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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    What to Look for in a Digital SLR Camera? All help greatly valued; Thankyou!

    What to Look for in a Digital SLR Camera? All help greatly valued; Thankyou!

    Currently I own a digital (Olympus C-350 (3.2 MP 3 X Optical Zoom) it’s a great shoot and go camera, but I am now looking to upgrade to an SLR digital camera for using at sports events to get close ups with out being swamped by various officials for breaching “The Perimeter”. Another good reason for getting some extra zoom; is it gets a bit tiresome crawling in on the action wether it be in the jungle or at a kids birthday party like some green berate on a secrete mission. I usually spend quite a bit of time and think of all the possibilities to get that perfect shot as I am sure many of you can appreciate. It is my hope that upgrading to an SLR digital camera may give me more options as well as make life easier in my future photo adventures.

    Please could I get some advice on the following factors? Also please feel free to elaborate in your replies.

    Optical Zoom …Would 10-X Optical Zoom be sufficient. (Generally speaking what could one expect with a 10-X Zoom?) Does anyone know the approximation on distance to hitting on facial expressions in general conditions with a 10-X? Also is there any combination of settings used (or features to look for) to minimize quality loss when zooming over longer distances. (Digital zoom means nothing to me; to be brutally honest I find it quite useless) Do most SLR’s come with some kind of camera shake compensator.

    Mega-Pixels … 3.2 seems to have done me fine, but should I also be looking to increase this as some kind of factor to minimise quality loss when zooming? Admittedly I enjoy having the ability to manipulate my photos with software and the choice of larger print sizes. (I note that larger print sizes at photo competitions seem to win?) This is why I spent extra at the time over a 2mega pixel camera. In reference to Value for Dollar...Would I be getter better; and more features on an SLR by not increasing mega-pixels or would I be cutting my upgrade short?

    Shutter Speed … This was something of a let down for me, as I become more avid in taking photos under low light conditions and action shots. Getting a blurred finish is great; but generally speaking I often ended up with the wrong objects out of focus. What kind of shutter speed and options should I be looking for in this area?

    Successive Shots … Not entirely sure on the name of this option, but none the less; a pretty handing one. This option on my point & shoot takes consecutive shots one after the other within a second or two allowing me to choose the best pic from a moving object. The only let down with this is that the focus and other settings are fixed from the first shot. I don’t suppose there are any improvements to look for or tips I could use when considering this option.

    Delayed Shooting Time … This is something my wife complains to me all the time about. Occasional I can manage to catch the action in time it takes for the camera to load up before capturing the wanted image; I must admit having a faster response time for pushing the button and getting the wanted shot would be good. Any comments on this would also be great?

    Focus … I have heard many times that auto focus has benefits that some manual cameras do not give in certain situations; (Unfortunately I cannot quite remember the circumstances, but none the less I know they exist) do some SLR’s have both auto & manual focus?

    Other Important Features? … I enjoy researching Items before I buy and would really appreciate any replies that may include important features that I have left out when considering the purchase of my much wanted SLR upgrade.

    I am grateful to you all for taking the time to read my post and thank those in advance for their replies.

    Happy Snapping 

    Toowoomba QLD

  2. #2
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Perryville, MD

    Quick Answers

    A few quick answers, others will probably fill in the details.

    A 10x zoom is about as good as you are going to get. The longer the range, the tougher it is to reduce optical problems. A DSLR with two lenses covering the range can be better.

    I doubt you'll find a new camera with less than 4 MP. IMHO, 4 MP on the very small sensor found in consumer cameras is the best match. DSLRs have a much larger sensor that can handle more pixels well.

    I believe that your camera is fully auto. Make sure your new one has full manual controls so you can choose the shutter speed rather than having the camera do it. It will take a while of learning if you haven't used shutter priority before.

    Shutter lag, that annoying delay, is a given for consumer cameras. Some are getting much better but not perfect. Learning how to pre-focus will help you a lot. Remember, sports and other fast-moving photography was done extremely well before AF existed! The delay in a DSLR is minimal, about the same as a film SLR.

    All DSLRs do manual as well as AF focusing.

    Hope this gives you a start.
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  3. #3
    Member ustein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    >Delayed Shooting Time …

    There are two factors:

    1. Camera startup
    2. Shutter lag

    #1: here the Nikon D70 and D2h shine. Virtually zero startup time (all other cameras need a few seconds)

    2. is solved in nearly all DSLR we used (with the Canon 1D Mark II and Nikon D2h the shutter lag is extremely low)


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