Digital Camera... help!

i’m going on a 2 month long trip in june and am trying to decide whether it’s time to get a digital camera or not.

i’m starting college late august as an undergrad in ID. is there a certain digicam that industrial designers prefer? I want to get a camera that will be good for my trip and good for school, and also not be so expensive!

i’m also looking for a good scanner… let’s say i have up to $150 to spend on each one… what would you experienced designers already in the field suggest?

please help me out!


My suggestion would be to skip the scanner and get a $300 camera. You will use it 10x more than the scanner in school.

The little Sony’s have been bullitproof in our studio.

hey jim,
thanks. do you have any specific model name or number for the ‘little sonys’?

I have a Canon Powershot G2 and it was the recommended camera when I was in school, in short - it kicks ass.

Actually anything from Canon or Nikon in the semi-pro category will last you a long time and take very nice pictures of your work.

For the scanner I got an all in one printer/scanner from lexmark and it works just fine. You really don;t need to drop a ton of cash on an oversized epson.

Hi Waxy-

Look for one with macro and is good in low light (anti shake)
Otherwise, try out the Sonys Canons or Nikons. The Lumix line also has it’s groupies- check out Kevin Kelly’s cool tools blog.

Good luck.

…Kevin Kelly’s cool tool blogs…

(Also, check out his book ‘Out of Control’.)

i got the canon sd700. it is super dope. super small…great for viewback too.

I’ve got a Canon S400 (4MP) and EOS 300D (6.3MP SLR). The S400 I carry around most places because it’s small, and the 300D I use for serious stuff. However, I’m a bit of a photography buff, personally. :slight_smile:

I recommend Canon simply because I love them. However, Nikon is also an excellent company. I don’t really recommend Sony simply because you pay more for what you get and, in my experience, their sensors are a little noisy (I have a Sony camcorder and it’s great, but their stilll stuff could be better).

Get something with 5+ megapixels – 4 is my usual recommendation, but that’s a little small to make nice blow-ups of your projects. Don’t get strung out on more megapixels, though; my 6-megapixel SLR, with a large sensor and a good (old Pentax Takumar) lens, has better definition, contrast and color accuracy than my friend’s new 8MP whatchmacallit.

As for scanners, just make sure it can scan at 600DPI or greater, OPTICAL resolution – NOT interpolated. My old Canon (:p) LiDe something or other claims on the box to get 9600 DPI, but its optical resolution is actually 600. If you can get an 11x14 or 11x17 bed for a decent price, snap it up, because you’ll save yourself a lot of anguish trying to make mosaics of your large sketchbook pages. :wink:

As someone said, though, if you can only get one – then skip the scanner and get a better camera, because you will use it way, way more than the scanner. Plus, if your school is worth its salt, it will have a scanner floating around somewhere with no one ever using it.

Agree, skip the scanner and buy a $300 Canon PowerShot. Go for small.

if ya really need scan, just take a picture of it…did that all through school.

I did that a few times…
Then I got my scanner working and was amazed at the incredible quality difference.

If you have a 6-megapixel camera (3072x2048) and you take a picture of an 11x17 page, the absolute maximum resolution is 180 dpi. Printing good quality needs 300 DPI, and many places like 600 so they can downsample it for smoother lines. It’ll work in a pinch, but don’t expect a camera to do the same job as a scanner.


go the canon powershots you can get additional lens fitting for these as well.

hey thanks everyone for giving me suggestions! i’m still researching and comparing prices, but the advice here has been good for narrowing it down…

by the way… i ended up getting a canon powershot sd450 for about 260 at one of those sixth ave electronics stores which i hear are really shady by the way. what does anyone know about this?

Spend most of the money on a camera, and get a cheap scanner!

I was just going to say, good call on the digital camera.

I myself have a Canon A95.

PROS: It runs on AA batteries. I can go to any store, anywere in the country not to mention world and buy them. Rechargables are also an option. LCD flips around. Enough manual adjustments. Takes good enough pics of projects. Runs best on Energizer batts. Cheaper flash cards.

CONS: Bulky. Likes good lighting conditions but which digital doesn’t at that price. Draggin’ extra batteries around but I am trigger happy.

When it comes to picture quality no other camera manuf comes close. My Dad bought a Sony and regrets it. Takes ok pictures but something seems off.

Good luck, hope this helps.