Digital SLR Buyer's Guide
Digital SLR Buyer's Guide
Digital SLRs are the new type of Digital Camera, but choosing the right one can be complicated. This Buyer's Guide explains what you need to know about SLRs to make sure you're getting the latest and greatest camera.
Step 1: Those all-important Megapixels
While once upon a time the Megapixel was king – the more the merrier – these days it's not the only factor to consider; megapixels alone do not determine the ‘quality' of your photos – the lens and the sensor also have a big part to play.
More megapixels simply allow you to print out larger images with less distortion – if you're unlikely to print out anything above A4 size, it's questionable whether or not you'll actually need anything above 10 megapixels for high-quality, high-resolution pictures, but the number of megapixels can go as high as 24...
Step 2: Which Sensor Type?
The sensor is what turns light into a useable, digital fomat. Two types exist – CCD and CMOS, and the bigger it is the better quality your image will be.
CCD sensors are the most common, and are arguably produce a marginally higher image quality, but can cost more and drain your battery faster. CMOS sensors are cheaper and less power-hungry, but they tend to produce a bulkier camera and the image quality produced can drop a little.
By-and-large, sensors aren't something to get too hung up on – they're all much of a muchness...
Step 3: Speed
Unlike a normal digital camera, there's no delay between when you press the button, and when the image is taken with an SLR, which is great should the thing you're taking a photo of be moving very fast, or if you want to take multiple photos per second. Make sure the ‘shutter lag' is as low as possible.
Look into the speed of your camera – most start at 2-3 frames per second, which is plenty for landscapes, stills, photos of friends and what-have-you, although they do go faster...
Step 4: Lenses
Different lenses are used in different situations – for extreme close-ups, wide-angle, or long-distance shots, for example.
The beauty of an SLR is that you can buy interchangeable lenses which will prove perfect for any situation – so should you be interested in taking photos of something a little out of the ordinary, make sure your camera of choice has a wide range of affordable additional lenses available.
Step 5: Personal Needs
Your main criteria when buying an SLR will probably be its key features and the price. If you're torn, look into what modes are offered - some cameras have settings designed to make the most of landscape or actions shots. They'll automatically fiddle the likes of shutter speed and aperture, and take care of things like noise reduction for you.
Likewise, you might need options like anti-blur, anti-shake or red-eye reduction. Some cameras interface with computers nice and easily, and some have a nice crisp large clear LCD display.