What is a DSLR Camera?

DSLR cameras are used by enthusiast and professional photographers.  DSLR is an acronym for digital single-lens reflex.  What’s that you ask?  Without getting into optical science; a DSLR camera consists of one lens which passes light to the image sensor and viewfinder.  This construction presents the image seen in the viewfinder similar, if not exactly the same, as the image reaching the image sensor.  As oppose to a compact camera, the image reaching the image sensor and viewfinder are different.


dslr camera parts



DSLR cameras have features that most compact cameras don’t.  These include but not limited to:

–          bigger image sensors

–          Interchangeable lenses

–          Creative adjustments

–          Faster shutter speeds

–          Faster continuous shooting

–          Automatic exposure bracketing (AEB)

–          Advanced manual controls


How to Buy an Entry-Level DSLR Camera for Beginners

Investing in an entry-level DSLR camera will improve your photos significantly compared to a compact system or point-and-shoot camera.  Keep in mind you will have to invest some time in learning the functions of a DSLR camera before you can utilize the features.  You don’t need to spend over a $1000 on a DSLR kit but you do get more bang for your buck.  You want a camera body that fits comfortable in your hands and has at least the following features:

–          Exposure modes (manual, shutter priority, aperture priority, programmable)

–          Automatic exposure bracketing (AEB)

–          Hot shoe for peripherals

–          White balance modes (Auto, Cloudy, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (White), Shade, Tungsten, etc.)

–          Continuous shooting

–          Focus modes (single-servo, continuous servo)

Most entry-level DSLR cameras have the above features.

In addition to buying a DSLR camera body you will need a lens or two.   The distance a lens can effectively capture a photo depends mostly on its focal length (usually measured in mm).  The smaller the focal length the closer the lens can capture an image; larger the focal the further the lens can capture an image.  Start off with the standard 18-55mm lens for normal range photos.  For taking photos of distant subjects buy a telephoto lens in the range of 55-300mm.  You can also buy just one lens which has the standard and telephoto zoom of 18-300mm but will cost much more money.  Buying the correct lens is really of what your preference is and what you’re looking to photograph.  You’ll also want a lens that has a shake reduction feature which reduces blurry photos due to hand/camera shake.  Canon has a line of IS (image stabilization) lenses and Nikon has a line of VR (vibration reduction) lenses.  Both of these lens lines are very effective in reducing blurred images.  Make sure to verify compatibility of the camera body with the lens.

Keep in mind that DSLR camera bodies depreciate in price faster than lenses.  Invest more money in lenses than a camera body.  Try investing about 1/3 your budget on a camera body and the remainder on a lens or two.  You may also want to consider buying a used DSLR camera and lens to save money.   Many stores sell DSLR camera and lens packages.  Once you master your camera and improve your photography skills it is highly probable you will replace your entry-level DSLR.