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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

  • Pentax K-3

    • 24 MP
    • 8.3 FPS
    • ISO 100-51200
    • Built-In Stabilization
    • Automatic Horizon Correction
  • Pentax K-50

    • 16 MP
    • 6 FPS
    • ISO 100-51200
    • Built-In Stabilization
    • Automatic Horizon Correction
  • Nikon D7100

    • 24 MP
    • 6 FPS
    • ISO 100-25600
  • Pentax K-5 II

    • 16 MP
    • 7 FPS
    • ISO 80-51200
    • Built-In Stabilization
    • Automatic Horizon Correction
  • Pentax K-5 IIs

    • 16 MP
    • 7 FPS
    • ISO 80-51200
    • Built-In Stabilization
    • Automatic Horizon Correction
  • Pentax K-30

    • 16 MP
    • 6 FPS
    • ISO 100-25600
    • Built-In Stabilization
    • Automatic Horizon Correction
  • Pentax K-5

    • 16 MP
    • 7 FPS
    • ISO 80-51200
    • Built-In Stabilization
    • Automatic Horizon Correction
  • Nikon D7000

    • 16 MP
    • 6 FPS
    • ISO 100-25600
  • Olympus E-5

    • 12 MP
    • 5 FPS
    • ISO 100-6400
    • Built-In Stabilization
  • Canon 7D

    • 18 MP
    • 8 FPS
    • ISO 100-12800
  • Nikon D300S

    • 12 MP
    • 7 FPS
    • ISO 100-6400

Semi-Pro Full-Frame

Pro Full-Frame