SLR cameras: what should I pay attention to?
When do you opt for an SLR camera?
You are looking for a new camera, but do not know which type suits you best. An SLR camera is one of your options. But what exactly is this for a camera? Our specialists explain it to you. You also read when you opt for an SLR camera.
Which sensor suits your use?
The size of the sensor has a great influence on the quality of the image. There are 2 formats of sensors; the full frame sensor and the APS C sensor.
A APS C sensor is 1.5 or 1.6 times smaller than a full frame sensor. When you put a full frame lens on a camera with an APS C sensor, the focal point of the lens will also be 1.5 to 1.6 times further than with a full frame camera. This means that you are zoomed 1.5 to 1.6 times further with an APC-S sensor.
Planning to photograph moving subjects?
Is your subject moving a lot? Your camera will need the speed required to record this movement. The speed with which a camera can photograph is indicated by the number of frames per second (fps). Most entry-level cameras are around 3 frames per second, which is sufficient under normal conditions. You can use this to photograph, for example, your kids running around or your pets.
When you're planning to photograph serious action, you'll need a speed of 5 frames per second or more. This allows you to photograph sports matches, for example. When the subject is passing by at great speed, the camera needs to be very quick to bring it into focus. If you want to also follow this subject and take multiple pictures of it, that means the camera has to focus constantly.
How many setting options do you want?
Anyone who's ever worked with a camera knows it: green mode. This is the camera's default mode. It's very easy to keep the camera in this mode, since you won't have to think about the right settings yourself. However, in order to improve your photography, it's definitely worth your while to try one of the many manual setting options.
The number of buttons you can set depends on your camera's version. A starter model has far fewer buttons on the body than a more professional model. Entry-level cameras will often require you to go deeper into the menu to make certain adjustments, such as the aperture (A on the setting wheel), the shutter speed (S on the setting wheel), and the ISO value.
How important are megapixels?
When buying a camera, you'll see the term megapixels regularly. Megapixels determine the photo's size, not its quality, contrary to popular belief. All digital images – think of your TV or computer screen – are made up of pixels. Pixels are small dots in various colors that, together, make up the image. 1 megapixel – also known as MP – consists of 1 million pixels.
The more megapixels a camera has, the higher the photo's resolution. If you print 2 pictures – a 12-megapixel one and a 24-megapixel one – at A4 size, you won't see a difference between the two. This difference doesn't become visible until you print at larger sizes, such as A3 or A2.
How to choose a lens?
Most SLR cameras come with a kit lens. This all-round lens will be fine for use in most situations. You'll notice automatically that not everything you want to photograph can be done with this kit lens. For example, zooming in far to photograph a wild animal won't work. See what problems you run into, then choose the lens that does what you need.
What limitations does a kit lens have?
The maximum aperture isn't very large. It's usually f/3.5 or 5.6. This means the lens isn't as useful in low-light situations. Apart from that, the lens has limited range. You can't zoom in very far with a kit lens. The kit lens' image quality and range aren't optimized for one specific goal. For example, you can't take macro shots, since they require a macro lens. Check out the product filter for lenses to decide which lens you'll need for each situation.
Want to record video as well?
Most SLR cameras can record video in addition to photographing. All models have an automatic mode for this, in which the camera controls everything and focuses by itself. This is sufficient for most home videos and vacation reports. The SLR camera's zoom ring works the same way during recording as it does during photographing. The zooming motion may be visible on your video.
In order to keep the camera still while recording, using a tripod or stabilizer is recommended. One of the big advantages to recording video with an SLR camera is that it allows you to focus very accurately. In other words, it's not the camera, but you yourself who consciously decides what subject will be sharply in focus. In addition, you can take very nice creative shots by moving the focus from one subject to another, which gives a typical movie effect.
An SLR camera is very versatile. Amateur photographers as well as professionals can use this camera for spectaculars results. Whatever model you choose, the camera will provide you with a lot of freedom. Read on to see if an SLR camera suits you.