DSLR has been THE buzz word in the photography world for years now. And most people are not even sure why they need one. I can’t even begin to estimate the number of times I’ve been asked “What type of DSLR and lenses should I get?” For me, that question is always met with a barrage of questions that usually lead me to the answer “You actually don’t need or want a DSLR”.
I’ll start with my four common questions back to the person buying a camera and their most common answers:
- What’s your budget: $300-500
- What are you going to be shooting the most?: Vacation/Travel, kids sporting events
- What scenarios will you be shooting in?: Everything from bright outdoors to lower light indoors.
- What are you going to do with the photos?: Mostly post them and make some prints.
So let’s break this down.
Question 1: This limits you to a few options that offer a diverse range. For an entry level DSLR you’re looking at a Canon Rebel (oh by the way I’m a canon guy so all my answers will be canon focused) with an 18-55mm lens. This means your lens will be wide to medium focal length. I.E. you’re not going to be zooming in on anything. This will leave the average novice photographer very frustrated with their camera purchase.
Question 2: The fact that you’r looking for a vacation camera tells me that you’re looking for something compact, light, with diverse focal lengths. If you’re shooting your kids events, you’re going to need something that has a great zoom range, fires and focuses quickly.
Question 3: You’ll need something with a great ISO range. ISO refers to the sensors sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO the more sensitive it is, and the brighter the image becomes. However this does not come without it’s challenges. As you increase the ISO, the image becomes noisier or grainier. Higher end DSLRS can pull usable images from north of 25,000 ISO. Consumer level start to fall apart above 3200.
Question 4: Even the most basic cameras are 16 MP or higher these days. Which is way more than enough to print a high res 11×14 image. Most people will never even print that big.
What does this all mean? Simple, this leads me to an answer that, surprise surprise, you don’t need a DSLR. You want something with flexible options that you can take anywhere and shoot just about anything with. Canon makes somewhat of a hybrid camera called the SX530.
It’s a hybrid of sorts for those who want full manual control sometimes, but prefer the more compact footprint of a point and shoot. The camera boasts 16 MP, with a 50X optical zoom. You read that right, 50. That’s the equivalent of a 24 – 1200mm zoom…basically wide angle to super telephoto range. This means that you’re not bringing two lenses on your trip to Europe and you’re not getting dust on your sensor when you change lenses.
In addition the SX530 also shoots 10 frames per second bursts so when you’re tracking your kiddos running down the field (zoomed in tight of course) you can shoot quick, sharply focused shots. It also shoots full HD video which adds to the vacation appeal for those who also tote a video camera along. Lastly, for those who want to sync and post much faster, the camera is WIFI enabled so you can transfer the shots to your mobile device for quick editing and posting.
Possibly the best part of this camera is that it’s only $279. Which is well below your $300-500 budget.
So what’s the downside? The only detractor I can find in a camera at this price point is that it’s not greaaaaaaat at higher ISO’s. But that’s not a deal breaker for me. It still does a reasonable job at that price point. And candidly, unless you’re willing to break the $1,000 mark, you’re not going to have much luck getting great high ISO results.
Hopefully this helps you to make an informed decision on your camera purchase!