Minimum Camera Features

Mid-range DSLR features

Mid-range DSLRs often use the same sensors as the entry-level model from the same manufacturer but they have more features and are more durable as well.

Midrange DSLRMid-range digital single lens reflex cameras often use the same sensors as the entry-level cameras from the same manufacturer. The difference between entry- and mid-level models generally lies in the features set, not the light-gathering capabilities.

Additional features include:

Rugged body: mid-range DSLRs generally offer more rugged bodies made with a mix of plastic and metal. These bodies, while not being totally shock-proof, can withstand a little more shaking and bumping than entry-level models.

Weather sealing: while only one brand currently offers an entry-level weather sealed camera, many mid-range models offer some level of protection against the elements. The weakest link is often the lens, however, and a lens that is not weather sealed will be of little use even if the body is protected.

DSLR lensesLarger body: Mid-range DSLRs have larger bodies than entry-level equivalents. While a larger body is more cumbersome, it offers more real estate for the placement of buttons and shortcuts. Users who enjoy changing settings often will find the use of a mid-level DSLR easier and more convenient. In addition, a larger body will feel more balanced when used with a large lens.

LCD display: Mid-level DSLRs often (but not always) offer larger LCDs, sometimes with better resolution. Some models also sport a secondary, monochrome LCD, which is used to display current camera settings. In addition to preserving battery life, such a display is extremely convenient for quickly reviewing camera settings.

Larger viewfinder: as mentioned earlier, the viewfinder of a mid-level DSLR is generally large and bright. A larger viewfinder has another advantage : the fact that more information can be shown on the viewfinder display.

AF points: generally speaking, a more advanced camera offers more autofocus points and the AF system is often more efficient and focuses faster in difficult situations.

Vertical grip option: many mid-range DSLRs can use accessories like a vertical grip. Such a grip is used for portrait oriented photography, and provides additional battery storage. Some also hold small accessories like remotes.

IR port: some mid-range models can be triggered by an infrared remote, allowing for easier operation in difficult situations (birds photography, self-portraits, etc).

Shooting options: mid-range cameras propose shooting options not found on most entry-level bodies : focus and exposure bracketing, multi-exposure, white balance fine-tuning, lens-by-lens autofocus compensation, etc.

Which type DSLR?

Only you can decide which level DSLR is best for you. Make a decision based on your current level of expertise and your current and future needs. Remember: the best camera is the one that you enjoy using, whatever its features list!

About the author

Bernard Dery

Bernard was born and still lives in Quebec City, Canada. A doctorate candidate in Physics, Bernard works full-time as an optical designer at EXFO, a world leader in telecom tests and measurements tools. His professional interests go from fiber optics to atmospheric data collection and lasers.

His first contact with photography was a Vivitar fixed lens camera that he had purchased at age eight. His interest developed slowly, and for many years Bernard limited himself to family and travel pictures.

Bernard discovered the world of digital photography in February 2004, when he purchased his first digital camera. Developing an interest for composition, he experimented with many subjects: landscapes, nature, cities and architecture.

Bernard
soon began to invest more time and energy into his new found hobby, finding new and beautiful subjects to capture everyday. His challenge is to capture the mood and emotion carried by a scene as it presents itself to him.

A trip to Italy in
September 2004 fueled his growing interest with numerous magical photography opportunities.

Bernard and his wife like to spend free time near a lake at his family's summer house, where he finds new subjects to capture every day. His interests are varied and include hiking, camping, swimming, boating and reading, as well as most winter
sports.

Bernard, known as bdery on forums, uses a Pentax K20D and W80, Canon S2 and a Nikon SQ as a backup.

Thumbnails are of photos by Bernard Dery - used with permission
Copyright Bernard Dery All rights reserved

6 Comments

  • Sari, I owned the TZ3 and it’s a great camera. By going to a DSLR, you’ll get improved performance and speed, much improved images in low light and high ISO numbers and a host of other features. You’ll have use of a viewfinder and an optional external flash. I suggest getting an entry level DSLR by Canon or Nikon. There are several models so look for one that meets your budget. Remember, you’re buying into a system, so make sure the manufacturer has the types of lenses you may want in the future. You can get an idea of the models and user feedback in our Amazon store.

  • Thank you for the very informative website!

    For the last few years I have been using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 – other than the size of the camera I absolutely love it! (I prefer the larger DSLR shape/size)
    I can’t imagine loving a camera more – but feel like I would like to graduate to a DSLR.
    I am however at a loss of which one to go with.
    I would be using this for a little of everything – nature,pets,people,landscapes etc …
    One thing that I’ve recently thought I might want is a remote control option of the camera.
    Any suggestions?
    THANKS VERY MUCH.

  • Kim, Any of today’s DSLRs should be suitable for sports photography. When comparing camera specifications, get one with a fast burst buffer. Also consider one that accepts Image Stabilized lenses, rather than in-the-camera-body IS, since the actual image will be stabilized when looking through the viewfinder.

    The lens you buy is just as important as the camera. For sports photography, these are generally recommended: 70-200mm f-2.8; 300mm f-2.8; 600mm f-4. A wide aperture, as does raising the ISO, allow for faster shutter speeds. The faster the lens, the more expensive. If you will be taking primarily outside photos in good light a very fast lens is less important, but do get the fastest quality lens you can afford.

    Regarding face detection, some digital cameras allow you to “register” a face so it will track a specific individual. Face detection is effective if and when a person faces the camera so it can not be relied upon when photographing events where the subject moves around a lot. I personally would not consider face detection reliable for taking photos at competitive cheerleading or sports.

  • I am looking for a dslr to take photos of my children.  My daughter is involved in competitive cheerleading and my sons play football, baseball and are involved in track & field.  I would like a really good high speed camera to capture these activities.  Also, I have read about ‘face detection’ and worry that when taking photos in these situations that I will not be able to have clear photos of my child if they are not the one in front.  I would love to hear thoughts from everyone.  Please help!

  • Joel, I use my DSLR in a similar fashion to you. If I was buying a camera today, it would be the Canon 2Ti/550D. I already own the 450D and love it. I’ve been pleased with images from the kit lenses. Choosing a lens is difficult and often depends on how much you can afford to spend. These articles can give you some insights about lenses: Should you buy a kit lens? and Interchangeable lens quality. I highly recommend you visit the Fred Miranda site. You’ll get so much good advice about which lenses will best meet your needs.

  • I want to buy a dSLR camera primarily for recreational use and as a hobby. I want to take high resolution photos that I could enlarge and print out. I am not, as of now, that concerned with the video capabilities that they come with. Which camera(s) would you recommend? Would I be better off just buying the body of the camera and buying a higher quality primary lens? I was looking at the canon 2Ti/550D. which wide angle and telephoto lenses would you also recommend to use with the cameras that you suggest. Thanks.