BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
LaChelle A. 

Digital Camera: How to Buy It?

What is a good digital camera for someone who is just now starting in digital? I have been taking portraits for 4 years now but have always been film. I am experienced for photography goes just have never done digital. I want a camera, something that I might be able to take some candids at weddings and maybe formals, but I don't want to spend $6000.00 on a camera. Does anyone have some suggestions?

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3/16/2005 1:45:08 PM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  LaChelle: What is your budget? Are you looking for a compact camera with built-in lens or an SLR that accepts many optional lenses? Many readers can provide suggestions but we need to know specifics.
Peter Burian

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3/19/2005 10:56:45 AM

LaChelle A.    Well, I would like to get something around $2000.00. And I would rather get an SLR, but that's the thing: Would the compact cameras be better or does it even really matter? I have only worked with medium formats, know nothing about digital, and really haven't done a lot with 35mm.

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3/21/2005 8:38:52 AM

Kerry Drager
BetterPhoto Member
Kerry's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: Creative Close-ups
  Hi LaChelle,
Good questions! An SLR allows you to change lenses, offers through-the-lens viewing, etc. But some new features at BetterPhoto are designed to demystify the digital-camera-buying process. Check them out:

Digital Camera Calculators

Digital Camera Comparison Charts

Hope this helps, LaChelle!


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3/21/2005 1:25:06 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Although major photo magazines are often accused of NEVER FINDING AN ADVERTISERS PRODUCT THEY DON'T LIKE, check out the April issue of Popular Photography and Imaging.

It contains an in-depth assessment of nine digital SLRs under $2,500.

The Canon 20D was essentially rated No. 1; however, Pop Photo rated the Nikon D70 Camera of the Year [2004] in the January issue.

I think things still come down to how the camera feels in your hands. Find a local camera shop that will let you "try" the camera. And, by that I mean try it out of the store!

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3/21/2005 1:36:52 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  a couple months ago I worked with a pro who used the d20 for a fashion shhot. works very well in low light
I have the mark2, but my back up will be the d20 for $1500

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3/22/2005 2:16:10 AM

Gregg    Call the guys at They won't try to sell but will listen and give great advise. A fuji S2 goes for $1699 right now.

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3/22/2005 5:56:30 PM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  I just purchased the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D. It is selling right now for $1599(body only) and it is 6 mp and you can change lenses with it, etc. I already had a Maxxum 5 35mm so I was able to utilize my lenses/flash, etc which is part of the reason I purchased it. I have been very pleased with it. Porters website has a $200 rebate for it until June 05 I believe. Other photo retailers may also have the same rebate available. It is very user friendly in my opinion. Most of the main online camera stores have it so you should be able to go to any of them and look at the technical info regarding it. If you have any more questions about it feel free to email me at

Good Luck!

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3/22/2005 6:35:35 PM

Paul Marshall   Dear Lachelle;
One option that you might temporarily consider is to not go digital at all for awhile. I've been using 35mm and 120 film cameras for many years. According to Herbert Keppler of Popular Photography, a 35mm negative carefully taken can yield the equivalent of 24 megapixels! That's not bad, especially if you're going to make very big enlargements or extensively crop images. There are some very competant easy to use flatbed scanners out there such as the Canon 5200f or 8400f($200-$300)that will translate your images into digital if desired. The thing about digital is that it only gets better and cheaper the longer you wait.
Don't feel pressured!
Yours truly
Paul Marshall/Barrie Ont

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3/24/2005 3:34:01 PM

Chris J. Browne   I think of digital like reversals. You've got to nail the exposure. I still like film. We scan 35mm at three resolutions at my lab:

Low 1565 x 1037
Medium 3130 x 2075 Around 18 MB file
High 5035 x 3339 Around 48MB file
and a 16.8 MegaPixel image!

Cheap at the time of dev. I'm still on the fence since I don't like how the highlights wash out; on film there is a nice analog fall off (negative film that is). Grainless images would be nice though.

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3/24/2005 5:22:19 PM

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