Best Digital SLR Buys
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Best Digital SLR Buys

Ready to buy a digital SLR camera? Great...

Or maybe not. When you know you want a digital SLR camera (dSLR), the problem is not buying one, it's deciding which one to buy!

We have surveyed a number of different websites to put together some of the best digital SLR buys we can find in a variety of different categories. We also know that this is a highly competitive field and that many retailers have "won't be beaten on price" policies so do feel free to check different suppliers as you may get yourself a bargain deal.

Entry level dSLRs are real digital SLR cameras. The quality of the images is better than anything you can get in a camera on your cell phone. This is due to the combination of superior lenses, image capture sensors and image processing systems.

Cameras to seriously consider for a first time buy are:

Canon EOS Rebel T1i

Canon EOS Rebel T1i

The Canon EOS Rebel T1i consistently rates highly for it's ease of use so it's a great place to start. However, it's difficult to beat the Nikon D3000 for the Intelligent User Guide that provides on screen information allowing you to adjust features during the process of shooting.

As you become more confident you can begin to try using more features, adjusting the aperture, depth of focus or focal points - and because the results are digital, you can see the effects of your changes almost immediately!

Canon EOS Rebel T2i

Canon EOS Rebel T2i 

As you pay more for your camera, you can capture more megapixels (up to 18 megapixels on the Canon T2i), digital sensors get better, and speeds get faster. The shutter speed on the Nikon D3000 is really impressive and eliminates that annoying shutter lag that can sometimes mean that all you see of your subject is a blur as they move out of shot. Fastest in the entry level range though is the Pentax K-x which has a blistering continuous shooting speed of 4.7fps.

Nikon D3000

Nikon D3000

The LED view screen is one really useful feature on all digital SLRs. A traditional SLR camera views the subject through the eyepiece when the camera is physically held to your eye which has it's limitations. Having a large LED screen makes it much easier to see your composition of the shot from a wide variety of angles, not just with the camera held to your eye. The Nikon D3000 is the one camera in this group not to have Live View, but you can still use the view finder to compose your shot while reading the Intelligent Guide instructions on the LED screen.

Nikon D5000

Nikon D5000

One possible problem when working outdoors is glare on the screen making good anti-glare coating essential. The Nikon D5000 goes one step further by having a vari-angle color LED screen which can be adjusted to optimise your viewing which makes life really easy!

Pentax K-x

Pentax K-x

The ISO range also increases in more expensive cameras allowing you to take pictures in a much wider range of lighting conditions. The Pentax K-x is one example of an excellent value digital SLR that has a really impressive performance in low lighting conditions. If you have a bigger budget available, the Canon EOS Rebel T2i provides equally great low light performance and stunning 18 megapixel capacity.

These are consistently rated in the top ten digital SLR camera buys from a wide range of retailers including Amazon, PC World etc and their performance is highly rated in review sites such as Consumer Reports.org

If you're buying your first digital SLR, don't worry, most cameras come with a pretty sophisticated auto mode which will allow you to get started as smoothly as possible. These entry level cameras will allow you to grow as your skills develop and should keep you going for years.

As you have more money to invest or more commitment to the photographic art form, you do get more sophisticated features on your camera but at this stage, you might just get overwhelmed, so, one step at a time.

An essential part of the digital SLR camera is the lens. Lenses are interchangeable, but only within the same brand make. So once you've chosen your brand you can only work within their range - but the choices are many. Canon and Nikon have the widest ranges of different lenses available but other makes are expanding their ranges too. If you're buying your first dSLR, you're more likely to buy it as part of a kit, so don't forget to check out the lens on offer too - different retailers may package the camera body with different lenses so pick one which suits you best. If you're upgrading from a traditional SLR to digital, you may be pleased to know you can sometimes use many of your old lenses on the new digital body, saves a great deal of money.

Whether any feature is worth paying for depends very much on how likely you are to use the feature in the first place. The Technical Jargon page explains a few technical terms which might help you to understand whether you want to pay more for them,