Monday, June 25, 2007
D-SLRs: Entry-Level, Midrange, Pro
What’s the difference?
The flash units built into D-SLRs are generally more powerful than those in compact digital cameras and offer more accurate TTL exposure control. Additionally, all D-SLRs will accept even more powerful external flash units, with TTL control, and most even let you move the external unit off-camera wirelessly or via a long sync cord, for great lighting versatility. While some compact digital cameras can be used with external flash, they don't offer nearly as much flash versatility.
Today's D-SLRs start up and wake from sleep mode quite quickly—as quickly as 0.15 of a second with some models. Compact digital cameras generally take much longer, making D-SLRs the far better choice for capturing decisive moments.
All D-SLRs have single-shot and continuous-shooting modes; what varies is the shooting rate and number of shots that can be made in continuous mode. All will shoot continuous bursts at no less than 1.5 fps; Canon's new EOS-1D Mark III can shoot up to 10 fps.
Bottom line: D-SLRs are much more versatile than compact digital cameras, albeit a good deal bulkier. In full auto mode, D-SLRs are as easy to use as any compact digital camera, requiring no special knowledge on the part of the user.
Entry-level models have the lowest prices, the fewest features and the lowest performance, although they all have plenty of features and very good performance. Entry-level models are aimed at less experienced photographers, those moving up from a compact all-in-one camera and those on tight budgets.
Entry-level models (and some midrange cameras) offer subject programs, which at the twist of a dial, set the camera for shooting popular subjects like portraits, landscapes, close-ups, action and more. While film-SLR subject programs just adjust shutter speed and aperture (favoring faster shutter speeds for action and small apertures for great depth of field in landscapes, for example) and focus mode (single-shot for landscapes, continuous for action), digital SLRs can also adjust such parameters as white balance, sharpness, contrast and saturation.
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