DSLR Guides

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DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras help amateur and professional photographers alike achieve sharp, dynamic photos. DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex, which refers to the technology these cameras use to ensure a consistent level of photographic quality. When choosing the right device, there are many factors to consider, ranging from megapixels to exposure options.

What is a DSLR?

DSLR cameras all use the same basic photographic technology. The lens takes in light, which then bounces off a mirror, goes through a prism, and is transformed into a visible image at the viewfinder. To capture this image, photographers press the shutter button which tips the mirror and reroutes the light to the image sensor where the image is recorded. This system has a number of advantages. It results in an enhanced optical system, a wider array of lens options, and an improved autofocus system.

Do DSLR cameras vary by skill level?
  • Entry-Level: Entry-level cameras tend to be lightweight and portable with a pentamirror viewfinders. They are usually equipped with APS-C sensors, and they have about half a dozen exposure settings and auto modes.
  • Intermediate: These cameras have enhanced video functions, improved exposure metering, and a continuous shooting rate. They offer more manual functions than beginner cameras, including manual control of speed and exposure. This allows intermediate photographers to have greater control over their final photographic products.
  • Professional: These options are chock full of features, ranging from full manual control of exposure compensations to varied bracketing settings. These devices tend to have durable metal chassis, more storage capacity, and better audio and video capabilities.
What effects do image sensors have on image quality?

DSLRs come with 2 main types of sensors:

  • APS-C: These sensors can be used to achieve pristine images. They use a format similar to classic photo negatives with an aspect ratio of 3:2.
  • Full Frame: These sensors are designed to capture more light than APS-C options which makes them optimal for photographers who often capture images in low light situations. Full frame options use a format that matches the traditional 35mm film frame area.
What about exposure options?

For all digital SLR cameras, there are 3 main exposure components. They are:

  • Aperture: This measures the amount of light that passes through the lens. Adjustments are known as f-stops. Low f-stops allow more light to pass through while high f-stops minimize the passage of light. Most DSLRs have a wide range of f-stops, which allow photographers to maintain image quality in all lighting situations.
  • ISO Sensitivity: This measures the extent to which the sensor is sensitive to light. One of the benefits of digital SLR cameras is that they can achieve sharp images even when set to high ISO numbers.
  • Shutter Speed: Shutter speed refers to how long the shutter is open. Many DSLRs have extremely fast shutter speed options which allow photographers to capture crystal-clear action shots of sporting events and more.
What are some popular makers of these digital cameras?
  • Canon
  • Nikon
  • Pentax
  • Sony
  • Sigma
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