With the Summer vacations around the corner, photography enthusiasts would definitely have DSLR cameras tucked into their luggage. For parents who want their children to venture into digital photography, be it wildlife, nature, travel, portraits etc. entry-level DSLR cameras would be the obvious choice when it comes to high-definition, good-quality photography.
These cameras offer a host of manual creative control features and lens adjustments for more experimentation. Auto-click modes of DSLR cameras often help in quick learning.
Here are some basics about entry-level DSLR cameras are:
- Shooting Modes
- Low and High ISO Numbers
- Image Metering
- Brightness Compensation
- Auto-focus Modes and Focus Points
- File Processing
Let us try to understand these basic properties of dslr cameras in more detail.
The camera would have the shooting modes labelled on the dial. Some of them are auto, Av, Tv, P, M. The camera’s behavior w.r.t. the available light exposure, the shutter speed and the aperture which controls the light entering the image sensor are determined by the mode.
- Av/A– The aperture priority sets a semi-automatic shooting mode letting the camera select the shutter speed. F-stops are the measure of the aperture; larger apertures mean smaller f-numbers and vice-versa. Reducing the f-stop means reducing the amount of light entering the camera. Large depth field-based photos require small aperture when long shots of detailed backgrounds have to be captured. Subject-focused shots are achieved with a large aperture.
- Shutter Speed (Tv/S)– When the photographer sets the shutter speed and the camera takes care of the aperture. Measured in fractions of a second, the shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter allowing light remains open. Freezing and focusing on a moving object can be achieved by fast shutter speeds and blurring a moving object can be achieved through slower shutter speeds.
- Program (P)– This option adjusts the aperture when the shutter speed is changed and vice-versa.
- Manual (M)– The photographer controls the aperture and the shutter speed; the exposure of the image is indicated on the screen or the viewfinder.
Low and High ISO Numbers
Low sensitivity means that more light is required to achieve the desired exposure, and high sensitivity the opposite. When the camera is exposed to maximum light, the sensor needs low ISO number such as 100 or 200. On the contrary, for night shots, ISO numbers need to be high like 3200 to achieve the desired exposure of the elements. An ISO of 400-800 on cloudy days and 1600 for indoor shots is a good idea for the correctly exposed shots. Auto-ISO cameras automatically gauge the brightness of the area and adjust the ISO number.
The camera always does an automatic exposure calculation using the automatic aperture, shutter speed and ISO values set to give the ‘average exposure’ value based on the assessment of the surrounding areas for the shot. This value is called the ‘middle-grey’ tone. While capturing a very bright scene with a white background, for example, the said tone averages out the output giving you a darker photo, while it does the exact opposite in a low-lit area to render a photo that has a lighter tone than the original scene.
Average metering takes the image exposure into consideration and averages it out into a middle-grey tone. The center-weighted tone assesses the exposure reading for the center of the viewfinder to evenly spread out the exposure giving you the resultant tone. Finally, the spot metering that focuses on the center of the viewfinder assesses the dark/light spots in the small area and exposes the entire scene to middle-grey.
The +/- button near the shutter helps the photographer adjust the camera’s default exposure setting while taking the actual scene exposure into account. If the photo turns out to be much darker than the original scene, the brightness can be increased to match it, with opposite setting available for matching original darker scenes.
Auto-focus Modes and Focus Points
- AF-S -Auto-focus-Single works well with stationary photo subjects. Half-pressing the shutter will point focus and lock the targeted object to be clicked.
- AF-C- Auto-focus-Continuous is meant for focusing on moving objects. Half-pressing the shutter, renders focus and locks up on the subject. The movement of the subject results in refocus adjustments until the photo is clicked.
- Focus Points– Focus points which are overlaying points that appear on the viewfinder that can be used to change the camera focus anywhere on the screen. The active focus point is highlighted in red.
The size and the file type of the images can be altered by the photographer once recorded. Maximum file sizes mean maximum usage of megapixels.
Images that are recorded as ‘raw’ are uncompressed and have image data which help in processing them using a different software later. Their large file sizes may create inconvenience. Jpeg files are compressed files that are processed by the camera and stored internally. They are always ready to be printed.
Top 3 DSLR Camera Choices to Photography Beginners
Our Top 3 Entry-level DSLR camera choices based on user reviews are:
- Canon EOS Rebel T7i
- Nikon D3400
- Pentax K-70h
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
Considered the best cam for blogs, this easy-to-use, auto-focus camera is a fast performer and costs about $849 with 18-55 mm lens. The Dual Pixel Auto-focus feature offers good quality home video capabilities as well. It has 45 auto-focus points. The six frames per second and the 24-megapixel APS-C sensor make this a great pick for fast-paced photography on the move.
It offers a 23.2 MP CMOS sensor technology for stunning low-light photography, 60 fps video capture, dust and moisture resistance, 18-135mm weather-sealed lens, shake reduction technology, 11 points auto-focus, and 3-inch LCD display.
These are some of the top DSLRs for photography beginners compiled on one page so that you don’t have to move around comparing specs. As far as the prices are concerned, You’ll find TrueGether the cheapest across all selling sites.