Anoop has asked me about SLR camera - whether to buy or not. I will try to answer this question even though recommending / not - recommending to buy something gives me a lot of responsibility. I desperately hope you would accept it - if at all, only as a friendly advice. You may take it and you may reject it as well.
Control on focus, aperture and shutter speed - all these things are available on almost all digital cameras these days. If M (Manual), Tv (Time Value = Shutter Speed), Av (Aperture Value - Lens opening) & P (Programmed Auto) settings are given on a camera's CONTROL DIAL - it will give you all the controls that you may desire. I will tell more about these in a later chapter.
SLR cameras (whether digital or film version) are basically known as camera systems. Think of it in this way : There is a laptop - which has a monitor, keyboard, mouse, hard disk, CD-ROM/DVD writer, battery backup - everything neatly packed in a single, small casing. On the other hand, you have the desktop computers. One full cabinet for CPU, one large monitor, one UPS, one key board, one mouse etc. We call it a computer system. You can choose a monitor, a key board, a UPS of your personal liking. What's more, you are at full liberty to change individual parts of your computer system as and when you wish to do it. I can connect and disconnect hard disks, monitors, key boards, optical disk drive whenever I need to. But I have never tried to open my laptop. I am afraid of spoiling everything.
SLR cameras are for professionals / serious amateur photographers. These cameras offer following benefits to the users:
1. Expandability : This is the biggest benefit of an SLR camera. You can remove one lens and fit another on your camera. You can even have different types of view finders. If you have purchased a few lenses for your camera body, you can purchase one more camera body from the same manufacturer. All of your lenses will work on that camera body also. Suppose a camera has come with a 35-70 mm. zoom lens, you can buy additional lenses for it - 70-300, 80-200, 28-135 etc.
2. Exchangeability : If you have an SLR camera body plus a few lenses, you are often seen in camera shops - enquiring about new lenses available for your camera body. You may be wanting to exchange your camera body or a particular lens with another one.
There are many more accessories which are available in the market for SLR cameras which you can go on adding slowly and steadily. For example, your SLR camera will accept additional flash light but usually a compact camera doesn't have any provision for additional flash gun.
If you are going to buy an SLR camera, decide in favour of one with cool mind. Think of the lenses and other accessories which you may later wish to buy. If you have purchased a Nikon camera body, all your lenses and accessories should be from Nikon only. A Canon lens won't fit on a Nikon body and vice versa. There are compatibility issues to be thought about.
3. Fast response of the shutter : When you press the shutter of your digital camera, an SLR camera will take no additional seconds to capture the image. But in compact digital cameras, a delay of 1/4 sec., 1/2 sec. or even more may be there. The result ? When you pressed the shutter, the dancer was looking at you but by the time picture was captured by the camera, she had her back towards you! Or, you wanted to capture the beautiful smile of your baby, but when the picture was actually shot by the camera, he had a frown on his face !
Minus points of SLR cameras :
1. Only a very few, higher-end digital SLR cameras give you a preview of what the picture will be. Otherwise, you can see the picture only after it has already been taken.
When I switched over from compact to digital SLR, I took a few days to adjust myself to it. I was in the habit of looking at the LCD screen to compose my shot by previewing the image - even the colours, brightness, contrast etc., were visible to me. But no such thing was there in the SLR ! I used to feel very uncomfortable because of this absence of preview picture. Now I don't feel a need for it.
2. An SLR is bigger in size and bulky also. It can't be slipped into your pocket. If an opportunity arises to take a beautiful picture, you may find that the camera is packed
in your suitcase ! Hanging it in your neck may give an impression that you are a professional photographer besides giving you a neck ache. In a marriage or some other social function, it may be quite irritating if someone calls you "- Hey mister, take my photo !" If you can't bear it, go for a compact camera - as slim as possible so that no one will mistake you as a professional.
3. An SLR camera being bigger in size, is very much visible too. As soon as you aim your camera towards someone, you immediately get noticed. Some people may become suspicious as to why you are taking their pictures !
4. An SLR digital camera cannot make a movie for you. I hope this is the final setback of having an SLR. If you are a hobby photographer, you won't like to take two cameras - one digicam and another handycam with you on a picnic! A digital compact camera, being extremely slim, can be taken out of your pocket and can be used to take either the still images or to make a movie. And believe me, these movies are unbelievably good in terms of quality in home movie category. I have tried Sony and Canon compact cameras - both offer exceptionally good image quality. I would say the same for Olympus and Minolta too.
So, for hobby photographers, I strongly recommend not to buy a digital SLR. Those who have a photographic eye, can earn a lot of name and fame with a compact camera also. However, if you are a very serious amateur or a professional photographer, you may buy two SLR camera bodies and six-eight lenses plus a lot of other accessories for them. But if you are one of those people, you won't be reading my blog !
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