Do you know what is the question that often comes up in photo forums? It is :
Which SLR camera to choose?
The answer is always the same: it depends.
Of course, that does not help. It does not help either if everyone lists his model of camera and says how satisfied he is.
Choosing a SLR camera is not so easy. There are so many things to check.
That’s why we have gathered all the important information you need when buying a SLR camera.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional, this buying guide will be very useful for choosing the SLR camera that suits you best.
The key criteria to choose your SLR camera
SLR cameras have a ton of features, some are essential, and some are optional. Here’s an overview of the features that really matter in a SLR camera, and you need to check before you make your purchase:
The size of the sensor
The sensor is an electronic component that converts electromagnetic radiation into an analog electrical signal. Represents a crucial element in the camera because it establishes not only the maximum resolution of photos, but also the quality of shooting in different lighting conditions.
When buying a SLR camera, you will have the choice between two sizes of sensors:
full size (or 24 × 36 sensors)
The size of the sensor influences the quality of the photos taken by the camera: a large sensor makes it possible to take quality photos, even in low light.
The photo lens – the optics makes the quality of the photo
This is the most important element in a camera. The goal is the first place through which the image (the light) passes. The higher the quality, the higher the quality of the photos. It is characterized by:
Its focal length (which is expressed in mm),
Its maximum aperture (the smaller the number, the higher the price).
Beyond the focal distance and the opening, the objectives exist in several types, each one has its characteristics. His choice is based on the type of photography you want to do. If you want to know more about photographic lenses, read this.
When it comes to lens for SLR camera, many enthusiasts make this mistake: they opt for a model that comes with a lens kit that is normally of a lower quality than the one that can be purchased separately. It is true that it saves hundreds of euros, but in the long run, it is certainly not the best investment.
This is one of three key parameters that can dramatically affect the appearance of your photos (the other two are shutter speed and aperture). ISO sensitivity is the measurement of the light sensitivity of film and digital sensors. The higher the ISO, the brighter the photos will be in low light conditions.
To put it simply, ISO is a camera setting that will brighten or darken a photo. As you increase the ISO, your photos will become brighter. That said, a high ISO sensitivity compensates for the lack of light.
A tip: go to forums and e-commerce sites, and take a look at the comments of buyers. You’ll find a lot of information, including examples of images taken at different ISOs by the camera you plan to buy. If the images are grainy, you can consider another model.
Aperture and shutter speed
The opening corresponds to the opening diameter of the diaphragm when triggered. It controls the amount of light passing through the lens, and is represented by the letter f (such as f / 2.8 or f / 3.5). The larger the number f, the smaller the opening, and vice versa.
Shutter speed (or pause time) is the time during which the shutter (a device that controls the amount of light that enters the camera) remains open after you press the shutter button. It is expressed in seconds, and fractions of a second (example: 1 / 125s).
Choosing a camera with good speed is essential for sports photographers, but also for photographers who want to take pictures of moving objects. The more photos a camera can take in one second, the more chances you have to capture the photo at the right time.
Megapixels – should I opt for the model with the most pixels?
Many people place more importance on megapixels when choosing a camera. However, this is not the only criterion that guarantees you will get the best SLR camera.
To determine the quality of the image, megapixels are not as important as the size of the sensor. For example, a 40-megapixel smartphone can not be compared to a SLR camera that has only 16 megapixels.
In addition, all current entry-level SLR cameras have enough megapixels to meet almost any need. But if you want to make large prints, then you have to consider megapixels.
Although this is not the first thing you think, when it comes to an entry-level camera, buying a high-end model with a solid design remains important. Some cheaper SLR cameras have a plastic case, while others may use heavier materials such as metal; others may be weather resistant up to a certain level.
Choose a SLR camera with a variety of modes
On all SLR cameras you will find two fundamental modes (automatic and manual) to control the exposure. But there are other more complex modes such as the priority mode diaphragm mode priority etc. speed.
Manual mode allows you to fully control the exposure of an image, while in automatic mode, the camera selects aperture, shutter speed and ISO for you. The first can be used by professionals and the second by beginners.
Sooner or later, you will want to take high quality photos. That’s why you have to buy a DSLR camera that gives you the most options in terms of exposure and camera modes.
When it comes to a SLR camera, the screen is important not only for viewing the photos you are going to take, but because it is through it that you can access the setup menus.
Generally, camera screens do not show the actual quality of the image. We recommend choosing a camera with a good screen (a large screen with a good resolution will be more readable, it must also take into account its ability to limit the appearance of glare).
Another thing, opt for a camera with an adjustable screen (vertically, horizontally and multidirectional) with which you will take pictures and videos easily in any position.
In addition to the usual HDMI or USB connection, some DSLR cameras have a built-in Wi-Fi connection, making it easy to transfer pictures to the computer. And if you like to synchronize your photos with mobile devices like the smartphone or tablet, you’ll do it much easier and faster with Wi-Fi.
Another connectivity option that may interest you is the GPS. Especially if you plan to use the camera to document your trip. GPS allows you to identify where you took your photos. That way you will never forget where you made your best photos.
All SLR cameras are capable of shooting videos, and some models can even record in 4K Ultra HD resolution.
To record good videos with a SLR camera, the minimum we need is 1080 / 30p – “1080” refers to the 1,920 × 1,080 pixel resolution, also known as Full HD, while “30p” is refers to 30 fps (corresponds to the number of images a camera can take per second).
The price of a SLR camera varies depending on the features and features. A good SLR camera can cost you between 500 and 3000 euros or more. So you have to set a budget for your purchase. For this, we can consider three price ranges:
Between 400 and 800 euros: there are entry-level cameras for beginners; usually they come with a lens kit.
Between 1,000 and 1,900 euros: the mid-range cameras are dedicated to semi-professional photographers; they offer superior image quality and some more manual or expert functions.
More than 3,000 euros: in this category, there are cameras for professionals.
Remember that in addition to the price of the camera, you must consider the cost of other accessories, namely the battery, memory card, flash and camera lenses.
The 6 tips for choosing your SLR camera:
The famous megapixels do not have a big importance. On the other hand, the size of the sensor, the stabilization and the autofocus make the difference.
Do not worry about having the latest camera. Very often, the old models are perfect (according to your needs) much cheaper than the new models.
If possible, try the camera you choose before you buy it. Check if it is comfortable, and not too big or heavy. It must have quick access to the most used functions, and the menu must be easy to use.
Opt for high definition resolution if you plan to use your camera to take videos.
Invest in a SLR camera with a large aperture.
Before choosing a SLR camera, look at examples of photos taken by other photographers.
I hope this guide has answered all the questions you have about buying your new SLR camera.
Remember that the perfect camera is not one that offers more features, but one that offers the options you need for your work. Think seriously about how you will use it, and you will get the perfect camera for you.