Digital SLR’s For The Serious Amateur
Owning one of these semi professional DSLR cameras, you can start to think about taking better, more professional pictures, and start to earn money if you wish. But they come at a price…an affordable one!
You know, the excitement of having my first SLR camera at 13 years old has always stayed with me. Knowing that a new world of photography was at my fingertips and the possibilities were endless. I had the exact same feeling when I bought my first Digital SLR.
Although the cameras were fundamentally the same, the introduction of digital imaging to SLR users once again opened up a whole new world.
Semi Professional DSLR – The Possibilities.
- Instant review of your work – Being able to see the results of your labour at an instant means you can “Tweak” and adjust on the spot to get the desired result, no having to re-shoot!
- Ability to delete bad shots – You can fill a CF card with just the shots you want to keep. No more going through rolls and rolls of film, knowing some bad ones are in there.
- No more messy darkrooms or waiting for film-processing – Using a PC to enhance, adjust and print your work, for me, has put photography on a much higher plane. Your creativity can really run wild.
- A Rival to 35mm Film? – With the new breed of 15MP and above Digital SLR’s, I can say that from my experience, we have reached and overtaken 35mm film quality with digital.
How do these differ from Advanced Digital Compact Cameras?
Two main criteria here, the ability to change lenses and sensor size.
- Interchangeable Lenses – This alone will allow you to take photographs simply not possible with a lesser camera. From ultra wide angle (Fisheye) to super telephoto and Macro (Close-up), there is nothing you cannot shoot with the right lens. Ok, so the Advanced digitals have great zoom lenses, but you cannot match the quality of a separate, purpose built f2.8 lens.
- Sensor Size – The quality from a 16MP “Point and shoot” will not match that of a semi professional DSLR like the Canon EOS 7D Mk II for one reason alone…size! The Canon EOS 7D Mk II has a much bigger sensor which means better quality. See my Digital Photography Explained section for more on this.
On top of this you have the massive amount of accessories available, like filters, remote control capabilities, dedicated flashguns, PC sync sockets, Pocket Wizards etc. Also you have exposure bracketing, a larger ISO scale and faster start-up, drive and shutter speeds.
If you are serious about photography and want to enter a new level and/or earn a living, you are going to have to consider a DSLR.
Ok, I want a Semi Professional DSLR, but how much do they cost?
In my opinion, and that of many forums, photography magazines and other professionals, there really are only a few Semi Professional DSLR’s at this level that make the grade should you be wanting to make a living. When I say that I mean for functionality, quality, lens choice and robustness combined. For the serious enthusiast that will never want a full kit bag jammed with goodies, the choice is a little wider.
Prices vary from:
$900 (€650 or £560) for the Canon EOS 60D 18MP body only (includes 1080p HD Video)
to $1,900 (€1365 or £1190) for the Canon EOS 7D 18MP (includes 1080p HD Video)
On top of this you would have to include at least one lens to get you started. Go to my lens section to see the best choice of NIKON and CANON lenses.
Other recommended choices include the;
Nikon D7000 – 16.2MP ($1199)
Nikon D5000 – 12.3MP ($749)
Olympus E-5 – 12.3MP EOS 400D – ($1699.00)
Which Semi Professional DSLR would YOU recommend?
For a serious amateur looking to get started with a semi professional DSLR, I would recommend the Canon EOS 7D II or the Canon EOS 5D Mark II/III. All have great features, take the finest lenses and produce good quality prints. From the Nikon camp, I would recommend the older Nikon D700 or newer D800 all day long although the D800 merges into the realms of professional!
For the Semi-pro looking to make a living, the keen enthusiast or anyone looking to take up photography seriously, I would have no problem in recommending the excellent and versatile (but slightly older now) Canon EOS 7D even for wedding photography.
I had the original EOS 5D Mark I camera (2 generations older) still in my kit for many years after the mark II had come out. It is still pretty high resolution (12 megapixels), robust and produces amazing, high quality photographs.
I have had many A1 prints made from this camera, sold numerous stock photos and the quality is outstanding. It has more features than you will probably need, and has won numerous awards and recommendations across the globe.
The 7D is lacking slightly in image quality when compared to the 5D and 5D Mark II (understandable since the 5D’s have larger, full frame sensors) but the features of the 7D are incredible! The Mark III is even better and the Mark IV…well!
For some of the cheapest prices around, look at Amazon. They also include customer reviews.