DSLR Camera Buying Guide

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As more digital cameras hit the market, the starting price continues to come down – opening up a wide range of products to increasingly discerning customers. If you’re looking to take a step up from a point and click model, then purchasing a digital single-lens reflex camera, or DSLR, may be a worthwhile investment.This is especially true now that entry-level DSLR cameras can be bought for under $700.

1 What: What makes a DSLR camera different?

A DSLR camera allows you to capture exactly what you see when you press the shutter button, with light entering the attached lens and hitting a mirror, which is reflected up into the viewfinder.

Images are processed and stored on a memory card within the DSLR, with the camera utilising computerised components rather than a film.

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2 Why: Am I ready for a DSLR?

DSLR cameras won’t be for everyone – if you want something suitable for snapping nights out or taking quick holiday photos then a regular compact camera may be your best option.

However, DSLR cameras have several functions for those that need a more advanced product:

  • Multiple lenses
  • Ability to set exposure settings manually
  • Greater speed
  • Enhanced image quality
  • More accessories
  • Better build

Here is a more detailed rundown of these features, giving you an idea of what you can expect from DSLR cameras currently on the market.

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3 Lenses: Interchangeable lenses

Versatility is the name of the game with DSLR cameras, making it easier to achieve the perfect shot by swapping out different lenses to suit the occasion.

Common types of lens:

  • Macro – for up close and personal
  • Wide-angle – for landscapes and vistas
  • Telephoto – for sports events and wildlife photography
  • Tilt and shift – for buildings and correcting perspective

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4 Settings: Manual Settings

One of the primary benefits of DSLR cameras is being able to tweak photographic settings manually. This brings a new level of professionalism to your images, allowing you to take more creative shots.

Manual settings include:

  • Aperture
  • Shutter speed
  • Contrast
  • Flash synchronisation
  • White balance

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5 Speed: Shooting and shutter speed

Anyone with a regular digital camera will know it can sometimes take several seconds to take a picture.

DSLR cameras start up instantly and do not have shutter lag, meaning you will always be ready to catch the right shot – and with the ability to take a rapid succession of frames, you can even afford for your timing to be slightly off!

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6 Quality: Image Quality

Bigger certainly does mean better when it comes to image quality in DSLR cameras, with the larger internal sensor in these models helping to boost the final outcome considerably.

A larger sensor usually means cleaner pictures, so you’ll end up with much better shots compared to a regular compact digital camera – even if they have the same megapixel count.

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7 Accessories: Accessories Galore

DSLR cameras are serious pieces of equipment and they come with a wide range of accessories to help you take the perfect shot.

These include:

  • Lenses
  • Flashguns
  • Filters
  • Cases
  • Carry bags
  • Memory cards

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8 Versatility: All-purpose Built

A DSLR camera is designed for use in multiple weather conditions, across various terrains and is built to withstand a certain amount of shock.

Manufactured using more metal and less plastic than typical digital cameras, DSLR cameras offer a rugged alternative – although they will often be bulkier and harder to travel with.

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9 Features: Features to look out for

If you’re now convinced that a DSLR camera is the right choice, here is a list of common features that could sway your opinion towards a specific model.

  • Megapixels – the more it has, the more info it can store on the sensor
  • Frames per second – how many photos the camera can snap per second
  • Live view – an LCD screen that helps to frame shots
  • High-definition movie – captures movie footage

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