13 Oct 2004, 04:08:37 PM

Reporter: David Richardson

Producer: John Healy

Australia has gone snap happy! This year we'll spend a staggering $650 million on digital cameras, almost double that of last year. And this digital revolution shows no signs of slowing down with 1 in 3 homes owning a digital camera.

It's not just mum's and dad's buying up big, professional photographers all over the country have made the switch.

Tony Peters makes his living through the eye of a viewfinder. A past President of the Australian Institute of Photography NSW he has thrown his film cameras away. He say's "Younger photographers have never experienced film, and it might not be unreasonable to say in 20 years time we'll look fondly back on our dusted cameras and film stores and think of the good old days gone by."

Canon Australia's Stuart Poignand says the digital camera market in Australia this year has grown a massive 75 per cent, so big it now accounts for the majority of Canons entire business.

But with so much choice many consumers are understandably baffled as to which camera to choose. Thankfully Georgina Swan from Choice magazine has done the leg work and named the best digital camera buys on the market. Choice tested for consistent performance, image quality, battery life and functionality.

Topping the list of cameras under $2000 was the Olympus Camedia C-8080 for $1455. Next was this Minolta Dimage A2 at $1755. And the Nikon Coolpix 8700 for $1999 came in third.

For those with a slightly smaller budget the Canon Powershot S1 IS at $949 was deemed best camera under $1000. The Fujifilm FinePix S7000 was next at $999. While the Olympus Camedia C-5000 for $999 rounded off the top three.

Professional photographer Graham Monro believes home printing is the next frontier in the digital revolution.

He say's "Printing yourself is a really good way, you can then do some extra copies, you can tweak it a bit more rather than sending to a lab and coming back".

Canon offers the Pixma range of home printers, starting at $89 up to $599 it means no more trips to the photo don't even need a PC. Similarly Kodak offer the easy share printer dock. It works with Kodak brand cameras and the company's Steve Morley say's it produces photographs in a flash. The Kodak models retail for either $299 or $399 and offer a one stop printing solution.

For more information on the cameras please check out the Choice website at