> I'm going on a sort of last-minute vacation to Hawaii in just under two > weeks, and am now looking for recommendations on the following two topics: > > > 1. I'm looking for a nice digital camera that not only would be good for > typical touristy photographs, but also for capturing good pictures of > birds and other wildlife. Also, it should be something with a fairly high > memory capacity (yes, I know I can purchase memory cards separately too). > Approximately how much money will I have to shell out? What are some good > types/brands? What should I look for when making my purchase? kmr, While I cannot help with your second question, I may be able to provide some guidance on the first one. Lower-cost digital cameras have fixed lenses. i.e., they may zoom but you can't switch them for other elnses, so your shooping must take this into account. You only want to look at optical zoom when making your decision (digital zoom is simply software interpolation). I would say that something approximately equivalent to a 400mm lens is about the least telephoto capability that would be useful for birds. With digital cameras, this is usually expressed as a power; 10x, for example, is the digital equivalent to 400mm. There are several relatively inexpensive models cameras that will provide digital zoom in the 8x to 10x range, say $350-$400. These cameras, having a zoom lens, will also provide wide-angle capability. 30-40mm. Digital Photography Review <http://www.dpreview.com/> is an outstanding source for reviews and comparison of cameras. Especially useful are the sections, Buying Guide, which will allow you to set constraints on a myriad of factors to be considered to generate selections, and Side-by- Side, which will let you directly compare models you might have found using the Buying Guide. A very quick check shows that the Panasonic DMC-FZ1 might be one choice. Please bear in mind that I have no interest, financial or otherwise, in any of this, but that camera offers a 35-420mm (12x) lens and a street price that ranges from $330 ro $450. Since you will be shooting in JPEG format with this type of camera, the file sizes involved are reasonable and you don't need as much storage as you would need for a digital SLR camera shooting in the RAW mode. For example, when I shoot in RAW mode with my camera, I can only store nine images on a 96MB compact flash card, but I could store on the same card about 100 images at the JPEG resolution the Panazonic provides. The Panasonic only comes with an 8MB SecureData storage card, though, so you would need to purchase supplemental storage. A 128MB SD card runs around $55 and a $256MB one, around $80. The downside to the Panasonic model that I am using as an example is that it is only about a 2-megapixel camera, which limits the size of prints that can be usefully made. Top quality prints would be 3.5x5 inches, while medium quality might go up to 8x10. An explanation of this can be found at Resolution for Digital Prints <http://www.acdsystems.com/English/Community/ColumnsArticles/PhotoTips/pho to-2002-06-08.htm> This points up the need to shop for megapixels in addition to optical zoom, more is better. Finally, while dpreview offers good search and comparion tools, you may find better reviews on Steve's Digicams site <http://www.steves- digicams.com/>. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to proceed. Cliff Otto You are subscribed to VA-BIRD. To post to this mailing list, simply send email to va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx To unsubscribe, send email to va-bird-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field.