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It really depends on your skill level. If you get a dope digital SLR camera (changeable lenses, add on flashes, etc...) and you have no idea how to use it and don't plan on taking any classes/watching tutorials, then your shots with that will likely be worse than if you just got one of the nicer, outdoor sports oriented point and shoot cameras. Let us know what you plan on using it for, how much experience you have with both shooting and working in programs like photoshop, and NS will probably be able to give you some better advice... Same goes for film. A lot of kids are talking about HD these days, but how many of us really have the capability to play HD back? I know some do and I'm not talking about you, but I still think a miniDV camera with some features like manual focus and exposure can really help show you the basics of filming, as well as not being a huge initial investment just in case you don't film as much as you thought you would.