Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's The Crop Factor on a Digital SLR?

When choosing a lens for a Digital SLR you may come across a term called the crop factor. The crop factor is a value that compares the size of a sensor on a Digital SLR to a sensor on a traditional 35mm film camera. The crop factor is important because it has an impact on the focal length of a lens attached to your Digital SLR.

Some DSLRs have a sensor that is the same size as those you find on a 35mm film camera - these tend to be among the high end and more expensive Digital SLRs. Such cameras are known as "full frame" cameras and do not have a crop factor.

The crop factor can differ between camera bodies to complicate the issue. Cheaper and entry level Digital SLRs tend to have the smallest sensors and therefore the largest crop factors. If you are buying a starter Digital SLR the crop factor is likely to be in either 1.5x or 1.6x. Always check the specification of the camera body you are considering buying to confirm the crop factor the camera has.

The focal length of any lens is described using numbers. For example, a lens may have a focal length of 28 - 70mm. The focal length described is when the lens is used with either a full frame Digital SLR or with a 35mm camera and should you use the same lens with a Digital SLR with a crop factor then the field of view of the lens changes. To illustrate, a lens with a focal length of 28 - 70mm and a camera with a crop factor of 1.5x would mean the focal length of the lens becomes 42 - 105mm. You must understand the impact this will have when choosing your digital SLR and lenses for it.

For camera users who own a number of lenses you previously used with a 35mm camera the crop factor is likely to have a significant impact if you switch to a Digital SLR that is not full frame. My advise of course is to choose a digital SLR with a low or no crop factor. The likelihood is that you will need to consider adding new wide angle lenses to your collection with the focal length starting around the 18mm mark.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to Get the Best Deal on your Digital SLR Camera

In addition to asking how to choose the best digital SLR for their needs people often ask how can I get the best deal on my digital camera. Of course we all want the latest and best (!) but there are ways to get a better deal.

Firstly, be prepared to wait a little while when a new model comes out. Within a couple of months you'll find you can buy even the very latest digital SLR at a bargain price. It's usually the online stores which will discount new model digital SLRs first so keep an eye on these.

The release of a new model can of course mean other older models may be discounted heavily so stores can move their stock. Any modern digital SLR from a manufacturer like Nikon or Canon will be high spec so don't be put off thinking you're getting an out dated model!

To get the best deal on your digital SLR my next tip is to use prices comparison sites. These are a one stop shop to ensure you're getting real value for money with your camera. It's always worth the effort to compare digital camera prices online as you can find other package deals too... Which brings me on to...

Look for bundles! You can find package deals for digital SLRs with one lens or two and this is usually cheaper than buying them separately. Look out for offers with memory cards and cases etc as these can save you money too. Of course don't buy a bundle if it has things you don't want or need as this is a false economy.

Consider buying a reconditioned digital SLR for further savings. You can pick these up for far less than new models at RRP. Make sure they come with a guarantee and check the body for damage - this really is a great way of picking up a bargain camera.

Finally, take a look on Ebay. Camera enthusiasts update and upgrade their cameras regularly and Ebay is often where they sell the digital SLRs they no longer need. Study the listing carefully and ensure the person has good Ebay feedback. I know some people are wary of using Ebay for higher value purchases but there are protections in place and it's Ebay is a great place to buy used digital cameras.