KFR: Digital SLR Cameras

Evan Burck

Fudge Dragon
I've been becoming increasingly interested in getting myself a good camera to be taking out on my outings. I have a cheap Samsung snapshot type camera that's getting me by for now, but it can't pull off 99% of the shots I want to take with it, so I just plain haven't been taking many pictures whatsoever, or I just end up deleting most of them.

I'm somewhat familiar with the Canon digital rebel line, but want to see what else is out there to compare. Honestly, I don't need the best camera out there. Right now I'm leaning towards the lower end digital rebel, the 6.3MP one. I don't have a desire to spend more than $450 or so, and I'm willing to go used to do that.

It'd be used for taking shots of fishes, scenery on outings, and just any cool river shots or any other opportunities that come up that need to be captured. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :beer2:

I was able to pull of this so-so shot this morning, would've been much sweeter with a real camera though:

I just picked up a Nikon D40X at Costco. It was $849 and came with two lenses. It is amazing.
You can also get the D40 which is a 6MP compared to the D40x's 10MP for around $500 new with a lens.

Good luck on finding a camera, one word of warning. If you get a camera (new or used) on ebay be very careful and read the fine print. A lot of the cameras on there don't come with manufacturer warranties and are a little sketch.


Evan Burck

Fudge Dragon
yeah i'm leanin towards lower MP cameras. I just don't see myself using anything over 6 realistically. i usually use like... 3MP and it does just fine

Dave Hartman

Strip'n Flywear
while digital SLRs are very nice to have, they can be incredibly difficult to use on river, particularly when photographing fish in a timely manner. Unless you are going to use the "auto" mode, or you are a very experienced photographer who can think of lighting, aperture, etc. without having to think, you're going to end up having that fish waiting around too long before you're set. Going with "auto" mode is the way to go, and you don't need a true digital SLR to do that.
Check out the pseudo digital SLRs like the Fujifilm Finepix S5200 (I have this one, going to step it up soon) and the Sony Cybershot DSC-H7. Both are under $350.
These cameras are half the price, weight, and size of a true digital SLR, so they are easier to carry in a small pack.
Hope this helps.


Piscatorial Engineer
Panasonic Lumix - I have 2, a pocket and a full size - and I have zero complaints. I have the ones with the 10x optical (not digital) zoom, and they are great. They are not miniature, but the smaller one does fit in a shirt pocket nicely. Smaller one was $350, larger was around $900

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I wouldn't spend too many bucks on a camera that you are using around water. All of my cameras liked to take a swim every once in a while.. One worked after going swimming and one didn't. Or get one that is water proof.



dead in the water
***Note: I have been a professional photographer for over a decade now, I have bought more camera gear in that decade then most of you will in a lifetime, and I run a very large photography education website. I guess what I am saying is that my advice is worth listening to on this subject.***

The pseudo digital cameras (most photographers call them "prosumer" cameras) are handy for their small size, low weight, and overall versitility. But they are slower to start and operate than a digital SLR. I have a Canon g6 that I have traveled with when I didn't feel like bringing my dSLR kit. But to be honest, I always end up wishing that I had my bigger camera.

The way to go is to buy a couple generations back dSLR. Used prices on digital cameras drop pretty quickly once there are one or two newer versions out there. Megapixels are over-rated when talking about dSLR's. Sure, they are great to have. But I was selling double page spreads to national magazines with 6mp cameras a few years back.

Used digitals to look for (sticking with Canon since they have made cheaper dSLR's for longer than nikon):

-The original Canon digital Rebel. I had one as a backup camera for a while and while the handling wasn't as nice as my "pro" cameras, the images were great. The Rebel XT is also a great camera if you can find one used. Missing a few of the current XTi's features, but has a smaller size than the original rebel.

-Canon 10/20D. These are nice handling cameras having the "dual dial" system that Canon's pro cameras have and images are great. The used value of the 20D is $500 or so (I only know that because I'm getting rid of one in the near future). The 10D should be even cheaper as it was a generation back.

-Canon D30/60. These are getting a bit long in the tooth now. But they are still a very nice camera and the image results will still blow away anything from most every prosumer camera out there. Should be cheap if you can find one in good shape.

Chris Puma

hates waking up early
i bought my g/f the rebel xti. she loves it. it takes good pictures. i'd say don't live above your means. if you are going to get a professional camera you are going to want to get a professional lense to go with it.


New Member
I bought a Pentax 110D DSLR camera for right at $400 new. That includedd\ a $50 rebate.

It is 6.1 megapixels. Takes great pictures and runs on AA batteries. It also accepts all the pentax lenses made.

I will probably buy a Full Frame camera in the next year, but will keep the Pentax for outdoor photography. At $400 it is much better than a point and shoot. Also lenses are fairly cheap....downright inexpensive if you have a source of old pentax lenses.

I believe you can get the Pentax 100D with anti-shake built into the camera for $400.

Having a camera with AA batteries makes life much simpler in the field. I don't even bother with a charger. The AA alkalines last for a couple of months with moderate use. I wish that Nikon and Canon with use AA 's in their high end cameras.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
The way to go is to buy a couple generations back dSLR. Used prices on digital cameras drop pretty quickly once there are one or two newer versions out there. Megapixels are over-rated when talking about dSLR's. Sure, they are great to have. But I was selling double page spreads to national magazines with 6mp cameras a few years back.
iagree Words to live by.

Let's take this simple test:

What's a megapixel?

How will having more of them make your pictures better?

Most professionals I work with have a hard time answering the first question. But almost all agree that megapixels have no relationship whatsoever to picture quality.

Megapixels are simply a measure of the number of the sensor elements on a digital camera's chip, nothing more.

I have an old Nikon D100 DSLR that has a 6 megapixel sensor. At its highest resolution setting, its images measure about 10" by 6-2/3" @ 300ppi (litho print resolution), or a whopping 41.8" by 27.8" @ 72ppi (web resolution).

If I'm shooting an image that's only going to be seen by people visiting a web site, I sure don't need one that's 3-1/2 feet wide by 2-1/3 feet tall. At print resolution, images I've shot have been blown up to fit on the sides of trucks.

With that kind of image size capability, why exactly do I need a 10 or 12 megapixel camera?

So if a multi-megapixel camera won't automatically let me take better pictures, what will?

In no particular order:

  1. Light quality, amount, angle, color, and contrast.
  2. Lens quality, sharpness, and contrast.
  3. Optical zoom (good) vs. digital zoom (bad).
  4. Image composition, overall design balance, depth of field, and focus.

If you can't use these concepts to evaluate potential pictures to avoid taking clunkers, the most expensive digicam in the world isn't going to help you.

Instead, you'd be better advised to think about the money you're wasting on a multi-megapixel digicam and how it could be better spent on fishing gear.



Ignored Member
Great advice from Kent, Josh and Dave. If I had listen to them before I purchased my D40x I would have saved a bunch of money by likely purchasing a point and shot digital camera which most on the market today have enough options and image control to take professional quality images. But, once I had the D40x I needed to know how to use it and have since embarked on a wonderful time of learning how to use the camera and taking and manipulating digital images. A fascinating and never ending learning experience so far. If you are just looking for something that will take good images of fish and scenery then many of the point and shoot models available will fill the bill. On the other hand if you are interested in learning more about digital imagery then look at some of the “prosumer” DSLRs offered by Canon or Nikon. Or follow Josh’s advice and look for a used DSLR. I know I am having a blast shooting and learning digital imagery with my D40x. Only problem I see is this could become a hobby that could easily surpass the amount of money I have spent on fly fishing.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
. . . Only problem I see is this could become a hobby that could easily surpass the amount of money I have spent on fly fishing.

Adobe PhotoShop CS3 Extended = $1,000<

CPU with fast chip, 4GB RAM+, big-ass hard drive, and dedicated graphics card = $2,000<

High fidelity monitor and calibration software/hardware = $1,500<

Epson Stylus Photo R800 6 ink printer = $650< (Ink cartridges = $15 each)

Ability to manipulate your own images for fun and profit = Priceless.



dead in the water
Yeah, the one nice thing about photography gear prices is that they will make your flyfishing purchases not seem nearly so bad in comparison.