If you are just getting into photography, you’ve probably gotten your start with either a point-and-shoot digital camera or even a film SLR. Before you can truly make the jump into modern photography with a DSLR, you first need to understand what a digital SLR is and what kinds of digital SLRs exist on the market.
DSLR is actually short for Digital Single Lens Reflex and basically gives the users the ability to take shots that better reflect what was seen through the camera lenses. This means night/day pictures, indoor/outdoor pictures and many other styles, without the distortion or loss off color that would come from P&S cameras. Another important distinction is that DSLRs are much better with following a moving picture. Most P&S cameras on the market look AWFUL when you try and take a picture of an object or person in motion, whereas DSLRs don’t have a problem with these kinds of shots.
What you see in the viewfinder of a point-and-shoot camera isn’t necessarily the exact same as what ends up on-screen in the photos, and so it’s much more difficult to get the perfect shot. When it comes to ranges, DSLR has a few distinct categories.
The first of these ranges is known as ‘entry-level‘. These models are generally targeted at those that are new to photography on a professional level or simply are amateurs that want to take their personal pictures to a new level. There are literally dozens of cameras that are classified in this group. Entry-level cameras are often the best starters, and many of them have special features that make them more appealing and less daunting to new users such as lighter designs. Nikon, for example, offers a “GUIDE” feature that can temporarily simplify the process of taking a pictures and even will give you tips/hints on how to take certain kinds of more professional-styled photographs.
Beyond these entry-level DSLRS, you have mid-level and high-end devices. These cameras can easily span thousands of dollars, have tons of customization options and a nearly endless amount of lens and accessories. Many of these more expensive entries also weigh a considerable amount, which could be a factor depending on when and where you plan to use your camera. If you are interested in skipping right to these professional-grade devices you will probably want to enroll in some kind of photography class before taking the leap.
Each three classes of cameras offer something different for users, the entry is best for amateurs and those new to professional photography. Most mid-range devices can do most of what the high-end can do, but are often lighter and a little easier to use. For the most part, the high-end offerings are very expensive and for highly specialized use. No matter which category you decided fits your needs and budget, it is very likely they will end up falling under one of the two major DSLR brands– Nikon or Canon, although Kodak and many others also offer options, these are considered the best brands overall in the business for most photographers. Finding the right camera isn’t always easy, but it ultimately comes down to finding a camera that is easy enough for you to learn and within your budget.