35mm SLR Cameras
Technology never ceases to amaze me, and digital cameras are no exception. However, there is nothing quite like the beautiful quality photographs you get from the good ol' digital camera
no matter how high the resolution, is going to come close to a 35mm SLR. Plus, some might still enjoy the excitement of going to pick up developed pictures without having to deal with printing them all out at home off of a computer onto photo paper.
For professionals, there is no question that 35mm SLR cameras are more versatile. They allow you to use not only 35mm color film, but the use of B&W, slides, and infrared film, which can all be easily scanned into a digital format rendering or digital enhancements if desired.
Here are the PC World
's top-rated products (from the June 2006 issue)
What Is SLR?
For those of you who are new to the photography world, SLR stands for "Singleend, 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. 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.
To get more of an idea of what an SLR can offer in detail, see this article
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 not 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. As you become more advanced you will surely look into purchasing a better camera.
*** For a comprehensive website on all the older Nikon versions, which are a dependable pick for going with a used SLR, see JRP's FAQ
. My first SLR was a Nikon F3 and it is still going strong.
** For quality on a '''Budget''', try one of these highly-rated cameras:
*** There is the Canon EOS Rebel, either a K2
which cost $200+ depending on the lens kit included.
*** Or check out the Canon EOS Elan 7N
features more than the above models, but also goes for around $400.
*** Or try the 3
* '''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 popin 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 2570mm zoom lens as you become more comfortable with your camera.
Product Lineup By Brand
** Canon EOS 1V
** Canon EOS 300
** Canon EOS 500
** Canon Rebel G
** Minolta Dynaxx 5
** Minolta Dynax 700si
** Minolta Maxxum 7
** Minolta XTsi
** Nikon FM2n
** Nikon F60
** Nikon F65
** Nikon F2
** Nikon F3
** Nikon F4s
** Pentax K1000
** Pentax ZX5N
** Zenit 12XP
** Zenit 122
Related Buying Guides
* Auxiliary Lenses and Lens Clips/Covers
* External Flashes
* 35mm Film