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Which Digital SLR is Right for You?

 

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Username: Princeofdesign

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jul-08
Read the following usage descriptions to get a better idea of which Digital SLR is right for you.

Dabbler

I'm exploring photography as a fun hobby but getting serious enough for an SLR and a few lenses. I devote some of my time specifically to photography when I travel. I sometimes have my nephews and nieces pose for me at family gatherings, and I have several hundred pictures of the family cat. I'm thinking about taking a weekend photo seminar. I might make a 16x20-inch print of a great shot and frame it.

Key Features:
Price: Less than $800 for body and starter lens
Resolution: 6 or 8 megapixels
Ruggedness: Any
Frame rate: 2fps to 3fps
Burst depth: 5 to 6 shots
AF speed and tracking: Low end to midlevel
Also look for: Good image histogram; compact body smaller than 24 ounces; lightweight zoom lenses

Student

I'm studying photography and seriously thinking about it as a career. I'm trying out many different styles and disciplines: fine art, photojournalism, commercial, portrait, and wedding. I submit some photos to newspapers and magazines, and I print as large as my budget allows.

Key Features:
Price: Less than $1,200 for body and starter lens
Resolution: 6 or 8 megapixels
Ruggedness: Metal or hybrid metal-polycarbonate body; heavier-duty lenses
Frame rate: 2fps to 3fps and faster
Burst depth: 5 to 6 shots or more
AF speed and tracking: The best you can afford
Also look for: good image histogram; comprehensive viewfinder information display; good raw-conversion software; tethered operation; comprehensive flash-control features

News, Sports, and Action Photographer

I'm a pro or a serious amateur who shoots breaking news; college or professional sports; or serious adult recreational leagues, competitions, and activities. My photos are printed in magazines and newspapers or posted on the Web. I might make prints as large as 16x20 inches.

Key Features:
Price: As much as $5,000 for the body
Resolution: 8 to 10 megapixels
Ruggedness: All metal, moisture- and weather-resistant
Frame rate: 8fps to 10fps
Burst depth: 40 shots or more
AF speed and tracking: The best currently available
Also look for: Extensive fast telephoto and high-speed AF lens lineup; simultaneous raw-plus-JPEG capture; excellent vertical-orientation controls; good image histogram; flexible white-balance controls; comprehensive viewfinder information display; comprehensive flash control features; solid battery life

Documentary, Travel, or Wildlife Photographer

I shoot feature magazine assignments, long-term documentary projects, people and activities on the street, or wildlife and other nonlandscape nature subjects. My pictures are printed in high-quality, glossy magazines and books. Or, I make large prints for display in exhibits, at camera club competitions, or on my wall.

Key Features:
Price: As much as $8,000 for the body
Resolution: 10 megapixels and greater
Ruggedness: Metal or hybrid metal/polycarbonate body
Frame rate: 3fps or faster
Burst depth: 20 to 40 shots
AF speed and tracking: Midlevel to top-notch
Also look for: Simultaneous raw-plus-JPEG capture; excellent vertical orientation controls; tethered-operation capability; solid image histogram; flexible white-balance controls; high-quality raw-conversion software; comprehensive viewfinder information display; comprehensive flash control features; strong battery life; lightweight body and lenses for trekking in the wilderness

Studio, Landscape, and Fine Art Photographer

I shoot portraits and fashions; products for ads, catalogs, billboards, or eBay; and landscapes, close-ups, abstracts, and other fine-art subjects. My pictures might be shown on the Web, printed in a catalog, or made into a 4x6-foot poster in a clothing store. I make exhibition-quality prints in large sizes, 20x30 inches or bigger.

Key Features:
Price: As much as $8,000 for the body
Resolution: 8 megapixels minimum; preferably 10 or more
Ruggedness: All metal or hybrid metal-polycarbonate
Frame rate: 2fps to 3fps
Burst depth: 6 shots or more
AF speed and tracking: Low end to midlevel, depending on typical subjects
Also look for: Tethered operation capability; high-quality raw-conversion software; comprehensive flash-control features; a range of color modes, including new wide-gamut options

Wedding and Event Photographer

I shoot weddings, other kinds of parties, and sometimes youth sports team photos. Most of my pictures are printed at 8x10 inches or smaller, but occasionally I need to make a 20x30. I need a fast onsite work flow to help me make sales to friends, relatives, and other partygoers.

Key Features:
Price: As much as $8,000 for the body
Resolution: 8 megapixels or more
Ruggedness: All metal or hybrid metal-polycarbonate
Frame rate: 2fps to 3fps
Burst depth: 6 shots, but preferably more
AF speed and tracking: Midlevel to top-notch
Also look for: Excellent vertical-orientation controls; tethered operation capability; simultaneous raw-plus-JPEG capture; flexible white-balance controls; compatibility with decent event workflow software; comprehensive flash control features; solid battery life
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