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We will help you decide upon, not just the right priced DSLR digital camera but, the best DSLR camera for your requirements.

DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Single Lens Reflex cameras, film or digital, use a mirror between the lens and the film or digital sensor; the lens reflects (reflex!) the image, through the lens, onto a focus screen. The photographer, via a viewfinder, can see exactly what’s being taken. A fantastically useful innovation.

Cheap does not in any way infer a lack of quality, all of our digital cameras are from top brands and especially Canon, Nikon and Sony.

Our recommendations and sales are based upon reports and feedback from experienced photographers; some professional and many practical and accomplished amateurs, as to what they see as the best cheap DSLR digital cameras.

Cheap DSLR are totally independent and genuinely working on your behalf to source the best DSLR deals available.

We are constantly searching and researching; checking for new digital cameras and the best prices.

OUR CURRENT TOP TEN AFFORDABLE DSLR’s

The DSLR market is dominated by the big three, Canon, Nikon and Sony. Fuji alas are no longer manufacturers of DSLR’s. Our top current models are arranged in no particular order. The list is by no means definitive, it’s ever changing, merely a guide.

Check on our links for current prices.

Nikon and Canon were undoubtedly the market leaders when it came to development and innovation in the DSLR range. Then along came Sony surprising everyone with their budget DSLR Alpha range.

What follows is an illustration of some really great digital cameras that are available at budget and affordable prices. The descriptions that follow concentrate on camera bodies, simply because the combination of body with lens is almost inexhaustible.

Prices and models are inevitably for ever changing, please check for latest deals and prices.

Let’s go!

CANON EOS 100D

The camera has many features including a built in flash, with the lens providing an opportunity to take advantage of Canon’s ground-breaking STM technology; this enables the lens to focus quickly and quietly. Also the video quality is absolutely superb.

What’s more in DSLR terms, it’s lightweight and compact. Ideal for everyday use, see our review for more details.

 

2. NIKON D5500
This is another neat and compact lightweight DSLR camera, this time from Nikon. This gem has all the settings that learners and professionals relish. High resolution images, easy operation and so beautifully balanced. Includes a bright screen, touchscreen and even a Wi-Fi facility.

One for the more progressive photographer, see our review here.

Nikon likewise have a whole cupboard full of exciting quality lenses to choose from.

 

 

 

3. NIKON D33OO
Another truly budget camera with compelling deals available from one of the market’s big hitters, Nikon.

A 24+ megapixel camera with all the quality that is so Nikon. Small, lightweight and affordable. Employs all the latest technology and allows the photographer to learn and control.

One certainly to consider especially if this is your first foray into the world of digital SLR’s, see our full review for more detail.

 

 

 

4. SONY A SERIES

Our first look at Sony’s budget DSLR Alpha range. The A300 pictured here is typical of their lower priced options; the camera is lightweight, relatively compact with a most pleasing ergonomic feel.

There’s no obvious skimping on quality, the Alpha siblings, employ all the features you could ever want in a DSLR. Sony may be relatively new-comers to the DSLR party but don’t be fooled, their equipment is as always simply top notch!

Plus Sony now have an extensive range, so something to suit all budgets, see our review of the A300 here.

SONY SPECIAL NOTE: Another ‘budget’ factor of the Alpha range is that the cameras will also take lenses formally designed for many Minolta film cameras! Some lens bargains to be had.

5. CANON EOS 700D

Another classic from Canon’s famous innovative EOS range. This is an 18 megapixel gem, described by Canon as the ‘ideal camera for beginners’.

The camera has many endearing features including a variable angled LCD touch screen, intelligent and creative shooting modes topped by an incredible ISO range from 100-12800. See later for an explanation on ISO, or our review here.

 

6. NIKON D5300

The D5300 comes with many creative features, including a Wi-Fi feature, shoot and share your photos immediately with family and friends. Plus there’s also a GPS option that tags each photo giving the image’s precise location on planet earth!

Very neat impressive stuff, but thankfully the camera still embraces all the more recognisable technology that allows ease of use and opportunities to expand your photographic knowledge, see our review here.

 

 

 

7. CANON EOS 1200D

This Canon EOS 1200D really is a simple to use budget 18 megapixel DSLR Camera.

Don’t be put off by its budget price tag because this compact DSLR is a quality piece of kit; you can snap-shoot quickly with the automatic program mode or take direct control of either the shutter or aperture. It has most of the features of its more expensive cousins, including a built in flash, an ISO range up to 6400 that will allow for low light photography, plus a high quality video option.

Well worth consideration, see our full review here.

8. SONY ILCE5100L – Mirrorless Camera

And so we return to the Sony range; the ILCE5100L aka Sony A5100, is a fit in the palm of your hand compact with the option to inter-change lenses. It’s a bit of a cheat in that it is not a true DSLR; this is a mirrorless camera. The use of technology to replace the mirror has meant that these types of cameras can be made much smaller, virtually pocket size.

The specifications and image quality are not compromised in any way, indeed they are simply outstanding!

Comes with either a white or black body, see our full review.

 

9. CANON EOS750D

The 750D is almost identical to the EOS 700D but with a few upgrades including 24.2 megapixel sensor and a fabulous upgraded auto focusing system. The camera also has a sharp LCD touch sensitive viewing screen that will open to one side and rotate 270 degrees, a useful don’t miss a shot feature.

It really is a box of tricks, more technology than you could shake a stick at! Most impressive of all is the picture quality, which can get overlooked among the fog of fantastic features, see our full review for full details.

 

 

10. NIKON D7200

Maybe not the most budget friendly camera of the bunch but nevertheless sheer quality at a most affordable price. The D7200 is undoubtedly being used by many professional photographers and many aspiring amateurs. It really looks
and feels like the biz; an impressive looking tool that shrieks professional! It’s simple and yet ingenious, packed with top of the range technology.

Put the D7200 on auto and even the most inept novice will be able to produce excellent results. Give the D7200 to a camera buff and just watch their eyes light up!

A wonderful work of witchcraft if ever there was one, see our review here.

There are of course cameras other than DSLR’s including the mirrorless range, see Sony above, and the hugely popular Bridge Camera range.

UNDERSTANDING HOW A DSLR CAMERA WORKS!

Camera technology is so clever, the modern camera can sing, summersault and tap dance. We tend to rely hugely upon the camera’s judgement and skills; we are in danger of becoming merely ‘users’.

The photographer’s trick is to understand how the camera works, to have a grasp of basic techniques and to wrestle total control away from this hand held wizard.

With this in mind you will discover, interspersed throughout this site, useful photographic snippets on camera features and photographic techniques. With a little understanding you will hopefully be in a better position to make an informed decision as to your best camera choice.

What then exactly is a DSLR?

DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex; this represents an upgrade to digital technology from the ‘old’ film single lens reflex cameras. The operating principles between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ remain the same, with DSLR’S employing image capturing sensors instead of film.

A DSLR will have a single lens which can be interchanged for others. The light enters the lens, via an aperture, and then strikes a mirror which reflects (reflex) the image to the viewfinder and/or sensor. The image as seen through the viewfinder represents, more or less, the image you will capture.

In recent years manufacturers have come up with a mirror-less system with interchangeable lens options. However the mirrored DSLR is still the most prevalent.

Are DSLR’s better than film SLR’s?

There is still much debate as to the benefits of film cameras v digital cameras. Whatever your own particular view you cannot deny that digital is here to stay for some while to come.

Film cameras generally are in decline; there are now only a relatively small number of high street photographic shops offering a film developing and print service. Digital printing services are flourishing; the photos are cheap, instant and of high quality.

Of course digital magic allows us to view our results instantly on screen, then delete and repeat if necessary; with film you have to wait and often hope for a result.

There is however a strong argument in favour of film cameras and that is; it’s in the photographers interests to get the photo right first time! Many who have been film SLR photographers will claim to have a better understanding of photographic techniques and thus more control over the final results.

DSLR users are often accused of being technically lazy by allowing the camera’s auto features to replace the thought process.

However the saving grace for DSLR’s is that all the helpful features are there to help any photographer expand his or her knowledge and to take control of results without employing the hit or miss philosophy.

DSLR lenses.

This really is where DSLR’s come into their own; the choice and range of lenses for all makes is incredible. There’s a lens for every situation, landscapes, portraits, social events, close-up photography, weird wide angle etc.

A telephoto lens will enable you to get close, sometimes ridiculously close to the subject without moving your feet. These types of lens are not quite as flexible as the zoom option.

A zoom lens is much more adaptable, a wedding photographer may for example use a 28-70 mm lens. At the 28 mm range he can get the whole family group in frame; at the 70 mm range he can isolate and capture the pageboy eating the confetti.

A zoom lens is a good social photographer’s lens, it means you become less obtrusive and more likely to capture more natural moments.

Some lenses, see a few National Geographic pictures, are very expensive, specialist, producing breath-taking photographs. Just look at some of the lenses on show at top sporting events!

These lenses usually have fabulous optics that allow for successful shooting in lower light conditions.

It really is a balance between desire and budget; compromise, as with all things in life, is probably the answer.

Nowadays most lenses are auto focus, truly an invention of the gods for the ageing short sighted decrepit oldies such as myself. Although most lenses will allow manual focus, sometimes, believe me, a manual focus feature is a most welcome hair-tearing deterrent.

Just out of interest the human eye is oft claimed to have a 45 mm field of vision; don’t hold me to that, there’s much debate between academics as to the actual similarities between the eye and a camera lens.

What about pixels?

Not to be confused with pixies!

Well here we go, flirting with the world of, what is for most of us, a virtually incomprehensible technology.

A digital photo is made up of blocks, squares of information, the more squares a picture employs determines whether it is high resolution i.e. has tons of squares, or low resolution with only a few squares.

The top image is of courses low resolution; the same image at a higher resolution looks slightly better don’t you think?

In theory the number of pixels will determine how large a photo can be enlarged. Which brings us neatly on to our next question.

My digital SLR has a digital zoom?

A lot of early, especially compact, cameras incorporate a digital zoom, a thing of absolute wonder. However with the development of such marvels as Photoshop, images can be cropped and manipulated to a digital death without much need for the camera’s digital zoom feature.

A camera’s digital zoom allows you to get closer to the image but at a cost, each zoom step will reduce the quality (the number of squares) in your final image.

Should you have a very high resolution camera, I don’t know, 12 million or 40 million pixels, then the more you can digitally zoom without drastically affecting quality. But then again you could just take the image and crop it in Photoshop, same result with certainly many more editing options.

Optical or digital zoom, which one?

If you’ve been paying attention then I’m sure you’re more than half way to working this one out.

A camera’s digital zoom downgrades the image by decreasing the number of pixels used to create the non-zoomed image.

An optical zoom uses the camera’s optics to get closer, whatever resolution the camera is set at, that’s the resolution at which the image is captured! A digitally zoomed, or cropped image, degrades the image. See previous paragraphs.

A note on zooming; any zooming, digital or optic, comes with some degradation so … the best zoom at times is your feet! Get closer by stepping forward!

What do all the various modes do?

I’m so glad you asked, although I have some reservations about offering a definitive definition of anything to do with ‘modes’. Cunning camera creators are for ever coming up with something new, intent I’m sure on confusing experts and impressing the less knowledgeable.

Nevertheless let’s have a peek at a few of the safer bets.

‘P’ or programme mode; usually this mode allows you to point and shoot, the camera reads the light, will fire the flash if necessary, and set an appropriate aperture and shutter combination.

The ‘AV & TV’ settings are THE modes, they herald the opportunity for camera control. You can now begin to determine a required result. TV allows you to set a shutter speed, AV lets you control the shutter speed.

On the camera pictured above the green oblong is the fully, let the camera sort it out mode. The ‘P’ setting is similar but with one important feature, that in this setting you can chose whether or not to let the flash fire; indeed you will be able to directly take control of all flash settings.

The ‘TV’ or the sometimes named ‘S’ mode, is similarly a ‘control’ mode, you now have control of the shutter, the camera retains control of the aperture.

‘AV’ mode, you control the shutter speed, the camera controls the corresponding aperture setting.

‘M’ mode, now you’re on your own, total control. Oh boy now we are in to advanced stuff! You now control the shutter and the aperture!

There will inevitably be other modes, modes that will for example store your exposure preferences for known conditions; snow, backlit subjects, fast moving sports etc.

The purists among us would probably prefer to back our own judgement and manipulate the shutter and aperture and exposure values to suit variable conditions.

Well that’s a whole new can of worms for another day.

What about using flash?

Quite honestly this seems to be the Achilles heel of many photographers. OK, most DSLR’s have an automatic built-in flash which believe me packs enough punch for most jobs.

Flash is a much misused and underestimated photographic tool. You will find a few different flash settings, here are the essential two:

  1. Flash ‘A’ (automatic), in this mode the flash chats to the camera and only fires if the ‘boss’ says there’s insufficient light. Usually it’s all automatic, as you press the shutter release button, the camera makes its decision and pop! The flash surfaces and fires. Very simple, very practicable and very useful. Certainly the most preferred setting for low light conditions.
  2. Flash ‘P’ (program), in this mode the flash can be manually popped up and made to fire no matter what the camera may want. This is allows for the most useful and effective of techniques known as ‘fill-in flash’.

Fill-in flash is used by the most experienced and proficient wedding photographers; you’ll see the flash flashing even, or perhaps I should say especially, in bright sunlight. Why, I hear you ask?

Well remember Aunt Mabel, wore a hat with a huge brim at your wedding? Looked exactly like the gunslinger she is, with a sinister black shadow cast over her steely eyes. The photographer, fast on the draw shoots first, the flash is gentle but sufficient to clear the shadow from her peep holes.

A basic DSLR technique, fill-in flash fills in shadows!

There is another flash mode, ‘flash off’. That comes next.

Flash is a fascinating subject and perhaps we shall return to it with a few more tips later.

Why should I bother with a tripod?

Good question, after all they are cumbersome and defy the laws of nature by only having three legs! Fortunately they are not expected to walk, quite the opposite they are supposed to stand still, very still. Why?

Taking a deep breath.

Now is the time to introduce the flash off option; in this mode you definitely don’t want your errant camera to tell flash to fire … under any circumstances.

When the camera and flash collude to stop the flash then, Houston we have a problem. The camera however is sympathetic, it’s on your side; the vicar says ‘no flashing during the ceremony!’ Retribution of the severest kind, boils, plague of locus, damnation etc. are implied in both his look and tone.

Set the camera on a tripod at the back of the church facing the bride and doomed; the camera can’t fire the flash and so it compensates, in order to let more light in, it slows down the shutter speed.

You cannot hand hold a camera with a slow shutter speed, everything will be blurred!

EDEN

However if you can keep the camera as steady as a rock, say on a tripod, then this camera shake phenomena is overcome.

Although any running, excited bridesmaid within your camera’s field of vision will, because of the effect of a slow shutter speed, become blurred.

The picture of The Eden Project in Cornwall was shot using a tripod; flash off and very slow shutter speed.

We are now seriously dipping into the honey pot of techniques, techniques that make a DSLR such a worthwhile purchase.

What’s the ISO setting all about?

ISO is an acronym for … well really who cares! ISO referred to the sensitivity of film to light, it’s been brought forward and adopted by digital and now applied to the camera’s sensor.

As was mentioned earlier, you really can’t shoot a hand held camera when the light is low without using flash. I suspect that, were you in a posh art gallery, you’d be unceremoniously slung out on your ear for using flash! Artists are so touchy.

In order not to incur the curator’s wrath you can set the ISO rating of your DSLR to a higher number, let’s say 1,000 from its normal 200 setting. Now the sensor is really sensitive, it doesn’t need much light in order to capture that Rembrandt, it certainly won’t employ that intrusive antagonistic flash!

Hmm, I wonder what that Eden Project photo would have looked like hand-held with a very sensitive ISO setting.

This is a terrific feature, there certainly isn’t a DSLR out there that can’t manipulate the sensor in this way.

Why should I want to control shutter or aperture?

I hear what you’re saying; let the camera work all that stuff out. And so you can, that’s the wonder of a DSLR, quality and ease of use.

But boy oh boy wouldn’t you like to be in control?

This is a subject that is not that complex, especially after the jargon has been explained or stripped away.

Understanding the relationship between shutter and aperture really opens the doorway to the total understanding of how you can get the best out of you DSLR.

We will return for more in-depth revelations about techniques and effects.

Hopefully your appetite has been well and truly whetted. DSLR’s are the way to go for all budding photographers; they’re so flexible with high quality lenses producing stunning results.

As with all things in life there’s always room for improvement, a DSLR will present you with easy ‘take a photo’ options; it’ll also provide an opportunity for you to hone your photographic skills and ultimately allow you to take control of the usually black, magic box.

So the categories of DSLR cameras and accessories that we have at the moment are as follows: