DSLR camera: Basic knowledge

Whether you are a professional or a photography novice, there’s a DSLR camera out there for you. Before scouring the Internet for your new camera, there are a few things you should take into consideration before making a purchase.

A DSLR camera allows you to have full control of the exposure of your images. Exposure has three basic elements; the aperture, the shutter speed and the ISO sensitivity.

F-Stops
The aperture adjustments (calculated in f-stops) give you the ability to control how much light enters your lens, depending on the style of photography you want to achieve or the level of light you are shooting in. The higher the f-stop number, the smaller the aperture, and the less light will enter your lens – the resulting image will not be in full focus, giving it a softer, diffused effect. If you’re looking for extremely detailed images or are taking pictures in very low light, a lower f-stop number will allow more light to enter the lens.

Shutter Speed
The shutter speed provides the opportunity to control how much light enters the camera. If the shutter is open for a longer time, more light will enter the camera, and the image will appear blurry. A larger shutter speed is ideal in darker conditions where light is low- the use of a tripod is recommended! In very bright light conditions, a lower shutter speed will avoid an overexposed image, characterized by white light on a picture.

ISO Sensitivity
The ISO sensitivity measures how the sensor in your camera reacts to light. The advantage of a DSLR camera over a regular point-and-shoot camera is that they are able to shoot at much higher ISO (lower light conditions). This often eliminates the need to use flash photography.

Camera Resolution
In addition to the exposure capacities of your camera, you may want to consider the resolution before making a purchase. The resolution of all digital cameras is measured in megapixels, and broadly speaking, the more the better when it comes to comparing DSLR cameras. This is slightly different when comparing types of cameras, for example point-and-shoot or phone cameras, as their sensors are normally much smaller, therefore needing more megapixels to offer the same level of resolution. For personal use, a DSLR camera with more than 10 megapixels will provide high-quality images, but when it comes to professional photography, it is recommended to aim for more than 12 megapixels of resolution.

Auto and Manual Focus
Another advantage of a DSLR camera is the option to focus automatically or manually to add artistic components to your image. All newer models of cameras offer an autofocus option, but some DSLR cameras have useful extra functions which you may want to look out for when shopping. For example, some cameras offer face recognition, or multipoint focus which produces great action shots. The autofocus can also choose the right exposure settings for you to avoid the disappointment of over-exposed or dark images.

With this knowledge of the basic features of a DSLR camera, you can start hunting for the model appropriate to your needs. Nikon and Canon are well-known brands which offer both entry-level cameras at affordable prices, as well as cameras with professional specs. Once you have narrowed your options down, look them up online, read reviews for users of those models, and keep an eye out for sales where you could get a good deal!