Back to homepage
Doesn't matter, use the one you have. The only thing is, it shouldbe digital. The idea of this course is to get feedback from each other, and if you can't show your photos, you might not get as much as the others out of this. There are indeed some very early digital cameras that are so crippling in functionality that I would reccomend out of hand to ditch them, but chances our the one you have will do fine. If it's hopeless we'll see it in the images, and then we'll figure out what to do. If we won't be able to see it in the images, then it doesn't matter!
If you don't own a digital camera, but do own a film one, I must half-hartedly reccomend you buy a cheap digital, if you want to take this course. I say half-hartedly because film cameras in general take better pictures than digital ones and are probably a better learning tool in the long run for the serious student of photography. Still this course has no pretence of being serious, we're here to have fun as we learn, and digital cameras are king for all things photography and fun.
Still perhaps you can borrow a digicam from a friend or relative who goes through three of the things a year?
On the other hand lets face it, gadgets are cool. Having a new toy to play with could help you in stay interested in the beginning. On the other hand you have to be careful, in the long run, your focus must never be the camera, but always the scene, etc.
If you do want to buy a digital camera pretty much any of the current offering from major brands are great. They all take great pictures. Some of them have interfaces that are better thought out than others, or are better built, have larger screents etc. The one thing I would suggest is that you get as small a camera as possible. You want to ALWAYS have it with you, whenever you leave the house. So if it's bigger than you're willing to carry in a coat pocket, that's a no-no.
These are just a couple of suggestions.
In the cheap category I would suggest something like the Canon A460. It should set you back less than $150, and it does everything we'll need it to do. I repat, this camera can do everything you'll need for the course. Read about the other cameras if you're already serious about photography or have the money to spend. Furthermore please keep in mind that the A460 is just one of several competing models, all of which will do fine. The one thing about cameras at this price point is that they don't come with a rechargeable battery. You have to buy alkalines. This can be a blessing because you can find alkalines anywhere, but a bother if you shoot a lot and have to buy them and change them all the time. I prefer having a rechargeable, but then again I DO have to occasionally hang around a public restroom with the charger plugged in when I'm travelling and need some juice for the camera!
The equivalenk Nikon, Panasonic, or whatever are all good. I'd stay away from the off brand stuff. It might be great but it's hit and miss.
Buy the Canon PowerShot A460
Slightly more expensive, the Canon A550 adds a more compact frame to a longer zoom. We care more about the size than the zoom. Also this camera has a dedicated zoom control, the A460 uses the back navigation arrows, which is quirkier. There's some other little things about the interface which make it faster to use. No big deal. It should be something like $170.
Buy the Canon PowerShot A550
The next one is pretty much the slimmest camera around. It's an older model, but they're selling these for $200 , which I think is pretty good. The EX-S600 is really a camera you have no excuse for not taking with you constantly! My mom has a larger casio, and it takes incredible pics. Casios have some of the best interfaces on any compact camera. They really know what they're doing, and I love the colors of my mom's pics.
Buy the Casio Exilim EX-S600
I honestly don't think you should be spending more than $200 on your first digital camera.
If you really feel that you HAVE to spend more money you can do one of two things: buy a DSLR or get an expensive compact. If you need to ask what a DSLR is, you don't need one. If you do know what they are and you do think you need one, get one of either the cheapest nikon or canon with the excellent kit lenses they come with.
If instead you want a really good compact digital get a Canon SD800. It has a thinghy in it that keeps your pics from coming blurry in low light (within limits), and a lens that goes wider than most compacts. You don't really need the tele end to take pictures with compacts, the wide is far more useful, I think. Plus the SD800 comes in a nice metal casing, and is the slimmest camera in this list, with the possible exception of the Casio (haven't checked). All these goodies don't come cheap, and gettin one of these will cost you $350 or so. If you do have the cash laying around, it's the one I'd buy. I don't have one only because I don't have the cash laying around.