Digital single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras -- cameras that accept a wide range of lenses and accessories -- have been around for several years. Early models offered good quality for those days. They were designed for the professional's needs, as well as the professional's budget. In addition, they were heavy, bulky and sucked battery power faster than you could say megapixel.
The digital SLRs of today far surpass the quality of the digital SLRs of just a few years ago. There are far more functions available to the photographer, thereby increasing the camera's capabilities. And their battery life has been greatly extended. What's more, the price of digital SLRs has come down to within the reach of aspiring professionals and even, in some cases, to that of amateurs.
Here's a look at the latest entries into the digital SLR arena.
- Canon Digital Rebel: In addition to its sophisticated functions, perhaps the most significant feature of this 6.3 megapixel camera is its price: less than $1,000 with a specially designed Canon 18-55mm zoom lens. Features include a seven-point automatic focusing system; a 35-point, auto-focus, point-linked evaluative metering sensor; several automatic exposure modes plus manual exposure, a built-in flash and Canon's exclusive DiG!C chip for fast processing of images, from sensor to memory card.
- Olympus E-1: Although the price ($1,799 for the body only) of this 5.08 megapixel camera is attractive to advanced amateurs and pros, the most unique feature of this camera is its "four thirds" size CCD image sensor, designed to work in conjunction with a new line of Olympus Zuiko lenses. Other features include automatic and manual exposure modes, the ability to fine-tune exposures with a +/- control, shutter speeds to 1-four-thousanths of a second, a large viewfinder and a bright LCD monitor.
- Nikon D2H: Speed is the name of the game with this camera. The D2H is capable of continuously shooting eight frames per second, an advantage for pros and advanced amateurs who shoot sports and other action. Another distinguishing feature of the camera is its 4.1 megapixel Nikon-designed LBCAST image sensor that produces improved images. Other features include a new battery system designed to extend battery life; wireless transmission capabilities and full control over focus and exposure. The approximate price of the body only is $3,200.