Chapter 7. The SLR Chapter

Most of the advice in this book applies to any kind of camera: the tiny, sleek compacts; the midrange superzooms; and the big, black SLRs. But some glorious features—and some irksome pitfalls—are unique to SLR ownership. This chapter steers you through them.


Just taking pictures with an SLR gives your photography an enormous boost. Without learning anything new, you get all of this:

  • Less "noise" in low-light photos without the flash, thanks to the huge sensor inside.

  • Much better sharpness and detail, thanks to the extremely high-quality lens.

  • No shutter lag and high burst rates, thanks to highly tuned circuitry inside.

  • That delicious blurry-background look in your portraits.

  • Manual controls that make possible all kinds of shots that you simply can't get with a compact camera (see Chapter 6).

  • Battery life that blows away pocket cams.

But for serious photographers, the biggest perk of all might be the fact that you can swap lenses.

True, many people start out using only the "kit lens"—the one that came with the camera. It's usually a basic 18 to 55 mm zoom (that is, about 3X zoom) that works beautifully with the camera body.

And that's fine. It's even fine if you never get a second lens. But the point is that you can if, someday, you decide it's time to grow as a photographer.

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a single lens that covers the whole range, from wide angle to telephoto. Instead, you'll have to shop for lenses by focal range. They tend ...

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