If you’re looking for a new camera, and not sure what type to look for, you’ve probably heard of more types of cameras than you could possibly exam yourself. You’ve heard of DSLRs, SLRs, film, digital, point and shoot, compact cameras, and maybe even rangefinder cameras.
So, you’ve been asking, “What is DSLR?” or wondered about the definitions of any of these other terms.
Today, we’re looking specifically at DSLR cameras, to give you a better picture of how they work, what they are for, and what kind of cost you might be looking at. We’ve also offered a brief break down on how to find the right DSLR for your needs.
What DSLR Stand For?
DSLR simply stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex.
What is a DSLR Camera?
There are non-digital single lens reflex cameras. These are simply called SLRs. They function the same way, except non-digital use film as the capturing media, instead of digital memory.
A single lens reflex camera uses both a mirror and a prism to capture an image. Digital single lens reflex cameras use digital formatting, instead of film, and presents the image in a digital viewfinder.
Who Uses DSLR Cameras?
A lot of times, people see DSLR cameras and immediately imagine the person is a professional or semi-professional photographer.
While this may be true in many cases, often those people snapping photos at the Pyramids at Giza and the Coliseum in Rome are just fellow tourists who have invested in their photographs to remember with clarity for years to come.
Are There Any Budget-Friendly DSLR Cameras?
While most DSLR cameras are going to cost over $500, there are some basic starters that cost as little as $400. You’ll find these models from a number of the most well-trusted brands in the industry:
How to Choose a DSLR Camera
Generally speaking, unless you’re ready to pursue photography as a significant hobby, degree at college, or career, you’re going to be looking at the lower end of DSLR cameras to get the hang of things. Top end models cost thousands of dollars, and are significantly more complicated to use, which are the main reasons to look for beginner DSLRs.
1. Decide on Your Uses
The very first step on choosing your DSLR camera is determining what you’ll be using that camera for. Are you just picking up a new hobby? Will you be traveling a lot and want high quality images of your adventures? Are you taking a class? Are you re-entering the field professionally after a break?
2. Think About Your Experience Level
How much experience do you have with photography? Beginners should focus on lower end models to get started, while those with some experience will want to consider mid-range, or even higher-range models to match current experience and give something to grow into.
3. Determine Your Budget
One of the most significant factors in finding the right DSLR will be your budget. While we’d love to think money is no problem, most electronics, including cameras, can have excessively expensive options. Most of us cannot afford these several thousand dollar models for a hobby or class.
Look through your personal finances closely and think through a few factors to determine your budget:
- Will this camera cover your hobby expenses for a while?
- Is the primary event it’s being purchased for worth more money than a cheaper model?
- Do you have enough money in savings currently to purchase a camera?
- Does your income cover an extra like this on a regular basis, or do you need to save up a bit more to get a better model?
There are, of course, other things to consider, but generally speaking, these will help steer you in the right direction for determining how much money you dare spend on a camera at this time.
4. Compare Brands
There are tons of brands out there. You should check out some professional websites that compare brands, and why one suits certain kinds of photographers over another.
5. Contrast Models
Once you’ve decided on specific brands that would suit your needs, check out various models. Most available models will have helpful reviews on retailer sites across the web. We recommend that you always look over these reviews to learn the most you can about a given model, and how satisfied real users are with them.
Don’t Forget Lenses and Accessories
One of the most important components of using a DSLR camera is the accessories and lenses available for the model. Some lenses are cross compatible, while some are not. Before choosing a model of camera, be sure to check out the price and availability of lenses and accessories that you’re looking to use with your new camera, in the process of looking for your new camera itself. Check out the reviews on these accessories as well.