5 On Your Side

SLR Cameras Cost More, but Offer More to User

Posted June 25, 2007

— Does anyone still use a film camera? It seems like most picture-takers have gone digital.

Some digital point-and-shoot models have some irritating idiosyncrasies, though. Single-lens reflex cameras are an alternative to consider.

Industry experts predict 25 million digital cameras will be sold in the U.S. this year, and many will be single-lens reflex (SLR) models. They are the kind that allow you to change lenses, and they are a lot more versatile than point-and-shoot models.

SLRs can be kind of intimidating, but Consumer Reports says the high-performance digital cameras are getting smaller, lighter and less expensive.

For pictures of children on the move, Linda Harrison uses an SLR.

"Took a long time to get me to go to the digital camera with a big lens, but I'm very happy I did," Harrison said.

Consumer Reports says SLRs solve a lot of problems that people run into with point-and-shoot cameras.

“One of the obvious differences between point-and-shoots and SLRs is the delay between pressing the button and the shutter opening. But with an SLR, it's much quicker," the magazine’s Elias Arias said.

Owners of point-and-shoot cameras complained to Consumer Reports that distant objects are often dark, even with a flash. SLRs don't have that problem.

Another drawback with point-and-shoots, particularly older ones, is running out of power. That's not a problem with SLRs, either.

While SLRs are more complicated, Consumer Reports says they provide more flexibility and versatility — like being able to use different-sized lenses. However, that means you have more things to think about when deciding which one to buy.

“When you buy an SLR, you're not just buying a camera. You're also buying a family of lenses which you'll be wedded to for years to come," Arias said.

Consumer Reports says one of the best entry-level SLRs is the Nikon D40.

It got a very good rating for the quality of pictures it takes and an excellent rating for how easy it is to use. And, at $560, it's hundreds less than most SLRs.

Nikon just came out with a new, higher-resolution version of the D40, the D40-x. Consumer Reports is testing the new camera now and says its in-camera retouching feature shows real promise.


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  • newborn _may18 Jun 27, 2007

    shm - same here. I'm scouting out best prices for the D200, have used the D70. My husband is also waiting for prices to drop on the digital back for his medium format Hassleblad. Nikon has some great DSLRs to choose from!

  • shm Jun 27, 2007

    I just recently bought and now use a Nikon D-80. Great camera. I have a medium format camera I would like to get a digitial back for but not willing to pay thousands for it.

  • davidgnews Jun 27, 2007

    Film still has its place with photography, just as analog tape has its place with recording.

    SLRs have always been better, whether digital or film.

  • turkeydance Jun 27, 2007

    film cameras are just like:
    1. stick shift cars.
    2. personal land line telephones.
    3. CDs, cassette tapes, etc.
    you'll still see them every once in a while,
    but less and less as technology improves and
    gets cheaper.

  • New York Yankee Jun 26, 2007

    I have a Nikon D 50. I LOVE IT!!!!!

  • TheWayISeeIt Jun 26, 2007

    Once you go to an SLR, you'll never go back! The picture quality is so much better than point-and-shoots and makes them seem like disposable cameras. I still use my film SLR and am saving up for a Nikon D-80.