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Digital SLRs: An Awesome Class of Interchangeable-Lens Cameras

February 2, 2012 By Jason Schneider
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Despite some stiff competition from mirrorless, compact interchangeable-lens cameras and fetchingly slim long-zoom point and shoots, digital SLRs are still the mainstay among professional photographers, serious shooters and emerging enthusiasts, and they remain a robust and expanding sector of the camera market.

Even those just stepping up from a point and shoot understand that the DSLR’s ability to change lenses vastly increases their shooting flexibility, and that having an eye-level viewfinder, superior AF performance and a big sensor enhances their overall picture-taking experience, taking it to a whole new quality level. It’s safe to say that as a class, today’s high-performance DSLRs, and their unparalleled selection of lenses and accessories, are the gateway to the most advanced, most highly developed picture-taking systems on the planet.

Camera manufacturers have responded to the broad appeal of DSLRs by unleashing an astonishing array of models ranging from broad-spectrum and enthusiast-aimed to prosumer and top-of-the-line pro models that take the basic concept of the digital single-lens reflex to unimaginable new heights of sophistication, convenience and outright performance.

Indeed, many of these cameras are so good even entry-level models are capable of delighting serious enthusiasts, and middle-tier models are often pressed into service by working pros. In terms of sheer value and performance at each price point, today’s DSLR offerings not only provide a phenomenal opportunity for camera buyers, they also offer dealers the best possible platform for selling lenses and accessories—the key factor that spells the difference between mere survival and truly prospering in challenging times.

To provide you with an overview of today’s impressive DSLRs, we present a representative sample of this season’s popular models categories, ranging from entry level to ultrapro. We’ve tried to strike a balance between the most recent introductions and those models with an established record of success, and we hope your favorite model made our list.

                    Entering at a Higher Level: Broad-Spectrum DSLRs
Nikon D3100
An easy-to-use entry into DSLR photography, the 14.2MP D3100’s enhanced guide mode, viewed on its 3.0-inch LCD, displays sample images that change with camera settings to teach users how to achieve a desired look and guide them through techniques such as softening backgrounds or freezing action. It also features: face detection that locks focus on faces; D-lighting that automatically rescues dark or backlit images; an auto scene selector that chooses the best scene mode; Full HD 1080p or 720p HD video recording; special effects; ISO expandable to 12,800; in-camera editing; and one-touch live view shooting and movie capture. $649.95 with 18-55mm VR image stabilization lens. nikonusa.com
 

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