Indy's Camera Review - Digital SLR's
©2009 James Melatis -
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CPU Type lenseD-SLR image quality is in a class far above point and shoot cameras. The most important and dramatic difference in D-SLR performance is related to the lens. Most consumer cameras use small, plastic or inexpensive glass lenses, and cannot be upgraded or modified. D-SLR's use high quality beginner or professional lenses based on proven technology. Changeable lenses allow you to choose exactly the right distance/picture angle/perspective combination in any situation, giving you total creative flexibility including wide angle, macro, and high power telephoto.

The CPU type lenses relay the lens type, distance, metering, focus, aperture, and zoom setting information to the camera to calculate exposure. In addition, this valuable information is stored in the EXIF header with each image file, so that when you review your shots in Photoshop, you can see exactly what the color mode, exposure, camera, and lens settings were when you took each shot. This makes learning SLR photography a lot easier.

One major advantage to the consumer models is that the camera is sealed so you don't have to worry so much about getting dirt or moisture inside. With a D-SLR you have to be careful every time you change a lens. Use care when you store or transport the camera and lenses to avoid condensation from rapid temperature changes. Keep dirt out of the zoom and focus on the lens also. If you try to change lenses in the rain or in a dust storm, you run the risk of serious damage and expensive repairs to the shutter, mirror, aperture or focus mechanisms, and particularly the CCD (image sensor). Never point it directly at the sun or you might cook the shutter curtain or CCD. Generally, use the same lens and camera care, as you would with a 35mm film SLR.

Your lens options are limited only by your budget. If your budget is really tight, it is possible to buy, sell, or trade previously owned lenses. You can also purchase after market F mount lenses like Sigma. From a pro perspective, it is true that the lower cost lenses are not as good as pro lenses. In my opinion, when comparing D-SLRs to point and shoot cameras, the quality of your images is at least triple with almost any lens.

Beginner or pro, there is nothing better than shooting with large diameter (62mm to 77mm) ED color corrected glass.

Professional Type LenseBig, Heavy, and Fast; Pro Lenses

Premium lenses cost more than most cameras, but you usually get what you pay for. If and when you are ready to give your pocketbook and your back a real workout, look at the faster f2.8 aperture silent wave motor pro lenses. The autofocus on these lenses is also faster, though these lenses are also more susceptible to problems with dust and moisture.

These are all typically 77mm Diameter, and have a wider aperture for low light situations. Since they weigh more than the camera, they usually come with a tripod mount attached to the lens as shown above. They are so heavy; it is better for the camera to hang the camera off the back of the lens. Any one of them weighs and costs as much as three beginner lenses put together. It's actually a good thing that they won't all fit in your gear bag, because it is not easy to carry around 9 extra pounds all day.

Make sure that you check out your lense options before purchasing any kind of D-SLR. Find out what kind work best with the model you are considering, and what lenses are actually available. Start with lower cost beginner lenses, but no matter what you start out with, plan carefully for future upgrades because what these big pro lenses do is give you the opportunity to take your work to the next level. That is just not an option with a point and shoot digital camera.
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