The SLR camera market is saturated. Although only five large companies are engaged in their production, each considers it its duty to produce at least two or three new models in different price segments in a year. As a result, the consumer has to choose among dozens of models of SLR cameras. Beginner amateur to do it is not so easy, given that the technical parameters of the mirrors are constantly improving, and the functionality is increasingly expanding. However, the same multiple criteria remain important for selection as before. What? Learn from our article.
THE SIZE OF THE MATRIX
This is a key option for determining the price of the camera and the quality of future photos (by default, we assume that the photographer’s hands grow from where they need to). The matrix (sensor), to put it simply, is a special chip with photo sensors or pixels. In fact, it is the analogue of the film on which the image is drawn. It is clear that all other things being equal, the bigger the matrix, the better it will get a picture. The standard (full-frame) is considered to be the size of 36-24 mm.
Modern mirrors use mainly two types of sensors.
In low-cost SLR cameras use sensors, reduced in one way or another in relation to the full-frame. They can be compared to TVs that have different screen diagonals. The proportion to which the full-frame matrix is reduced is called a krop factor. The quality of images on the stripped sensor, of course, will be lower than on the full frame, but not critical, because the maximum krop factor even on the most inexpensive models does not exceed 1.6, and this is much better than most digitals. Noises here are noticeable on lower ISOs than full-frame cameras, but for printing amateur photos this disadvantage is not significant. At the same time, the snuas is much lighter and much cheaper than the full-size one, which makes the camera more suitable for beginners.
Pros: low cost of camera and optics, small weight and camera size, inexpensive repair.
Cons: not the highest quality picture.
Full-frame matrix put on expensive semi- and professional cameras. It even with relatively little resolution allows you to get realistic colors and high detail. This sensor allows you to increase ISO without worrying about possible noises. Compared to the stripped-down matrix, the focal length increases significantly and the depth of field decreases – the same Boke effect is more impressive. Minus the full-frame cameras – the deterioration of sharpness and detail at the edges of the frame, caused by the features of optics and light-sensitive cells. The light on the periphery of the frame falls at an angle – hence the light aberrations.
Full frame cameras are used mainly by professional photographers – both because of the cost of cameras and optics to them, and because of the significant size of the models. Carrying a two-kilogram unit is a pleasure below average and makes sense only if it pays off with a ringing coin.
Pros: high quality pictures.
Cons: high camera cost, high cost optics, large sizes, expensive repairs.
Now in the midst of the “chasing pixels.” Even tiny camera smartphone manufacturers equip resolution of 20 or more megapixels. Meanwhile, there is no special sense in such characteristics: the quality of the photo depends more on the size of the matrix. If the sensor is tiny, you can only accommodate a large number of photodiodes by reducing their size or compressing in space. Both of these methods, as you know, do not improve the quality of the picture. Hence the bewilderment of many users from the fact that the modern 16-megapixel device gives worse photos than the old 5-megapixel “soap”.
At the same time, it cannot be said that resolution does not matter to mirrors at all. When printing images in large format or when viewing on an “advanced” screen (4K-TV, for example) 12-14 megapixels for a decent result may not be enough. Therefore, it is better to choose an SLR camera with an eye on all possible options for its use.
Each manufacturer uses their own lens mount in their cameras. Accordingly, when choosing an SLR camera, you need to immediately estimate the cost and range of possible upgrade optics. Canon and Nikon offer the widest selection, including low-cost authentic lenses. A little more expensive lenses – Sony and Pentax. Premium optics is offered by Leica. However, you can choose a third-party manufacturer that supports a large number of bayonets of various firms. The leading player in this market is the Japanese company Sigma, which produces optics for all of the above brands.
The presence of a waterproof case is not the most important option. But some amateurs love to shoot in difficult conditions – somewhere in the woods, in the rain, in the heavy fog … If you are one of these people, be sure to buy a camera with waterproof protection. Usually, these models are endowed with a body made of magnesium alloy. And the products Pentax is supplemented with a pretty colour.
It should be remembered that such SLR cameras are protected only from splashes. They can work in the rain, but nothing more. Do not lower such devices underwater – it will lead to a fatal failure. Also, some users forget that the waterproof lens may not have a camera-connected lens. In this case, the water dripping from the sky is quite capable of getting inside the optics. It will not get into the camera, but the optics will then have to be repaired. Therefore, take care of the purchase of a waterproof lens if you want to shoot in difficult weather conditions without any consequences.
This feature has two important parameters that determine the camera’s suitability for good video: resolution and frame rate.
Conventional HD is enough to shoot videos intended for posting in the social network. But if you want to show your creativity at least on a 24-inch TV, then think about cameras with a resolution no less Than Full HD. On the cameras costing under half a million rubles there is also a mode of shooting 4K-video with a resolution of 4096-2160.
The smoothness of the image depends on the frame rate. The minimum suitable for more or less decent rollers option – 30 frames/ s. But this is yesterday. A good level – 50-60 frames/s. There are cameras supporting up to 124 frames/s, the cost they are appropriate.
However, let’s not forget that the mirror is designed primarily for photography, so its video mode is not comparable to a professional camera.
Manufacturers try to bring SLR cameras closer to the usual digital cameras with their widest functionality. Of course, due to the high energy consumption of “side” functions, not everything can be implemented in such large devices as mirrors, but many “chips” are quite accustomed. For example, touch and rotary screens, wi-fi, waterproof body. HDR mode has become popular, when two or more frames with different exposure parameters are combined into one – it is convenient when shooting in poor light or bright counter light.
MOST POPULAR MANUFACTURERS
The Japanese company Canon has been producing cameras since 1937. Now more than 20 models of mirror cameras of this company are sold in Russia. The assembly is predominantly Chinese, Taiwanese and Malaysian, although most of the components are manufactured in Japan. Price spread: from 20,000 to 500,000 rubles.
Nikon is considered Tos canon’s main competitor in the SLR camera segment (including price). This company was founded in 1917. The greatest money for him for a long time brought the production of lenses. Now it is one of the leaders in the production of SLR cameras. About 15 models are now imported to Russia (assembly – Japan, Thailand, China).
The Japanese company Sony began to produce cameras with the advent of the digital era after the takeover of the then famous Konica Minolta. At the same time we talked about the production of mirrors. At first, they were considered “poor relatives” in the world market of such cameras. However, the latest models (there are only four of them on the Russian market) are firmly in the top – both in the quality of manufacturing, and in innovation and functionality.
The history of Pentax cameras began in 1952. The manufacturer is now owned by Ricoh. In terms of the range and market share of SLR cameras Pentax is inferior to the “big three”, in Russia now 7 models are represented. And they refer, rather, to the premium technique.