There is a much newer post about my camera gear here. But feel free to read on for posterity’s sake. I did give some good advice about things to look for when choosing a camera…
I’m often asked what kind of camera I use / recommend. So, here are the full details.
Personally I have two digital cameras. One for portability, one for high quality. Don’t get me wrong, my portable still takes great shots, but they aren’t up to the level of my “big” camera.
My choice for the portable is the Casio EX-Z750.
- Small enough to easily fit in any pocket
- Fantastic, high quality photos that print very nicely
- Plenty of features for 95% of the people 100% of the time
- Incredible battery life. Will take 400 photos on a charge. Charges in about an hour.
- Excellent movie mode. Records in stereo at 640×480, which is a great size for posting to the Web.
- Uses SD memory cards which are small but still come in large sizes and can plug directly into many laptops and other devices (Palm Pilot, etc.).
I’ve got a 1GB memory card in this camera, which will take 220 photos in the highest resolution or 34 minutes of continuous video. One day I’ll probably bump up to a 2GB card whenever I find a cheap deal.
The only thing I would recommend different would be to get the newer version of this camera, the EX-Z1000 which adds Anti Shake DSP to reduce blurring due to unsteady hands or moving subjects, as well as a number of other new features and higher resolution (currently unnecessary and means you need a larger memory card).
My choice for the “big daddy” was the Canon Digital Rebel 300D. I say “was” because I was one of the first people to get this camera two days after it was released. I’ve never regretted it for a single moment.
Even though Canon has now released the Digital Rebel XT, I still recommend the 300D (if you can get it) because:
- It’s quite a bit less costly
- There is hacked firmware which will unlock hidden features
- And it’s more camera than most people can handle anyway
I think it would be much wiser to save the $2-300 over the XT and invest it in a high quality lense. 6.2 MP is more than enough for even large printouts, and 8MP still isn’t enough for a poster, so the resolution isn’t a deciding factor to me. (Come talk to me again when we’re looking at 20MP.)
I have the following accessories for my 300D:
- Cullmann 3090 Travelpod which I bought at B&H and I consider the greatest camera accessory of all time!
- Extra battery (Canon BP-511), which incidentally is shared with Canon camcorders meaning you can get these at Best Buy, WalMart or anywhere you happen to be on vacation.
- Two SanDisk 1 GB Ultra II SD Memory Card from Amazon.com. I wouldn’t buy any other type of memory because this one has proven fast enough to keep up with rapid shooting. Other cards I bought required me to wait and wait. The camera was faster than the card. If I were to do it over, I would get the 2GB or 4GB card today.
- Sigma Two Lens Zoom Kit with 28-80mm & 70-300mm autofocus macro lenses from Ritz Camera. If I were to do it over, I’d probably buy better lenses. Though these are great for starting out on a budget.
- RS60-E3 Canon Remote Switch, which is the second best accessory ever for this camera. This is a must have for tripod users. Otherwise, don’t bother buying a tripod if you’re going to shake the camera by pushing the button anyway.
- BG-E1 Vertical Grip/Battery Holder which allows simultaneous dual battery use as well as adding an extra shutter trigger for vertical shots. To me this is only useful when photographing events. If you need to take 1000 photos without changing batteries at a wedding or party it’s great. Otherwise, it adds weight to the camera when you are using it.
- Tamrac Adventure 8 day pack. To say I’m picky about bags is an understatement. I chose this one because it holds everything I have with a little room for extras, yet it’s still compact, light and comfortable. I use this bag when I need to take it all with me, or for storage.
- M-Rock Appalachian camera bag for when I don’t need the extra lenses. This bag will hold the camera with one of the short lenses plus extra memory, battery, remote and manual. It will easily fit in my computer backpack and can be worn on a belt, or shoulder strap(s).
- And finally, an old Velbon s-6000 quick release tripod. But I wouldn’t recommend this one. Instead I would get a Cullman with the same quick release plate as the aforementioned TravelPod, that way you don’t ever have to remove it.
That’s pretty much the rundown. I’m 100% satisfied with both of these cameras and would highly recommend either / both to anyone that asks.