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Best DSLR Camera 2021 • 6 DSLR Cameras Reviews

Buying a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera can be a daunting task for any potential buyer. With so many brands and models out there, you’re bound to face some difficulty researching and ultimately making the right choice. Luckily, we’ve made this complete shopping guide to help you pick the perfect camera. This guide will cover everything you need to know about DSLRs—from what distinguishes a DSLR camera to the pros and cons of using one, the best features to watch out for, and a series of purchase criteria that will help you assess each option with confidence.

DSLR Camera Leaderboard 2021

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What is a DSLR camera and how does it work?

DSLR cameras are simply the digitized version of what have long been known as SLR cameras, or sometimes just called ‘reflex cameras.’ In this type of camera, whether analog or digital, the photographer is able to directly observe the scene in front of them through an optical viewfinder. This prevents any sort of viewing error—known in the photography world as “parallax error”—which can take place in cameras where the viewfinder is not portraying the actual image that will be captured.

In reflex cameras, a mirror reflects the light coming through the lens and sends it to the viewfinder through a prism. This allows for the photographer to see exactly what the lens is seeing, and in turn allows for a more accurate or precise photograph. At the same time, DSLR cameras often have more advanced technology that contributes to the production of an image that is much higher quality than that of a basic point-and-shoot or smartphone camera.

At the heart of any reflex camera is a titled mirror that sits in front of the camera’s sensor (in digital cameras) or film (in analog cameras). The mirror defines the path along which light will enter the camera, and it usually sits at a 45-degree incline, sending light to a prism and from there into the viewfinder.

When the camera’s shutter release is pressed, the mirror is quickly moved into a horizontal position and a shutter covering the sensor (or previously, film) opens, exposing the sensor and allowing light to strike it. The shutter then closes, covering the sensor, and the mirror goes back to its original position. In a DSLR camera, the just-captured image will then appear on the screen for you to see.

 

Advantage

DSLR cameras have a number of advantages that other cameras lack. Firstly, they often have a large digital sensor that allows you to capture much higher quality images than is possible with simpler cameras or smartphones. Another advantage is that DSLRs have interchangeable lenses, so you can change the lens according to the type of photo you want to take, or the setting in which you’re shooting.

DSLRs also allow you to change the camera settings manually, giving you more control over things like shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance. Having such control is essential when photographers shoot in different lighting conditions or want a certain look or feel in their photos. A final advantage is that they are usually ergonomically designed to meet the needs of photographers in a range of environments.

Disadvantage

Reflex cameras also have some disadvantages. DSLRs are often much larger and heavier than other cameras, which can be a burden for those looking to carry their camera with them wherever they go. They are also sometimes more fragile and various parts can require special care. Most DSLRs are not suitable for extreme weather, although there are exceptions.

Shopping Criteria for the best DSLR camera

When you’re ready to purchase your new DSLR, there are some important criteria you should consider. These criteria will help you to confidently make the right choice, at the right price.

  • Use
  • Sensor
  • Image Resolution
  • Sensitivity (ISO)
  • Viewfinder and Screen
  • Video Capability
  • Brand

Use

The way you intend to use a camera is probably the most important criterion you should consider—and it will help you to decide if a DSLR is right for you in the first place. If you plan to exclusively shoot in automatic mode and are merely looking to collect some shots while on vacation, you might prefer a simple digital camera or polaroid camera instead of an expensive DSLR.

If you’re looking to buy a DSLR in order to get more involved in photography or to further pursue a strong interest in the art form, the best option may be an entry-level DSLR specially designed for beginners. On the other hand, experienced photographers will look for DSLRs with the best features, performance and ample opportunities to control the image produced.

Sensor

The sensor is the heart and soul of any digital camera, since it’s the part that is responsible for capturing the light that ultimately makes a photograph. Size is a fundamental aspect of a camera sensor. Larger sensors will be able to process more information and produce a higher quality image. Keep that in mind as an important feature to consider when looking at DSLR cameras.

Most DSLR cameras currently feature an APS-C sensor—which is usually found in Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras—or the 4/3 sensor common in Panasonic, Olympus, Kodak and Leica brands. Nonetheless, some cameras will have a larger, full-frame (35mm) sensor. This is usually found in the most professional camera bodies.

Did you know: The first DSLR ever featured a 1.3MP sensor, which was developed by Kodak?

Image Resolution

Compact, easy to use, and versatile are all traits.

When it comes to image resolution, people usually think of megapixels. The general rule is that more megapixels means a higher resolution and greater detail in the final image. However, the quality of a photograph is not only a reflection of the number of megapixels. It’s also determined by the size of the sensor, which can be even more important to image quality.

 

Cameras with larger sensors will usually provide a larger area per pixel, and this means higher quality as well as greater sensitivity to light. Still, you should be aware that pictures with more megapixels also take up more space on your memory card and computer, so you might need to invest in additional equipment in order to store all your images.

Sensitivity (ISO)

A camera’s ISO value indicates how sensitive a sensor is to the light that enters through the lens. Higher values will allow you to shoot in lower light. For example, an ISO of 3200 would be appropriate for night-time shooting, while a low value of 100 might be best for shooting in sunlight.

One negative aspect of high ISO values is that they will result in more ‘noise’ in your image. So you’ll want to be careful about selecting the best ISO value for both your lighting conditions and the amount of noise you feel is appropriate. Generally speaking, with a wider range of ISO values available on your camera, you’ll be able to shoot in a wider range of lighting conditions.

Viewfinder and Screen

Because the viewfinder allows you to see an image before pressing the shutter button, it is an essential feature to any camera. Optical viewfinders allow you to see exactly what you are going to capture through a system of mirrors that reflect the scene in front of you through the viewfinder. Electronic viewfinders will show you the image on an LCD or OLED screen.

There is a wide range of viewfinders available, and not all are created equal. The clarity and size of an image will vary depending on the specific model, so it’s best if you can test a few different options before you pick a camera to buy.

Video Capability

These days, most DSLRs have the ability to capture video in addition to still images. If you’re looking at a camera with video recording capabilities, you should be sure to check what resolution it uses: HD, Full HD or 4K. We would recommend that you select a camera with at least Full HD video.

Brand

Nikon and Canon are the leading brands as far as DSLR cameras go. You may also find some good options from manufacturers Sony and Kodak. The brand you choose will likely be the one you stick with for many years, so choose carefully!

This is the case because any accessories you buy, such as lenses, may be linked to one specific brand. There are exceptions, as some lenses will work with multiple brands or with an adaptor, but these may not be the best lenses on the market.

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FAQ

Who should buy a DSLR camera?

DSLR cameras—with their powerful sensors—are a good choice for all those who wish to take high quality photographs. In particular, these cameras are ideal for photography enthusiasts with some advanced knowledge and for anyone who wants to make the jump from amateur to professional photography.

Which modes does a DSLR camera have available?

Each DSLR will offer a range of modes that you can use to capture your photographs. This will usually include an automatic mode, as well as a series of semi-automatic preset modes and a fully manual mode. Preset modes will be appropriate in different circumstances that the camera manual can help to define. For those looking to have full control of the camera—and to produce the highest quality images—manual mode is key. Manual mode is, however, also the most complicated one to use and will require knowledge of some basic photography concepts and experience to master.

Which accessories are needed for a DSLR camera?

A handful of important accessories will help you get the most from your DSLR camera. Some might even be necessary from the moment you purchase the camera, depending on what you plan to use it for. Others can be acquired over time and according to particular needs that may arise. One of the most critical accessories is the memory card, which is necessary to store your images, and, of course, a good lens. Beyond those two items, some additional accessories you may want to purchase are external flashes, tripods, extra batteries, lens filters and remote shutter releases.

What is the significance of a DSLR lens?

Besides the camera itself, the lens is probably the most important item among a photographer’s equipment. Some might say the lens is actually more important than the camera body. This importance comes from the fact that the lens is responsible for carrying the light to the sensor. As light passes through a lens, it undergoes changes and alterations. Those often-undesirable changes are minimized in higher quality—and usually more expensive—lenses. Keeping this in mind, you can see why the lens is so critical to taking photographs and why you should choose a quality lens. Be aware that many DSLRs come with a lens included, but that lens is often relatively basic and entry-level.

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