35mm SLR Cameras
The digital revolution may have come to fruition, but there is still a place in the world for the 35mm SLR camera. Giving the photographer total control over each shot, many feel that it still gives crisper, richer photographs than those of a digital camera . They are also extremely versatile, allowing the use of colour or B&W film, slides, and infra-red film. And for those who like to mix and match their technology, photographs can always be scanned into digital format for further enhancements.
What Is SLR?
For those of you who are new to the photography world, SLR stands for "Single-Lens Reflex". These are high-end, quality cameras that do more than just take your standard snapshots. These are great for professionals and the aspiring amateur alike.
Think about this: Have you ever used a camera and thought, "I spent how much for this camera? And all it does is turn out mediocre pictures?" SLRs do much more than a point and shoot. They give you control over the aperture, film speed, shutter speed, brightness, focusing, zoom, and more. They give you more than the ability to aim. They give you full creative-license to take pictures that will make your friends and family say, "Wow, you really took that?"
One of the greatest fears that people have when getting into photography is not knowing how to use a camera. It's really not as scary as most people think. Kodak and National Geographic have excellent guides available in paperback to help you along on your artistic path to learning how to use an SLR. From aperture to depth of field, composition, and film speed, they go through it all. They even explain what all those funny buttons on your camera are. Imagine that.
Features to Focus On
- Price Range: How much can you afford to spend? This may be a factor that decides whether you buy new or used.
- Used cameras are just as good as new ones, so don't think that if you can't spend a lot that you can't buy a really good camera. Just keep in mind that you should carefully check a used camera before committing to it.
- The outside is less important and scratches are not really a big deal.
- Be on the look out for any cracks or loosely fitted parts, seams that don't line up straight, buttons or knobs that stick, etc.
- On the inside the most important is cleanliness. See if any of the parts look like they have been tampered with or if they are dirty. A sign of a well-cared for camera is a flawless interior.
- Great for the beginning photographer or for those who are taking a class in photography.
- Spend less and see how you like using that particular brand of camera, and perhaps even if you want to pursue photography to a higher level.
- Auto-Focus or Manual Focus
- Generally, manual focus models are less expensive that AF models.
- While AF models are useful for the beginner who may have difficulties focusing, their rendition is a less than an accurate portrayal of what the photographer sees.
- Because AF models rely on electronic functions, they are less reliable.
- AF models use more batteries, so keep in mind to carry extras with you.
- Depth of Field Preview
- This is a feature available on most newer SLRs that offers a more precise view of which parts of your shot will be focused or not.
- Integrated Flash
- Today's SLR models usually have a pop-up flash that serve as fill-in light, but less than an external flash would.
- Light Meter
- For beginners especially, an integrated light meter will help you get the proper amount of light in a shot.
- For the advanced photographer, pricier models offer multiple metering modes, such as matrix metering.
- How does the camera feel in your hand? Because SLRs are usually bigger and heavier than a point and shoot models, you will have to be accustomed to the feel of your camera in order to be comfortable using it.
- If you are looking for portablity, opt for something as lightweight as possible, and think about investing in a camera strap . Leather styles happen to be very comfortable and last a long time, but whatever fabric you choose, a neck strap will keep your hands free and your camera in reach.
- Check for where the controls are placed. If you know that you will be adjusting certain controls more often, make sure that they will be easy to use.
- If you wear glasses, check to see how easy it is to use the viewfinder.
- Many models are sold as "body only". Therefore, you will need to look into buying a lens or two. You could start with a 50mm f/1.8, then try a 25-80mm or 35-70mm zoom lens as you become more comfortable with your camera.
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