What to Look for When Buying an SLR Camera: Tips for Purchasing Digital SLR's

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Ready to move up into the major leagues of digital photography? Ditch the compact, point-and-shoot camera and get ready for the speed, control, and flexibility of a digital SLR camera. While shopping for your first digital SLR camera, there are five main qualities that you will want to take into account.

1. The Best Brands

When it comes to the most trusted brands in digital SLRs, you want to stick with Canon or Nikon for several reasons. First, these two brands have more lenses available than the other manufacturers, and when you’re looking at SLRs, the lenses make all the difference. From a quality perspective, both of these manufacturers have excellent reputations among photographers as well as independent testers with regards to quality of pictures, durability, and reliability. The quality of the digital image sensor in Canon and Nikon cameras is fantastic, and they are constantly being improved. They shoot at a higher ISO with less noise (grain or colored specs in the picture), which is so important for shooting in low light situations like weddings, evening sports, and indoors.

2. Megapixels

Entry-level digital SLRs start out at higher megapixels (MP) than point-and-shoot cameras, and rightfully so. Most will have at least 8MP, and many newer models are being issued with 10 or 12 MP. It is a common fallacy that megapixels solely determine the quality of your photos. That’s not entirely accurate. The higher megapixel cameras just allow you to print out larger photos without any pixilation or noise. Therefore, if you’re printing solely 4x6 and 8x10 prints, you will see relatively no difference in quality between using a camera with 8MP and 10.1MP. In general, an 8MP camera will be able to produce a 16x20 print with no problem. If you think you may print poster sizes larger than that, spring for the 12 MP models.

3. Cost

Please take caution in spending all of your money on the best camera body available. You want a camera body that meets your needs, but you will also want to have money left over to invest in some fast glass (lenses). Digital photography becomes addicting! First you buy a camera, then you need faster lenses, and then you’re buying new camera bags to carry your equipment in. It can get very expensive, albeit fun. So, keep some savings for lenses. The lenses you will want to get will directly correlate to what type of photographs you will be taking. Therefore, you will want to start looking at some of the entry-level digital SLR models including the Canon Rebel XSi and the Nikon D60. These are reasonably priced models, offer a lot for the money, and are usually more than enough for the beginning photographer.

Please continue on to part two, where you will learn additional tips on what to look for when buying a digital SLR camera.

This post is part of the series: Buying Your First Digital SLR Camera - 5 Tips on What to Look for When Buying a Digital SLR Camera

5 tips on what to look for when replacing a point-and-shoot camera with a digital SLR camera. We’ll look at important information regarding Nikon and Canon digital cameras and features to note, including shutter speed, IS0, VR, lenses and megapixels. Buying a digital SLR has never been easier!

  1. 5 Tips on What to Look for When Buying a Digital SLR Camera
  2. Buying Your First Digital SLR Camera - Part II