A first look into the world of DSLRs


It was not long ago when I became curious about what might be above point-and-shoot cameras. My Panasonic Luminex point-and-shoot had seemed the most convenient, especially with all my frequent traveling to Europe and beyond. For me, DSLRs weren’t a consideration. Of course, that was until I understood what I was missing out on.

Learning the basics of exposure was my first step. Once I understood how an image is captured, I began adjusting certain settings on my point and shoot. But it didn’t take long for me to start craving more options, something my 5 mega pixel camera didn’t have an abundance of.

So I began looking into DSLRs. I saw much larger bodies, lenses, and price tags, all of which were intimidating. Was it really worth upgrading to a DSLR? Understanding the main differences between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot was very important:

  1. Picture Quality - larger image sensors allow for bigger pixels.
  2. Adaptability - changeable lenses open up a whole new world of potential shots.
  3. Speed - faster startup and less shutter lag allows for several frames per second.
  4. ISO range - with a DLSR, you can shoot in a variety of situations, especially in low light.
  5. Manual Controls - benefit from many options to customize the settings.
  6. Retaining Value - DSLRs don’t drop in price as fast as a point-in-shoot, and are replaced only every few years.
  7. Depth Of Field - choose which part of the image is in focus.
  8. Optical Quality - lenses are far superior on DSLRs.
  9. Optical View Finder - a reflex mirror allows a more accurate representation of the finished image.

Once I became aware of all the advantages of owning a DSLR, I regretted not bringing one along during my travels. With the average cost of a DSLR dropping, the incentive to buy one becomes more lucrative. That doesn’t mean you should go out and buy one right away. Deciding which camera is best for you requires some research.

If you're buying your first DSLR, you'll want a relatively basic model which comes with a standard 18-55mm lens. I looked into the 2 most popular brands, Canon and Nikon, both of which provide quality, entry-level cameras for a fair price. Canon offers a broad selection of entry level DSLRs: the XS, XSI, T1I, and now the new T2I -- with prices ranging from $580 to as high as $1000. Nikon offers two entry-level cameras: the D3000 and D5000 ranging from $580 to $800. Despite the body being a bit bigger then my point and shoot, I now know a DSLR is worth the extra space in my luggage. I look forward to my next trip.

Comparing each and then choosing one can come down to personal opinion. A website I’d highly recommend starting with is www.snapsort.com, which compares and contrasts any cameras of your choice. Understanding a bit of the DSLR world opened up many new windows for me, and I hope it does the same for you.