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Camera comparison – DSLRs under 30K

Camera comparison - mparison DSLRs under 30K
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It’s been more than a decade that we are doing shutterbug tutorial and there remains hardly any category that’s still not talked about. We have covered several genres of photography ranging from landscape to portrait to wildlife to abstract to macro and shadow photography. We have enlightened the novices and helped the experts to go the right way.

And right then, we feel it’s time now to shift our focus to something more technical, though not deviating from our common interest – photography. This issue is all about some best reviewed cameras launched since the last season of 2016 and a detailed comparison of 6 best cameras of entirely my choice!

Why DSLR and not any other camera?

For decades, the DSLR (digital SLR) has been the top choice for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, a DSLR offers three key ingredients: manual controls, excellent picture quality and interchangeable lenses.

Mirrorless cameras are another option of course. They’re smaller, mechanically simpler and, like DSLRs, they take interchangeable lenses. A DSLR is still the cheapest way to get a camera with interchangeable lenses and a viewfinder (entry-level mirrorless cameras don’t have viewfinders) and, at the other end of the scale, almost all professional sports, press and wildlife photographers choose fullframe DSLRs over every other camera type. In between are a whole range of digital SLRs aimed at different users, different levels of experience and different budgets.

Here’s our pick and comparison sixof the standout DSLR cameras you can buy right now. All of them are launched in 2016 (new ones) and all of them are under 30,000/- (you won’t feel the punch in the pocket too hard to start off with).

There are my top 6 picks of DSLR cameras under

₹ 30,000 available in India right now (2017):

  • Nikon D3400: 24.1MP, 11AF points, 1200 shots, 395g, 18-55mm
  • Nikon D5200: 24MP, 39AF points, 500 shots, 555g, 18-55mm
  • Nikon D3300: 24MP, 11AF points, 700 shots, 460g, 18-55mm
  • Canon EOS 1300D: 18MP, 9AF points, 500 shots, 485g, 18-55mm + 55-200mm
  • Canon EOS 1200D: 18MP, 9AF points, 500 shots, 480g, 18-55mm + 55-200mm
  • Sony SLT-A58K: 20MP, 15AF points, 690 shots, 492g, 18-55mm

Before we head towards a detailed comparison of these six cameras, let us learn about some of the specification terms and why we need to keep these in mind while the big-buy.

Understanding Sensor Size

Most consumer DSLRs use image sensors that, while much larger than those found in point-and-shoot cameras, are somewhat smaller than a 35mm film frame. This can be a bit confusing when talking about a camera’s field of view, as focal lengths for compacts are often expressed in terms of 35mm equivalency. The standard APS-C sensor features a “crop factor” of 1.5x. This means that the 18-55mm kit lens that is bundled with most DSLRs covers a 35mm field of view equivalent to 27-82.5mm. If you’re upgrading from a point-and-shoot that has a 3x zoom lens that starts at about 28mm, the DSLR kit lens will deliver approximately the same field of view.

There are many inherent advantages to a larger sensor. It allows you to better control the depth of field in images, making it possible to isolate your subject and create a blurred background. This blur is often referred to by the Japanese term bokeh. Much has been written about the quality of the bokeh created by different lenses, but the general rule of thumb is that the more light a lens can capture—measured numerically as its aperture, or f-number—the blurrier the background can be. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 lets in eight times as much light as one of f/4, and can create a shallower depth of field at an equivalent focal length and shooting distance.

So, don’t wait any more and do your month’s luxury investment in Vertu that exudes luxury, makes people steal looks and invites curiosity.

Another reason to go for the big sensor is to minimize image noise. A 20-megapixel DSLR has much larger pixels than a point-and-shoot of the same resolution. These larger pixels allow the sensor to be set at a higher sensitivity, measured numerically as ISO, without creating as much image noise. An advantage to the larger surface area is that changes in color or brightness are more gradual than that of a point-and-shoot. This allows more natural-looking images with a greater sense of depth.

Choose a Camera That Feels Right

It’s very important to choose a camera that feels comfortable in your hands. While most DSLRs are similar in size and build, the styling of the handgrip, position of controls, and other ergonomic features can differ drastically. The camera you choose should be one that you are most comfortable using. If a DSLR is too big or small for you to hold comfortably, or if the controls are not laid out in a way that makes sense to you, chances are you won’t enjoy shooting as much as you should.

Get the Best Viewfinder

By definition, a DSLR features an optical viewfinder that shows you the exact image the camera’s lens is capturing—but not all of these viewfinders are created equal. A mirror directs light from the lens to the viewfinder, which is one of two types. The first, the pentamirror, is generally found on entry-level cameras like the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and the Nikon D5500. This type of viewfinder uses three mirrors to redirect the image to your eye, flipping it so that it appears correct, as opposed to the upside down and backwards image that the lens is actually capturing.

The second type of optical viewfinder is the pentaprism. This is a solid glass prism that does the same job as the pentamirror. A pentaprism is generally heavier and brighter than a pentamirror. The extra brightness makes it easier to frame images and to confirm that your photo is in focus. Pentaprisms usually start appearing in mid-range DSLRs, like the Canon 80D, and are standard issue on pro bodies like the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. The Pentax K-70 is a rare entry-level model with a pentaprism that features 100-percent coverage; that affordable camera also boasts full weather sealing for use on rainy or snowy days.

You should also pay attention to magnification and coverage numbers for pentaprism finders, as they give you an idea of the actual size of the finder and how much of the captured image can be seen. In both cases you’ll want to look for a higher number.

Another Option: The EVF

A few SLRs on the market offer a third viewfinder option—an electronic viewfinder. Sony cameras that feature fixed, semi-transparent mirrors, like the Alpha 77 II, are sometimes referred to as SLTs. Rather than redirecting light to your eye, the semitransparent mirror in these cameras redirects it to an autofocus sensor. If you aren’t set on an optical finder, these cameras are worth considering. Even Sony’s flagship full frame Alpha 99 uses an OLED EVF, eschewing the glass pentaprism found in other full frame SLRs.

Continuous Shooting and Autofocus Speed

DSLRs have another big advantage over pointand-shoots—speed. The time that it takes between hitting the shutter button and the camera capturing a picture, referred to as shutter lag, and the wait time between taking photos—recycle time—are often concerns with compact cameras. DSLRs generally focus very quickly and deliver shutter lag that is nearly immeasurable.

Continuous shooting is measured in frames per second. At minimum, you should look for a camera that can shoot three frames per second, although sports and nature shooters will want to look for a camera that can shoot faster than five frames per second. Of course, the autofocus system has to be able to keep up with the frame rate. Basic DSLRs like the Nikon D3300 often only have a few autofocus points, which makes it difficult to track moving subjects. The high-end Canon 7D Mark II and Nikon D500 have autofocus points that cover most of the frame, making them favorites of photographers interested in capturing sports action and wildlife. Continuous shooting and autofocus performance go hand-in-hand, so it is important to look for a camera that does both well.

Live View and HD Video

Video recording is now a standard feature in DSLRs. Look for one that continues to autofocus while recording. You should also check its autofocus speed when taking photos using live view, as that can often be very slow. Canon has made strides in improving focus speed when recording video with models like the T6s and 80D, and Sony cameras focus just as quickly when recording video as they do when shooting stills. A microphone input jack is important if you plan on using the video function often—an external mic will capture much better sound than the camera’s built-in microphone.

A detailed comparison

1. Canon EOS 1300D

Great camera indeed, that can replace the next in the list! Low price, good image quality, though no touchscreen and a bit slow live view focusing.

Price: ₹ 27,990

canon-eos-1300d

SPECS: Sensor 22.3 x 14.9 mm APS-C CMOS sensor

  • Maximum resolution 18MP
  • Display Fixed 3.0’’ 460k-dot
  • Continuous Shooting 3fps
  • Auto focus points 9
  • ISO 100-6400
  • Video 1080 30p
  • Battery 500 shots
  • Included lens 18-55mm + 55-200mm
  • Weight 485g

Pros

  • WiFi/NFC
  • Lens kit

Cons

  • 3fps continuous shooting
  • Display
  • ISO
  • Auto focus points

Brief: The 1300D uses the same sensor as the camera it replaces, the 1200D, but it has a newer processing engine and this enables it to produce slightly better quality images. In reality you’re unlikely to be able to spot much difference at normal image viewing sizes though, so it’s not a real biggie. Where the 1300D does score over the 1200D though is the connectivity department; it has got Wi-Fi and NFC technology built-in. This means you can transfer images to your smartphone for super-quick sharing. You can also use your phone to control the camera remotely, which is ideal for taking group shots with you in the frame. The screen has also been upgraded from a 3-inch 460K dot unit to one with 920K dots, which makes images look much sharper.

2. Canon EOS 1200D

Low price with a very good image quality. However, slow live view focusing, and no touchscreen or Wi-Fi.

Price: ₹ 26,990

Canon EOS 1200DSPECS: Sensor 22.3 x 14.9 mm APS-C CMOS sensor

  • Maximum resolution 18MP
  • Display Fixed 3.0’’ 460k-dot
  • Continuous Shooting 3fps
  • Auto focus points 9
  • ISO 100-6400
  • Video 1080 30p
  • Battery 500 shots
  • Included lens 18-55mm + 55-250mm
  • Weight 480g

Pros

  • Lens kit

Cons

  • 3fps continuous shooting
  • Display
  • ISO
  • Auto focus points

BRIEF: The introduction of the 1300D means the 1200D isn’t likely to be available for much longer but while it is it’s possible to pick up a real bargain. So if you’re not concerned about being able to connect your phone to your camera via Wi-Fi or NFC, it could be the one to go for. The 1200D has the same 18MP sensor as the 1300D and although it’s getting on a bit, it’s still good. That said, it can’t match the 24.2MP device in the Nikon D3300 for capturing detail. The 1300D and 1200D’s 3fps continuous shooting speed is also leisurely compared to the Nikon’s 5fps rate, and where that camera includes built-in help guides, you’ll have to resort to downloading Canon’s versions through a separate smartphone app.

3. Nikon D3300

It’s not the most expensive entry-level DSLR, but we think it’s the best with a great image quality, guide mode, fixed screen though without a built-in WiFi.

Price: ₹ 33,990

camera_digital_nikon_d3300SPECS: Sensor 23.5 x 15.6 mm APS-C CMOS sensor

  • Maximum resolution 24MP
  • Display Articulated 3.0’’ 921k-dot
  • Continuous Shooting 5fps
  • Auto focus points 11
  • ISO 100-12800
  • Video 1080 30p
  • Battery 700 shots
  • Included lens 18-55mm
  • Weight 460g

Pros

  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • 1080 60p video
  • Battery

Cons

  • ISO

BRIEF: The D3300’s 24.2MP sensor resolves bags of detail with minimal image noise up to ISO3200, and also produces decent results at higher sensor sensitivities. Much like pricier Nikon DSLRs, it does away with an anti-aliasing filter to maximise image sharpness. This is also a very easy camera to live with. Its clever Guide Mode is a useful learning tool that gives real-time explanations of important features, whilst the collapsible 18-55mm kit lens is great when you’re on the go. It’s a shame you don’t get an articulated touchscreen display or Wi-Fi connectivity, but Nikon does make a cheap plug-in Wi-Fi adaptor if that’s a deal-breaker for you.

4. Nikon D3400

The new Nikon D3400 as a great camera for beginners, thanks mainly to the price decrease and the new kit lens.

Nikon D3400SPECS: Sensor 23.5 x 15.6 mm APS-C CMOS sensor

  • Image processing EXPEED 4
  • Maximum resolution 24.1MP
  • Display Fixed 3’’ 921k-dot
  • Continuous Shooting 5fps
  • Auto focus points 11
  • ISO 100-25600
  • Video 1080 60p
  • Battery 1200 shots
  • Included lens 18-55mm
  • Weight 395g

Price: ₹ 29,990

Pros

  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Battery
  • Video 60fps
  • ISO

Cons

  • Couldn’t find any, especially at this price

BRIEF: The Nikon D3400 is a new entry-level DSLR camera with a 24.2 megapixel DX format APS-C sensor with no anti-aliasing filter. The main improvements to the D3400 are extended battery life and SnapBridge support. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), SnapBridge creates a connection between the D3400 and a smart device, making it possible to wirelessly and automatically transfer images. The Nikon D3400 also features an EXPEED 4 processor, 5fps continuous shooting, a 3 inch 921k-dot LCD monitor, one-touch full 1080p HD video recording with autofocus, quick-access Live View mode, ISO range of 100-25600, 11-point autofocus system with a cross-type sensor in the centre, 10 special effects, and an interactive Guide Mode.

 

5. Nikon D5200

With excellent low light performance, reliable results and speedy access to the most common settings, the D5200 makes it easy to make the most of your photography.

Nikon D5200SPECS: Sensor 23.5 x 15.6 mm APS-C CMOS sensor

  • Maximum resolution 24MP
  • Display Articulated 3.0’’ 921k-dot
  • Continuous Shooting 5fps
  • Auto focus points 39
  • ISO 100-6400
  • Video 1080 30p
  • Battery 500 shots
  • Included lens 18-55mm
  • Weight 555g

Price: ₹ 25,990

Pros

  • 5fps continuous shooting

Cons

  • ISO

BRIEF: The Nikon D5200 is a new 24.1megapixel DSLR camera that can record Full 1080p HD movies at 1920×1280 pixels / 25fps or 50i/60i with stereo sound. A highresolution 3-inch vari-angle LCD monitor makes it easier to compose your shots from difficult angles, while the extensive ISO range of 100- 25600 should cope with virtually all lighting conditions. A 5fps burst shooting mode, EXPEED 3 image processor, 39-point autofocus system with 3D Focus Tracking, 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor, High Dynamic Range mode, Active D-Lighting, seven different special effects for stills and movies and a new generation GUI design complete the Nikon D5200’s headline specs.

 

6. Sony SLT-A58K

The new Sony 58 brings mid-range performance and features to the entry-level market.

Sony SLT-A58KSPECS: Sensor: 23.2 x 15.4mm, “Exmor” APS HD CMOS sensor

  • Maximum resolution: 20MP
  • Display: Artculated 2.7’’ 460k-dot
  • Auto Focus Point: 15 point
  • Continuous Shooting: 5fps
  • ISO: 100-16000
  • Video: 1080 25p/50i
  • Battery: 690 shots
  • Included lens: 18-55mm
  • Weight: 492g

Price: ₹ 29,999

Pros

  • Battery
  • ISO Range
  • AF system
  • Inbuilt image stabilization means cheaper lenses

Cons

  • Smaller screen
  • Electronic viewfinder (although it shouldn’t have any impact on the quality of photos)
  • Lenses can be difficult to find

BRIEF: The Sony A58 is a new interchangeable lens camera that uses Sony’s unique Translucent Mirror Technology to offer high-speed shooting and a smaller body size. The 20.1 megapixel A58 features 8fps burst shooting with new Lock-on Autofocus, full HD 25p video with control over exposure and continuous autofocusing, 15-point phase-detection autofocus system with 3 cross sensors, ISO range of 100-16000, a 2.7-inch tilting LCD screen, a high-resolution OLED Tru-Finder with 100% coverage, Sweep Panoramas, Auto HDR and Multi-frame Noise Reduction.

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