The advent of technology has brought us advancements in all aspects of our life. On the one hand, we have technology that has brought us driverless cars, and on the other hand, we have digital cameras so advanced that their resolution rivals that of the human eye, which is no simple feat.
The term DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. The technology combines optics with a digital imaging sensor and retains the romanticism of old age SLRs that our parents and their parents love. There is also the added benefit of unlimited storage, and it does away with the old age “film” problem.
DSLRs are different from the generic digital cameras of the old. They have advantages concerning speed, larger ISO range, viewfinder, interchangeable lenses, editing options, and low light photography abilities, to name a few.
If you are about to buy a DSLR in India, it makes sense to invest best. With a good camera, anyone can nurture their photography skills. From a birthday party to a wedding or a Goa trip, you can carry it anywhere and capture tremendous moments of your life.
- Best DSLR Cameras in India (2020)
- 1. Best Overall: Nikon D850
- 2. Best Runner Up: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- 3. Best from Nikon: Nikon D500
- 4. Best Under 50000 (INR): Canon EOS 1500D
- 5. Best for Beginners: Canon EOS 1300D
- 6. Best Value for Money: Nikon D7500
- 7. Best for Professionals: Nikon D3400
- 8. Best from Sony: Sony Alpha 68
- 9. Canon EOS 80D
- 10. Canon EOS 200D
- Best DSLR Brands in India
- The Buyer’s Guide
- What is Single Lens Reflex (SLR)?
- Features of DSLR
- What Makes a DSLR Expensive?
- The Canon vs. Nikon Debate
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best DSLR Cameras in India (2020)
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV|
|Canon EOS 1500D|
|Canon EOS 1300D|
|Sony Alpha 68|
|Canon EOS 80D|
|Canon EOS 200D|
A little bit of research and fine-tuning will have you dole out photographs that are to die for, and everybody loves the photographer! But with so many options available in the market, it definitely gets confusing when choosing one. Worry not, as our photo enthusiasts’ team has tested dozens of DSLRs and came up with the list of top-rated DSLRs of the Indian market.
1. Best Overall: Nikon D850
Nikon D850 45.7MP is a digital SLR camera for the newly turned professionals. The best feature is the noiseless shutter release. Its 45-megapixels resolution guarantees silent photography. Without any doubt, Nikon D850 is one of the best-selling DSLR in India.
This camera uses a new “shutter and mirror” drive mechanism. This reduces mechanical vibrations and ensures the sharpness of images. The actual 45.7 megapixels resolution takes picture clarity to a new level.
Capturing an image in any kind of light with natural sharpness is possible. This is due to the wider ISO range of 64-25600. You can capture images in extremely bright light and in intensely dim-light as well. Both sunlight reflecting on frost and mouse hiding in a dark corner will be equally picturesque.
The accuracy of the image, even for high-speed shots, depends on auto-focus. This device has a 153-point AF. This will never miss the sharpness of the contours. So, no more ghosting of images.
The optical viewfinder of the camera has 0.75x magnification. This is the best that Nikon has offered on its products. Nikon D850 DSLR comes with a high-speed SD card.
The machine uses EXPEED5 to process data from 45.7megapixels quickly. This generates less noise and clearer tonal and textual details. The camera also captures fast continuous shots and amazing videos with a time-lapse and slow-motion option.
With the LCD screen tilting out, you can take the ground level and overhead shots easily. It also offers focus stacking and precision macro photography. Our survey finds Nikon D850 DSLR as one of the best options. It is a justified buy for professional photography in India.
- Silent photography
- Amazing range in ISO
- Wide viewfinder
- Ability to cover underexposed and shadow areas
- Little heavy on one hand
2. Best Runner Up: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera is primarily made for professional photographers. It comes out with reliable results for still images and videos.
The automatic ISO range is 100-32000. This is wide enough to capture images in quite low light. But the camera gives you a manual option of exceeding the lower range to 50 and higher up to 102400. This is a delightful option for landscape and nature photographers.
30.4 megapixels is a superb resolution. This ensures near-perfect images and videos. It can freeze action at high speed. The large LCD screen has a touch panel, which makes handling easier.
The DIGIC 6+ processor within the camera creates high-quality images. It processes all the information taken by the AF at incredible speed and, thus, superior picture clarity. You can avail of various combinations of autofocus from 61 points to get sharp images. It has the advantage of working with all lenses.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV grabs pictures at an excellent speed of 7.0 fps. This would allow you to click many pictures of an event until you get the right shot.
This device comes with multiple connectivity options. There is an in-built Wi-Fi as well as NFC technology. For landscape photographers, location data and timestamps are necessities. With Canon EOS 5D, this is available through in-built GPS.
The camera comes with an ‘Intelligent scene analysis’ system. This makes instant corrections. It also has an anti-flicker system for point and shoots images. Hence it’s one of the top 10 DSLR cameras on the list.
- Excellent manual ISO range
- Good metering sensor
- Easy transfer options
- Battery does not last long
- Little expensive for the features offered
3. Best from Nikon: Nikon D500
With the launch of the Nikon D500 20.9MP Digital SLR Camera, Nikon finally has a professional APS-C format camera that can compete with the Canon EOS 7D Mk II.
When we put the Nikon D500 to the test, we found a brilliant AutoFocus (AF) system with excellent low light credentials that enable the user to click bright pictures and record high-resolution videos in very less light also.
The D500 delivers more than what was anticipated. It is more similar to Nikon’s pro-level full-frame camera than the previous model, D300 was. The D500 has a DX-format sensor rather than an FX-format sensor. Apart from this, the D500 has specifications similar to the D850 or even the D5.
The users who have used D500 and other high-end models in the past are pleased with this camera because it makes top-notch technology more affordable. It has the best that Nikon could possibly offer, in terms of AutoFocus, White Balance, ISO, and metering performance. All of this and in such a light weighing body.
We conducted a color test on D500 to compare it with its 3 closest competitors, the Canon EOS 7D II, Sony Alpha 77 II, and Nikon D7200. We found out that the D500’s colour accuracy is one of the finest, with only Sony doing marginally well.
- Continuous shooting on 10fps
- Huge raw buffer capacity
- Professional camera
- Banding and noise in highest ISO expansion
4. Best Under 50000 (INR): Canon EOS 1500D
The Canon EOS 1500D is equipped with a 24.1 megapixel and with APS-C sized CMOS sensor type. It has an optical viewfinder for an amazing shooting experience.
The fast, accurate AF enables capturing sharp images fast and easy. The built-in Wi-Fi and the NFC connectivity help upload pictures and videos to social media without any hassles.
The images that come up are of high-quality, and the colour gradations are simply beautiful. Shots can also be taken in dim-lit places, and the ISO speed makes it easy with minimal noise.
The large sensor size enables a shallow depth of field, and images are created with a smooth background blur. As per our testing, we found that you can use your favorite shooting style and fine-tune shooting style to position the live-view mode and the 3-inch LCD screen.
The DSLR camera can be paired with smartphones, printers, or any other device through WI-FI/NFC and the camera’s Connect APP. This helps transfer pictures and videos wirelessly from the camera to the phone and then upload it on social media sites.
Lightweight and easy to carry, you can take it anywhere and click pictures wherever you like. It is great for high-quality photographs and videos for the EF-S mount lenses.
- User friendly
- Great for portrait photography
- Autofocus is good
- Picture quality is amazing
- Good battery life
- Doesn’t click good pictures with external flashlight
5. Best for Beginners: Canon EOS 1300D
If you are a beginner and lover of photography, then Canon EOS 1300D is an ideal buy. An 18-megapixel camera this product is a favourite among professionals because of its high performance and remarkable core features.
The camera has abundant auto-shooting technical features, and it is attuned with over 70 EF/EF-S lenses. This helps the user click beautiful photographs, just like a professional. If it’s your first DSLR, we suggest this camera cleared our testing with flying colours.
With NFC compatibility and Wi-Fi, the camera allows easy transfer of pictures to different devices, whether it’s your smartphone or a laptop.
The pictures have a cinematic view and can be handled effortlessly by a novice. The transfer of photos is easy so that you can instantly post them on your social media accounts, as soon as you click.
You can click the most distinctive pictures in low light, without the requirement of an external flash. The shallow depth of field that DSLR cameras have ensures that the picture quality is great and is more impactful, with the subject in focus.
One can easily compose and frame the shots with the optical finder’s help, and the responsive autofocus ensures that you capture every decisive moment with ease.
- Image stabilization is great
- Good for beginners
- Battery life is good
- Autofocus functions smooth
- Highly durable product
- Flash is not good
- Battery not included with the product
6. Best Value for Money: Nikon D7500
The Nikon D7500 can be categorized as a mid-range APS-C CMOS sensor DSLR than borrows heavily from the D500, including the 20.9 MP sensor, high-resolution metering sensor, and image processor. Since the D500 is made as a low budget version of D5, it can be said that the D7500 is a mini D5.
However, when it comes to video shooting, the D7500 is a little behind D500 since it records videos at 8 FPS, which is lesser than the latter’s 10 FPS. Nonetheless, the AutoFocus system remains the same as in the other high-end models, which is a 51-point module.
Design-wise, not a lot of changes have been made in this model. It has a compact, professional looking exterior but, for a change, is lighter than its predecessors. 4k video has been incorporated, but like all Nikon’s new model, this also comes with a 1.5x Alsop sensor limitation. Howeng touchscreen a limitationnd deeper grip are fresher introductions.
The ones to use D7500’s predecessor, the D7200, enjoy the FPS upgrade from 6 to 8 and in the ISO from 25,600 to 51,200. New additions like a flip LCD and Bluetooth and 4Kvideo, but some old essentials are missing like a second card slot and long meters with old MF lenses.
- Images look great with optimum colour and exposure
- 51-point AF
- 4K video
- Headphone and mic jacks
- Missing second card slot
- No depth of field preview through the view finder
- No long metres through MF lenses
7. Best for Professionals: Nikon D3400
The Nikon D3400 is the ideal camera for photography enthusiasts. It comes with the ease of automatic and manual settings. There is a myriad of combinations to grab the best tonal and textual quality.
Its CMOS sensor has a 24.2 megapixel resolution for higher picture clarity. It has the EXCEED 4 processor, which processes all AF information at an advanced speed to get you the right image.
The ISO range of 100-25600 helps you capture the perfect contours in dim light. The camera also has an 11point autofocus system and 5fps to freeze high-speed actions.
The Snapbridge service from the manufacturer connects your camera to your smartphone. To do so, it uses a unique feature called BLE. BLE or ‘Bluetooth low energy’ is a consumer-friendly facility. It assists in keeping energy consumption to a minimum.
The Snapbridge app can upload images from your device to the Nikon image space. It does so even when the camera is not in use.
The AF-P kit has lenses for videography. These enable the user to shoot videos comparable to HD quality movies.
Nikon D3400 24.2 MP camera comes with 10 special effects to create the right tone and mood of your photyour photos’ You have the optionge any picture through Picture Control. For any beginner, the camera has built-in guidelines to follow.
The camera is designed for a comfortable grip with a sturdy and light-weight body. The LCD screen helps master photography techniques so, you can indulge in image correction to get the perfect finish.
Our tests have revealed that the 18-55mm VR lenses overcome most distortions. They are excellent for vibration control. Thus, noiseless photography is possible with this device. And the pricing is very reasonable for the Indian market.
- Great special effects and manual options
- Good zoom control and noise reduction
- Satisfactory ISO range
- Battery service is inconsistent
- Not for professional photography
8. Best from Sony: Sony Alpha 68
Launched last year around April, the Sony Alpha 68 is pitted against the Canon EOS 750D and Nikon D5500. The Sony Alpha 68 is an interesting camera with a spectacular 79-point high-density AutoFocus module and the 24.2 megapixels APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor.
It has been fitted with Sony’s new BIONZ X image modifier and a new, unusual translucent mirror and is equipped to shoot pictures in burst mode up to 8 FPS. This camera is exceptionally light, close only to Nikon’s D5500, which weighs about 515g.
When we put this camera to test, we found out where the actual difference lies. The image quality is staggeringly perfect, owing to the 79-point AutoFocus module with 15 cross points. The translucent mirror, apart from keeping the camera lightweight, splits the incident pathway of the light.
This process results in a little longer than usual to focus, but it renders high clarity images. The BIONZ X processor is fast indeed, but it takes about a split second more than Canon and Nikon’s processors.
Using the A68 is pretty easy, and even beginners can easily click beautifully balanced pictures in Auto mode. The camera produces close to natural colors, owing to the White Balance and ISO.
- Easy to use
- Long battery life
- Light and compact body
- Intuitive auto modes
- 79-point AF module
- Bluetooth and Wifi missing
For photography enthusiasts who have left behind the beginner’s stage and are looking to expand their skills and experience range, Canon EOS 80D is the perfect upgrade.
The LCD touch panel, along with wifi connectivity, ensures and is exchanged bet ensures faster. The technology is further accentuated by the EOS utility feature, which allows photographers to take pictures through the phone while using the lens of the camera.
Our research has found the 18-135mm lens to be a noise-free investment. The focal point usually ranges from 3.5 to 5.6 in the case of video shooting, which is enough for most cases. For image capture, the autofocus point reaches 27, while the focus point can support an 8.
The video mode’s live view operates on Dual pixel CMOS technology, effectively placing a cinematic effect on the screen. In the Indian market, travel photographers might find the time-lapse feature to be an unexpected boon. We certainly were impressed with the efficiency it provided us.
Canon offers a 2-year manufacturing warranty for all its users. If you face any problem within that time, the company is guaranteed to return you a remodeled and fixed product.
- Weather Protected Body
- High Shutter Speed
- Touch Screen
- Time Lapse feature
- Excellent Focus and battery life
- Poor Dynamic Range
- Disappointing Low Light Performance
10. Canon EOS 200D
The Canon EOS 200D 24.2 MP camera is meant for smart photography. It has all the benefits of speed, clarity, and portability to please the budding artist in you. Our researches opine that it is ideal for busy photographers in India.
Its CMOS sensor works in tandem with its DIGIC 7 processor to capture the best of images. Its processor has a 9-point focus to keep sharpness in contours. 24.2 megapixels maintains a life-like clarity in your photographs.
The ISO range is wide enough to get clear images in low light. 12800 ISO helps take indoor pictures with proper accuracy.
The HD quality video resolution makes movie-making versatile. There are multiple options for dramatic effects for the videos. It gives amazing results on time-lapse shots.
Canon EOS 200D DSLR comes in 3 colours. The coloured looks are as stylish as the original black one. Its light-weight and well-designed body give a firm grip even while moving.
The most interesting function is shooting in live view mode. The twin technologies of ‘dual pixel CMOS-AF’ and ‘Vari-angle touch screen LCD’ make photography a delight. The screen helps you make changes or choose settings while taking shots. The change of angle can assist in shooting in difficult terrain.
Both Wi-Fi and NFC are in-built for connectivity. For Bluetooth connections, you need to fulfill some prerequisites.
The lens with 55-250mm is STM has less peripheral shading and chromatic aberration. This keeps the final image as real as possible. Also, the EF-S18-55 reduces noise by vibration control. With these added benefits at this sensible price, Canon EOS 200D is a real steal.
- Amazing clarity and precision in images
- Reduced noise and vibration
- Compact and handy
- More focus points expected in a camera of this quality
- Small in-built flash
Best DSLR Brands in India
Here we have put together a list of the reputed DSLR brands available in India so you can make an informed decision and get a reliable DSLR camera for yourself!
Canon is one of the titans of the industry when it comes to DSLRs. It is a brand very well known for its passion for developing state of the art DSLRs. They are a multinational company based out of Japan. Apart from DSLRs, they also manufacture camcorders, copiers, medical equipment and printers, et cetera.
It is one of the top 56 companies worldwide that operate on climate-friendly grounds according to a survey by the environmental organization “Clean Air-Cool Planet.”
The DSLR, perhaps, is the most versatile product of their portfolio. The production of digital cameras was started in 1984, which later paved the way to more advanced versions, i.e., the DSLR. In India, this company has its presence worldwide, and there are several products to choose from.
Founded in 1971, Nikon is a Japanese company based in Tokyo. Nikon is a member of the Mitsubishi group of companies. They specialize in the field of optics and imaging. Their products range from cameras, lenses, microscopes, rifle scopes, and spotting scopes, cameras for underwater photography (called NIKONOS).
They are the makers of “Steppers” which are integral to semiconductor fabrication, and Intel is one of their buyers. They have created some of the first DSLRs for NASA! Nikon had a veritable range of digital cameras available in the market and ventured into the DSLR market in 1999 with the Nikon D1 and dominated the market ever since.
Nikon takes pride in its products and organizes various events and awards to encourage amateur photographers. The Ina Nobuo Award is one such event, held in Tokyo. The company is making substantial efforts to reduce its carbon footprints and reduce CO2 emissions by 26% by 2030.
In India, the company has its presence worldwide, with its offices in Delhi, Gurgaon, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Mumbai. They have five Nikon owned service centers and 32 service centers in the country. According to the Brand Trust Report, they were voted as the 28th most trusted brand in India in 2013.
Of all our contenders, Sony is perhaps the most versatile. We are talking about the diverse portfolio the company has to offer. Founded in Tokyo in the year 1946, its first product was a power megaphone! The company then released its first tape recorder in 1950.
The range of products offered by Sony is vast, to say the least. They indulge in televisions, audio devices, audio-visual accessories, home theatre systems, car audio systems, gaming consoles, and mobile phones, to list a few.
They pioneered the Blu-ray disc technology. The walkman has been the most influential of their products. They have ventured into the world of music and television. Jack of all trades, anyone?
They ventured into the DSLR stream in 2005 with a product of collaboration called Sony α camera and have expanded their product line since then. In fact, Sony cameras had become so popular that between the years 2006- 2008, they dominated 13% of the DSLR market!
They are committed to bettering the environment and have several achievements under their belt towards the cause. In 2013 their energy consumption was 31% lower than that in 2008. They continue to expand their efforts to the cause.
In India, they are almost omnipresent. They cover a whopping 450 cities across the country. They have 30 warehouses, 23 direct branches in major cities, 270 exclusive outlets, and over 10,000 dealers and distributors.
Take a look at our analysis below and choose the best DSLR for yourself.
The Buyer’s Guide
Smartphones have had a remarkable impact on our daily lives in the 12 years since the first iPhone was introduced. The not so easily visible but very significant change is that Indians have taken to photography in droves.
DSLR is a Digital SLR or single-lens reflex camera. It provides the best possible pictures and is immensely flexible.
There are two main characteristics of a DSLR (a plain SLR that uses films is no longer available in the open market but only as collector’s item) –
- They can adjust various parameters such as focus, exposure, etc.
- The lens is interchangeable. You can fit many lenses (macro, prime, telephoto, wide-angle) on your camera.
This is really important because Bridge Cameras that usually cost much less in India than a DSLR can provide adjustments, but you cannot change the lens.
Depending on what you are capturing – sports, wildlife, landscape, sunset, indoors, portrait, garden, there are many types of specialized lenses available that make a picture more appealing.
What is Single Lens Reflex (SLR)?
If you are using a simple point and shoot such as Canon IXUS 190, how do you view shooting? Through the LCD screen, of course.
But look at the camera carefully. The image you see on the screen is sort of the same but not identical to the frame that the camera captures. The light that enters the lens is not the one that finds its way to the LCD screen. More expensive point and shoots do a good job but not as well as a DSLR.
In a DSLR, the light that enters the lens is bent through a mirror to travel to the viewfinder, where you see the frame precisely as the front-most element of the lens sees it.
And it is expensive because, at the moment of capturing the shot, the mirror moves out of the way, allowing light to reach the sensor. This is what is the “reflex” is about.
You may ask why not split the light into two parts and travel to the sensor and one to the viewfinder.
A valid question and some of the more expensive point and shoots try this technique or some version of it.
The problem with this arrangement being – the amount of light reaching the sensor would then be halved, and all the equations of photography would have to be recalibrated.
Features of DSLR
An inexpensive DSLR such as Nikon D3400 with a standard “kit lens” (the primary all-rounder lens many basic DSLR cameras include) is priced at around INR 35,000 in India.
Compare this to a premium point and shoot such as Sony CyberShot DSC W830 that costs INR 7,000 or a top-end Bridge Camera such as Canon PowerShot SX540HS that is priced at INR 18,450, and you begin to understand that DSLRs are special.
A good quality mass-produced DSLR such as Nikon D850 would cost INR 210,000 (body only)! Important to note at this time – a DSLR does not come with a lens. It is only the body that is sold.
A kit lens is bundled with many models. The D3400 mentioned above comes with an AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. You can swap it out for another if you wish.
What Makes a DSLR Expensive?
APS-C vs. Full Frame vs. Micro 4/3 Sensor Size by Surface Area
A full-frame camera has a sensor that is the same size as the 35 mm film they replaced. The sensor measures 36 mm x 24 mm. An APS-C camera has a sensor that is 22 mm x 15 mm.
What is the difference? The full-frame sensor has a surface area of 864 sq mm, and the APS-C has 330 sq mm. In other words, the full-frame sensor is at least 2.5 times bigger.
More surface area means more light. That always translates to a better image. If both types of sensors have the same number of pixels, then each pixel is bigger and better in a full-frame.
A few of the key benefits include – better low light performance, less distortion, a better dynamic range of colours. There are other differences, as well. They are capable of sharper images and a wider angle of view.
What are the downsides? The full-frame camera is usually far more expensive. It is also relatively new. Only recently have camera makers concentrated on full frames.
A full-frame camera also is much larger. APS-C is more manageable. A larger camera also means a bigger lens, and many find full-frames to be unwieldy, especially if they are beginners.
An even smaller sensor measuring 18 mm x 13.5 mm called Micro Four Thirds (Micro 4/3) is available. Panasonic and Olympus have jointly developed it. These are used by the so-called mirrorless cameras such as Panasonic Lumix G7.
Mirrorless cameras are the same as DSLR except that they have an electronic or hybrid viewfinder. Mirrorless Micro 4/3 cameras are widely considered the best travel cameras and not confused with Bridge Cameras but more as compact and high tech DSLRs.
Priced at INR 260,000, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X Mirrorless Micro 4/3 is more expensive than most premium full-size traditional DSLRs.
You can buy any type of format as a beginner. Conversion tables for focal lengths are readily available online, and there is no particular disadvantage associated with either of these three formats.
Sensor Size by Megapixels
One megapixel is one million pixels. A pixel has no particular size. For example, an iPhone 8 Plus with a 6.24-inch screen has a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. A Samsung 43 inch television also has 1920 x 1080 pixels!
Again an INR 7,000 point and shoot camera can have a 20 MP camera, and a Canon EOS 1500D priced at INR 26,000 also has a 20 MP camera.
So, all pixels are not the same. What matters is the size of the pixel in tandem with the number of pixels.A 10 MP Nikon D3000 will give far better images than a 20 MP point and shoot.
It is like calories. 200 calories from a healthy chicken salad are not the same as 200 calories from a chocolate pastry!
It is easier to understand it through print size. An 8 x 10 inch photo would need about 8 x 10 x 320 x 320 = 8.2 million pixels. Photos can rarely hold more than 320 pixels per sq inch.
Why then do cameras have 20 to 40 MP sensors? Since you may go for cropping. Take a larger image and keep only the center. Crop out 40% of the boundary. Therefore, to have a high quality 8 x 10, you need a 12 x 15 inches photo, and that requires 19 MP.
Most DSLRs top out at 24 MP, and few premium models have 45-50 MP sensors, such as the Nikon D850 and Canon EOS 5DS.
Between 16-24 MP is acceptable for most beginners and enthusiasts.
The sensor only captures the light. It still has to be converted into data, and that data is stored as a file. The data captured by the sensor is called a RAW image. The RAW is processed and saved as a JPEG.
When the image is processed, it makes the photo look “nicer.” It can automatically fix minor issues with lighting and any other problems and make it better than it actually is in RAW format.
What is vital is how advanced the image processor is. The necessity of a better processor, in this case, is the same reason why you need to upgrade your laptop every 6 years. There is a better processor in the market that does the job in less time.
Essentially a DSLR captures still or video and converts it to data files. Thus it is acting just like a computer.
When the first digital cameras rolled around about 15 years ago, the highest ISO (light sensitivity) was 1600. Now it is in the range of 40,000, thanks to advanced image processors. The higher the ISO, the better will be the image in low light.
The other function of advanced image processors is autofocus. Modern DSLRs are not only able to focus on stills but also track moving subjects. It is especially needed for wildlife and sports photography. The image processor can predict the movement of the target and focus with great precision.
The same holds for face shots. It is the image processor that recognizes the face, eye, and smile. The more advanced the image processor, the better the camera. Nikon currently uses Expeed version 4, 5, 6, and Canon uses Digic 6, 7, 8 image processors.
The more expensive the camera, the more recent and improved the processor, and there is tiny to select apart from increasing the budget.
Type of Sensor:
Charge-Coupled Device or CCD sensors use a single amplifier for all the pixels. They are more expensive and rarely found in modern DSLRs. CCDs produce better images, with more depth of colour, and work well in low light. However, they are slower at capturing images.
Nearly every camera from smartphones to expensive professional gear uses Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS sensors. These sensors use a discrete amplifier for each pixel and can work much faster. They are also more inexpensive to manufacture.
The latest trend is towards Back-Illuminated CMOS or BSI-CMOS. They can take pictures at even higher ISO than usually available and produce the sharpest images. The Nikon Z6 and D850 use BSI-CMOS.
Like all technological advancements, you can expect that in 5 years, it will become a feature available with every new DSLR.
If your hands shake while you take a photo, what is the result? A blurry image. Thankfully there is more than one way to achieve image stabilization. The first one is obviously not to hold the camera but use a tripod! This is an old school and works remarkably well.
But as always, there are other ways which let you have image stabilization without being tied to a tripod. There can be two types of image stabilization – lens-based and inside the camera.
Types of Image Stabilization
1. Lens-based Stabilization
Lens-based stabilization such as Nikon VR I and II and Canon IS uses a floating lens arrangement.
A select group of elements (individual lenses inside the barrel are technically called elements) inside the camera lens system can move. When image stabilization is off, these special lenses are fixed and allow light to pass normally through them.
When image stabilization is switched on, gyroscopes in the lens that detect tiny movements of the hand and aided by a microcomputer move the unique group of image stabilization lenses slightly to compensate.
This extends as a continuous process and provides blur-free images. You can get between 2-4 stops of image stabilization. What does it mean? If you could operate it without VR at 1/125, then with VR, you can probably try for 1/8 and still have blur-free images. More exposure time means better pictures in low light.
2. In-camera Stabilisation
In this part of the image stabilization, the camera’s gyroscopes move the sensor, just like the gyroscopes in the lens system moved the lens.
Which one do you need?
In-camera stabilization works for all lenses regardless if they have their own image stabilization or not. But you cannot find this feature in Canon and Nikon, which effectively takes out more than 80% or more of camera models from your list of preferred cameras!
Cameras from Olympus, Sony, and Pentax use in-body stabilization. The Panasonic Lumix GH series, for example, has in-body stabilization that works in tandem with Panasonic lens-based stabilization for perfect shots every time.
ISO means sensitivity to light. In bright sunlight, you would need an ISO of 100. In a dark room, an ISO of about 9,000 is required. ISO varies with shutter speed and aperture and is measured together in “stops.” One “stop” is double the sensitivity.
So if your camera is set for ISO 3200, the aperture at f/2.8, exposure of 1/30th of a second, then ISO 1600 would mean halving the sensitivity and being compensated if you increase exposure 1/15th and/or increase the aperture to f/2.8.
The perfect combination is a matter of knowledge and experience to produce the pictures with the most detail, best colour reproduction, and field depth. The more ISO that a DSLR is capable of, the better it is. Unlike FPS (given below), this is one feature to aim for.
If you don’t know what HDR is, you can test it out first on any smartphone. This feature produces a more full-bodied image. The human eye is what the camera seeks to imitate. But our eyes are remarkably versatile.
If you have a dim table lamp in a dark room, your eyes can see the diffused glow of the bulb under the lampshade (which is the brightest point in the entire room) and also quite a bit of the detail in the shadows (such as an outline of books on the bookshelf).
Snap a photo of the room with your smartphone with HDR off. The picture would show the table lamp, but not much else. This is because the camera is terrible at seeing the visual range and can only take photos if the entire subject is equally lit.
Turn on HDR, and you will find that the image is better with greater detail from dark corners. There are several ways in which the HDR works. One of them is to take images at different exposures and combine them.
The HDR feature is built into many DSLRs, but the cheapest DSLRs don’t offer it yet.
This is important in wildlife or sports photography when you are taking multiple images of a moving subject. Fps stands for frames per second. Top-end cameras offer 10-15 fps, while low-end models offer 2 fps.
It depends on several factors. Obviously, after every image, the shutter has to cock itself again. That is, the camera must return to the stage where it can take another picture. This is time-consuming. Besides, the processor needs to manage the image last taken.
And the buffer memory has to write to the disk. This is a complex sequence, and high fps is expensive. You should only consider high fps if you are thinking of wildlife photography.
But since most people do not usually spend much time photographing leopards chase down a deer, investing in high fps as a desirable feature is unnecessary.
Almost every modern DSLR in the market can double up as a professional-grade video camera. Black Swan (2010) and The Avengers (2012) are two very well known Hollywood movies shot using DSLR cameras.
All models can provide a 1920 x 1080 full HD video. Few can deliver 3840 x 2160 or 4k video. Obviously, the latter would need a 45 MP sensor while a 20 MP sensor is good enough for full HD.
Like cars have Class B, C, D (Hyundai Xcent, Honda City, Skoda Superb respectively), DSLRs can be classified into basic, semi-professional, and professional grades. This is not merely a matter of snob value but has to do with the features and complexity. It is best to start at the bottom and work up if you want to learn photography well.
Basic DSLRs – This includes models such as the Nikon D3500 and Canon EOS 1500D priced less than INR 30,000 (body). They are designed to be simple, fundamental and to produce exceptional images with minimum effort.
Usually, they have pentamirror and not the more expensive pentaprism reflex mechanism. The body is also not weatherproofed and traditionally made from polycarbonate plastic. Also, they would be APS-C and cropped format and have low burst speed capabilities. Very often, these are bundled with a kit 55-200 mm lens.
Mid-level DSLRs – They are sturdy and allow greater flexibility. It is not necessary that they have larger sensors, but they do have a higher ISO range. Also, quite a few of them are full-frame models. Nikon D7500 and Canon EOS 80D are good examples.
They are well made and feel heavy. The body is weatherproof, and the camera can take 8 fps burst shots and are a great all-around device that you can be proud of.
Professional DSLRs – Names that readily come to mind are Canon 5D Mark IV and Nikon D850. They offer full-frame sensors, above 10 fps burst shots, 4k videos, metal alloy body, fully weather-proof, and other expensive features like backlit CMOS sensors.
The prices are high at about INR 200,000 for the models mentioned above. It can range all the way to a Hasselblad X1D at INR 600,000 and more!
All DSLRs have Bluetooth, most have Wifi, and some have NFC. You need these to download the photos to a laptop or upload them to Google Drive or any other cloud storage platform at the end of the day
Even if an inexpensive model does not have NFC, Wifi is more than enough to provide you suitable connectivity.
The Canon vs. Nikon Debate
Assuming you are not buying a Sony, Panasonic, or Olympus and choose to buy a model from Canon or Nikon (the market leaders), this is a valid point that a buying guide should have.
As mentioned above, there is an 80% likelihood that you will end up with one of these two brands. Usually, it is difficult to migrate from one to the other and not as easy as switchover from a Mercedes to a BMW. It is more like Airbus vs. Boeing.
- Canon is a result of meticulous engineering. It is perfect in the sense that anything built by scientists and engineers is excellent.
- Canon is widely reputed as the more prominent name in photography.
- Canon is more readily available. You will also find more photographers in India using Canon.
- Most Canon lenses are manufactured in Japan.
- They appear to be more intuitive and better/easier to use. It is as if photographers and not optical engineers design them.
- A Nikon would always be slightly more expensive than an equivalent Canon. At least that is the general market perception.
- Most Nikon lenses are manufactured in China except for a few of the Gold Ring range.
You need a lot of accessories, even as a beginner.
- The very first thing you have to buy is a good carry case. You could buy an inexpensive one from AmazonBasics or a pricey one from Think Tank.
- A fast memory card like the SanDisk Extreme Pro series can transfer speeds up to 150MB/sec.
- A good quality flash such as Neewer TT560. It is best to buy a flash made by the camera manufacturing company if possible.
- A complete filter kit including UV, Polarizing, Neutral Density, and Color Correcting.
- A tripod.
You would, of course, need lenses. An excellent all-around lens would be one with autofocus and 70-300 mm focal length. The aperture range should be from f/4-5.6.
You can supplement this with a prime lens or an all-purpose lens. The additional purchase would include a good wide-angle lens, but that comes far later and is seldom used with entry-level DSLRs.
You can’t use any lens with any camera. They need to be from the same manufacturer and also have the same mount type.
To a certain extent, you can use third-party lenses, but only if they are reviewed for use with your camera.
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Frequently Asked Questions
As a beginner, you need an 18-55 mm lens for close-ups and a 70-300 mm lens for distance. Of course, you could opt for specialized lenses out of the box, but the camera manufacturers make the kit lenses and are ideally suited. They might slightly compromise top quality photos, but it would take anyone several months to reach that level of expertise.
Every DSLR can be connected to a laptop with a special cable. Most of them can also sync using Bluetooth. In fact, the DSLR can be tethered. That is, you can use the laptop monitor as a viewfinder.
You have to carry the camera body, lenses (at least two), a full kit of filters (UV, polarizing, neutral density), lens hood, tripod, and external shutter release. You may carry a flash if you believe you will be shooting in low light like a cave or under cover of thick foliage.
The composition is the arrangement of various elements within the frame so that they are well proportioned. Of course, the principal subject should stand out against the background and receive the photographer’s attention. Simplification of elements is the main aim of good photography: less the surrounding elements, the greater the stress on the subject.
The extensive collection mentioned above shows that great photography with state of the art equipment can start at as little as INR 36,000 and little extra for filters and a tripod. You can spend several lakhs and still not run out of stuff to buy.
After testing top 10 DSLRs ranging from Canon to Sony, and studying the various specifications on each model, it will be safe to conclude that the Nikon D850 and the Canon EOS 5D Mk IV are the two best choices.
The D850, with its 9FPS continuous shooting and CMOS sensor type, is not just fit for wildlife and commercial sports photographers but also portraits. This camera has great low light credentials as well.
The Canon EOS 5D Mk IV has a CMOS sensor, and it captures every detail, colour, nuance impeccably.
Both the cameras are indeed priced at very steep rates, but if you are a professional and are looking for cameras to reproduce images closest to reality, then these two are your picks. We hope this article would help you choose the best DSLR to buy in India.