Upgrading to a DSLR


This story was originally published in May 2014.

I have an advanced compact camera. I want to upgrade to a DSLR. What are the points one needs to keep in mind while buying basis of my choice of  DSLR?
Jahar Jyoti Naskar, Kolkata, via email

The first question you have to ask yourself is how much you are willing tospend. Your options will largely depend on your budget. For instance, itmay be worthwhile to buy an entry-level budget DSLR and invest the restof your money in lenses. If you are serious about photography, an upperentry-level end model could be worthwhile. Alternatively, if you knowwhat kind of photography you wish to do, you can only buy a lens specificto that and then get the best possible camera body as per your budget.

Size: If you travel a lot, a small, light DSLR may be a good option. You canalso look at some of the mirrorless options in the market, which give youthe quality and functionality of a DSLR in a much smaller package.

Frame Rates: If you are interested in action and sports photography, lookfor cameras that have a good frame rateof 4fps or above. That said, mostDSLRs have a minimum shootingspeed of 3fps, and if youpractise your skills well, thisis good enough for mostshooting situations.

Low-light Shooting: If youwish to do a lot of low-lightphotography, you shouldconsider buying a fast primelens like a 50mm f/1.8, and a camera body that gives decent quality at higher ISO settings like 1600and 3200.

Video: Modern-day DSLRs also shoot video. If you are not interested invideo at all, you can buy a slightly older camera body as you may get itat a better price. If video shooting is important, then carefully analysethe video features of the cameras that fall in your budget, and then makeyour choice.

Feel: Finally, the most important consideration is the feel and ergonomicsof the camera. People often rate one brand over the other, but youshould hold each DSLR in your hand and see which one feels best. Areyou more comfortable with a light body or do you prefer one with ahefty grip? Do you prefer the button placement of a particular brand?Features are important, but at the end of the day, every DSLR today iscapable of shooting high-quality images—you need to see which onefeels most comfortable and allows you to capture your shots best.

Tags: Video, Low light, DSLR, Question of the Day, Upgrading to a DSLR, choosing your nest camera, Feel, Frame Rates