Point-and-shoot cameras have very limited capabilities because with most, you cannot manually control exposure or focus. You put in the film, press the shutter button, and hope for the best. Most point-and-shoot cameras zoom from 70mm to 140mm or so, limiting the distance from which you can shoot. More on this later.
An SLR (single lens reflex) camera like a Canon EOS/Rebel or Nikon
N-series or F-series camera gives you the most freedom in creating images.
You can put
in different lenses depending on how you want the photo to look. Lenses
for 35mm cameras are available from 6mm
(super-wideangle) all the way
up to 1700mm.
The longer the focal length (millimeters), the closer the
image appears. You do not always want a very big lens, however they can come in very handy. These long lenses can get very expensive.
a. Slide film
If you plan on submitting any images to publications, you need to shoot
slide film (E-6 process film). Magazines usually only accept this film,
since it is sharper and sometimes has more vivid color. Most wakeboard
photographers shoot Fuji
Provia 100F, which I shoot, as well as Kodak
E100VS and E100GX.
There are many types of slide film available (Kodachrome, Fuji
Velvia/Astia/Sensia, among others). It comes down to personal preference,
as different types of slide film render colors differently. With slide
film, your exposure (shutter speed and aperature) must be dead on accurate, as no corrections can be made later.
b. Print film
If you are taking pictures to hang on your wall or to just have around,
print film (C-41) will work fine. Magazines normally won't take images
produced on print film, as these images aren't as sharp or as grain-free
as most slide film. There are hundreds of types available, but I recommend
Portra 160VC. With print film, you have some room for error with your
exposure, as underexposure and overexposure can be corrected at the film lab.