Video Guide to Buying a DSLR
- Mon, 16 Nov 2009
There are five main brands of DSLR to choose from. All of them produce models capable of excellent results. All have a good range of lenses and accessories to satisfy all but the most specialist user. If you already have an older DSLR or a 35mm film SLR you may have some lenses you'd like to keep for use on your new camera, so it makes sense to stick with the same brand. Otherwise you're a free agent. Look at the features offered by the models in your price bracket, read the reviews and consider their strengths and weaknesses. Narrow down your choice to those models whose strengths most closely match the type of photography you do, then go and handle them in a shop to see which you like the feel of. Personal preference is an important factor in choosing a DSLR
There are two main types of sensor: CCD and CMOS and they come in various physical sizes, and with varying numbers of image-capturing pixels. Basic DSLRs tend to have sensors in the 10-12 megapixel range. This is more than enough for most needs but if you want the ability to make selective enlargements, or you just want the most detailed images possible then you can get between 15MPs and 24MPs, depending on how much you want to spend.
Entry-level cameras generally have 2.5in to 3in LCD screens with a resolution of around 230,000 dots. Some of the more expensive DSLRs offer higher-resolution LCDs with over 900,000 dots. This produces a screen that is sharper, more detailed and enables you to zoom in on the pictures you've taken to check fine details. Some DSLRs offer a LiveView function so you can view and compose your photo on the screen rather than the viewfinder, which can be useful for some types of photography. If you have live view on your DSLR then the ability to tilt and rotate the LCD screen makes it that much more useful. You can shoot from the hip for discreet candids, shoot at ground level without having to actually get on the ground yourself, or shoot above crowds by lifting the camera above your head.
One of the biggest causes of lack of sharpness in pictures in camera shake, caused by the natural but often imperceptible shaking of our hands. All Digital SLRs offer image stabilisation to reduce this problem, but with some brands it is in the lens and with others it is in the camera body itself. There are pros and cons to each system but the overall result on your pictures is much the same.
When you change lenses dust can land on your sensor, leaving specks on your pictures which can take ages to retouch. There are sensor-cleaning kits available but sensors are extremely fragile so they must be used with caution. If your camera has built-in Dust Reduction (which usually involves shaking the sensor vigorously) this can reduce or even eliminate the need for manual cleaning.
This article has more pages:
- 1. Video Guide to Buying a DSLR
- 2. Video Guide to Buying A DSLR: more features to consider