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Need Advice on good digital camera for outdoor/natural photo

Swansea, SC(Zone 8b)

Good Evening everyone,
I am not totally new to using old school cameras, (my trusty old 35mm CanonT70 stilll holds its own); its the newer digital cameras I am not so schooled in. In my fieldwork, I have used a nikon coolpix and one or two other smaller, cheaper digitals(pentax/minoltas)--what the company provides, so I know how to use those digitals.
My dilema is that I have never bought a digital and don't really know which are really good for personal uses. I will be using it on subjects ranging from cats to outdoor gardens, stills, nature, etc...

My questions to all the digital gurus on the forum are:
1/I really want a Canon EOS digital but just can't afford a good kit right now, but I still need a camera; so...
1.a/ What is the mid-range less expensive but good quality camera, that has the range of pixels necessary for good clear photos and close-ups of small features, good details?
--I've noticed some sites only allow for photos for downloading with a certain number of pixels...does this really matter so much? Why?
2,/ Where can I go to find a good deal on such a camera? Other than a Wal-mart preferably. I really don't do e-bay; unless there are compelling reasons why I should and if I can find a really good deal...
Can any of you give me any good advice/recommendations on these things? I would really appreciate it.
Thank You in advance.

Willis, TX(Zone 8b)

I've seen some pretty good prices on Amazon. I usually use BH Photovideo ( )though.

As far as pixel count goes, it depends on what you are planning to do with the photos. If just putting on the web and viewing on computer, 6 or 8 megapixels is all you need. If you plan to print large and/or crop, you need 12 or more. More is better to a degree. Some cameras have so many pixels crammed on those little sensors that the photos turn out very noisy even at low ISO. Not good.

One way to pick a camera is to look at photos here and on other forums and narrow down your search and then read reviews and look at photos taken with the ones you think are best. On some of the photo sharing forums, you can search for certain cameras and see lots of photos with that camera. I've seen some really good macros taken with a Nikon Coolpix L100 and also with the Canon Powershot SX130 IS, but there are a lot of cameras that I'm sure will do just as well if not better. I shoot a Canon dSLR, so I'm not much help with the non-SLR cams.

The sites that limit pixels probably do so to save server space. You don't need to post huge pics to websites since the computer monitors don't have nearly as good resolution as you get with prints. You can just save a copy of your photo in a small (about 800 pixels on longest side) and low resolution (72 ppi) version to post on the web. Keep the larger, higher resolution original so you can print it if you want later.

Hope this helps some.


Kenner, LA

In my opinion, for regular use and enlargements to the tune of 36"x24", a 12MP camera is plenty. Most manufacturers use the MP count as a marketing feature. Important features that one should consider is usable High ISO, wider dynamic Range, Depth of color etc. I am familiar with Nikon cameras, so I am going to say a Nikon. I don't know your budget, but if you are looking for less than $500, Nikon D3100. If you can afford $1200, then you may find the Nikon D7000 to be a great camera.

My recommendation is to go with Adorama, B&H Photovideo, Amazon, or Cameta Camera.

Good luck.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

I had a horror story ordering two Canon lenses from Amazon earlier this year. Of course Amazon is just the middleman when it comes to cameras and equipment and I've ordered from them successfully for the past several years. Most of the major stuff comes from Adorama including the two lenses. I've ordered other Canon lenses, Gitzo tripod and mono-pod, Canon flash and accessories, Pocket Wizards, umbrellas, stands, and brackets from Amazon/Adorama without a lot of fanfare until this year.

I tracked the shipping of these lenses all the way to Atlanta and then instead of seeing it on its way to my house, I saw it shipped back to the vendor. It took days for it to get to Atlanta but only one day to get back to N.J. What happened supposedly was the shipping label either fell off or was smeared so UPS could not deliver to the final destination (me) and I guess they could not call the vendor to find out where it went to (after all they had a tracking number but couldn't figure out where it went to?!). What's up with UPS?

You cannot contact UPS for anything and the vendor was less than helpful. I was told I would have to reorder the lenses even though I hadn't received them. Adorama counted this as a return and instead of shipping back to me they just returned the lenses to their stock but didn't bother contacting me nor crediting my account. I told the contact person that was fine then, just credit my account and I would order from a competitor - B&H in this case. Instead of trying to fix things the contact person said that was fine by them too but getting a credit was like pulling teeth - very painful!

What really griped me was the accessories I ordered the same day from Amazon had arrived a day or two after I placed the order (lens hoods and filters from other smaller stores) via regular old mail (USPS).

I paid extra for the shipping from B&H and had both lenses in two days - again from UPS of all places!

Adorama dragged their feet on the credit and I had to get Amazon involved in the mess. I threatened to get the credit card company involved and that got Amazon on the stick! They finally resolved it after another week had elapsed - in total it probably took six weeks to clean up this sordid affair.

I just don't understand Adorama's stand on not helping a good customer out in this case. I do understand UPS - they could care less if the package is delivered or not - they still get their money. If I could avoid UPS I would do it but sometimes the customer has no option in delivery method or the vendor has a contract with UPS and it just happens to be the cheapest option when placing the order.

Anyway I blame most of this mess on UPS but ultimately the vendor should've been responsive when the item(s) were returned to them unopened. They should have gotten on the phone or email or FedEx or something to fix the problem ASAP! UPS is just another large faceless entity that regular people have a hard time contacting when it comes to customer service. UPS sometimes has 3 delivery vans in our neighborhood on the same day which seems very inefficient to me.

Kenner, LA

Wow... I hope I have don't have to go through that horror story. I have never any problems with Adorama including refunds and credits. Knock on wood, they have always be super customer friendly with me.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Maybe going through the middleman is why the ball was dropped? I certainly got a sour taste for Adorama after this incident. I had over $4,000 on my CC from ordering the same lenses from two different sources. Amazon finally came through while Adorama was dragging their feet. I don't know how much Amazon makes off these deals but it can't be that much.

Swansea, SC(Zone 8b)

Thank you all for the great info. I'm sorry hcmcdole had such a horror story with your equipment! My budget is pretty meager right now, so, the really good digitals are out of my range, unfortunately for the moment. I think I want to look around at the local(underscore) stores around Columbia before I try to shop online! after hearing shipping horrors!
Thanks again!

Sweet Home, OR

A good camera for nature photography, closeups and macros is the Cannon Power Shot SX 20 IS
I am a nature photographer and this is the camera I use. I bought it 2 years ago at Walmart for $400.
I publish all my photos to the web at :

Thumbnail by tlhowes
Talihina, OK

Let me add a few words of advice one get a camera with a litium ion battery pack if you plan on having most of your photos just on your computer or the net then all the pixels in the world is not going to make one cent worth of diference...chances are your monitor will be the limting factor ,,If I crank my monitor all the way up in sharpness then the writing shrinks down to small for my old eyes to read at a good working distance My first digital was an H-P and was a very nice camera but it was a hog for batteries(AA) but it did have a optical viewfinder rather than just a view screen alone whiich I find to be mostly useless in bright sunlight..Now all of that is just some random thoughts of all of the point and shoots I have handles I like the panasonic Lumix best..

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Just don 't get in a hurry take your time look at as many cameras as you can. I bought a Canon eos Rebel T3i at a local camera shop the good part about it is you have someone to always be able ask questions and help you solve problems. Where I bought mine they gave a class that cost $ 50.00 but was free with camera purchase. You might pay a little more for your camera than online but you get see and try out all kinds of cameras it was worth it to me good luck in your search.

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

I adore my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40. (

Some of its strengths include a high end Leica lens, lithium ion battery (with a long life), 24X zoom, full manual control capability but also an excellent iA (Intelligent Auto) mode that lets you take great photos quickly any time, excellent (and I do mean excellent) HD video capabilities (if that happens to be important to you), and the ability to shoot in RAW mode for advanced image editing.

The FZ40 is a "prosumer" digital--the "bridge camera" between simple point-and-shoots and full on DSLR models. Other similar cameras in this price point include the Canon SX30IS and the Nikon Coolpix P500. I ultimately chose the Lumix based on consumer reviews, professional reviews, and image quality. The Canon, for me, was a close second. I have a friend with a Nikon Coolpix, and it does better in low light situations than my FZ40 but the image quality is not as good overall. I wanted the best image quality for my money, and I was more concerned with outdoor shots, so the FZ40 was my choice.

With my superzoom camera I can take great closeup shots without a separate telephoto lens. And since I didn't want to spend money on lenses, that was also important to me. Where I'm at with my photography right now, there's nothing I want or need in a camera that isn't provided for in the FZ40.

Here are some photos I've taken with my camera:

Good luck! I hope you find the perfect camera to suit your needs. :)

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