Monday, March 23, 2009
D-SLRs: Buy Now!
Why there has never been a better time to upgrade your primary camera
Maybe the most compelling reason for considering an upgrade isn’t one reason, but many. Several key advancements have occurred over the last few years, and the newest models incorporate all or most of these new technologies.
For a long time, D-SLR users had to worry about dust entering the camera during lens changes and settling on the sensor assembly, after which it would appear in every shot. Olympus introduced an ultrasonic sensor-dust remover in its first D-SLR back in 2003, and today, most D-SLRs have a similar feature—a very good reason to buy one of these newer models.
For years, compact digital cameras have shown the image live on their LCD monitors. The Olympus EVOLT E-330 model introduced this useful feature to the D-SLR in 2006, and today more than half of the D-SLR models in production have Live View. It makes it easy to shoot at odd angles because you can compose without keeping your eye at the view-finder, and it’s handy for carefully composing and manually focusing scenes with a tripod-mounted camera, too.
While compact digital cameras use a relatively slow contrast autofocusing method, D-SLRs use much quicker phase-detection AF. Many D-SLRs with Live View offer both phase-detection and contrast-based AF in that mode. Phase-detection is quicker, but requires the SLR mirror to drop into viewing position to focus, which momentarily disrupts the Live View. When you want an uninterrupted Live View, switch to contrast AF, which works right off the image sensor and doesn’t disrupt the Live View. Some newer D-SLRs also provide face-detection Live View operation, in which the camera automatically detects and focuses on a human face in the scene and adjusts exposure and color balance accordingly.
Today’s D-SLRs have larger and sharper LCD monitors than their predecessors—many now have 3.0-inch monitors with 920,000-dot, full 640x480 VGA resolution. Technology also has made the monitors easier to see in bright light. And a few cameras have tilting/swiveling monitors that make odd-angle shooting very easy (the Olympus E-3 and E-30, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and DMC-L10; Sony’s DSLR-A300 and A350 have monitors that tilt but don’t swivel).
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