Buying a Digital Camera?

“What camera should I buy?”

Seems like once a quarter, I get an email from a friend or relative that starts off like this:

I am looking for Xmas presents for myself and I wanted to get a digital camera. Do you have any recommendations? Also, do I need to buy a memory card, too?

And every time, I usually go back into my Sent email box, and dig up the previous response, to perhaps someone else’s inquiry, but that’s easily changed. So I thought I’d post the response here and just point people to this posting when the time comes…

My Response

Questions to answer:

  • What’s your budget? I can recommend cameras from $200 on up to $8k and beyond.
  • What did you want to do with the pictures this camera will take? Print 4×6 prints for scrapbooking? Perhaps print an occasional 8×10 portrait for the mantle? Or print larger for displaying and selling?
  • What subjects will you be shooting?
  • Do you have any film-based SLRs at home that you may want to consider staying compatible with?

Lots of things to consider, but your basic point-n-shoot 4 megapixal camera with 3x or more OPTICAL zoom with work. For size considerations, consider the Nikon Coolpix S1, S2 series, or the Canon Digital ELPH (PowerShot SD-series, like models SD500, SD400, SD300). Both are excellent cameras. There is a Fuji camera that has a large LCD on the back (larger than most) and is super thin (fits nicely into pocket or purse) and I’ve recommended it to others too. But I forget the model. Fuji Finepix something, I think.


To compare all the Canons, click here and select three models to compare and click on the “Compare Now” button near the top. I ended up buying the SD630 as a replacement for my wife’s aging SD200 and love it. Beautiful 3″ LCD on the back and a fast f/2.8 lens with fully automatic or fully manual operation.


To compare Nikons, click here Choose the “Product” pull down and select “All Coolpix” then let your mouse wander over the S1 or S2 camera icons, or just click on the S1 or S2 icons (I think there even is the S3 and S4 models now!)

I think this is the Fuji FinePix I recommended to another friend awhile back…

Hope this helps.

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