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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Battle Of The DSLRs

Everyone aspires to a top-of-the-line, super-trick, über-pro DSLR, but what are you really buying, and can a mid-level model actually give you better images?


This Article Features Photo Zoom
Pro DSLRs start up and wake from "sleep" mode very quickly. But these days, so do mid-level and even many entry-level DSLRs. Shutter lag (the brief time between the moment you fully depress the shutter button to take the shot and the moment the exposure is actually made) also isn't all that far apart these days.

Where the all-out pro DSLRs have a clear advantage over the lower-end models is in burst speed and capacity. The Canon EOS-1D X can shoot at 12 fps at full resolution with AF for each frame; the Nikon D4 shoots 10 fps at full resolution with AF for each frame. One reason why these cameras have sensors with 8 and 16 megapixels—fewer than their mid-level full-frame and even entry-level APS-C DSLRs—is to obtain these frame rates. Affordable technology doesn't currently exist to process 36-megapixel images at 10 per second. There are also limits on how quickly a DSLR can raise and lower the SLR mirror.

Mid-range full-frame DSLRs have top shooting rates in the 4 to 6 fps range. In APS-C, the Canon EOS 7D has 18 megapixels, and it can do 8 fps with AF for each frame, Nikon's 12.3-megapixel D300S and the 16.2-megapixel Pentax K-5 series, 7 fps. Sony's 24.3-megapixel SLT-A77 has an electronic viewfinder and a fixed-mirror system, and it can do an amazing 12 fps with continuous AF. Nikon's 24.1-megapixel D7100 can do 7 fps in 15.3-megapixel 1.3X DX crop mode (in which a 300mm lens frames like a 600mm on a full-frame camera). All of today's DSLRs but the entry-level models can do at least 5 fps.

THE CONTENDERS
Full-Frame Metering Points Pop-Up Flash Viewfinder Type/Coverage LCD Monitor Dimensions Max Weight MSRP
Canon EOS-1D X 100,000 No PP/100% 3.2-in., 1040K fixed 6.2x6.4x3.3 in. 47.3 oz. $6,799
Canon EOS 5D Mark III 63 No PP/100% 3.2-in., 1040K fixed 6.0x4.6x3.0 in. 30.3 oz. $3,499
Canon EOS-6D 63 No PP/97% 3.0-in., 1040K fixed 5.7x4.4x2.8 in. 23.8 oz. $1,999
Nikon D4 91,000 No PP/100% 3.2-in., 921K fixed 6.3x6.2x3.6 in. 41.6 oz. $5,999
Nikon D800/D800E 91,000 Yes PP/100% 3.2-in., 921K fixed 5.7x4.8x3.2 in 31.7 oz. $2,999
Nikon D600 2016 Yes PP/100% 3.2-in., 921K fixed 5.6x4.4x3.2 in. 26.8 oz. $2,099
Sony SLT-A99 1200 No EVF/100% 3.0-in., 1229K t/s 5.8x4.4x3.1 in. 25.9 oz. $2,799
APS-C              
Canon EOS 7D 63 Yes PP/100% 3.0-in., 920K fixed 5.8x4.4x2.9 in. 28.9 oz. $1,499
Canon EOS 70D 63 Yes PP/98% 3.0-in., 1040K t/s touch 5.5x4.1x3.1 in. 23.8 oz. $1,199
Canon EOS T5i 63 Yes PP/95% 3.0-in., 1040K t/s touch 5.2x3.9x3.1 in. 18.5 oz. $899****
Canon EOS SL1 63 Yes PP/95% 3.0-in., 1040K touch 4.6x3.6x2.7 in. 13.1 oz. $799****
Canon EOS T3 63 Yes PP/95% 2.7-in., 230K fixed 5.1x3.9x3.1 in. 17.4 oz. $449****
Nikon D300S 1005 Yes PP/100% 3.0-in., 921K fixed 5.8x4.5x2.9 in. 30.0 oz. $1,699
Nikon D7100 2016 Yes PP/100% 3.2-in., 1229K fixed 5.3x4.2x3.0 in. 23.8 oz. $1,199
Nikon D5200 2016 Yes PP/95% 3.0-in., 921K t/s 5.1x3.9x3.1 in. 17.8 oz $799
Nikon D3200 420 Yes PP/95% 3.0-in., 921K fixed 5.0x3.8x3.1 in. 16.0 oz. $699****
Pentax K-5 II/K-5 IIs 77 Yes PP/100% 3.0-in., 921K fixed 5.2x3.8x2.9 in. 23.3 oz. $1,099
Pentax K-50 77 Yes PP/100% 3.0-in., 921K fixed 5.1x3.8x2.8 in. 20.8 oz. $699
Pentax K-30 77 Yes PP/100% 3.0-in., 921K fixed 5.1x3.8x2.8 in. 20.8 oz. $599
Pentax K-500 77 Yes PP/100% 3.0-in., 921K fixed 5.1x3.8x2.8 in. 20.8 oz. $599****
Sigma SD1 Merrill 77 Yes PP/98% 3.0-in., 460K fixed 5.7x4.4x3.1 in. 24.7 oz. $2,299
Sigma SD15 77 Yes PP/98% 3.0-in., 460K fixed 5.7x4.2x3.2 in. 24.0 oz. $989
Sony SLT-A77 1200 Yes EVF/100% 3.0-in., 921K t/s 5.6x4.1x3.1 in. 23.0 oz. $899
Sony SLT-A65 1200 Yes EVF/100% 3.0-in., 921K t/s 5.2x3.8x3.1 in. 19.1 oz. $649
Sony SLT-A58 1200 Yes EVF/100% 2.7-in., 461K tilt 5.1x3.8x3.1 in. 17.3 oz. $549****
Four Thirds              
Olympus E-5 49 Yes PP/100% 3.0-in., 920K t/s 5.6x4.6x2.9 in. 28.2 oz $1,699
*Maximum fps at full resolution with AF for each frame; figure in parentheses is maximum fps in 15.3 MP cropped mode
**Maximum number of RAW/highest-quality JPEG images per burst
***SLT-A99 has a 102-point phase-detection AF sensor overlaying the image sensor, as well as a main 19-point AF sensor
****Price with asterisks is for body with kit zoom lens; otherwise price is for body only
N/S = Not stated by manufacturer


 

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