Buying Guide: What is a DSLR Camera?
A Digital Single Lens Reflex camera is a digital camera that uses mechanical mirrors and a 5-sided reflective prism used to deviate a beam of light by 90o (pentaprism). This prism directs the light from the lens to the optical viewfinder. Some high-end DSLR’s incorporate a shutter into the eyepiece to eliminate more light. The reflex design is the main difference between a DSLR and an ordinary digital camera.
The SLR uses a mirror to show the images that will be captured in the viewfinder. Focusing can be automatic (pressing half-way on the shutter release or the AF button) or manual, where the photographer turns a focus ring on the camera.
DSLR’s have sensors that are close to the size of 35mm format cameras, although there are some exceptions to this. Many professionals prefer DSLR’s for their larger sensors.
With an optical viewfinder, as opposed to electronic viewfinders, there is no lag time in the image. It is updated instantly updated and always shows the exact image that will be captured.
High Definition DSLRs were instituted in 2008. These cameras are DSLRs that offer a movie mode which records at 1280 x 720 resolutions at 24 frames per second. The common camcorder has much smaller image sensors. High definition digital single lens reflex cameras offer superior performance in low-light.
It is possible to change lenses on a DSLR; therefore, it is possible that dust may enter and interfere with the image quality. Some cameras implement systems to accommodate minimizing the chance of dust contamination, or cleaning the sensor.
Things you need to consider when buying a DSLR camera
1. Sensor and Image Quality
The bigger sensor is able to collect more details as compared to the smaller sensor. That’s how much more details the DSLR camera with video capabilities can capture.
2. Low light capabilities
The newest DSLR sensors have very good low light capabilities. Their sensors have high ISO ratings which simply mean they can capture clean video images even if it’s dark.
Often times, the problem with shooting at night is that the images become grainy. This is not so for most DSLRs.
DSLR’s have interchangeable lenses which means you can use the best quality lenses available to shoot video. You can get wide shots using wide-angle lenses or shoot sports with telephoto lenses. This means you’re getting the most out of your lenses because you can use them for both still images and video.
DSLR cameras by themselves are not light. You also need to consider the weight of the lenses and accessories that you plan to attach to the DSLR.
If you plan to shoot videos of wildlife, you’ll be using large and heavy telephoto lenses. So do consider investing on a sturdy tripod.
If you plan to shoot handheld, you’ll need handheld stabilizers or you can just practice a lot.
DSLR manufacturers offer a wide range of models with different price ranges. An entry level camera can set you back at least $1000. Semi-professional cameras can go as high up as $6000.
However, a seasoned photographer will always tell you to invest on the best lenses. You’ll need to add another $1000 for a good lens or two.
If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to get the entry level DSLR camera and invest on one or two good lenses. If you’re experienced, it’s good to go for the semi-professional and professional camera models.
Knowing where you will use the DSLR should already tell you what kind of functions you’ll need from a DSLR.
For home use, an entry level DSLR should be enough. If you capture videos as a business, it is a must to get those semi-professional or professional models.
Check out the 8 Best DSLR Cameras on the market right now:
1. Nikon D5 20.8 MP FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body (CF Version)
Innovation for inspiration. What determines when Nikon releases a full-frame flagship camera? When technological innovation demands it. Introducing the D5, an FX-format DSLR that makes the impossible possible. Huge advancements in sensor design, autofocus, metering and image processing result in thrilling new capabilities-low light shooting all the way to ISO 102,400 (expandable to an unheard of ISO 3,280,000), precise AF detection and tracking across that entire ISO range, regardless of your subject’s speed or direction changes, blazing fast 12 fps continuous shooting, 4K UHD video and, of course, image quality that captures the hearts and minds of your viewers. This is not iteration, friends. This is innovation…spectacular innovation. How will it change the way you shoot? New 20.8MP FX-format CMOS image sensor and EXPEED 5 image processing Widest native ISO range ever in a Nikon full-frame DSLR: ISO 100 to 102,400 (expandable to Hi-5, ISO 3,280,000) Redesigned AF system with a 153 focus points, 99 cross-type sensors and a dedicated processor 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video recording and pro-grade video features 12 fps continuous shooting with full AF and AE performance; up to 200 shots in a single burst Game-changing low light capabilities Nikon’s widest native ISO range ever The low light performance of the D5 might make it a legend. With Nikon’s widest native ISO range (100 to 102,400) and highest expanded range (up to Hi-5 ISO 3,280,000), advancements in noise reduction and color fidelity and a next-generation AF system that performs in near darkness (EV -4), a world of new shooting opportunities has opened. Capture clear, sharp images you may not have attempted before – at night, in dark reception halls, arenas and more. For surveillance and security applications, this expanded ISO range means getting a shot others can’t see without a flash.
2. Canon EOS-1D 0931C002 20.2MP Digital SLR Camera Body Mark II
Immense power. Phenomenal speed. A remarkable combination of innovation and refinement. The new EOS-1D X Mark II camera is nothing but legendary every step of the way. Building on a heritage of sophisticated innovation, the EOS-1D X Mark II is blazingly fast. Up to 14 fps* (up to 16 fps* in Live View mode) can be captured at a burst rate of up to 170 RAWs with a CFast card, and an improved 61-point AF system helps deliver clean, sharp images quickly, even in dim light. This remarkable speed means faster recording too: 4K video can be recorded at up to 60 fps with smooth AF and strikingly clear detail. Combined with superb low-light performance thanks to its powerful sensor and expandable ISO range, the EOS-1D X Mark II performs brilliantly, swiftly and stunningly no matter when or where the photographer is shooting. From the stadium, safari or studio to virtually everywhere in between, the EOS-1D X Mark II maintains and enhances all the hallmarks of what Canon has to offer, marking a new page in the legacy of the EOS series of cameras.
* Continuous shooting speed may vary depending on the shutter speed, the aperture, the lens being used, the battery charge and various camera settings.
3. Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body)
The Canon 5260B002 EOS 5D Mark III 22.3MP Digital SLR Camera Body (lens required and sold separately) with supercharged EOS performance and full frame, high-resolution image capture is designed to perform. Special optical technologies like 61-Point High Density Reticular AF and extended ISO range of 100-25600 make this it ideal for shooting weddings in the studio, out in the field and great for still photography. Professional-level high definition video capabilities includes a host of industry-standard recording protocols and enhanced performance that make it possible to capture beautiful cinematic movies in EOS HD quality. A 22.3 Megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor, Canon DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, and shooting performance up to 6.0fps provide exceptional clarity and sharpness when capturing rapidly-unfolding scenes. Additional technological advancements include an Intelligent Viewfinder, Canon’s advanced iFCL metering system, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Multiple Exposure.
4. Nikon D810 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
Harness the power of extreme resolution, jaw-dropping image quality and huge dynamic range in both stills and Full HD 1080p video applications. A newly designed 36.3 megapixel FX-format full-frame image sensor with no optical low-pass filter is paired with the thrilling performance of EXPEED 4 for staggering detail retention, noise-free images from ISO 64 to ISO 12,800, fast frame rates, cinematic video capabilities, in-camera editing features and outstanding energy efficiency. For still and multimedia photographers, The D810 will ignite your creativity and help you capture images that astound. For cinematographers and camera operators, the D810 will become one of the most versatile tools in your arsenal. The D810 will expand your vision and make you rethink what’s possible.
5. Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
Ignite your creative desires. A serious tool for serious shooters. The D750 has a feature set unlike full-frame D-SLRs its size. It uses the same autofocus and metering technology as the D4S and the D810—Nikon’s powerful 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors and 3D Color Matrix Metering III with a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor. It’s fast and responsive; shoot 6.5 fps at full resolution. And it’s endlessly versatile; shoot stills in multiple formats, video with enhanced definition, smooth time-lapse sequences up to 9,999 shots in-camera and more—all with stunning sharpness and rich tonality. Open new compositional possibilities with its 3.2-inch 1,229k dot tilting Vari-angle LCD display, or use a compatible smartphone or tablet as a remote monitor for Live View shooting.
6. Sony A77II Digital SLR Camera with 16-50mm F2.8 Lens
Capture the moment more decisively than ever before. Sony’s A77II delivers the world’s fastest1 shooting at 12 fps, while amazing 79-point Phase Detection AF keeps fast-moving subjects in focus and a 24.3MP sensor delivers stunning and detailed imagery. Even sharing is fast thanks to built-in Wi-Fi and NFC.
7. Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD – Body Only
Forget conformity, and get serious with the PENTAX K-50, a mid-level DSLR with fast, advanced functionality, all wrapped up in bold colors. Featuring specifications of a top level DSLR, enjoy a 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, fast continuous shooting at six frames per second, high sensitivity shooting up to ISO 51200, 100% field of view, innovative in-body shake reduction, and an advanced auto focus module with four optional focusing screens, not to mention the PENTAX-original weather-sealing. Even with features this generous, the K-50 is also available in 3 brilliant color combinations that are sure to match your personality and style. The K-50’s approachable, easy ergonomics is perfect for families and everyday photography, complete with a wide selection of creative tools and filters for limitless personalized expressions. Get ready to stand out from the crowd and wear your colors on your camera. Also enjoy full 1018p HD video capture, and eye-fi card compatibility for fast and easy image sharing. It’s your camera, and your colors, with the PENTAX K-50.
8. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II (Body Only)
The new OM-D E-M5 Mark II features the most sophisticated image stabilization technology ever offered in an interchangeable lens camera.* The ultra-sensitive 5-axis VCM (voice coil motor) system is so responsive and accurate, you can shoot sharp images in low light and capture silky smooth video, hand-held without a tripod. The E-M5 Mark II is also a bring-it-anywhere portable system camera that is nearly 40% lighter than conventional DSLR’s and its durable all metal body is sealed for splashproof, dustproof and freezeproof protection.