John Walk­er @ Boces #1 asked last night which cam­era was best for his needs today. John does PR pho­tos for small­er pub­li­ca­tions and the web for schools.

There is a real crossover today of the com­pact, ‘all in one’ snap­shot-style cam­eras, and the larg­er SLR style cam­eras (you know, the ones where you can changes lens­es). The top of the com­pact cam­eras cost near­ly the same as the bot­tom of the SLR world… so which to choose?
Com­pact Advan­tages:
• Can be a bit cheap­er
• Small­er
• Can be eas­i­er to use if you pass it off to some­one else
• The newest ones have much more under­stand­able set­tings and menus
• See live pre­view of your shot in the big LCD viewfind­er

Digital Rebel XTi
SLR (sin­gle-lens reflex) Advan­tages:
• More flex­i­ble
• More acces­so­ry options
• Built-in flash is usu­al­ly stronger and bet­ter light qual­i­ty than the com­pacts
• Add lens­es over time
• Lens­es can be high­er qual­i­ty if you can afford them (one key is that you can get a nice F2.8 or F4 lens that does NOT get super-dark like F8 when you zoom in
• Ready to add a nice big flash
• Top Qual­i­ty: Even at the same ‘Megapix­el’ amount, the larg­er cam­era has a much nicer, larg­er CCD inside to take the pho­to… result, bet­ter qual­i­ty, bet­ter high ISO, etc
• Bet­ter ISO con­trol- shoot in low­er light, con­trol it your­self eas­i­ly
• Advanced set­tings are eas­i­er to find
• You’ll look cool­er 🙂 Well, seri­ous­ly, it is impor­tant to look like you know what you are doing in many sit­u­a­tions.

Some rec­om­men­da­tions:
My favorite com­pact cam­era is my Nikon S10
for around $300
Love that swiv­el, big pre­view LCD and image qual­i­ty.
Canon have the S3‑5 line for around $300–400


For SLRs:
Canon & Nikon have offer­ings in the $700–800 price range. Since I just switched to the Canon, I’ll note the Canon Rebel XTi is very pop­u­lar and comes with a lens and pop-up flash.

If you shoot a lot and want a cam­era that can take it, con­sid­er the Nikon D200 or the new D300, with lens and pop-up flash for around $1800.

Don’t for­get the acces­sories you’ll real­ly need:
• A ‘Real’ flash for groups and bet­ter light con­trol (like the bounce-flash I’m always telling you to do)
• A big cam­era card- 1–2 gigs is good and a Lexar 2 Gig is only $40 at Ama­zon
• Extra cam­era bat­tery
• NiMH AA’s for your Flash
• an Apple Gift Card to Ken for being so nice and help­ing 😉

The mod­el num­bers and prices list­ed about will go out-of-date fast, but the prin­ci­ples won’t. Research the newest mod­els and prices via my links HERE

Hope that helps!

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