communication technology at georgian bay district secondary: the future of photography

Santa 2013

Ho! Ho! Ho!_KEV4064

Each Christmas season I am asked frequently; ‘What camera should I ask for/buy as a present?’

Good question.

It has a few different answers though. You have to ask yourself a big question first; ‘How much are you going to spend?’

Here are some suggestions (All prices are before tax).

Under $300.00:

Use your cel phone. It is an awesome imaging tool. Buy some accessories for it here.

See some other suggestions in the ‘Some things to Remember’ section below for accessories for your dSLR camera. Photographers love accessories so they make great gifts.



At this price point you’re looking at a point and shoot camera. There are distinct limitations to this style of camera so you want a camera that does something unique. How about shooting underwater? Cool, cool, cool. The best camera in this category that is waterproof is the Canon D20.

$300.00 is the best deal you’ll get this Christmas for this camera. An expensive compact, not a lot of manual control, but it is a great camera.


GoPro Hero 3 Silver. For the aspiring videographer, this device is revolutionizing filmmaking. So awesome. $350.00


Oh Man! Now we’re talkin’. You are solidly in dSLR-land at this price point. To start, I think it’s important to note that over 90% of all digital SLR’s are Canon or Nikon, with Canon being the biggest player by far. I personally use a Nikon and students here at MSS use Nikons in room222. My recommendations will be Nikon-esque but Canon makes equivalent equipment.


At this price the Nikon D3100 package:is hard to resist. The battery is worth $60.00; the bag is great ($40.00) and it even shoots video. Image quality is fantastic. Only $470.00! Great deal.


If you want much better video capabilities, for $550.00 you can pick up a Nikon D5100; a very nice step up from the D3100. Articulated screen on the back makes video shooting so much better. We use this camera extensively in the classroom and it is an exceptional imaging tool. Shoots great video too.

The Canon T3i is also a great choice around this price. T3i not T3. Two totally different cameras. The Canon is a great video camera, better than the Nikon D5100, with its articulated screen and industry acceptance and stuff. About $560.00 with no kit or even more excellent: $650.00 with a 50mm f1.8 lens included.

Over $700.00

Buy a D5100 kit(bag, battery and extra card), 50mm f1.8 lens and tripod (suggestion below). Under $1 000.00 and a world of media making possibilities.

Over $1 000.00

Buy a D5100 kit(bag, battery and extra card), 50mm f1.8 lens and tripod (suggestion below). Under $1 000.00 and a world of media making possibilities.

Then: take the rest and donate to a worthy cause. 🙂

Some things to remember:

  • Memory cards, spare batteries and a camera bag are required accessories. Figure on another $100.00+ for these essentials.
  • Forget MegaPixels (the resolution of the camera measured in millions of pixels). No dSLR manufactured in the past 2 years needs more pixels. Unless you print posters. Didn’t think so.
  • Futureshop has competitive regular prices and excellent sale prices. Watch the flyers for the above models.
  • If you can wait ’til boxing week, you will save money. Expect discounts on The Canon T3i, and the Nikon D3100 and D5100.
  • Go in knowing what you want and what you are willing to spend. Beware the up sell. There are many cameras at each price point. It gets expensive really quickly.
  • Don’t buy extended warranties. The manufacturers warranty is excellent.
  • The most important accessory, after the spare battery and the bag and a second SD card (whew!), is a tripod. Do not skimp! Futureshop does not have a tripod I would recommend. Henry’s in Barrie is camera central. They are not the best price but will match. This tripod and head kit for $200.00 is the least camera support you should purchase and is a great deal. Believe it or not.
  • The second best accessory to purchase after all the above is a 50mm f1.8 lens. Low light and portraiture are its strengths and it is sharp and light. Highly recommended. For Nikon: $250.00 and for Canon: $120.00.
  • DPReview is the best source of information about the technical side of photography. Reviews and advice by the bucket full.
  • This may be politically incorrect to say but stay away from Sony, Pentax, Olympus and other brands of dSLRs. These are great companies and they make great products but there are reasons that Canon and Nikon have locked up the dSLR market. They have the biggest range of available accessories, especially lenses, and they produce the kind of image quality that the other manufactures are striving to equal. Why not just start with best? Just sayin’.
  • I talk a lot. Remember this.


The right camera is the camera that you will use. Get comfortable with your new little friend and bring your camera with you. Rule #1: Always be ready.

I hope this helps.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!


p.s. Instead of cookies and milk, Santa would like a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 lens. Thank you.

Remember! I have lots of coal! 🙂


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