18th Nov 2005

Single Lens Reflex Digital Camera

In this SLR digital camera review we will discuss the pros and cons of using an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera and take a look at why they are so darn expensive.

What is an SLR?

SLR refers to a camera which has one lens that is used for both composing the frame and capturing the image to memory. SLR is sometimes called TTL (through-the-lens). With an SLR camera the image that you see when you look through the viewfinder is exactly the same as the image that the camera sees. And, unless a tourist walks in front of you at the moment that you press the shutter release, this is exactly the image that the camera is going to record.

This is much more accurate than digital cameras that use a LCD screen to reproduce the scene that you are shooting. Other than reassuring you that the camera is pointed in the direction of the scene that you are about to shoot, the LCD image nowhere near depicts the actual colors and intensity (or lack) of light that the camera sees.

OK, now we know what an SLR camera is, we’ll use the remainder of this SLR digital camera review to discuss the pros and cons, as well as the hefty price tag that SLR digital cameras command.

Advantages of SLR’s

The SLR digital cameras are designed for the enthusiast and professional photographer. The tradeoff is that you get a much larger camera, as opposed to your standard digital cameras, in order to gain increased accuracy and greater versatility.

An SLR camera utilizes a a mirror behind the lens and a pentaprism to direct the light passing through the lens to the optical finder. When you press the shutter release, the mirror lifts up out of the way as a photograph is taken.

Many SLR cameras allow you to mount different lenses, just like the higher end 35mm cameras do. In fact, if you already own several 35mm lenses, it’s a good idea to pick a digital camera that will let you mount them. It will save you the considerable expense of buying new lenses.

Prices Range from $3,000 to $10,000

You are looking at a serious cash investment. For example, expect to pay around $1,999 for the 6-megapixel Nikon D100 to $7,999 for the 11-megapixel Canon 1Ds. And you know what? These prices do not include a lens! Add on a quality zoom lens and you could be staring at $3,000, or more, for the lower priced SLR digital cameras, and over $10,000 for the higher priced ones. I don’t know about you, but if I come home with a $10,000 digital camera, I’d better have enough money left over for alimony and child support, because I’m headed for divorce court on a high-speed train!

Olympus E-20N

Olympus E-20N

If divorce could be on the horizon for you, or even if you simply have better things to spend all of the money on, you might be happy to know that Olympus E-20N 5.2MPthe Olympus E-20N, a 5.2-megapixel SLR camera with a professional quality lens that emulates a 35 mm to 140 mm lens on a traditional 35 mm camera, can be had for around $3500. You won’t be tempted to buy a bunch of additional lenses either, because the E-20N doesn’t let you change lenses!

Why are they so expensive?

Most of the reason that a good SLR digital camera, with lens, start at the same price as about 300 Dominos Pizza’s, delivered hot to your door in 30 minutes or less, is because good lenses are expensive to build. Also, the camera body itself requires additional “stuff” that is not purely electronic (like mirrors and levers), more buttons, and a better quality body material then then average point-and-shoot digital camera provides.

Is it Worth the Price?

Is all of this cost worth it? Only you know the answer to that question. Although my wife tells me that I don’t like SLR digital cameras, you should keep in mind that because an SLR can accept multiple detachable lenses, each of which is designed for a specific purpose, you have the same degree of control over your final image as anyone using a traditional 35mm SLR film camera does.

If you are a serious photographer, or a pro wedding photographer or something like that, then SLR is going to consistently deliver a better quality photograph that is truly WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

When researching this SLR digital camera review, I looked at the all the popular models including: Canon EOS-10D Digital SLR, Olympus E-20N Digital SLR, Nikon D1X Digital SLR (Body Only), and the mondo expensive Canon EOS-1Ds Digital SLR with a street price ranging between $6689-$7999.

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