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Cameras make good presents as the price range is wide - get a handy pocket camera, or a top end DSLR.

If that is too much money, get camera accessories which range from cases, lens cleaning kits, and so on, to tripods and lenses.


When we used to build houses, I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 digital camera to take photos of the building sites. This has a fixed lens. The lens is of a high quality and it has a 10 x optical zoom.

This Panasonic Lumix FZ20 is a great camera and has been 100% reliable over about 5 years of heavy use. Newer models exist like the one below.

Note December 2010 - this FZ20 has just failed and we are getting a new Lumix FZ100 Super zoom camera. Strong competition from the Canon S30 Super zoom but the Lumix has Raw format, not just jpeg.


DSLR or digital SLRs (digital single lens reflex) are more high-end and expensive, although much cheaper now (ie around £300 plus). DSLR cameras have removable lenses and much more control than compact cameras.

Lens replacement is useful if you want to try out different styles, such as fisheye, magnification, perspective control PC lenses, etc.

Also filters can be placed on the lenses. These might be for colour compensation, special effects, polarisation etc.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Above: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 - with Leica lens

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Our original camera case got lost on a building site and was never seen again. A home made padded bag does the job. It is important to have a proper padded bag for a larger camera as cameras get knocks when being carried or in bags or cars etc.

Even my compact camera has a small padded bag, like a wallet, for pocket protection. Don't forget your keys or coins might end up in your pocket, or you might bump into something, so the compact camera needs protection too.


I recently bought a Panasonic Lumix pocket compact digital camera. There is a wide range of top brands available. My professional photographer friend uses a Sony compact. The good ones are around £160-£200 now. Features to look for are:


Your memory (storage) will hold many images depending on resolution and image storage type.

JPG or JPEG images are compressed so OK for snaps but not really good enough if you want to print medium or large size. Use TIFF (tagged image format) or Raw format as this will keep the actual pixel information.


Get a full size tripod if you want to do long exposure shots. Most new digital cameras have anti shake software which stabilises the image. This is a kind of software tripod and certainly makes life easier. But low light conditions will still need a tripod, or just try and rest the camera on something like a wall or fence. Anything is better than nothing.

There are also mini tripods which are (large) pocket size, to give quick stability for your photography.


I bought a tiny Panasonic Lumix FS5. This is a great little camera and has more pixels than my bigger Lumix DMC-FZ20, but a smaller lens.

Canon and Sony compact cameras are top rated and a pretty reliable buy.

Canon IXUS also called PowerShot.

Sony Cyber-shot are recommended.

A friend loves her Samsung PL series compact for ease of use. Samsung also do the Digimax compact range.

Kodak Easyshare have a system that transfers images to email.

Fujifilm (or just Fuji) have a FinePix series of compact digital cameras.

Leica D-LUX are a new compact camera from a classic brand.

Olympus, Nikon, Canon, and Pentax are also pro camera brands so these will all be fine. Brand loyalty applies with cameras as the range is wide but products all have similar specifications, a bit like cars.

It can be confusing to go through the specs (specifications) of these competing cameras. Personal recommendation is always good, but is biased as through bad luck a camera might be faulty or damaged by misuse.

All the shots on this website were done with Panasonic Lumix series cameras.

And my professional photographer friend likes Sony Cyber-shot.

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