the shutter to let the camera focus and set exposure and just keep your finger 1/2 pressed until you see what you want.

It will take a bit of practice but as Pam said, digital costs you nothing to experiment so practice and you'll get used to the delay.

BTW, there are some cameras out that are close to instantaneous especially the DSLR's but recently some of the PnS's as well. That is just a spec you would have to read about to find out how the model you want compares to others. The link below is the final page of a review from Steve's Digicam and show the results on your camera.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/fuji_s3000_pg5.html .
Michael Kaplan
Canon EOS-10D
http://www.pbase.com/mkaplan

8/15/2004 2:36:36 PM

simone 

member since: 2/26/2004
  thank you everyone for your efforts - this information is much appreciated!

8/16/2004 11:29:09 AM

Paul 

member since: 7/22/2004
  I have the S3000 and have experienced the same problem. My resolution, though pricy, was to give the camera to my wife to use at the salon she works at and to buy a digital SLR. I suggest the Digital Rebel since it shoots at 4 frames per second. The best place to buy the camera is at Sharper Photo USA through ebay. Sorry I can't give you a better answer.

8/16/2004 12:24:37 PM

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Photography Question 
Namita Shah

member since: 4/12/2004
  19 .  My First Digital Camera
I'm going to France, and I need to buy a digital camera. I don't know much about cameras and don't want to deal with too many manual features. I need a digital camera that has easy-to-use modes for pictures and shouldn't be more then 300 dollars. Can you please help me find some good cameras and tell what else I should be looking for if I want to buy a digital camera. Thank you.

8/4/2004 10:54:48 AM

  A big part of buying a camera is deciding what you most want to take pictures of. Will you be shooting mostly people, landscapes, architecture, flowers or insects, larger wildlife, or what? Knowing what you want to take pictures of will help you decide what features you need. Here are some things to think about:

-- Zoom: How close will you be able to get to your subject? How big is your subject? (Remember: Optical zoom is what counts; digital zoom is irrelevant except as a way to view your pictures on the small viewing screen.)
-- Resolution: What will you be doing with the pictures? Do you just want to post them on the Web or print out small pictures, or would you like to blow them up to a large size? How much cropping would you like to be able to do without losing resolution?
-- Lens size: The size of the lens determines how much light gathering ability the camera has. If you're going to be shooting a lot of night shots, you'll want a larger lens.

Most point-and-shoot type cameras have lots of automatic settings. You should think about what you want to do with this camera in the end. My camera can go fully automatic or fully manual or anything in between. You should at least try to get a camera where you can tell it to over- or under-expose relative to its automatic meter reading. Especially if you want to capture good sunset pictures or other lighting effects. Also, the mode "nighttime shot" can work for this.

Also, check out this link:
http://www.betterphoto.com/digital/buying-best-digital-cameras/01-intro.asp

Hope this helps. Others may be able to give you more specific advice, especially if you give us some idea of what you plan to get pictures of...
Pam

8/4/2004 1:00:05 PM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  Well said, Pamela! Although you may not want the manual modes yet, unless you plan on upgrading again soon, you may want one that can go from full auto to full manual. As you take more and more pictures, you may want to try some manual settings and, if your camera can't do it, then you are stuck.
I personally love my Fujifilm Finepix S5000. Check out my gallery for some of the shots I've taken. (P.S.: It's just a hobby for me - and I've only been taking it seriously in the last 8 months or so).
Good luck with your decision! I know it is a tough one!

8/5/2004 5:25:42 AM

Maia Schwartzman

member since: 1/6/2003
 
 
  Notre Dame from the boat
Notre Dame from the boat
 
  Mary and candles at the Sacre Coeur
Mary and candles at the Sacre Coeur
 
 
I have a canon 10D which I love, but when I went to Paris for a 4 day trip I took a kodak 3900. I took great pictures of the Eiffel tower at night and from the Sacre Coeur. I have had to play around a tiny bit in photoshop elements, but my pics came out really well, even in the bottom dark part of the Sacre Coeur. I don't know if they make that Kodak anymore, but I would think that any others would be just fine. Here is my picture I took from one of the cheaper night boat tours.
I just did a little trip to Paris and I have been there a lot of times with a bigger camera. This time, however, I was with friends for a quick trip and happy to have a tiny camera in my pocket.

8/10/2004 5:54:01 AM

Namita Shah

member since: 4/12/2004
  Thanks a lot everyone, these responses have helped, and I really like your pictures maia. I just would like to ask everyone one more thing. would you please give me some more names of cameras that you know are good?
-bob

8/10/2004 1:15:15 PM

Namita Shah

member since: 4/12/2004
 
 
  Fountain
Fountain
Lake GEneva, Wisconsin
 
 
here are a few of my shots

8/10/2004 5:02:46 PM

Sandra J. Colby
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/27/2004
  I love my Kodak DX 6490. It is a great all round 10x optical camera with macro & infinity modes. It will allow you a variety of options or automatic. Right now you can get one for about $399 with the easy-share dock & extra memory card.

8/10/2004 6:17:16 PM

Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/18/2004
  Hello Namita!

I do a lot of travel photography and competing online, and from what I've done and seen, I think you are safe going with any compact made by Canon, Nikon, or Sony (cybershot series). I personally always use Canon, so if I were to recommend a specific camera to you, it would be the Canon PowerShot SD110 (3.2 mp). Goes for about $280. Everyone is biased towards certain brands, but that's my opinion since you asked!

Here are a couple of tips off the top of my head that may help you in your search:

1. Rechargeable battery. Cameras that use AAs eat batteries like crazy, and you have to continuously be spending money buying new batteries. I'd definitely recommend a rechargeable.

2. Megapixels. How big do you want to be enlarging your pictures? I've enlarged a 3.2mp picture to an 8x10, and it still looked good. You don't need a zillion megapixels unless you are planning on making huge posters.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Nancy

8/10/2004 9:31:02 PM

Namita Shah

member since: 4/12/2004
  thank you nancy, that realy helps. I wanted to know if you could see the pictures I posted. I took them withmy slr camera.

8/10/2004 10:11:41 PM

Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/18/2004
  Nope, I can't see them... there must have been some upload problem...

8/10/2004 10:38:13 PM

Beth Elzinga

member since: 6/4/2004
 
 
 
I just purchased an Olympus c740uz last year and am very happy with the photo's that it is taking...it has a great optical zoom that is equal to about 380 SLR. It has just enough automatic modes, but also has manuel operation...I think it is a great introduction to digital...it was my first camera as well. There are a number of upgrades to this camera already since I have bought this one. One picture is on this site...A Rare Find taken at night...a luna moth. The others are attached.

Beth

8/11/2004 7:10:22 AM

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Photography Question 
James E. McKinney

member since: 3/13/2004
  20 .  Air Travel with Digital
I am taking a trip next week and was wondering about taking my Canon 10D on the plane. I'm not comfortable w/leaving it in my luggage (to possibly get lost). What precautions do I need to take?

7/21/2004 8:44:12 AM

John Wright

member since: 2/26/2004
  I handled it by getting insurance (very reasonable $30/year) and by carrying my equipment with me (camera backpack).

7/21/2004 9:58:32 AM

James E. McKinney

member since: 3/13/2004
  I have a camera backpack that I was going to use, but will the equipment be OK going through the airport machines?

7/21/2004 10:36:55 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Keep it with you - in your carry-on luggage or around your neck. The carry-on X-ray machine has no effect on digital cameras or storage media, put it through. I wouldn't trust the metal detector/magnetometers to not harm digital storage media like Compact Flash cards, so I'd put them through the X-ray rather than keep in my pockets.

7/21/2004 10:59:50 AM

John Wright

member since: 2/26/2004
  I had no problem with the airport machines. In fact, the ones they use for carry-on are supposedly not as damaging as the ones they use to scan items that get checked (at least that's what I've read). In any case, I have had no issues with either traveling with both film and digital equipment.

7/21/2004 11:49:11 AM

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