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Still not sure which way to go? You could buy a nice digital camera, with at least 3.1 megapixels, for under $1,000 and give it a try. You can even buy a printer that connects directly to camera, so you don't need a computer.
If you do decide to buy digital cameras, ask same questions you would for film cameras. What lenses, shutter speeds, ISO's and flash sync speed do you need? What subjects will you shoot, in what kind of lighting and how portable does it need to be? Do you need to end up with prints, digital images or slides?
Then talk to photographers that you know, or that you can find on newsgroups, and see if they use camera you're looking at, and what they think of it. If you live in a large city, you can probably rent camera you want, and if you decide to buy it you may even be able to apply your rental fees toward purchase price.
So don't jump on digital bandwagon just because everyone else seems to be doing it. A camera is a tool. Select proper tool to meet your needs. You will be happier and your pictures will look better.
Want to know what some of pros are using for digital? Check this out.
Cameras Canon EOS-ID and D30 Nikon DI
Computers Macintosh PowerBook G3 and G4 Sony Vaio PC
Scanners Agfa DuoScan and Arcus 2 Flextight Precision II Imacon Precision II Nikon Coolscan 8000 Scanview Scanmate 11000 drum scanner UMAX PowerLook 1100 with transparency attachment
Printers Epson 1160, 1270, 1280, 5500 and 10000
Software Adobe Photoshop 6.0 and 7.0
Jeff Colburn's books, "The Writer's Dictionary Of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mythology" and "The Youngest Ninja," can be purchased from his site, The Creative Cauldron at www.CreativeCauldron.com. The Creative Cauldron is a site filled with information for writers, photographers, artists and other creative people.