A few weeks ago, a fried of mine (Ron) asked for some camera advice. He isn't a professional photographer -- he's a professional dad. He has a son who is an excellent baseball player and they travel around Southern California to tournaments. I was taking photos at one of these tournaments and got a few of Ron and his son.
Well, since Ron doesn't want to pay a hight priced pro, like me :-) to travel around with him, he decided to get a suitable camera for himself. Here is the list of things that Ron is looking for:
simple operating features
nice & sharp photos for action shots
6 to 12 mega pixels
3 to 5 shots per second
not too bulky
reliable & lasts a while if taken care of
There is a wide range of cameras that will do the trick, but I am recommending the Nikon D-40. Actually, the Nikon D-40 comes in two models: The D40 and D40X.
The D40 is a 6-megapixel camera, while the D40X has a 10-megapixel sensor. BOth are sold with an 18-55mm zoom lens. They both have a built-in, pop-up flash. You might want to augment that with Nikon's SB-400 Speedlight -- a flash that mounts in the hot-shoe on top of the camera.
Both versions have a good sensitivity range : ISO 200 - 1600 (3200 on the X model). They have a good 2.5" LCD monitor on the back and with autofocus any of Nikon's AF-S lenses using a fast and accurate three-zone system.
The D40 will shoot 2.5 frames per second and the D40X will fire at 3-fps. In-camera editing allows for cropping, image resizing, color adjusting , filter effects, redeye removal, and conversion to black 7 white or sepia tones. Edited images are saved as new files, preserving the original files, incase you want to go back to them.
Either the D40 or the D40X will work for Ron. He might want to add the Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom (Black), as an inexpensive lens with a long reach, acceptable for outdoor sports photography.