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Step 4DSLR Buying Guide - Models

DSLR Categories

Nikon D7000There are fewer models of DSLRs than most other types of digital cameras. However, their feature set is often quite similar, particularly among models of a given manufacturer. DSLRs are considered to have the highest image quality among digital cameras. The models that are Full-Frame have an advantage over cropped-sensor models and from those, Four-Thirds models are at a slight disadvantage.

DSLRs are usually grouped into broad categories with unclear distinctions such as Professional, Semi-Professional, Advanced Enthusiast and Entry-Level. Note that for a given sensor size, there is virtually no image quality difference between an entry-level and a professional model, provided they were produced with similarly advanced technology. This means that the year of introduction of a DSLR has more impact on image quality than its category. Below DSLR models are placed into categories based on features intended for advanced users:

  • Entry-Level: The simplest DSLRs in terms of features. Generally smaller and lighter.
  • Advanced: Designed for advanced use. Must have dual control-dials and a greater number of buttons for efficient use.
  • Semi-Professional: Tougher advanced models with weather-sealing for use in adverse conditions.
  • Professional: Tough, weather-sealed models with a 100% Viewfinder for precise framing.

Entry-Level

Advanced

Semi-Professional

Professional

Semi-Pro Full-Frame

Pro Full-Frame