Building a digital SLR system
Digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras are the standard tool for serious photographers. With the introduction of cameras such as the Nikon D40 and the Canon Digital Rebel XTi the market for digital SLR cameras has expanded tremendously. A point-and-shoot compact digital camera can offer reasonably good image quality, but a digital SLR, which usually looks a lot like an old standard 35mm film camera and may use the same lenses, offers the following advantages:
ccurate, large, and bright optical viewfinder
fast operation and large controls
excellent image quality in low “available” light situations when it is necessary to use higher ISO speeds
For more information on what to consider when purchasing a DSLR, including details on lens compatibility, system expandibility, size and weight, ISO settings, noise levels, etc, take a look at Bob Atkins’ article on Factors to Consider when Choosing a Digital SLR Camera.
With the digital SLR you have a good idea of what you’re going to capture by looking through the viewfinder. When you press the shutter release the camera captures the image immediately. If you need to zoom or focus manually there are large rings that you can operate quickly by feel. If you see a beautifully-lit scene you can capture that beauty instead of using an on-camera flash to blast everything with harsh white light. If you need to make a specialized photo, you can buy or rent a specialized lens and attach it to the camera.
This article explains the different kinds of digital SLR cameras available, how to choose the right one for you, and what to do once you get it home from the shop. A digital SLR camera system, complete with lenses and accessories, can cost anywhere from $600 to $10,000. This article shows you how to choose and buy the basic items first and the more expensive and hard-to-use components later.
[If you don't want to read this article and are impatient to get started immediately, get a Canon Digital Rebel XTi (review) and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC for Canon, $439; if you must have a zoom, the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM, $1060 (review) is a good choice.]