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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?
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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

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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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