Buying a camera, advice?

So I will be starting my first year of grad school in a few weeks and am looking into buying a camera. I want quality but I’m also a broke-ass student. Not sure exactly what I will be needing as far as features go, reliable brands, blah, blah, blah…Any suggestions?

I think if you gave us an idea of what your budget is, it would be easier. I personally use my iphone for “quick” snap shot an use a Nikon D90 for photography. If you are looking for a DSLR, I suggest Nikon ( better optics). If you are looking for a pocket camera I have had Nikon, Canon and Fuji, and all were very good.

if you can’t afford a dslr, you may want to look at the prosumer cameras (canon G10, lumix lx3 etc…). for me, it is as good as a dslr. and the small size is a plus too for quick snaps and not-so quick snaps. Some newer models of pocket digi cameras takes really quality pictures too.

borrow the dslr from your school’s photo studio to take final presentation pictures.

I posted the exact same question a few months ago.
In the end 4 month ago after days of reading online reviews I got the Canon Rebel XSI 12. Mp . I am very I did. I Have not started school yet, or used it for that purpose but I am already taking Photography more seriously and enjoying it. I got two lenses, the EF 50mm 1:1.8 and the Zoom Lens EF-S 55-250mm.
Before getting it I had a point and shoot Casio Exilim, the quality of the photos now is so much better. The Rebel is more expensive but in the long term I think it is worth it.
I bought the cam and lenses separately ( I don’t live in the US) a friend got the camera at a store in Miami for me, and i got the lenses on Amazon , … Big mistake that cost me a few hundreds dollars a few weeks later the friend saw a kit with lenses for less than what I paid for the camera only . I think it was at Best Buy ,

I’ve found as a design student / outdoor enthusiast / soon-to-be parent that portability is my number one factor. The smaller something is, the more likely I am to take it with me wherever I go. I’ve had a Canon Powershot SD600 for a few years. I LOVE the interface, it was easy to learn without a manual and it’s very functional. Canon has kept the same foundation interface for that line the last few years, so it’s still awesome. I’m now looking at getting the Powershot SD 780IS. If you don’t want a DSLR, I would definitely get something along those lines, or one of those ‘pro-sumer’ models mentioned above.

One of the best resources online for unbiased camera information is Ken Rockwell’s site He keeps a continually updated list of recommended cameras based on type of use and price: Recommended Cameras

I think if you need a DSLR camera you can not loose with a Nikon D60. Since Nikon just released many new bodies you can probably find a D60 body for a great price. I was able to get one some months back for around 250$. It is a fantastic camera and if you do not have any lenses yet the AF lenses you need for the D60 should not be a problem since you will start your collection with this camera. I used this camera constantly and it really does a great job and is very easy to use. I recently upgraded to the D90 because I wanted video and had some older lenses I wanted to use with the camera.

I’m a Canon users, but I, too, would go with Nikon. Better support of older lenses and slightly better control layout = win. A used D70 is crazy cheap and almost as good as the newest SLRs. Nikon DOES NOT have better optics, though. That’s just plain wrong. Some Canon glass is better than some Nikon glass and vice versa. Sometimes Sigma stuff is even better. Once you’re playing with $800+ lenses, there aren’t many duds.

Any used Canon or Nikon dSLR will do, though, except for the Nikons that don’t autofocus with the older lenses (D50? D60?). I have a hard time telling the difference between shots on my old Canon 300D and my 40D, and those are separated by three generations of sensors.

Lens-wise, start with a kit lens and a 50mm and go from there.

I just visited this site, and it’s really helpful. Great site, great advice everywhere.

One of the best resources online for unbiased camera information is Ken Rockwell’s site > > He keeps a continually updated list of recommended cameras based on type of use and price: > Recommended Cameras


No seriously


Ken Rockwell is one of the most biased people on the internet. Half of the information on his site is pure garbage. That being said it is a place to start.

Now depending on what you are after there are several options available.

If you’re after something along the lines of a point and shoot there’s the Canon G11 or the older G9 (avoid the G10). There’s models available from other companies too but I’m not all that familiar with them, though I have heard good things about the Ricoh GR2 (i think that’s the model number).

If you’re after a basic SLR the base models from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony et. al. are all reasonably on par. Consider the features that you’re after at this price point -for example is video something you absolutely need. The Canon EOS XXXD lines and the Nikon DXX lines are what you should be looking at, though the Nikon D5000 falls outside this. The Pentax line is worth looking at as they feature weather proofing which is useful in a lot of circumstances.

Stepping up the range you have the Nikon D90 and the Canon 50D (or their predecessors the Nikon D80 and Canon 40D, or the D70 and the 30D). These are larger bodies than the base SLR’s but also feel more solid, feature better image quality and better low light performance. There isn’t a discernable difference between the major brands and this decision usually comes down to personal preference.

There’s a range above these which is the Nikon D300/700 and the Canon 5D / 5D mkII, then there’s the pro ranges as well. This level is seriously expensive and not worth going into for your levels.

With buying an SLR camera the best advice is to go into a proper camera store (not a retail chain) and speak to someone knowledgable in store. Try out the cameras that are within your price range. Every brand features slightly different ergonomics and this can greatly influence what you buy as you want a camera that feels comfortable in your hands. Buy the best you can afford but bear in mind that if you can’t afford the latest and greatest this isn’t a bad thing as good composition and creativity on an entry level camera will beat a happy snap on a pro camera.

If DSLRs are too big for what you are after consider something like the Olympus E-P1 type (4 Thirds).

was crunching on topic recently too. i have a finepix z1 and wanted to upgrade. i’ve been happy w/ my fuji for several years and was looking at these :

i’m moving to tokyo for 4 months in about 2 weeks, so i want something small that’ll take good pix.

any thoughts…?

I use a Nikon D90 and can’t really fault it. Battery life is really excellent too. There isn’t much difference between the major brands, it’s just personal choice.

Whatever you do, don’t buy the camera until you’ve handled it and had a play.

Has anybody got the new pentax K7? i see it can shoot and stitch HDRI. is anyone doing this and using the images for rendering?

My suggestion, which I have followed:

Nikon D40, refurb, $430.10

Killer deal on a great camera. I love mine, and honestly the D40 is probably better for someone who isn’t already used to navigating a thousand settings and just wants to take better pictures, for not a ton of money; I spent nearly this much on a sony point-n-shoot a few years ago, and while that camera’s held up admirably under some seriously iffy conditions, the D40 has such a superior ability to capture great images that it has become my favorite camera.

I made my decision to purchase the D40 after reading this guy’s writing:

Best of luck!

These two Canons look like the best balance of size and features yet. They are pretty darn small while having the nice interface and features as larger models. You don’t realize how small until you see it in person. I’m buying one as soon as I get the money.
(I recommend the beautiful matte black of either)

The older version:

The newer version which I think will be released in September:

yes this is a very good pocket camera.
if you are going to tokyo, why not buy it there? endless cameras to choose… : )

Anyone have a Canon Powershot S90?

My flash-less indoor pictures always come out blurry on my Powershot SD790 IS ( I’m curious about a pro-sumer portable camera for better clarity shots of my projects and baby girl.

It’s a shame the S90 doesn’t have HD video because I really don’t want to have that and a Flip-type camcorder.

Personally I would recommend deciding what features you really need and buy the camera that has those for the best price. As for buying a camera in Japan, From what I have seen it is more expensive right now to do so.
At Bic camera in Tokyo Canon Kiss X3 (Rebel T1i) is 74,800yen
At US Amazon Rebel T1i is $699.99
Exchange rate is 89~yen to the dollar, so it is about 140 dollars more expensive to buy it in Japan.
If you can speak the language and know how to find a good deal it might be a different story.

I’ve had my eye on an S90 too. Need to play with one before dropping the cash though.