Choosing a Digital SLR Camera - dummies

By Robert Correll

Digital SLR cameras come in different models. dSLR makers, including Canon, Nikon, and Sony, sell competing camera models targeted to different skill levels, from beginner and hobbyist photographer to professional photographer.

  • Entry-level cameras are for beginners or photographers with limited budgets. These dSLRs can take great photos, but have limited features and capabilities compared to the next level.

    Even the least-expensive dSLR, however, is much more capable than a compact digital or camera phone. Stretch your entry-level dSLR by upgrading your lens to something better.

  • Mid-range cameras are for amateur photographers who want more features and who can spend extra money.

  • High-end amateur cameras are for the amateur photographers who really mean business, or the professional who needs something smaller, lighter, and less expensive than a top-tier camera. Manufacturers begin adding pro-level features such as better autofocus, metering, and flash options.

  • Semi-professional cameras work professionally, but may have performance limitations and form factor compromises that keep them affordable. All the same, they’re larger, heavier, and more durable than amateur cameras, and they have lots more features.

  • Professional cameras come in two flavors, both full-frame: standard pro and premier. The top premier models are as good as dSLRs get, and the standard versions nearly so.