The digital single-lens reflex (dSLR) is the great step upward for photographers who want to expand their creative horizons — or simply just get better pictures. Whether you want to become a serious photo hobbyist, have a hankering to turn pro, or want to take advantage of the improved control that digital SLRs give you over your photography, discovering how to use this tool of the future should be high on your priorities list.

The latest digital SLRs have features that no one had even dreamed of back when I wrote the first edition of this book. All the major bugs of the earliest dSLRs have been magically transformed into killer features in the latest models. Today, you can preview your images by using Live View features before you snap the shutter. Dust that collects on the sensor causes much less of a problem thanks to built-in sensor-cleaning features. You get better image quality than in earlier models, thanks to higher resolutions (you can commonly get 15 megapixels and up, even in low-cost dSLRs), super-sensitive sensors that can capture images in near darkness, and inexpensive but effective anti-shake technology built into cameras or lenses.

Most recently, the only remaining drawback of digital SLRs — the fact that you couldn't shoot movies (long a common feature in point-and-shoot cameras) — was swept aside with the introduction of new models that grab HDTV-quality video with sound.

Best of all, all these capabilities are eminently affordable. Digital SLRs in the ...

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