A lot of people may think they know what a digital SLR camera is. However, what many of them might be thinking of is a compact digital camera, which is not the same thing. Before selecting a good SLR camera, you should probably know just what one is.
SLR is short for Single Lens Reflex. Here's what makes this camera so much different from its compact cousins:
When you view through the viewfinder, you are seeing straight through the camera lens. You are viewing precisely what the lens is viewing.
The lens on a digital SLR camera can be swapped out. This is what makes these cameras the choice for serious hobbyists and professionals. You have so much more shot flexibility with an SLR.
A digital SLR has a better and larger image sensor. You get much better quality pictures.
A good SLR has almost zero delay between the time you push the button and the camera takes the picture.
The largest advantage of this type of camera is that it is very versatile. Whatever kind of pictures you want to take, you can do it with your SLR and a few lens and accessories.
Another big advantage of these cameras over compacts is that a digital SLR camera can get great photos without a lot of light. And you can do this without the flash. You do this by adjusting the ISO – you make the digital sensor in the camera more light sensitive. When you do this with an SLR, you do not get a lot of graininess or 'noise' in your image, either.
Two Good SLRs to Consider
The Nikon D3100 is a good example of an 'entry level' digital SLR camera. However, it has a broad feature set:
- Full recording in HD
- A screen of 3 inches
- Megapixel sensor of 14.2
- 11 focusing points
- Vibration reduction lens, 18-55mm
The general verdict on this SLR is that it is a fine value for your dollar. It also is the least expensive SLR that has full HD video recording. If you are looking for the ability to shoot excellent pictures with little noise, and also record HD, the D3100 from Nikon is a fine choice. It has many features and options, ease of control, and outstanding quality images with great detail. Bottom line is it is a highly recommended camera for pictures and HD video for the serious hobbyist.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i is another strong competitor that has fine video capabilities, along with great picture taking. The image quality and the picture shooting ability are excellent; however, it is not a very fast camera for action photos. The burst shooting feature for taking pictures of sports or children moving quickly is not quite as good as the Nikon.
However, the T3i is still a good choice for the hobbyist or SLR videographer. The camera shoots photos with little noise. The JPEGs are extremely clean until ISO 400. At ISO 800, you really have to look for the noise, and even at ISO 1600 the noise is still acceptable.