Digital SLR camera buyers guide

Affordable digital SLR cameras are making it easy for the rest of us to achieve pro-level photography results.

In the last 12 months a seismic shift happened in the digital camera business: some compact digicams began to cost as much as a digital SLR (DSLR) while some DSLRs fell to compact digicam levels. Mighty strange.

Keen photographers, blooded in the days of film cameras, are licking their lips at the thought of an affordable DSLR kit – and rightly so!

Now they can own and enjoy a camera that looks like an SLR, shoots like an SLR but brings with it the tech of digital imaging. They can now import digital pictures into a computer, massage the pixels with reasonably priced software, then pump out glorious prints on the home printer. Or they can take the quick’n’easy path and head for a Big W, Harvey Norman or other digital print-enabled store and DIY a batch of prints costing anywhere between 10 and 20 cents a go.

But Why a DSLR?

Because you can enjoy finely tuned control of picture making, precise manual or accurate auto focusing, accurate exposure control in even the most challenging situations.

You can also view with an optical viewfinder that shows the scene with infinite detail… or have the option of Live View on the rear LCD screen, previewing the shot exactly as it will appear on a monitor, live and in digital form.

DSLRs are quicker, with almost no delay in shooting and the subsequent writing of the image to the memory card. Unlike digicams, you can now shoot the unpredictable and unrepeatable action of kids, animals and sports with little chance of missing the shot.

With a couple of cautions: DSLRs are bigger, heavier and more complex than your average digital camera. While you can set up a DSLR to work in absolute, no-brainer auto mode, do so and you miss out on the sheer picture making talent of these wonderful pieces of technology.

Some DSLRs have HDMI outputs so you can run slide shows of your stills on high definition TV sets. Now you can also shoot high def video with a few cameras, then watch them on an HD TV.