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Deciding to bring home your first D-SLR? With features numbering close to stars in the night sky,
you are bound to lose quite a few hairs and sleep over deciding which one to go for?
So, what is right for you? Of course, manufacturers have a way of telling you that model a is an
entry level (so don’t expect too much from it!) model B is mid-segment (you can do quite a few
tricks with it, but still be called an amateur) and model C is, well, the flagship, or high speed king
(and you need to spend like a king to get hold of one too).
Don’t judge a D-SLR by these categorizations. Instead, look for the features that really matter to
you and will help you to do that all important task – take good photographs.
A few pointers to help you decide.
Size and form
Does matter. Many people, especially those with large hands, prefer bigger, robust bodies. Some
others prefer a more compact design. So, feel the camera in your hands and try (or imagine) it with
some larger lenses. You should feel comfortable with something that’s going to be in your hands for
long durations without bothering your fingers too much.
Yes, it’s a decider.
this can be of great use at times, especially during those crowded moments at Indian weddings, or while shooting from moving vehicles, or while experimenting with low angles. Though not an absolute must, this one will definitely be a bonus.
Decider for sure.
this is not a factor anymore. With the brands offering 18 to 24 Megapixels at the entry level, you’ll probably have to scale down the resolution at times to save storage space. Verdict – don’t bother about the resolution unless you specifically are looking for 36 Megapixels for some reason.
Not a decider.
Having a bracketing option is not important nowadays, as you can check the results on the monitor. In case you need to bracket and your camera doesn’t have that mode, you can always do it by setting different compensation levels. If it’s there, it’s useful.
Not a decider.
how fast do you want your camera to shoot? You won’t need 9 frames / second (fps) if you’re shooting mountains or rivers most often. Wildlife? You’ll certainly need the high fps if you find yourself chasing birds or faster animals for that perfectly frozen in action shot. Think what you’ll be shooting before shelling out extra for that extra fps. In case you’re
undecided, go for the high speed ones.
File types – TIFF
almost all D-SLRs offer JPEG and RAW or RAW+JPEG. Do you need to shell out more for TIFF shooting ? A big NO. RAW files can be easily edited and converted into TIFF, so there’s hardly any need to shoot in TIFF, unless, again, you have some very specific need.
To be ignored
Though photographers were taking razor sharp images well before the autofocus era, since we have it now, we have to take advantage of it. Very simply, more focusing points mean faster and more accurate focusing.
This is important for whoever is shooting moving subjects more often like sports, wildlife, etc. If you are shooting portraits, still life, or landscapes, no need to invest in a densely packed focus module.
Give it a thought
not many people use this, but at times, you can make the camera enhance your images. Crop that distracting element out, convert that RAW file into a JPEG to save time later. Convert images into monochromes and much more with modern DSLRs. Best suited if you are not into post-processing using software. Look how many useful features a camera is offering in terms of in-cam
A somewhat decider.
You won’t need it if you’ve just started out, but over the years, as you mature, you will definitely feel the need for precise metering in tough lighting conditions, like a spot-lit performer on stage, or in wildlife. Better to look out for this.
If you are not turning pro within a year, don’t bother about any other serious sounding features. Most DSLRs will do the job nicely for you. Better to equip yourself with knowledge about how to get the best out of your camera.