How to Choose the Best DSLR Camera

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to shift to using a DSLR from a point and shoot digital camera. These reasons could range from wanting to get better image quality in your pictures to having the option of manual controls. Also, with photography becoming a more affordable hobby since the advent of digital cameras, it has also drawn more people towards it. After achieving a level of proficiency with digital cameras, most amateur photographers would want to use DSLRs. But how do you choose the best DSLR for beginners and what are the factors that need to be kept in mind? In this article, we give you tips that will help you choose out the best device fit for your needs.

Choosing the Best DSLR

Without beating around the bush, let us take a look at those factors that will help you decide which is the best DSLR for the money that you are spending on it. All the different features that you need to look out for in a camera to indulge in your interest of photography are listed out below.

One of the most important factors to consider while buying a camera is what you are going to use it for. This is also probably the question that the salesperson at the store is going to ask you. Answer this question by figuring out what kind of photography you want to indulge in. Do you want to buy a camera to shoot pictures while going about life or do you want to specialize in sports or wildlife photography? Do not answer this question with what you would want to do in your fantasy land, but anchor the answer in reality.

Most of us have a fixed budget when we go out to buy a camera. This will be an important deciding factor when it comes to buying a camera. The price range where DSLRs are concerned is quite wide with basic models available for as less as USD 400 and going up to thousands of dollars. Setting a budget will ensure that you do not get confused with the variety you have at hand. Remember that your budget will also have to include the cost of lenses (in case you are planning to upgrade them), memory cards, camera bag, batteries (a rechargeable battery is a must have), and if the company offers an option for the same, then extended warranty for the device.

Tech Specs
Manufacturers often overemphasize the number of megapixels that a camera has. While important, this is not the only prominent feature. If you have the concept of megapixels explained to you, you will realize that higher megapixels does not necessarily mean that the image quality is better. A good resolution is definitely a must, but high number of megapixels are needed only if you need to print huge sized images. Another important factor to keep in mind is the image sensor size. The bigger your sensor size, the more the number of pixels it can accommodate, hence bettering the image quality. But then again, the need for this depends on what use you are going to put the camera to. If you are looking at buying one for sports photography, then look for one that has a very high shutter speed. Similarly, burst mode will enable you to shoot a series of images by just pressing down on the shutter release. Image stabilization or anti-shake as the feature is better known, is also an important feature. Other considerations are the range of ISO settings, the LCD size, so that you can view the images you click, and the flash which the camera provides. While cameras for professionals do not have a built in flash, most beginner level DSLRs for digital photography come with a built in flash.

These were some of the important factors to consider while choosing a DSLR for your use. Other factors to consider include the size of the device, as these cameras are not as light as point and shoot ones, so if you are looking for a compact sized device, you will have to search hard, as digital SLRs are generally weighty. If this is not your first DSLR, then check the previous gear you have and decide on your upgrade accordingly. If you had an SLR previously there is a possibility that the lenses you have are compatible with the new one that you want to buy. The same can be true for a memory card which may be compatible with both DSLRs and point and shoot devices. Also consider the possibility of a future upgrade, as this may be something that you need to keep in mind.

Some of the digital SLRs available in the market today are the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi Digital SLR, Sony Alpha Digital SLR-A300 Digital SLR, Olympus Evolt E-510 Digital SLR, Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR, and Olympus E3 Digital SLR. You can also take a look at the different charts of comparison available online to help make your choice. At the end of the day, the final choice can be made only once you have taken a look at the different models for yourself.

Tips to Clean Your Digital SLR Camera

Owning an SLR camera gives you the opportunity and the tool to click some stunning photographs, but you also need to maintain your camera properly and clean it from time to time so that the quality of the images that you click does not suffer. People who use their cameras outdoors a lot will soon find that their picture quality is dropping, and this happens because of dust, grime and other particles that get attached to the sensor of the camera itself. Cleaning your SLR camera is something that you should undertake at least once a month, and if you are an outdoors person, then the frequency of this process should be even greater.

How to Clean Your Digital SLR Camera

SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex, and this is a technology that manipulates the light around the subject so as to give a crisper and clearer image from the camera. Without going into the technicalities of the way this technology functions, it should suffice to say that cleaning the body and the lens of the camera is imperative to continue getting high quality images from the SLR camera that you own. When it comes to maintaining SLR cameras, it is always better to prevent dirt from touching the camera rather than cleaning it later. All camera stores have a lens filter that they sell, and this will protect your cameras lens when it is not being used.

Additionally, the bodies of most SLR cameras soon get smudged with fingerprints so it is advisable to wipe the body once every few days. Even though fingerprints on the body of the camera do not affect the quality of the images that you click, doing so will grant you peace of mind that your camera is actually quite clean. You can either rub the body gently with a soft piece of cloth, and you can even use a canned air duster to clean all the gaps and crevices in the body. Now, the most important part of your SLR camera is the sensor of the camera, and this is the part that needs to be cleaned with precision and care. A clean sensor will absolutely improve the quality of the images that you click.

Cleaning the Sensor and the Lens

The sensor itself is actually quite sensitive, so only someone with a very steady hand should attempt to clean it. What you can do instead, is clean the low pass filter that is located in front of the sensor, in order to get the same results. The best way to do this is to either use methanol, or a liquid that comes as a part of any camera cleaning kit that is easily available in the market. You need to wet a small piece of cloth, or cotton, with the liquid and then slightly swab the filter. In order to locate the filter on your SLR camera you should refer to the handbook and instruction manual that came along with it.

These kits also provide a sensor brush that can be used to lightly dust off the sensor itself, and they also provide in depth instructions on cleaning an SLR camera. As already mentioned, this needs to be done very carefully and with a steady hand, or the sensor can get displaced and ruin the camera completely. Cleaning the lens is also advisable in this situation as this will also lead to better images, and this is even more essential for someone who changes their lenses a lot. Removing a lens and reattaching it leads to the lens mount gathering dust, and this area also needs to be cleaned gently with a microfiber cloth. Both sides of the glass of the lens should be dusted, and this can be achieved with the help of an air blower and the cloth. Remember that the air blower should never be used, and you should never touch the mirror that is located near the sensor as well. Some new SLR models have an automatic sensor cleaning technology, and for these cameras you simply need to work on the body and the lens of the camera.

In order to avoid cleaning your camera too often, always keep it in vacuum bag and clean the body and lens as often as possible, especially if you are clicking images outdoors a lot. Use the lens cap when the camera is not being used, and if you are changing the lenses, do so quickly. Additionally, if you feel that your images are drastically suffering due to dirt and dust, then give your camera to a professional camera store and pay them to clean your SLR effectively.

How to Resolve Troubleshooting your Digital Camera

Digital cameras have seen a great boom since the invention of Polaroids. Almost every household has a digital camera these days. Perhaps that’s not the case with you and you just bought yourself a new digital camera. You’re excited about taking pictures and follow all the steps in the manual properly. But something goes wrong when you’re actually taking a picture or maybe it didn’t come out the way you wanted. Now what? First thing would be to check the important troubleshooting section in the manual provided with the camera. If you still can’t fix the issue(s) with your digital camera, take a look at these quick fixes to any problems you may encounter.

Troubleshooting your Digital Camera

Before you get more frustrated and regret buying your digital camera, try out the functions cited below.

  • If you feel that the image quality is not good, you might want to check the lens for dirt and clean it thoroughly with the kit that is available in the market. Also check what settings are selected.
  • The camera stores images in the memory cards. Make sure that the card is formatted before clicking pictures and the memory card is in the camera while taking pictures.
  • Charge your camera properly. If the battery goes low while processing the picture, chances are that the picture or the video may not be stored in the card. That’s one of the common errors that occur while taking pictures.
  • If you are unable to take pictures at times, make sure that the mode is set properly and it is not in the playback mode. Make some space in the memory card before you start clicking. You can transfer the pictures on the computer.
  • If the flash on your digital camera doesn’t work, check the batteries and wait for the flash to charge.

Troubleshoot Problems With Your Digital Camera

If you have any technical difficulties, there are techniques you can use to fix them before you rush to your nearest digital cameras help desk. If you are interested.

  • At times, many of us forget to charge the camera completely. If the camera is not turning on, make sure that the batteries are charged fully. And if that’s not the case, connect the camera to the AC supply or the adapter of the battery.
  • If your camera gets wet, turn the camera off. Make sure you unplug it from the power supply, remove the batteries and the memory card. Let the camera dry for at least a day before starting the camera again.
  • If you feel that the camera is using a lot of battery, try to minimize the usage of LCD and use the view finder. Since, LCD uses a lot of battery power, make sure you have long-lasting and durable batteries that suit your digital camera. Regular batteries don’t work as much as the ones recommended by the manufacturer or the heavy duty ones.
  • Due to low battery or improper focus, the screen might keep turning off on its own. If the battery is low, replace or recharge them and check the focus settings. During winter, also try warming the battery in your pockets or the palm of your hand, and then insert them into the camera and start clicking.
  • If you are unable to connect the camera to the computer, try using the AC adapter when you are transferring the pictures directly to the computer. On the computer, make sure you have updated version of the software and the drivers. If you are connecting via serial port, make sure there are no conflicts. If your camera connects to the computer via fire wire, first, turn the computer on and then the camera. Next, attach the cable from your camera to the computer. Make sure that you don’t turn off the camera while the cable is still attached to it.
  • If the camera is unable to recognize the memory card, make sure that the card is not corrupt and is properly inserted. Also check if the memory card is not write-protected.

    These were some helpful tips to solve any errors or issues in your digital camera. If there are any other problems besides the ones mentioned above, you can refer to the forums on the manufacturer’s website. Or else, take it to an authentic service center for repairs to check for any damages.

Tips Before You Buying Camera Bags

A camera bag must provide adequate protection and space to the expensive gear it carries. Thus, the rule of thumb to follow while going through myriad of options is to go in for a camera bag that meets these two criteria above all else. Thereafter, you must consider the design and accessibility, additional storage space, weather protection, weight, cost, and the ease with which you can carry the bag. Some brands you can trust are Lowepro, Tamrac, Crumpler, Kata, and Boda camera bags.

Know the Types of Camera Bags

There is a plethora of options when it comes to such camera bags; however, you must go in for a bag that is weather-protected, has plenty of external compartments, and lots of space to store the camera inside.

  • Camera shoulder bags are perhaps the most popular choice among both amateur as well as professional photographers. These bags are very comfortable to carry and can be slung around the neck and arm, thereby, allowing the photographer to move and run more easily. Such bags also accommodate laptops and chargers.
  • Camera backpacks are mostly used for storing a lot of camera gear; however, such bags are not easily accessible and are thus, not preferred by most professional photographers.
  • Lens bags are extremely useful for protecting camera lenses. Being the most important part of a camera, the lens is often extremely expensive and hard to replace. Securing the lenses in a sturdy bag can go a long way in increasing the life and durability of your camera gear.
  • Waist pack camera bags are perhaps the least popular and used bags among the lot. Using such a bag makes sense, if you’re carrying a small camera and wish to keep your hands free most of the time. Those carrying a large camera may use a waist pack for carrying smaller lenses, memory cards, and other knickknacks.
  • Camera hard cases are equipped with several compartments and are preferred by traveling and media crew photographers. The hard case ensures that the expensive and delicate camera gear stays safe. Such cases are able to withstand rough handling and falls.
  • Camera pouch bags are designed for storing pocket-sized digital cameras and come in an array of colors and designs. Larger alternatives can be found with zips and extra compartments for storing memory cards and cords.
  • Camera rolling bags, on the other hand, are more like backpacks on wheels. These camera bags are intended for carrying a lot of camera gear without having to actually carry it. Some cameras and the additional equipment can become extremely heavy, and using a rolling bag makes the task a lot easier.
  • Camera tripod/monopod bags ensure that the gear does not lose its stability or get damaged during transit. These bags are longer and are usually weather-protected to prevent moisture or dust from affecting the gear within.

Tips for Buying a Camera Bag

  • Appropriate Size
    You will need to place your camera in the bag and see if it fits snugly without sliding or rolling to the sides. The camera and its additional gear must all fit into their individual compartments. Therefore, you may consider going in for a bag that has internal padding that also act as compartments. Choose a bag that has a lot of pockets, where you can keep everything you need while photographing, without having to use another bag as a standby for extra items. That being said, you must always travel light and avoid carrying the gear that you never really use.
  • Weight and Portability
    The bigger your camera, the more it will weigh. Therefore, choose a bag that has thick adjustable straps that won’t rub against your skin and cause discomfort. It can get extremely annoying to constantly adjust a bag strap, while you’re busy trying to take rapid camera shots and at fluid angles. The weight of the bag also needs to be considered if you plan on carrying your camera rather than using a monopod or alternative stand. The bag must make it easier for you to carry the camera and not add to the overall weight. It must also be extremely portable and preferably must have a handle. When it comes to hard cases and roller bags, go in for one that is sturdy, lightweight, has smooth wheels, and a strong handle that is comfortable to use.
  • Sufficient Padding and Durability
    The camera bag you select must have adequate padding within the bag to protect the gear from crashing into another or cracking from impact. Your bag must be able to withstand a fall or two, if ever it slips off your hand. Therefore, it must have adequate padding on its exterior as well. The second important criteria you must keep in mind is that the bag must be designed to last for several years to come. The seams of the bag must be well-stitched, and the material used must be durable, waterproof, and resistant to tearing and damage. The lining of the bag must be soft so that the fiber does not scratch the lenses. Do not opt for bags that look fancy and stylish, but fall short of providing adequate support and protection to your camera gear.
  • Secure System
    Before you buy the camera bag, make sure that you check its zippers, locking system, buckles, and Velcro. These features must work perfectly in order to ensure that the contents of your bag stay secure and do not slip out. The main pocket that contains the main gear must ideally have a flap that provides additional coverage.

The cost of the camera bag must also be taken into consideration. The more features the bag has and the better the material and design, the more expensive the bag is likely to be. Therefore, assess your budget and determine the features of the bag that you can and cannot do without.