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DSLR Camera Reviews 2013: Which DSLR To Buy?

The goliaths of the digital SLR world are Canon, Sony and Nikon. When progressing to this photographic level of awesome picture taking, deciding on your first Professional DSLR is a very important decision. And due to all the varying DSLR camera reviews available on the internet it can prove to be a somewhat daunting one!

what-dlsr-camera-to-buy-preview

It’s All About The Loyalty

Chances are, you’ll remain loyal to to your chosen brand for your entire picture taking career; building a vast and impressive collection of that particular brands accessories. But before you start counting your hard earned penny’s, you need to ask yourself:

 1.     What type of photographs am I most likely to be shooting? ie sports, documentary, fashion etc?

 2.     Do I prefer smaller bodies over large ones? If you have large hands smaller bodies are often cumbersome.

 3.     Do I work with any photographers already that have great kit that they could lend me? As branded kit will only fit cameras of that brand.

They may seem like obvious questions to some of you, but if you haven’t considered them, it could make for some rather expensive disappointment and frustration.

Below you’ll find the best DSLR’s on the Market.

I have listed the best cameras from the Canon Sony and Nikon range, all of which are excellent cameras, as at this level, it quite simply comes down to personal preference, budget and the answers to the above three questions.

Canon_Logo

Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D

The EOS Rebel T3i launched in 2011. This camera offers a great introduction to the endless possibilities of creative photography and is great for documentary photography as its very light and portable.

Canon rebel T3i

The camera also features a pop up flash that is typical of the lower end DSLRs

It’s also very affordable at a $600 (body only) price point. The T3i (aka the 600D) packs an 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, offers continuous shooting at 3.2 frames per second, shoots full HD video at 1080p, supports SD storage, and leverages Canon’s widely used EF lens mount so you have access to a huge library of compatible lenses.

Canon Rebel T3i (600D) example photograph, making good use of the cameras speed

Canon Rebel T3i (600D) example photograph, making good use of the cameras speed

However, due to the cropped sensor it is advised that when purchasing lens that you get the EF ones as the EF-s lenses, although very good for how cheap they are, won’t work on the standard canon mounts of a 5D and beyond, so if you ever upgraded your camera you’d have to replace all of these lenses, which can be very expensive… I unfortunately, made this exact mistake.

Canon EOS 5D

In 2005 canon launched its entry level fully professional range of digital SLR’s. The Canon EOS 5D series is perhaps the most popular choice among newly hailed professionals as it offers such a vast array of features for such a low price. $3,500 (body only) Mk III was launched last spring and is the latest in the series.

The largest camera in the group and the heaviest

The largest camera in the group and the heaviest

 

You can however still pick up the Mk II for a sweet $2,200 (body only). The Mk II has a 21.1 megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor, shoots photos at 3.9 frames per second, and can capture full 1080p video. It supports CompactFlash, and uses Canon’s EF lens mount.

 

5D example photograph, you'll notice the richness in colors which makes this camera perfect for portraiture and fashion photography

5D example photograph, you’ll notice the richness in colors which makes this camera perfect for portraiture and fashion photography

The MK III on the other hand is a 22.3 megapixel model with a CMOS sensor, shoots at up to 6 frames per second, captures 1080p full HD video, and you have a choice of storage with SD or CompactFlash. Unlike the Nikon of its level the body is not a solid metal, but don’t let this put you off as it is constructed from a magnesium alloy body that feels every bit of the money you’ve paid for it.

Many of the DSLR camera reviews that you’ll find on the internet and in magazines all rave about this camera and rightly so!

The 5D is personally my camera of choice; I’ve dropped it in the sea, had it fly out of my hand at a football game, and still the camera works! The 5D’s are great at capturing varying levels of light, so are perfect for fashion and landscape photography.

nikon logo

Nikon D600

The Nikon D600 is a 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor semi professional SLR. It offers continuous shooting at 5.5 frames per second, captures full 1080p HD video at 30fps, and uses SD cards for storage.

The smallest camera in the group, perfect for those with little hands

The smallest camera in the group, perfect for those with little hands

It uses Nikon’s F mount making it the perfect choice for a Nikon lover as it can use any of the lens from the Nikon range. It has the smallest body of its level, so if you have big hands you might find it rather cumbersome.

D600 example, the cameras is a great choice for wedding photographers as it is so robust and can really aid you when getting creative

D600 example, the cameras is a great choice for wedding photographers as it is so robust and can really aid you when getting creative

Like all Nikons, the electronics are housed within a hard metal body that is great at keeping out the elements, but if you happen to shoot in cold locations, it can make for a rather chilly bit of kit to handle and considering its size, it’s impossible to use when you’re wearing gloves.

Nikon D800

When it comes to features and options Nikon’s D800 $3000 (body only) is by far at the top of its game, offering a massive 36.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, can shoot photos at four frames per second, and can capture full 1080p video at up to 30fps.

The D800 is packed with awesome features

The D800 is packed with awesome features

It uses Nikon’s F mount so you can use it with a massive array of lenses, and supports both SD and Compact Flash. Offering a wealth of features this camera will certainly keep you busy.

D800 example, the speed quality of this camera is clearly demonstrated in this image.

D800 example, the speed quality of this camera is clearly demonstrated in this image.

What a lot of the other DSLR camera reviews fail to mention is that due to its fast frame rate it is the ideal choice for any sports photographer looking to capture that perfect frozen moment in time.

1 sony-logo

Sony Alpha a77

A firm favorite among many of the DSLR camera reviews that you’ll find on the net.

The A77 $1,100 (body only) has all of the features from the cheaper A65 $700 (body only) but has a far faster frame rate and a more sturdily built body. You also get an additional LCD screen on its top plate, as well as a second command dial and flash sync socket, together with faster flash sync and maximum shutter speeds. It also has the best electronic viewfinder (EVF) in the professional range of DSLR’s.

Sony cameras are perfect if you have a tight budget

Sony cameras are perfect if you have a tight budget

Offering 16.2Megapixels and full HD video at 1080p.
If you’re looking for a camera that does all of the above on a budget this is the one for you.

A77 example, for the price this camera certainly deliverers some stunning results

A77 example, for the price this camera certainly deliverers some stunning results

But like all Sony DSLR’s the lenses are nowhere near the quality of that that is offered from Canon or Nikon. Nevertheless it’s a great camera for the price.

Sony Alpha a99

Much to Canon and Nikons dread, the Sony Alpha a99 $2800 (body only) is the first full-frame camera to have an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This is an OLED Tru-Finder with 2,359,000 dots, and it covers 100% of the image frame.

The best of the Sony range

The best of the Sony range

In addition there’s a 3-inch 1,228,000-dot screen on an articulating hinge to make it easier to compose images from unusual angles.

A99 example, you can clearly see how the features allow for some interesting creative freedom

A99 example, you can clearly see how the features allow for some interesting creative freedom

It offers  24.3Megapixels full HD video at 1080p and an ISO range of 100-25600. A very useful feature is the ability to control the AF range. However, the AF system is a little slower in some situations than the competition.

When making that purchase

Go to a store and handle the camera first, make sure you’re happy with how it feels. Shoot with it a bit and ask the seller any questions you might have. Then perform high street sacrilege, and buy it online, as we all know you’ll get a much better deal.

Follow these links for the best deals on each of the cameras:

Canon EOS Rebel T3i (600D)

Canon EOS 5D

Nikon D600

Nikon D800

Sony a77

Sony a99

If you’re wondering how to choice the right Lens, check out 5 Tips On How T Chose The Right Lens which will give you some excellent core tips.

If you already have a camera that you use that I’ve not mentioned please feel free to add comments below and let us know why you think that camera is the nuts!

Robert Bradley

Robert is a surrealist visual artist, photographer and journalist. Many of his photographs are exhibited throughout the world in private and corporate collections.
  • Paul

    I have a 6D that has part magnesium and part plastic (to accommodate GPS and WiFI) This is also full frame, how come you haven’t included this in the review?

    • I felt that the 5D and the 6D are both very similar cameras, and its always good when writing a review of this nature to compare subjects that are set far apart from one another. Thanks for the comment ! :)

  • to me they are great, thanhks

  • I just have a regular camera, the better the quality is always my wish. sorry.

  • for me, which is also

  • I am impressed with this information and would gladly read more from you.

  • Y8

    Original content seems to be rare nowadays. Thanks to you and your smart take on this topic, I have original and interesting content to read.

  • this is simply the best article on this subject I’ve seen so far.

  • I am glad got the opportunity to read it. You’ve done well.

  • I’m glad I found your article. The information is useful, interesting and well-written.

    • Hey np :) I’m pleased it helped, what camera do you have?

  • mr

    I think it’s bad form that you tell people to go into a camera store, waste a sales person’s time and then go buy it on-line. How are smaller, independent photography stores supposed to stay in business when the value that they bring to a sale is their knowledge and helping people to learn about their cameras and choosing the right one – and you are telling them to buy on-line. People should know that Canon, Nikon and Sony all have pricing guidelines that must be followed by authorized dealers – so if you are getting your camera at a price much below cost, then chances are you might want to be wary of who you are purchasing from.

    • I understand your point. But lets be honest. Everyone wants to get the best deal for what they’re buying, and companies such as Amazon are attracting more clientele due to the fact that they are able to buy more stock and have less overheads. This is the nature of the beast. Buying online does have its drawbacks, as yes you cant touch taste or smell the product, but you can only do that in a store, so whats the consumer to do? Buy it from somewhere that’s more expensive? You’re right it is bad form.. to a point, then I’m afraid your augment becomes redundant, as who is more important? the end user, or the seller? It is of course the end user. thank you for your comment nonetheless :)

  • Jeroen

    I am sorry but the information here raises some questions. The D800 as the ideal sport camera? I own one and love it but not for that. It’s frame rate is nothing special and the buffer it has is not suitable for sports I can tell from experience. To prove your point the example image you provide is made with a D3, and yes, that is a real sports camera. The Nikon D600 example image is actually made with a Canon 5D MkII…

    • This post is for semi-pros to just starting out, professionals. You’re right the D3 is the best for sports, but this camera costs in excess of $5k plus! For the money, hands down the D800 every time. Not sure where you got muddled up with these the example photographs. Nevertheless thanks for the comment :)

  • Farrell John Conejos

    Hi Robert,

    To be honest, I am not a professional photographer but I love to take pictures and I guess that’s already a valid reason for me to seek a DSLR. I am a Sony fan (hopefully, no one will hate me for it) so I think it’s logical if i pick a DSLR from Sony. Many may think that way and I am one of them, but I am not telling anyone that I will close the door for other brands. Cannon and Nikon has proven themselves in this industry and it’s only fitting to see what they can offer. I am still in the state of confusion after reading all the information about these DSLR cameras but I know, soon, I can decide which one will be best suited for me. Thanks for having this review posted.

  • Stacy Wagner

    I’m a little confused. I’ve used a Sony for years and love it – it is 10 years old and I am looking to replace it. This review is of a Sony Alpa A77 – 16.2 Megapixel – the one I’ve been pricing (Sonly Alpha a77) is 24.3 Megapixels?? Can someone offer input / recommendations on that? I love my Sony except in low light conditions and that is the only reason I’ve considered changing brands but changing brands makes me nervous because I’ve had such good luck with the one I’ve got now other than the low light!

  • okay. i will buy 5D. i like it much.

  • Kevin Harter

    What’s the major difference between Canon T3i and T4i?

  • potent2020

    what about 70D Canon ?

  • I understand your point. But lets be honest. Everyone wants to get the
    best deal for what they’re buying, and companies such as Amazon are
    attracting more clientele due to the fact that they are able to buy more
    stock and have less overheads.

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