DSLR technology guide: What technical aspects to look out for when buying a DSLR camera
- Fri, 11 Jun 2010
Digital SLR technology is constantly evolving, with new features being added as older ones are updated and refined. The upshot is that technology that was considered cutting-edge only a few years ago, now comes as standard on all but the most basic models.
Throughout the reviews on this site, you will see plenty of references to previous models, which serves as a useful gauge of how DSLR technology evolves from one model to the next and what sort of new features and functions are being added.
But of course, there are compromises to be made, especially when manufacturers pitch their products at certain price points. In practice, this means that while some models may sport live view they may not feature the ability to record HD video or an adjustable LCD screen.
For precisely this reason it pays to think about the specific features that will be most beneficial to your photography and to find out which models include them.
We've identified a number of the leading DSLR technologies along with a brief to their primary uses and benefits.
Record HD (Hi-Def) video with your digital camera, by choosing a camera with a movie mode. Look out for recording time and frame rates, which could affect the abiity to record fast moving objects.
Compose your shots using your LCD screen with the live view feature. This makes it easier to take pictures from tight angles or from the ground, where it might be hard to use the optical viewfinder.
High ISO performance
Shooting images in low light conditions can result in loss of detail, colour and intrustve 'noise' appearing in the image. This can be avoided by choosing a camera with good ISO capabilities.
Images often appear blurry if the camera has moved slightly during exposure. This is often caused by using a slow shutter speed in low light or whilst using a telephoto lens. Image stabilisation technology can help avoid this.
Dynamic range optimisation
The dynamic range is the specturm of light that the sensor can capture before the highlights loose detail or the shadow areas becomd indiscernible. Many cameras have ways of preserving detail in hi-contast sences by using veraious forms of dynamic range optimisation.
Also worth looking out for...
Creative photography often entails shooting from extreme angles, and to help with this some manufacturers have fitted Articulating LCD Screens to their DSLRs.
Dust used to be quite a problem for digital cameras, but thankfully Dust Reduction technology now comes as standard on all of the DSLRs tested in this issue.
One major benefit DSLRs offer over compacts is the ability to record images in lossless Raw format. Some cameras also offer In-camera RAW Processing should you wish to make a quick JPEG copy of a Raw image.
If post-production doesn't appeal then many manufacturers also offer In-camera Creative Effects so that you can add a sepia tone or even a fake tilt-shift effect to your images without having to open Photoshop.