There is an incredible selection of camera types and models to choose from, so it can be difficult to know exactly which camera is worth your hard-earned money, especially if this is your first time doing it. When you are just starting out, the choice can seem overwhelming with everything from compact To bridge cameras and digital SLRs To mirrorless cameras to choose.
In this article, I’ll defend the humble DSLR and why you should consider one if you’re looking to take your photography more seriously. Any DSLR will be a big improvement over your phone, compact or bridge camera in terms of picture quality, as most have larger APS-C or full frame sensors. They also offer more professional features, handling and ergonomics.
So let’s start with what a DSLR is and why they’re great for a whole bunch of reasons. DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Single lens refers to the fact that only one lens is attached to the camera – yes, dual lens SLR cameras were a thing in the days of cinema. They cause inconsistent framing issues, as you would compose through a different lens than the one exposing the inserted film. The “Reflex” part is for the mirror and optical viewfinder which allows you to look through the attached lens to see the exact image you are going to take, so your composition is perfect – the mirror flips up and out of the lens. way when you click the shutter.
You can of course always buy non-digital SLR cameras such as the Canon AE-1 or the Nikon FM2. These are just versions that expose on film instead of a digital imaging sensor, but work mechanically the same with a mirror and optical viewfinder.
I used an old Olympus OM-10 35mm SLR camera when I studied photography at university and it was a great tool to get familiar with semi-automatic modes like aperture and focus on the shutter. It also taught me some discipline, as you might only have 36 or 24 exposures per roll of film – so you can’t just trigger a big burst like we take for granted with modern digital cameras. today.
So now that we’ve established what a DSLR is, why should you buy one? Well, DSLRs have been around since the 1990s, but the market is now moving towards mirrorless cameras. As the name suggests, these don’t have a mirror and instead you’ll have to use the rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder to dial in when using one. Powering the LCD and EVF all the time to compose your photos can also take a toll on battery performance, but with a DSLR, you’re much less likely to experience this problem.
Generally speaking, this new mirrorless technology comes at a high price, so the older DSLR technology that has been around for a longer time can be much cheaper! When you’re just starting out, you’re better off spending those savings on additional lenses so you often get your money’s worth – additional lenses are arguably more important than your camera body!
We reviewed three popular lenses for the Canon EF (Full Frame Digital SLR) mount, the EF 16-35mm f / 2.8 wide-angle lens, the 24-70mm f / 2.8L standard lens, and the 70-200mm telephoto lens. f / 2.8 and we compared their equivalent Canon RF lenses for Canon’s full frame mirrorless and found that the RF lenses cost 20% more, so there is definitely a big savings to be made by opting for the digital SLR.
Also, while the electronic viewfinders of mirrorless models get better and better with each passing year, I still personally prefer to look directly through the lens with the optical viewfinder of a DSLR, and call myself old-fashioned, but I love the sound of a dslr’s iconic mirror “clack” when you trigger an exposure too.
Finally, let’s talk about lenses …
Another reason why DSLRs are fantastic is that they are interchangeable lens cameras. This means that the lens can be detached and you can put a different one, specific to the needs of the shooting at hand.
For example, if you’re shooting sports or wildlife, you can swap out your lens for a large telephoto zoom lens to get closer to the action, or if you’re shooting a landscape, you can opt for an ultra-wide-angle lens or even a fisheye lens to insert. more of your breathtaking view.
It also makes DSLRs more favorable to bridge cameras and compacts that use smaller sensors and a fixed zoom lens. The limitation of the smaller sensors and poor image quality due to the extended zoom range means they often don’t live up to expectations. A shallow depth of field may also be more difficult to achieve with bridge cameras due to the small sensor.
However, with a DSLR, you put a much more scene-specific lens at your fingertips so you can do it justice – the smaller your zoom range, the better the lens quality will generally be.
With DSLRs being established for a long time, you can be sure that the lens you need is there. Nikon still uses its 1959 F mount which made the transition from SLR to DSLR – you can still use your old film lenses on newer DSLRs! We estimate that there are over 400 lenses available for the Nikon F mount, while there are only 24 lenses for the new Nikon Z full frame mirrorless mount, first seen in July 2018.
As more and more lenses are being developed for mirrorless cameras, there is still a great void to be filled. By investing in a digital SLR, you can be sure to find any lens that suits your needs. Plus, add in the large number of third-party DSLR lenses available from manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Laowa, Samyang, and Lensbaby, so DSLRs win hands-on lens choice.
So this is it ! If you’re looking to buy your first “decent” camera, hopefully this has given you some food for thought and explained why I think DSLRs are the best way to go when you’re new to photography.
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