need help picking out a camera


TPF Noob!
May 18, 2006
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Hey all, i know i'm a newbie here, so some general information on me. I am a 22 yr old college student and have taken a couple of photography courses back in high school with SLR camera.

I've come to the conclution that I would like to invest in a good digital camera. The one I have is at least 5 years old and is a whopping 2 megapixels.
I would like to spend around 300 dollars (however the cheaper the better as long as it will work for me)

So . . . . any recomendations? I am a huge fan of the traditional SLR cameras and would like a camera that would allow me to manipulate the controls a bit (fuzzing of backgrounds, playing with the light meter ect) however if it doesn't have those options, i would like one that works well in low light environments as well as normal outdoor settings.

I would also like to have a decent optical zoom for getting pics of animals a distance away and such. Alhtough i would like one eventually that could use my slr camera lenses, i don't have the money for this at the moment.

To be even more picky, im not a huge fan of the kodak systems (thats the type i have right now, they are almost too user friendly for me) and i would like to be able to use the sony memory sticks (my dad and other relatives already use sony memory sticks so i could borrow their sticks when needed).

any ideas?

Welcome to the forum.

It really sounds like what you want, is best accomplished by a digital SLR...everything but the price. Especially as you are experienced with an SLR camera.

There are plenty of digital point & shoot cameras that have the 4 basic modes. Auto, manual, aperture priority and shutter priority. You can check the specs at
As you have found, some cameras are just too user friendly and don't have these modes.

As for low light, this is really where a DSLR will outshine a P&S digital. The much larger sensor in a DSLR will give better images with less noise, especially at higher ISO settings. I can use ISO 1600 on my camera with less noise than some p&S cameras at ISO 400.

Some P&S digitals do have nice lenses...with a fair amount of zoom. Of course, the are not all that cheap and it's still a built-in lens that can not be changed as with an SLR system.

I know money is tight, especially for a student...but I think that you can get a camera that is 10 times better, for only twice the price. The cheapest DSLR cameras are getting close to $600 US and maybe you could find a used one for cheaper. Also, an SLR system is a better investment because the camera and especially lenses will hold their value much better than a digital P&S. How much could you sell your 2MP camera for? Next to nothing...but lenses will still be valuable because they can be used on newer cameras.
If you can bump up your prices just a little bit. I picked up a Nikon D50 DSLR for $400. They are remanufactured but from everything I read they are as good as new. The camera I got you could not tell the difference other than the box.

Now of course you will also need a lens. But the nice thing about Nikon is you can use any lens made from the 70's to today. You could pick up a used AF lens pretty inexpensive on ebay. Will not be able to use the Sony memory sticks though. It takes SD cards.

As for point and shoots. Nikon and Canon both have very good cameras in the $300 dollar range. But again you are getting away from the memory sticks.

I would say if you really want a good camera with good user controls. Hold out just for a little bit longer and pick up a DSLR.
Oh man! now you guys have me thinking. :) i would absolutely love a digital SLR, but the price range is definately out there. the sony's that were at those links were actually the ones that i was checking out around town.

i guess i have to balance out how much i want to spend as far as what i can do with it, or i need to figure out how to make a ton of money this summer before school starts up again ;)

what are your guys's ideas on the batteries? Rechargable AA or set camera batteries charged from the wall or dock? i don't really like the idea of the AA since that is what i have in my camera at the moment and they get eaten up quickly (althought that could be the older technology too). Just wondering which is best for ease of use and overall cost efficiency.


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