Cameras Buying Guide


Found this on another forum some really informative stuff here.

Film or Digital?


Digital cameras, especially Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras (DSLRs) are starting to match the quality of 35mm film. If you printed a 7x5in print from a 6 mega pixel (mp) or higher resolution camera, the difference between that and the quality of a 35mm film print at the same size would be indistinguishable. However with cameras 6mp-8mp the difference would start to become visible at A4 size prints at 300 dots per inch (dpi). Higher resolution cameras 9-16mp have no problem producing A3 size prints at 300dpi some models even being able to produce good quality a2 prints e.g. the Canon EOS 1DS MK II which is the best DLSR that canon provide. Fujifilm Velvia 35mm slide film scanned at a very good quality the equivalent to 16mp, the same as the Canon EOS 1DS MK II.
If you were to scan a medium format 6x4.5cm slide you get the equivalent of around 48mp, large format 4x5 around 240mp…! And large format 8x10 960mp!!
The resolution of the image is not the only thing that affects quality, the lens you use can have a great influence on this as well, the Canon L lenses are probably the best lenses around. Also the ISO rating of the film or the ISO you set your digital camera to affects the quality.


With DSLRs dominating the camera market many people are ditching film and going digital, Film camera bodies are very cheap now and there is a reasonable amount in good condition second hand and cheaper, a top of the range 35mm SLR the Canon EOS 1V only costs £1259 whereas its digital equivalent the EOS 1DS MK II costs £4589. Medium format photography is also becoming very cheap and more available to a wider range of photographers, especially the Bronica ERTS / Si. With a lot of competition in the DSLR market DSLR prices fell by 23% and a budget DSLR can be bought for £325 (Nikon D50 body only).
Extra costs can be lenses, which normally work for both film and digital. Lenses design for 35mm cameras or full frame DSLRs will always work on a DSLR with a APS-C size sensor or any other size. A lens designed for a DSLR with a APS-c size sensor or anything smaller than full frame, will work on a 35mm SLR or a full frame digital camera but it will cause a lot of vignetting around the edge of your pictures. The main cost in film photography is sometimes the cost of film and getting it developed. Whereas in digital photography all you need to do is buy a memory card and keep reusing it, giving you the opportunity to shoot as much as you want at a minimal cost.

Although film cameras are getting less expensive and have better quality, especially if you move into medium format or higher, the costs of film and film developing really add up if you want to take a lot of pictures. The costs of digital cameras are coming down and are much more affordable. The fact that you only need to buy one memory card and reuse it means that you can shoot practically all the time and digital means you also get instant results on site, so that you can reshoot if you need to.

Digital SLR / SLR style or super zoom / Digital Compact

If you are thinking of buying a digital camera there are three main types ^.
The costs of each vary and each have the advantaged and disadvantages.

Digital Compact:

Most people nowadays have one of these and the price of them can vary from £30 to £300+, ranging from around 10mp to 1. Due to their size and ease of use many people have them on them the whole time and do not need much knowledge to use them. If you just want something for everyday snapshots, a digital compact is good, they normally have around a 3x optical zoom, set scene modes such as portrait, and auto mode and program mode.

A small amount of suggested models for a range of prices:
Nikon Coolpix L4 - £95 – 4mp, 3x: 38-114mm
Nikon Coolpix L3 - £109 – 5mp, 3x: 38-116mm
Canon PowerShot A540 – £165 – 6mp 4x: 35-140mm
Fujifilm F30 - £259 – 6mp, 3x: 36-108mm, Huge ISO range: 100-3200
Sony DSCT30 - £299 – 7mp, 3x: 38-114mm
Canon IXUS 800 IS - £299 – 6mp, 4x: 35-140mm, Image Stabiliser

SLR Style or Super zoom:

These are ideal for someone who wants to take photography a little more seriously and not take snapshots the whole time. These look like a DSLR and normally have manual exposure and more options to give you better control over your pictures. On average they have a 12x zoom about 36-432mm. although they have big zooms the majority are not well suited for fast actions sports and nature photography as they have shutter lag, where you press the shutter button and the shutter opens around 1/125 sec later. I use one of these as they are not as expensive as DSLRs and there aren’t many extra costs like lenses as you have on fixed lens. If you want there are accessories such as wide angle converters that give you a better wide angle lens and there are also telephoto converters. For mine, a Panasonic lumix fz-20, I have a filter adapter and filter set that allows me to use UV, FD and polariser filters.

A few of the best SLR styles:
Fuji FinePix S6500 - £195 – 5mp, 10x: 38-380mm
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2 - £299 – 6mp, 12x: 36-432mm
PowerShot S3 IS - £299 – 6mp, 12x: 36-432mm
Fuji FinePix S9500 - £329 – 9mp, 10.7x: 28-300mm
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 - £559 – 10mp, 5x: 24-120mm

Digital Single Lens Reflex:

These are the top of the range digital camera you can get. Loaded with feature they give you almost unlimited creativity. Suitable for all kinds of photography, the only downside is the cost of extra lenses can top that of the price of the camera body.

Beginner DSLRs (Body only):
Nikon D50 - £325 – 6mp.
Pentax K100/110 - £329 – 6mp
Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT) - £429 – 8mp

Amateur / Enthusiast (Body only)
Canon EOS 400D - £650 – 10mp NEW!!
Nikon D80 - £699 – 10mp NEW!!
Canon EOS 30D – £749 – 8mp
Nikon D200 - £1069 – 10mp
Canon EOS 5D - £1599 – 12mp, Full frame
Pentax K10D- £699 – 10mp NEW!!

Feel free to add your opinions.


There are obvious advantages and disadvantages when purchasing a camera. What you have to take into consideration is what you are going to use it for.

I have an Olympus Stylus 800 that I bought partially with my girlfriend. After owning the D200 for two weeks, I have realized that the D200 is like an M5 or RS4 while the Olympus is an automatic honda civic. You get what you pay for, and power is at hand ready for your disposal. If you do not need all the gadges and speed, then go with an amateur DSLR or even a hybrid P&S DSLR. However, if you need the choice of lenses, fast response, quality body, and superb image processing at speeds unmatched by many P&S, then you need to consider a DSLR.

Canon has developed wonderful cameras in the past years and so has Nikon.

The D50, 350D, D80, 400D are superb cameras. If I had to pick, I would go with the last three I just mentioned.

To me the D200 is a machine like no other ::knock on wood::


In Memoriam - (1932-2011)
Michael said:
To me the D200 is a machine like no other ::knock on wood::

The replacement for the the Canon 20D/30D will raise the bar again I am sure...Spring to Fall in '07 I think...:t-cheers:


NevadaJack said:
The replacement for the the Canon 20D/30D will raise the bar again I am sure...Spring to Fall in '07 I think...:t-cheers:


Well of course. I wonder when that bad boy is going to come out actually. Do you actually have information on this?