Photography & Digital Arts


Purchasing a Digital SLR: Choosing the Best Digital Camera

Starting at under a thousand dollars, high quality Digital SLR cameras are flooding the market. These consumer level cameras, which can take pictures comparable to the professional cameras of a few years ago, are in the hands of lay users. But is a DSLR the best choice for everyone?

Camera Size

The most obvious difference between a DSLR and the average point-and-shoot camera is size. Point-and-shoot compact cameras are a great size because they can go with a photographer just about anywhere. DSLRs, on the other hand, are quite bulky and cumbersome to carry. Besides the camera itself, photographers using a DSLR will want to carry extra lenses and accessories which add to the bulk. Would-be camera buyers need to consider whether the size of a DSLR will keep them from taking it along.

Digital SLR Features

Point and Shoot cameras carry their name appropriately. Their design makes them easy to point at a subject and shoot a great shot. Digital SLRs, especially modern ones, have great automatic features and can be set to a point and shoot mode similar to their smaller counterparts.

The big difference is that DSLRs can also do much more. DSLR Photographers can fine tune their photos by adjusting things like shutter speed and aperture. Learning to use these features takes time and effort, however, so potential buyers should consider their commitment level before they purchase.

Digital SLR Costs

The digital SLR market has been doing quite well for a few years, so there are many well priced options for buyers. Competition keeps entry level cameras constantly gaining new features while maintaining prices under a thousand dollars. Most DSLR camera makers give buyers the option to purchase a camera body only or a body and kit lens combination.

Typically the kit lens covers an area similar to the average 3x zoom on a point and shoot. The kit lens, however, will not be enough for most photographers as they desire higher quality images or greater zoom range; the cost of additional lenses ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Canon, Nikon and Others

Canon and Nikon, the two leading Digital SLR makers, both sell a sub-thousand dollar camera and kit lens combination. The Canon 500D and the Nikon D5000 are quite similar in both features and price. They offer image stabilized kit lenses, the ability to record digital video and many other high end camera features.

Some consumers are starting to choose other brands like Sony, Pentax or Olympus. These brands offer in-body image stabilization which Canon and Nikon have yet to offer. Despite the image stabilization issue, Canon and Nikon still maintain the top positions in the DSLR market as they each offer a wide range of high quality lenses, camera bodies and accessories.

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