Digital SLRs – Hype Or Must Have?

slrsFriends, clients and inquiring minds on the Internet frequently ask me which camera should they buy to photograph their baby, toddlers or children. Many of those same folks jump to the conclusion that they need a big fancy digital SLR. Fact is, camera technology has come a long way – so here are a few things to keep in mind before buying your next camera:

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Auto Focus and Shutter Lag
Image quality
Portability, Ergonomics and Usability

Auto Focus and Shutter Lag. The primary reason parents switch to dSLR is for their reputation for being responsive or specifically the time between pressing the shutter button to when the photograph is captured, is typically shorter with an SLR. However there are two components to this. Most people don’t realize that on a modern camera, the bulk of the time between pressing the shutter and taking the photo is focusing. In many cases, pre-focusing on your baby or child will reduce the lag to a reasonable level.
Image Quality. Image quality is the sum of image sharpness, ability to produce beautiful bokeh (the nice blurry background) and low noise (lack of graininess and chromatic discoloration in low light).

SLRs win hands down in every dimension – if you invest the appropriate lenses. So in many respects, it’s an unfair comparison between a $ 300-400 point and shoot camera and an SLR and associated lenses that will run you 4-5 times that much.

Portability, Ergonomics and Usability. A larger camera will generally feel more substantial in your hand. But for most parents, who don’t want to fuss with all the knobs, switches and settings of an SLR, a point and shoot camera is really the way to go. Bottom Line: You’re already going to be spending a ton on junior’s college fund, so give the latest point and shoot cameras a try before you jump on the band wagon.

Your camera pack will be lighter and your wallet heavier.

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