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Buying and Upgrading to a DSLR Camera

Updated on August 16, 2016
cclitgirl profile image

Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts and culture and sharing that knowledge.

A recent shot I took with my DSLR camera.
A recent shot I took with my DSLR camera. | Source

Upgrading Your Camera

Thinking about upgrading to a DSLR?

Stop thinking and just do it.

With the world we live in, images mean a lot – especially if you do a lot of writing or working online. Words, valuable as they are, will only get you so far.

Why should you invest in a DSLR, though?

I hadn’t thought about it when I was new to the online writing world. I just figured I’d take the best pictures I could with my little Kodak point and shoot camera I had.

Oh, woe is me. I had no idea – no idea – what I was missing.

DSLR is short for Digital Single Lens Reflex. I won’t get into all the technical details of what that means, but I can tell you, they make a difference. I’ll list several good reasons why it’s good to invest in a good DSLR.

5 out of 5 stars from 5 ratings of DSLR Cameras

DSLR Image Quality

First and foremost, the one thing you’ll notice is that when you get your DSLR, the image quality of the pictures you take is almost phenomenal in the difference.

Take a look at these two pictures. Can you tell which one I took with my DSLR and which one I took with my old Kodak? Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem totally obvious at first.

Source
Source

If you guessed that the first image was with my DSLR and the second one was with my Kodak, you’re correct. It might be a little hard to tell though, because once you resize images for the internet, sometimes you lose quality anyways.

It’s much easier to focus on things that are close up and the detail is unparalleled. My Kodak couldn’t get any closer than what I did here and even then, it had a hard time focusing - so it focused on almost everything.

The second picture is more grainy and though more things are "clear," with the first image, you could say it's "ultra-focused" on the gems. (I could change the settings so that the background is clearer, but I just want to make the point that the images are different.)

The settings abound on a DSLR.
The settings abound on a DSLR. | Source

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Greater Image Control with DSLRs

When you take a picture with a point and shoot camera, you can manipulate some things: the white balance settings, focus (at least somewhat), and a few other things.

But with a DSLR, you can use it on the automatic settings, but the fun really begins when you use the manual settings.

You can control the aperture, focal length, shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO settings easily. With the typical point and shoot, you don’t have much control over those types of settings.

Things that are common to both types of cameras, like white balance, are better-controlled with a DSLR. You can adjust it for fluorescent lighting, sunlight, shade, cloudy days, warm incandescent, cool incandescent and much more. Thus, the variety of options on a DSLR gives you that much more opportunity to produce that perfect image.

In addition, you can also use a variety of modes to adjust for various lighting situations. Of course, you can set the camera to automatic – using the SCN function - you can tell the camera if you’re doing a landscape picture, a portrait, a fast-moving scene and so forth. However, the automatic settings only get you so far.

If you change modes to “P” – program auto – you can set everything except aperture and shutter settings.

Changing to “A” – aperture priority – lets you adjust the aperture, which allows you more control of what stays sharp and what stays blurry.

If you switch to “S” – shutter priority – you can control shutter speed. You know those silky waterfall pictures? Photographers use their shutter speeds to create that effect, using a slower shutter speed (among other settings).

My beloved Sony a57, with its interchangeable lens.
My beloved Sony a57, with its interchangeable lens. | Source

Interchangeable Lenses

With DSLRs, it’s easy to purchase different lenses for the camera body.

Thus, if you like doing close-ups, you can get a lens that will help you do just that. If you prefer close up images of far-away objects, a telephoto lens will do you well.

I own a Sony α57, and it came with a book that gives you at least 30 different options for various types of lenses.

The sky’s the limit for what you want to do: macro pictures, portraits, distance and everything in between.

Tutorials

Yes, you actually get tutorials that help you compose the best possible picture on a DSLR camera.

If you look at the photo below, I have an LCD screen on my camera. It has a “?” button and when you push it, it will take you to a screen that guides you through the settings upon which you have the camera set.

Thus, if you have it on an automatic setting, SCN, and let’s say you have the camera set to “portrait,” it’ll give you pointers on how best to take a good portrait picture. It’ll tell you about the lighting and framing guidelines as well as pointers on using the flash.

If you are on a manual setting, the “?” button will guide you through those settings, helping you to set them correctly so that you don’t get an underexposed or overexposed picture or get too much blur.

LCD lens showing a tutorial.
LCD lens showing a tutorial. | Source

Rechargeable Battery

With the point and shoot cameras, how often do you need to change out the batteries? It seems like every few times I go to use my old Kodak, I have to change the batteries.

What’s neat about many DSLRs is that the battery comes with its own charging pack. The LCD screen allows you to easily see how much battery power you have left.

Thus, if you have 22% power left, you’ll know you need to charge the battery fairly soon, but that it’s not going to die on you immediately. After an hour and a half of charging, you're ready to go again.

Cool Effects

If you take a look at the picture below, there’s a setting on some DSLRs that allow you to filter out colors, except the one you choose. In this example, I told the camera to only focus on yellow colors, while the rest remain black and white. I’ve created some interesting images that way. There are other settings, too, such as high-contrast black and white, a soft focus, posterization, and more.

I set my camera to just pick up yellow tones and leave everything else black and white.
I set my camera to just pick up yellow tones and leave everything else black and white. | Source

Computer Updates For Your DSLR

DSLR cameras are machines. They have small computers in them. Thus, every so often the manufacturer will come up with an update and you can download these updates onto your camera. This is a great way to keep up with new developments in the photography world.

Be a “Real” Photographer

There’s nothing like that feeling when you’ve mastered the settings on your camera and you feel like a real photographer. I studied (and am still studying) the field of photography and am well on my way to being a professional photographer.

With only a point and shoot camera, however, it’s tough to convince that bride at her wedding that you’re the real deal. Sure, a good point and shoot has its place, especially if you’re on the go a lot and you don’t want to deal with a cumbersome camera all the time. A good point and shoot is a great back-up to have, as well. But the DSLR will take you to the next step in photography.

About My Camera

A little while back, I purchased a Sony α57. After a lot of research, this one appeared to meet my needs. I can say that I am hooked on Sony and in love with my camera. I now take it wherever I go and I’m always playing with the settings to come up with new and exciting images.

Yes there are the Canons and the Nikons, but I decided to give Sony a chance. I have not been disappointed.

While it’s not the priciest camera out there, it is a great camera for anyone wanting to get started in serious photography and for able amateurs.

The interesting thing about the camera body itself is that a lens is probably more important than the actual camera body.

If you’re undecided between a more expensive camera body or a high quality lens, I’d go for the less expensive camera body and the higher quality lens. After all, what the camera sees is what is telling in your photos. If you don’t have a great lens, the resulting photo won’t be as good as it could be.

I love doing close up (macro) photos of things in nature.  They're my specialty...along with a few other things.
I love doing close up (macro) photos of things in nature. They're my specialty...along with a few other things. | Source
Another fungi photo.  I just thought it looked really cool.
Another fungi photo. I just thought it looked really cool. | Source

© 2012 Cynthia Sageleaf

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    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 3 years ago from Western NC

      JPSO - thank you. Yes, I LOVE my DSLR. I can't live without it. Thank you for your comment. :)

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      I do have a DSLR camera and after learning the basics, I never look back. It's amazing what you can do with such. Your hub is certainly useful as many people still does not know how to utilize the great features of their DSLR

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Sharon - aww, thank you! I can tell you, it's WORTH it. You won't regret this purchase. The things you can do that you can't with a point and shoot camera are STUNNING. I felt like I emerged from the Middle Ages when I got this, hehe. HUGS!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      I really appreciate this article CC. I am so behind times when it comes to things like upgrading my camera. I must start saving for a new one and will seriously consider your recommendations. Thanks!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Maralexa - aww, thank you! I am in love with my DSLR and it's inspired me to learn as much as I can about photography. :)

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Wow! You have really inspired me with this hub! I too would love to use a DSLR. I am motivated by great images (like yours on Flickr!) and having a good camera would definitely lead to more hubs. Thanks for your excellent articles.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Writerbeth - haha, Dear Santa indeed! :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • writerbeth profile image

      writerbeth 4 years ago from England

      Just hub-hopped to this and I probably wouldn't have got here otherwise as I didn't think I was interested! How wrong I was, this is really an informative article and you obviously know your stuff. Trouble is, I now want a DSLR - oh dear - Dear Santa...

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Denise - haha, no worries! I'm behind, too. :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Congrats on the daily drawing! (I'm a few days behind, haha)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Vicki - yeah, they do cost some money, but think of it as an investment in your work. Plus, you'd be able to write it off. :)

      Ptosis - I'm not quite sure what you're asking, but if you have a remote control for your DSLR, you can change the settings to select a color and proceed that way. :)

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona

      "filter out colors, except the one you choose." - my old Canon Powershot used to be able to do that. Can this one be remotely controlled ( such as a motion sensor or PC?)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Wow, I'm convinced. I just didn't know that they cost so much! I'm thinking maybe next year. Great review! I love your photos. And congrats on winning one of the prizes! :-) Pinning this to my photography board!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Vellur - great to see you!! Thank you for coming by. :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Awesome review and congratulations!! Needless to say voted up.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Aviannovice - holy smokes, I'd say that with your eye and photographic expertise, you're already well on your way to justifying that camera of your dreams. :D Thanks for your feedback!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      All good material, CC. One day, I will have the camera of my dreams and a great lens to go with, for my bird shots. But I'll make do until then.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Denise - yeah, you can get into the market for a pretty good DSLR. :) In time, right? In good time. :)

      Samsons1 - Thank you. Yes, there's always more to learn, but it's so fun. Thank you for stopping by!

      Teaches - you are so kind! Thank you for your kind words and insights. I appreciate you!

      BDegiulio - Yes! This is the main reason I got my DSLR - I really wanted my hub pics to shine. It's helped me in innumerable ways.

      Randomcreative - Hehe, I can't wait to see the photos you come up with when you get that DSLR. :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      You know how much I want an SLR! I did not read another article to convince me of this, but I am that much more convinced now. :) Hopefully I will be making this jump soon...

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Cyndi. Great job highlighting the benefits of DSLR. Comes in handy if you are using a lot of photos in your Hubs. Well done.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Cindy, every time I see your photos I am inspired by your creative works. These posts are all so vivid and shot with such clarity. Love the angles, colors and muted background on the opening photo. Nice camera, may some day I will own one. Voted up +++

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 4 years ago from Tennessee

      Very good read. You do a good job of explaining without getting into the technical aspects as to 'why and what does this; because...' You are enjoying your camera as you learn and that is the way it should be. Progress at your own pace. Voted up, useful, interesting and shared...

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      So...the DSLR is around $400? I wouldn't mind getting one, but as Bill says...it'll be a bit down the road. Great review...very detailed, which was very helpful. Up/U/I

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Scribenet - those manual functions can be tough to learn, but they're so worth it when you can really make a photo do what you want. Thanks for your feedback! :)

      Alocsin - the settings can be a little overwhelming at times, but until you're ready to try the manual stuff, the automatic settings do help you take better pictures for sure. Thanks for your feedback - cheers!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Even though I had a manual SLR once, I don't know if I'd like to worry about all the settings with a DSLR. My fully automatic digital camera works fine in most situations. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I just bought a book on digital camera functions ; describing the DSLR cameras and I can see the advantage of them, but I opted to learn the manual functions of my current camera so I can eventually upgrade and know what I am doing!

      Great Hub...timely for me!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      BB - yeah, I saved up for this before I quit teaching - I knew I would need it for what I was planning on doing - both with hubs and with my website. I am in love. Hehe. My camera is just the coolest thing. LOL - this may be my one and only entry...not sure. We'll see how the month works out. :P

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well this review was a natural for you to do, and you did a great job!

      This is my next big purchase; of course, being a writer, I have no money for the next big purchase, but if that day ever comes, a DSLR camera will be it. I guess that just means I have a lot of time to research all of them. LOL

      Good job lil' Sis, and good luck with the contest. My one and only entry is coming Monday. :)