14th Nov 2005

Find the Best Digital Camera

What is the best digital camera? The answer to that is purely subjective. What’s best for me may be a terrible choice for you. In this article, we apply the term “best” to mean the high-end, expensive digital cameras that are suited to photo journalists and other photography professionals.

Designed For Professionals

When you earn a living taking pictures, it is critical that you own a camera that can take long hours of use in a variety of climates and environmental conditions, can handle widely variable lighting conditions, and offers a range of options and accessories that are needed by professional photographers.

These top professional best digital cameras all have low noise sensors, are capable of producing better quality than 35mm film, and are especially made for demanding applications in either studio or on location. The top breed of digitals can outperform film at in virtually any situation.

Most Popular High End Cameras

As of this writing, here are the ten most popular top-end cameras sorted by average street price:

  1. Canon EOS-1Ds ($7,999.99)
  2. Contax N Digital $7000.00
  3. Kodak DCS 14n $4,995
  4. Nikon D1X $4,650.00
  5. Canon EOS-1D $3800
  6. Nikon D1H $3,650.00
  7. FujiFilm FinePix S2 Pro $2,399.95
  8. Canon EOS-D60 $2,200
  9. Nikon D100 $1,999.95
  10. Sigma SD9 ($1500)

In order to qualify as a pro digital camera, most of these cameras share some common features such as:

  • Changeable lenses.
  • Both optical as well as digital zoom.
  • Fast image processing time (so rapid sequence scenes can be shot).
  • Dust and water-resistant housings.
  • 6 megapixel ratings or higher, with 10 megapixel and up preferred..
  • Optimized battery usage circuits
  • Replaceable memory storage including support for card readers and, in some cases, miniature hard drive storage.
  • Support for multiple image file formats.
  • Support for multiple image resolution settings.
  • Buttons that are easy to manipulate, even with thin gloves on.
  • A shooting-priority design so that the camera is always ready to take a picture, regardless of the playback or other mode currently in use.
  • Full control of in-camera sharpening, tone, saturation and other image processing parameters.
  • A bright, sharp, reasonably color-accurate LCD review screen.
  • An image magnification feature, to check critical focus and image content on-site.
  • Histogram and overexposed highlights indicator, to assist in making a proper exposure.
  • An interface that makes it simple to set a white balance off a neutral card.
  • Quick access to the camera’s card formatting function.

Ensure the Camera is Rugged

You can not underestimate the need for ruggedness when it comes to selecting a professional camera. Look for dust and water-resistant seals around buttons and other controls, a body that can stand unintentional bumps, shock, and vibration.

Fast Autofocus

Since the environment most professional photographers can change assignment by assignment, the best digital camera for professional work will include fast, accurate autofocus that is also capable of selecting its target in low light conditions.

Accurate Light Metering

The best digital cameras will be able to handle the effects of the ever-changing outdoor lighting by providing a highly sensitive and accurate image exposure imaging meter to ensure the proper image exposure regardless of the amount of available light.

Raw Storage Mode

Just as film-based photographers use different film types to produce different results, you need to choose a professional digital camera that supports the equivalent of different film types by offering the “raw” image storage mode. Unlike JPEG or TIFF files, which a digital camera processes and saves using its internal circuitry, the raw image format is written directly to the memory storage device with minimal or no image processing whatsoever.

Raw format images are processed on the computer into a finished photo. A raw photo contains the full range of color and tone captured by the camera, without any automatic adjustments being made. Using the correct photo processing software, you can manually correct white balance and exposure issues and make any photo look nearly exactly the same as the original scene that is was captured from.


When you are searching for the best digital camera, keep this article in mind so that you’re sure to get all of the features that you need to earn a nice paycheck.

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