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thkn777 Feb 14, 2007 5:11 AM

Hello there,
this is a somewhat unusual question in the time of megapixel-rush and stuff... but maybe you can help me with your ideas.

I have a friend and she's toying with the idea of digital photography. Main background is that she often has to include her pictures in documentation and other simular stuff and often is short on time as well. So shooting analog, waiting for the prints, scanning and working from that is ... hm... slow.

Since we talk about photos which won't fill a A4 page, there is no need for super high resolution. She should however be able to print a "normal" sized photo from it when the need arises.

She's somewhat experienced in photography and needs a reliable, trusty workhorse. Sure - I can go for a point and shoot. Several options here, no problem. This would also be the preferred choice when it comes to size. On the other hand - starting with a dSLR and investing in a usable lens could be good too. Or is going bridge the way?

She's an all-around photographer, lot's of things will be used for the art lessons she does at school. So everything from macro (plants, flowers) to people or buildings (architecture in general) or landscape is to be expected.

What I want from you is a short list with recommendations for a BUDGET solution that is trusty, has easy handling (I consider manual zoom of a dSLR much easier than motor driven zoom of a P&S btw.) and affordable. Something like this (no real entries):

1. dSLR
- Canon EOS300D + kit lens
- comments: trusty WB, long battery life time, a little slow in low light... combo available around 300EUR

2. bridge
- Fuji Finepix F5600
- comments: 10xzoom, good image quality, easy mode for P&S occasions, can get new for 220 EUR

3. P&S
- Olympus C770UZ
- comments: good fast lens, bad battery life time (need more rechargeables), only ISO100/200 usable, around EUR 100

I don't want a button-heavy studio solution. Something she can use right away and that won't leave her alone in a somewhat difficult shooting situation. Pictures out of the camera should be good and not need lots of postprocessing (not her interest).

I know - it's a hard question - maybe you can just answer with a short list of hints coming from your personal experience, I don't want to go the wrong way by just including my photography ideas and preferences.

Thanks in advance,

coldshot Feb 14, 2007 6:54 AM

It's not a good idea to buy a used DSLR unless you know how to check the camera, what to look for, there is no warranty and it's your first camera, if there is something wrong you don't have a back up camera to use especially your budget is limited.

On your #1 list is the Canon 300D, I'm afraid you won't be able to find a new one, try the 350D.

thkn777 Feb 14, 2007 7:01 AM

Hm, good point.

mtclimber Feb 14, 2007 12:00 PM


I agree with coldshot. A DSLR is a good option, but what target budget (in US Dollars, please) are we talking about.


thkn777 Feb 15, 2007 4:06 AM

I think I need to provide more background.

I can't say much about the price range, because it's a tricky situation. The tricky part is her husband which uses professional analog SLR's (Contax with Zeiss lenses) but glances towards dSLR too.

They bought a cheap crappy no-name P&S digicam and enjoy the new possibilities. Now they found that that P&S can't provide what they need.

- more images on card --> need better memory card
- better photo quality (he's restoring buildings for example and needs very accurate (geometry, colors) before-after shots and does the scanning nonsense as well at the moment)

So the first obvious choice - get a nice pocketable P&S might not work on the long run for them. But they are both on a budget... so I fear they waste money on a system that does half of the job only so-so and are too short later to grow...

I hope I can make clear why I ask this ridiculous question... My idea is to by just ONCE. If to by a big memory card - buy the RIGHT one. Easy choice here, SD should work in P&S and dSLR, ok.

Now think of a $300-$400 p&s... nice cam, but sort of a FIXED system.

Think of taking $300-$400 and buy a cheap dSLR body, a good (can be old and manual, no problem) lens for the husband and a walkaround AF 3x zoom for the wife. Can keep the glass and change the body later.

Big plus would be to have a adapter/body, that is capable to use the already nice selection of Contax lenses (Zeiss lenses, have to ask him if you need more infos).

I know, it sounds weird, but I thought all the people that upgrade to 10mp ISO3200 bodies... there must be some1 to sell a used, but working 3mp/4mp body which would be enough to start with.

See my point? If you say it's crazy and can't be done... oh well... but I don't have enough experience in dSLR... I thought some1 could help me here and recommend something.

I want to save them from wasting $300 or so in another "half" solution.

Does this make any sense to you?

Thanks for comments so far...

mtclimber Feb 15, 2007 9:57 AM


That $300 to $400 budget is almost a dead sure impossibility. However, I will give it some thought. Also we have to consider that you will be purchasing the DSLR in Germany where DSLR prices will be measureably higher.

I can see why you were considering a used Canon 300D.


kenbalbari Feb 15, 2007 10:48 AM

The mount for those Zeiss lenses should be Contax/Yashica. You can get an adaptor for about $20-$30 on ebay that will allow them to be fitted to a Canon DSLR. An adaptor would also be available for Olympus four-thirds mount. The Nikon and Pentax cameras are too large for an adaptor to fit and still allow focusing to infinity.

Best bet likely is a used 300D. Second choice might be a used Olympus E-300.

But I don't think you're going to get real accurate geometry on those architechural shots. For serious archetecture work I believe most people still use film.

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