Pricing Digital SLRs
The Nikon D3200 is a good example of an entry-level consumer dSLR.
Consumer dSLRs are great cameras for the average person. They range from entry-level models priced under $750 to more advanced consumer-level models that cost near $1,000. At this level, cameras are often sold as kits. This means that a basic zoom lens is sold with the camera body. The lens increases the overall cost slightly compared to buying the body only, but most consumers like the convenience of having everything they need to get started in one box. At this level, all dSLRs are made from polycarbonate and their image sensors are cropped-frame.
Compared to more expensive cameras, consumer dSLRs are less expensive, smaller, lighter, more convenient, and less intimidating. They have a plethora of automatic modes and are easy to use. They use different image sensors, processors, and other technologies than more expensive dLSRs, which limits their performance somewhat, but makes them affordable.
At the more expensive end of the consumer level category, people want more features and a bit more performance out of their dSLR. These cameras tend to have higher maximum ISO speeds, better, articulated monitors, faster frame rates, and more options compared to entry-level models. They are also often slightly larger.
All dSLRs can take fantastic photos. Don’t let the consumer or entry-level distinction make you think they are toys. They’re not. These cameras just aren’t designed to perform in all situations or to be as customizable as more expensive cameras.
Mid-range cameras add even more power and features.
Mid-range dSLRs are priced roughly between $1,000 and $1,500. They include a mix of enthusiast and pro-level features. This makes them a great choice for photographers who want a serious upgrade from a consumer-level camera and an inexpensive back-up option for professionals.
Mid-range dSLRs often have faster maximum shutter speeds than the less-expensive models, faster flash sync speeds, faster frame rates, better viewfinders, depending on the manufacturer, slightly larger LCD monitors with greater pixel counts, more professional setup options, a better autofocus system with more autofocus points, more custom shooting modes, more precise metering, better battery life, and a top LCD panel to display shooting information.
While this level of camera is considered light by professional standards, they’re larger and heavier than consumer dSLRs. Magnesium alloy is often used to strengthen the camera body. This figure shows the Canon EOS 80D.
The full-frame Pentax K-1 is the flagship of the Pentax dSLR line.
Professional dSLRs are designed to excel in a professional setting. They have all the bells, whistles, features, and performance pro photographers need. These cameras are large and rugged. They weigh more, are made from magnesium alloy, and have more features than consumer or mid-range models. They also shoot faster, focus better, and provide more reliable metering. You’ll find flagship (the best model a company sells) cropped-frame and full-frame dSLRs at this level.
Professional dSLRs that range from $1,500 to $2,500 have performance and form factor compromises that keep them relatively affordable. Ultra-high-end professional dSLRs run between $2,500 and $7,000. For example, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II body lists for approximately $6,000 and the Nikon D5 body lists for almost $6,500. These cameras represent the pinnacle of a company’s dSLR lineup. They have the best sensors, image processors, autofocus and metering systems, best ISO performance, and have a whole host of other premier features. Simply put, they are the best cameras you can buy in the 35mm equivalent digital SLR format.