DSLR cameras represent what is often contemplated as the pre-eminent digital capture technology available presently, through their meshing of the highest image quality, intuitive design, speed, and modular capabilities to nearly suit any type of photography imaginable. Representing the primary step towards serious photography for many, or simply additional tools or upgrades for the veterans, DSLRs cover a broad expanse of capabilities. They are often intended towards meeting specific goals while still retaining the overall imaging benefits that are suitable to many.
Since their inception, they were designed to reflect the most popular type of film camera, the SLR or the Single-Lens Reflex Camera. When looking for a DSLR camera, there exists a broad array of options that one should/has to consider related to what type will best suit their own personal needs, the one that’ll go with their photography style, and others. Not all photographers need to have a faster shutter speed or the same aperture; requirements differ as per needs.
So, what all features should you incorporate in your camera based on your requirements? What are the things to consider before buying a dslr? Let’s find out!
This is possibly the most important feature of a camera, but the one that lots of people aren’t aware of or understand much. It also counts in as one of the prominent things to consider before buying a dslr. Inside every DSLR camera, there’s an image sensor that records the image or video your seeing through the viewfinder. This image sensor also sends the image to your memory card. Here, the larger the size of the image sensor, the more information it can capture, thus making your pictures clearer, especially when they’re magnified.
There exist numerous sizes in the sensor, from big to medium to small, and etc. but, the relationship between the sensor size remains simple, the bigger, the better. As the size varies, the price of these sensors also varies (of course). And I know I don’t need to tell you this, but the bigger sensor size you opt for, the costlier it would be. So, here, it’s you who needs to decide how much you are willing to pay to get superior quality images/videos.
I’ll enlighten you with a bit more information related to the sensor size of a DSLR. The largest sensor size of a DSLR is known as “full frame.” this size gives you maximum clarity and excellent image quality, the reason why full-frame DSLRs are so expensive. Most entry-level cameras have crop sensors that are of smaller sizes. The exact size of these sensors varies between brands and models. Most of the entry-level DSLRs have micro four-thirds or APS-C, both providing a good balance between the image quality and the price. They also affect how your lenses work, but that’s not what you would want to worry about for now.
The megapixel resolution of a camera, as most people think, is the most prominent and one of the most important things to consider while buying a dslr, but all of it is just hype. And, it’s not even your mistake as this is what the manufactures and advertiser talk about the most. In fact, David Peterson, in an article about megapixels, states that anything at or above seven megapixels will give out sharp prints of up to 14×11, which is a bit larger than what most people print. And now, with most of the entry-level cameras packing in over 15 megapixels, you can now know why so much marketing is about megapixels.
Honestly speaking, the cameras you buy today have more than enough megapixels. And if two cameras are differentiated only by the number of megapixels they pack, it won’t make that much of a difference. If, by chance, you do see a difference in them, that most likely due to some minor or major differences in its lens or sensor quality than the resolution. In short, megapixel resolution is not what you should be worried about, as you’ll get more than enough anyway.
Prime Lens vs Zoom Lens
|Prime Lens||Zoom Lens|
|What are they?||A lens with a fixed focal length is Prime Lenses. Commonly referred to as fixed lenses, they have a set angle of view that can’t be changed. Meaning, you need to physically move forward or backward to fit the picture in the frame accordingly.||Zoom Lenses have variable focal lengths. This means that to fit an object in your frame, to make it look larger or smaller, all you need to do is turn the zoom ring. You don’t physically need to move to do the job, like for Prime Lens.|
|Size & Weight||Smaller and lighter compared to average zoom lenses.||Large and bulkier compared to prime lenses (or others).|
|Portability||As prime lenses are lighter and smaller, they are easily portable. But, as they have a fixed focal length, you’ll need to get additional lenses of different focal lengths with them, so that might take a bit of space.||Zoom lenses are comparatively bulkier and larger in size, so they may not be that travel-friendly. Bust as they have a variable focal length, you’ll just need to carry one zoom lens that’ll cover the full range of focal lengths, instead of two to three prime lenses.|
|Versatility||The focal length of a prime lens is fixed at one number and cannot be changed. Due to this, to change the angle of view, one needs to physically move the camera, thus making it less or no versatile at all.||Due to its variable focal length, a zoom lens can easily handle a variety of shooting situations, thus making it more versatile.|
|Price||Prime Lenses have a simple construction which makes them cost lesser.||Zoom lenses are more expensive but the cost of a single zoom lens is quite similar to that of multiple prime lenses.|
|Image Quality||Prime lenses give sharp and crisp photos, even in low light.||Zoom lenses have standard quality. It’s best for shooting scenes from afar.|
|Speed||Prime lenses generally have a faster speed in aperture. They are ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects.||Zoom lenses don’t have a fast aperture but make up for it with image stabilization features like Nikon’s Vibration Reduction, Tamron’s Vibration Compensation, Canon’s Image Stabilization, or Sigma’s Optical Stabilization which allow you to use extremely slow shutter speeds in order to take sharp photos of still objects.|
Which one to buy?
Photographers, a lot of times, have to face this problem of choosing between the two. As mentioned in the above table, both prime lenses and zoom lenses have their advantages and disadvantages. It sure is difficult to decide on one. Your photography type also affects which one you choose to buy. Like if you are more inclined towards nature/wildlife photography, then you’ll need a zoom lens, etc. So, ultimately, it’s you who needs to decide on the lens considering factors like the type of photography you do, your requirements, etc. Also, as time passes by, you’ll automatically get to know which one’s your type and can finally stick to none that best suits your style. But that’s all gonna come with experience. Also, as long as your creativity stays alive, the type of lens or other considerations won’t matter that much.
What to look for to do Night Photography?
There is always something magical bout night photography. It always adds that extra spark, glamour, and attraction to photos. Especially if you’re a professional photographer, night photography will make your photography portfolio stand out from the others. So what are the things to consider before buying a dslr to be able to do excellent night photography?
When it comes to choosing the best DSLR for night shots, the chief things to consider before buying a dslr for the job are: A high ISO range, Wide Dynamic Range, A large Sensor, Wide Aperture, High Slow-Shutter Speed.
High ISO Range
Clicking pictures at night denote working with lesser ambient light than you’re probably used to. This brings in the requirement for a high ISO range in your camera so that you can click good quality, clear pictures. At nights, you’ll most likely need to set your ISO to at least 3200, which even most excellent cameras won’t provide. This is why you need a DSLR with a high ISO range to do night photography.
Wide Dynamic Range
This feature is also equally important for night photography. Without a good WDR (Wide Dynamic Range), you’ll lose any details in the shadows of your image. It implies that the camera can handle bright and dark conditions and also improve the quality of the freeze-frame. So, to get all the details in your image, a good WDR is a must-have.
A Large Sensor
Large sensor size, as mentioned earlier in the article, will help add more information, details, and clarity to your pictures, which is a must need for night photography. The bigger the sensor size, the better. A large sensor also helps capturing more light and avoids a noisy image.
This depends on the lens you use, but for nighttime, wider is better. This is because it will let in more light. Its recommended to use lenses that can open at least as wide as f/2.8, if not wider around f/1.2 – f/1.8.
Use a High Slow-Shutter Speed
The usage of shutter speed depends a bit on what you’re shooting. For example, a night sky photography may demand a longer shutter speed of, say, 10 seconds or more, while a urban night photography may require a 2-10 second shutter speed. All of this depends on the amount of light available and the effect you’re looking for. Seen those star trial night sky images? These are captured by selecting an extremely long shutter speed and letting the light do its job.
What’s the best lens for night photography?
Choosing the best lens for night photography might be an easy job if you know what to look for exactly. Even the best portrait lenses or landscape lenses will most likely be excellent for night photography, too. The prominent factor here is to find a lens that’ll let in lots of light. It means choosing a lens with an aperture of around f/1.4 if possible or at least f/2.8.
Prime lenses, amongst others, tend to have larger apertures. Larger apertures are what you’ll want to shoot with. If you’re more into night photography, your night sky images will come out nice and sharp if you choose a cam with a wide focal length, while a long focal length will make it easier to capture the star trails.
Buying a DSLR for the first time? Here are a few tips and steps to follow!
What are the steps and things to consider before buying a dslr? Let’s find out!
Set a budget before buying a dslr
Before you proceed with purchasing anything, it’s very important to decide on the budget. You need to know how much you are willing to spend and what you’re spending that on. If you have more features on your list, you’ll most likely be spending more and vice-versa.
And to be able to set a budget before buying a dslr, you need to know and decide what features you exactly desire. Knowing what you want exactly will help you research better and thus know the final price you might spend though it would just be approx. values and not the exact cost. In the end, it’s very important to y important to set a budget before buying a DSLR as it helps you know what you’re buying, what features you are getting, how much you’re spending on it, etc. It also helps avoid confusion at the time of buying, as you would already know what you want to purchase.
Is there a built-in microphone?
An often overlooked feature of a camera is its microphone. Having a digital camera with a microphone can add a few extra benefits to your photography. The built-in microphones may provide you with either of the interesting features or both: Voice Memo or Voice Annotation.
A few DSLR cameras allow you to explain your photos either before or after the shoot, allowing you to describe the location, weather, environment, etc. Later, when you organize all of your images, this will prove very useful, especially if you have a habit of clicking umpteen pictures at once.
A few DSLRs also have a Movie Mode with Sound. What’s that? The short videos, which aren’t as impressive as movies you see in cinemas but are still impressive and good, can be counted under this Movie Mode with Sound. A few cameras let you take these as they have AVI or QT format inbuilt. These videos will capture the surroundings, along with the sound, with the help of a built-in microphone your DSLR has.
Do you need all the bells and whistles?
Before I start off with this topic, let me remind you of one thing. To click good and impressive pictures, all you need to be able to do is adjust the shutter speed, aperture and ISO, that it! Cameras, over the years, are becoming robust, incorporating within themselves novel, additional features. These new features are being aggressively marketed by companies and manufacturers to convince people to buy them. But buying a cam with these additional features means getting an extra bite into your wallet.
All these additional features may prove useful sometimes and useless the other. It’s you who needs to decide whether you want them or not. If they seem useful to you, you may proceed with purchasing them. But remember, these additional features are going to cost you extra pennies. Also, you just need good judgment and practice for clicking attractive pictures. You need to understand that these additional features are just “wants” and not “needs.” Also, you should know that the majority of the most masterful shots seen in the last 10 decades of photography were shot without these special modes and features. And, if you really do need these bells and whistles, write them down, then ones you cant do without. You may even seek help from an experienced photographer in this case.
How Does it Feel in Your Hands?
Any camera you purchase should feel comfortable in your hands. This can be considered as the most important aspect while buying a dslr. Why? If you’re not comfortable holding the camera, six months from now, it’ll just be rotting in some corner of your storeroom. This won’t just be an end to your passion for photography but will also mean that all of the money that you’ve spent on this cam is WASTED. That too, because you wanted to have that lighting optimizer feature that online reviews told you could not live without. Not only should its weight be appropriate for your build, but the grip should be comfortable. A lot of photographers too would prefer a cam that is comfortable to use and not the one which has extra features, which you won’t even require sometimes. So, comfort is most important.
What accessories should you buy after purchasing a DSLR?
After knowing the things to consider before buying a dslr, you should also know what all accessories you should buy along with your cam.
- A Camera Bag
- Extra Battery
- LCD Protector
- Padded Neck Strap for DSLR
- Lens Cleaning Kit
- Giottos Rocket Blower
- Sturdy Tripod
- Remote Shutter Release
- Lens UV/Protection Filter
- Polarizing Filter
- External Monitors
- Memory Cards
- External Hard Drive
- External Microphone
These are the things to consider before buying a dslr. Depending upon your photography style, you may want to cut off one of them, but in the end, these are the simplest things required to have in a DSLR to click attractive, sharp, and crisp photographs, no rocket science. Out of all of these things to consider before buying a dslr, choose the ones that best suit your needs. Hope the article helped you.