There are several important factors that play an important role when buying a DSLR camera. If you want to buy a camera, you should first know what type of pictures you want to take with your new SLR camera. Since modern DSLRs can also record videos in Full HD resolution or even higher quality, many users buy such a device in order to be able to record videos in a targeted manner.
In our large DSLR buying guide, we show you which devices are suitable for your needs and how you can get everything out of your camera. In addition to our comparisons, tests and reviews, which show you which device is how good, you also get tons of tips and tricks on how you can make your recordings even better. Find out now in our guide and learn everything there is to know about DSLR cameras!
How Many Megapixels Does DSLR Need?
The number of megapixels always seems to be the measure of all things for beginners. In fact, this value should always be viewed relatively. The more pixels a camera has, the smaller the respective pixels on the sensor and, accordingly, the higher the number of pixels, the less light per pixel on the sensor. With SLR cameras that have fewer megapixels, the images become brighter and the colour reproduction is much more natural than with pixel monsters.
If you want to print your pictures on large canvases or posters, you should rather choose a model with a high number of pixels, since the resolution is simply larger here and details are reproduced even in large formats without image errors. If you take pictures primarily for websites or prefer to take vacation photos in high quality, the best thing to do is to use a camera with a large sensor and fewer pixels – the colours become more natural and the pictures simply better. In our large DSLR leaderboard, you will find models with different specifications.
Which Camera Manufacturer Is The Best?
Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered so easily, because the models of each manufacturer have their own advantages and disadvantages. Most models are sold in Germany by Canon, Nikon and Sony. Pentax and Olympus can also often be found in well-stocked electronics stores or photoshops, but these are more of a niche product for professional users. In addition to the design, the individual models differ primarily in the software, whereby Canon and Nikon have clear parallels in terms of quality and workmanship.
It is particularly important for beginners that individual cameras are taken in hand. The exhibited models can be tested a bit at most of the large specialist chain stores. Here you can see immediately whether you can handle the haptics and the software. In contrast to most other SLR cameras, Sony cameras do not have an optical viewfinder, which is certainly often a no-go for ambitious photographers.
Important Features For A Beginner DSLR
Scene modes such as sports, portrait, macro and landscape can help you in achieving phenomenal results in a vide variety of shooting scenarios with minimum knowledge. They are a perfect starting point for a newcomer.
DSLR Pop Up FlashThe pop-up flash unit can be useful for producing some fill-in illumination. Perfect to use when you want to prevent facial shadows. Like a sunny outdoor day taking portraits. But a pop-up flash is less powerful than a separate flashgun.
Most DSLRs in this class is equipped with a pentamirror rather than a pentaprism viewfinder which is found on more advanced cameras. Yet, they should still feature a adequately clear, bright and sharp display.
An LCD screen which gives you a magnified view that can be used to check focus accuracy when working with manual focus. It also helps you compose pictures in difficult positions, as an example when you take pictures from the ground. You would then need a swing-out LCD. Nearly all DSLR cameras today features live view.
Entry-level DSLR cameras tend to have plastic shells over metal chassis. Still they should be robust enough for daily use. There are also different models that feature a waterproof seal that can come in handy sometimes. Remember that the lens also needs to be waterproof for this to work. Most advanced and pro DSLRs feature tough magnesium-alloy bodies
An 18-55mm lens is the standard kit lens on DSLRs for beginners. You can always upgrade to a better lens featuring better quality, more light or wider zoom range. Like an 18-135mm or a super zoom 18-200mm.
There are differences in the physical size and resolution of LCDs. Some features a swing-out facility. Which is fantastic to use when you’d like to shoot from extreme angles.
Direct-access buttons for shooting parameters are unquestionable convenient. They allow you to smoothly adjust ISO, shutter speed, autofocus mode and aperture plus far more in an efficient manner. Which gives you the possibility to keep your DSLR camera ready at any time to capture that golden shoot.
What is a DSLR?
Digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) are digital cameras combining the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor.
In an uncomplicated language, a DSLR is a digital camera that utilizes a mirror to direct light from the lens to the viewfinder. As described before you use the viewfinder to look through and see what you are shooting a picture of.
The great thing about the SLR technology is that it allows you to see exactly the photo you are taking, with your viewfinder.
DSLR cameras consist of
- Reflex Mirror
- Image Sensor
- Matte Focusing Screen
- Condenser Lens
How a DSLR camera work
Now lets say you are looking through your viewfinder and getting ready to press the shutter button to capture the scene.
First the picture is passing through your lens as light, and hits the reflex mirror (2). Which sits in a 45-degree angle inside the camera body. The light will then be forwarded vertically to an optical element called pentaprism (7). The forwarded light is vertical and needs to be converted to horizontal light. Therefor the pentaprism uses two separate mirrors to do this. The converted light then hits the viewfinder (8).
When you press the shutter button to capture the scene, the reflex mirror (2) swings upwards, resulting in that the light will go directly through. Then, the shutter (3) opens up, letting the light reaching the image sensors (4) to capture the picture. The shutter (3) closes and the reflex mirror (2) return back to the 45-degree angle to continue redirecting the light into the viewfinder (8).
The process isn’t finished yet. Next, a lot of sophisticated image processing happens inside the camera. All DSLR cameras are equipped with a processor, which takes the information from the image sensor (4), converts it into a convenient format and writes it onto a memory card.
The entire process takes very little time. It also depends on how much processing the camera needs to do on your image. Some Pro DSLRs can do it 12 times in a second.
Best DSLR Buying Guide
One of the first things you will most likely learn about any DSLR camera is how many Megapixels it has. Megapixels, simply stated, is the amount of actual pixels, or dots of information, contained within a digital image. Mega in Megapixel means million and thus a 10 megapixel camera produces images with 10 million pixels.
A common misconception about digital cameras is that the higher the megapixels the higher the image quality. This is not the case, as a single pixel is the same size no matter what. Purchasing a 14.5MP camera versus a 10 MP camera simply means that you get more pixels in your images – there are many other factors that affect the quality of the image.
To illustrate the difference lets take two photos with two different megapixel ratings – a 10 megapixel photo and a 14.5 megapixel photo. The 10 megapixel photo measures 3888 pixels wide by 2592 pixels high while the 14.5 megapixel photo measures 4672 pixels wide by 3104 pixels high. The difference in the two photos is the physical size of the images, not the quality.
So, if you plan to produce large images, then a higher megapixel camera will be what you need. If you are going to be producing images to put into a photo album or share online, then a lower megapixel camera will suit you just fine. Remember that the more megapixels you get, the higher the price you pay.
Processors and Sensors
Ever wonder what in the world a CMOS sensor is? You and most other people. Usually right behind the megapixel rating of a DSLR camera trails the sensor and processor types. These bits of information, as cryptic or confusing as they may seem, can make a big difference in the photos you take.
To put it in simple terms, the CMOS sensor is what is responsible for capturing the image data and passing it on to the image processor. In a DSLR camera, when the shutter is released, the light coming through the lens is directed onto the sensor, thus the sensor acts as the film would in a 35mm film camera.
Once the sensor receives the information (the image) it then must pass it on to the image processor. This is where the cameras speed comes into play. The better the processor, the faster the camera will work and take pictures. This speed can be seen in the maximum number of frames per second (fps) the camera is capable of shooting as well as the overall performance of the camera. High-end cameras will have faster processors and even dual processors allow them to operate very quickly and handle a lot of information at once. Low-end cameras will have slower processors and thus slower recovery times between images.
The combination of sensor and processor make for a camera that is blazing fast or not so blazing fast. Again, your own style and needs will determine whether you need a DSLR capable of warp speed or one that can stand to take things a little slower.
ISO is another one of those terms that seems overly technical and somewhat unimportant. ISO, however, may be the most important feature of any camera. The ISO number tell you how quickly the camera’s sensor absorbs light. This can make or break a photo opportunity if you do not have a good ISO range.
The lower the ISO, the slower the sensor absorbs light. If you wanted to take a picture of a mountain side in bright daylight then a low ISO (100) would get you a great image. If you wanted to take a picture of your loved on walking down the street at night then a high ISO (3200) is necessary. Using a low ISO setting in a dark environment will produce blurry images. There is a trade-off for using higher ISO settings however. The higher the ISO setting, the more noise – grain or splotches – is introduced into the image.
The ISO range on most of today’s DSLRs is good for most lighting conditions. Most cameras have ISO settings ranging from 100 to 6400 and some even have 12800. The camera you choose will again be based on how and what you want to shoot. If you plan on spending most of your time outdoors, then a lower ISO range will be fine. But if you want to shoot in lighting conditions from bright to dim, then a high ISO range will work best.
A good lens can effect the quality of you photograph more than any other item or camera feature. Lenses are responsible for the colors, focus, contrast, and many other pieces of an image. The beauty of DSLR cameras is that the lenses can be interchanged for different effects and subjects. Since each DSLR manufacturer has a different way of mounting lenses it is important to consider when purchasing a DSLR. Are the lenses readily available? What types of lenses are there? How much do they cost? These are the types of questions to ask when considering your DSLR purchase.
All the other stuff
There are many other features of DSLR cameras that you could spend hours contemplating but the aim of this article is not to bore you. Things like viewfinders, video modes, help menus, manuals, etc. can vary widely by manufacturer and model of camera. Each manufacturer has their own little features that set them apart from the competition and as you search for the right DSLR for you these can be a factor in your overall decision.
A DSLR camera can be a great investment and can give you stunning images. Take time and look for those features that fit your style and you will love your DSLR experience.