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What is the Best Replacement for Compact Camera?
I have been approached by many friends and family members about what can I recommend
when somebody wants to move from compact digital/film cameras to DSLR.

At this moment, I can answer this: Any (even cheapest) DSLR will be 10 fold better
than the best compact camera or super-zoom. At this time (January 2008) from new ones, I can more than
recommend Nikon D40/D40x or Pentax K100D/K110D (6MP). Both can be with kit lenses
available for comparable price to better compact and both are excellent cameras.
Nikon having slight advantage in accessory and lenses availability and quality as well.

That being said, few words need to be added.

1) Buy DSLR camera fitting Your needs. Camera which is good now, will be same good in 5 years, but if
You plan to print 20x30cm do not buy dead cheap semiprofi 1MP DSLR on eBay. If you buy either Nikon or Canon,
you are unlikely to find limits or blanks in offerings. 6MP is more than enough and will be same good in 10 years
to print posters of 80x60cm.

2) Ask friends and family members what they are using. It is much easier to start if you discover that
your uncle have lot of unused Canon gear in garage. Than weigh it in your camera brand choice.

3) Value your camera body purchase with care. Unlike compact cameras which you would be seeling and buying every two years in
hope to get better one, DSLR can work for you for ages. Buy better than entry level if You can. DSLR market is probably
the world only market where "you get what you pay for" is valid (at least within Nikon/Canon offerings).
Once you get good camera body, everything else is available as option which can be adapted to your needs, even if they
will change drastically (hobby change from street photography to wild animals).

4) Kit lenses are usually good enough for converts (especially Nikon), but if You can, buy body
only, do it and look for better lens (eBay, you might be surprised how many laying around your
parent's house).
You can also start with cheap but good prime lens (35-50mm). Many people hunting for large zooms, but rarely
understand that wide angle is the only one which cannot be resolved by actually walking. If you plan to shoot
wild animals (outside ZOOs), 150-200mm prime lens or zoom is all you need to start. For start, difference between
100 and 300mm makes virtually no sense if you have 10MP camera or can actually come closer to your object.
Good quality 100mm prime will solve most your tele-needs and in end will produce all better pictures than cheap
100-300 zoom.

5) Do not waste moneys on cheap lenses. Low resolution prints from high quality prime after cropping
are better than unsharp picture filled with weird aberrations from cheap zoom lenses. 80-100dpi is enough for a print and this gives
you huge crop possibilities with 6 and more Mpix cameras.
Posted on 17 Feb 2008 by fkh
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