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Best DSLR for Beginners


The DSLR market place is absolutely swamped with competing models these days.

The models I’m going to be looking at today are all very reputable brand names: Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony.

OK, first up let’s look at the Canon EOS Rebel T3. The EOS brand has a long history. It’s been around for over 25 years with the digital version about half as old. The Rebel T3 will work well under low light conditions. It has an ISO rating that goes from 100 — 6400. The ISO rating is really something that has carried over from the film days. The lower the number, the more sensitive your film would be to the image you are shooting. Almost all cameras nowadays will adjust for this automatically. However you should be warned that just because a camera can shoot under very low light conditions doesn’t mean that you will be provided with an image that has a lot of detail in it. The sensors are much better than they use to be, but for me I always prefer to shoot with more light than less.

The viewfinder on this Canon is 2.7″ in size measured diagonally across the screen, not the biggest but still plenty of screen to view when you’re shooting video.

Now the Canon Rebel T3 does not have the largest sensor of this comparison group — it will record up to 12 megapixels, the Nikon I’m about to tell you about records up to 24 megapix, however over the years I have shot more professional video on a Canon DSLR than any other brand. I’ve never been disappointed. I’m a big fan of the Canon line.

Nikon is another quality brand out in the marketplace. The entry level DSLR that I’m putting into this comparison group is the Nikon D3200. As with the other cameras, this camera shoots stills as well as video. One very nice feature the D3200 has is that you can shoot stereo sound with it. The camera comes with a built-in microphone that records in mono only, but you can add your own stereo mic through a mini-plug input to record stereo audio. This camera records HD video up to 1080p. Many on the market will only go up to 1080i.

This is a bit of marketing hype however; I would defy most viewers to be able to discern the difference between 1080i and 1080p.
As mentioned earlier the Nikon has a very large sensor within the camera body, recording up to 24 megapixels. It also comes with the largest monitor, tied with Pentax, which is 3 inches in size.

Sony’s entry into this comparison group is the Sony Alpha a58. This camera will record still images with a sensor that is quite large. It weighs in at 20.1 megapixels. Sony also boasts video recording up to 1080 — 60i recording in AVCHD. This is the only camera in the group to use AVCHD.
This is a format that Sony jointly designed with Panasonic known as Advanced Video Coding High Definition.

The Alpha a 58 has a 2.7 inch monitor on the back for monitoring.

Sony uses lenses manufactured by other companies. The Alpha a58 has a Minolta/Konica glass out front.

Sony has been around for years and is better known in the video market than the photography market. I have spent far more time using Sony products simply because I work primarily in the video production industry. But they’ve made strong inroads into the consumer DSLR field and they do produce a reliable product.

The final camera we’re going to look at is from Pentax. The K-500 is a solid camera but does lag ever so slightly in image quality. This camera’s sensor falls in between Canon and Nikon models. The Pentax K-500 has a 16 megapixel sensor.

Video capturing is very impressive. It will record in full 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second or at 720p if you want to record at 60 frames per second. This may sound like a nice option to have but in reality, as I said earlier its more marketing than anything else.

Sometimes it best to shoot at the lower resolution to ensure you can get more recording time out of your record medium.

I have a bit of a soft spot for Pentax products as my first SLR camera was the Pentax K-1000, but I’m dating myself. It was extremely reliable.

In the final analysis, none of these choices will lead you astray. They are all very good models made by solid companies. I have my biases as you heard in this video but I have used 3 of the 4 company’s products and I have never been disappointed.

Like with anything once you get your hands on a model and spend some time shooting with it, it will become 2nd nature to you and your skills as a photographer/videographer will grow rapidly.

Happy shooting.

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