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Zero1 Awards 2018 – Cameras – Entry-Level Full-Frame DSLR

December 6, 2018 — by Digit0

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Every few years, the entry-level DSLR sees infusions of new technologies, thanks to the threat posed by smartphones. Given the rate at which smartphones are improving and people preferring convenience over image quality, DSLR makers have their work cut out for them. This year, there haven’t been many launches in the entry-level DSLR segment, with Canon launching a handful of options and Nikon having completely refrained from launching anything in the segment.

This made the fight a little biased towards the Canon camp. Interestingly, the market trend has been consistently indicating the declining sales of the entry-level DSLR segment around the world, and a growing shift towards mirrorless cameras. While Nikon hasn’t launched anything in India since the Nikon D850 which launched in 2017, the company did release their full frame mirrorless Z6 and Z7 in India right after their international announcements. Let’s get into the details of the winner in this category.

2018 Zero1 Award Winner: Canon EOS 3000D

When we tested the Canon EOS 3000D, we knew we were handling a really great camera for beginners. The 9-point AF system with its 1 cross-type point enabled the camera to take photos in a whole host of shooting conditions reliably. The shutter response was good which when coupled with the AF system, meant that there were negligible missed shots. The autofocus slowed down slightly in low light situations, but the ISO performance was impressive, allowing us to push it all the way to ISO 6400 without a worry, which is impressive for an entry-level DSLR.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the EOS 3000D is the quality of the images, both RAW and JPG. For shooting video, you will need to invest in an image stabilised lens so that you can make the best of what the sensor can produce. FullHD video coming out of the Canon EOS 3000D looks wonderful and if you’re just looking to capture some home videos, this is an ideal camera for it. Good image quality combined with impressive high ISO performance and an adequately fast AF system is why the Canon EOS 3000D wins the Zero1 Award for Entry Level DSLR.

Best Buy: Canon EOS 1500D

The Canon EOS 1500D is in many ways the same camera like the EOS 3000D, but with a few, but important differences. The 24-megapixel sensor offers more resolution than the EOS 3000D, resulting in an adverse impact on the high ISO performance. The autofocus system is still a solid performer. Canon has developed one of the most responsive and intuitive touchscreen systems for DSLRs, but the Canon EOS 1500D does not have one. At the entry level price point, you’re getting basic, raw performance with a small drizzle of features. Of course, if a touchscreen is absolutely necessary for you, you will have to increase your budget.

However, based on the number of queries we receive for a great camera that costs as much as (or lower) than a high-end flagship, the Canon EOS 1500D is a no-brainer. However, we should warn you that anything above ISO 3200 on the EOS 1500D and you will be seeing noise in your photos. Best way to avoid that would be to pair the camera with a nice prime lens with a wide aperture to let in more light. Because of all the positive aspects, we consider the Canon EOS 1500D the best buy for entry-level DSLR.

DSLR

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Full-frame DSLRs

December 17, 2017 — by Digit0

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Full-frame DSLRs are the king of the hill when it comes to professional photography. While many photographers are considering the move to full-frame mirrorless cameras, the market for full frame DSLRs still remain vast. The year 2017 has been a pretty important one for full frame DSLRs, with a number of launches taking place. The category itself is not a very active one by nature, seeing that most full-frame DSLRs are built with a considerably long shelf life. Nevertheless, this year’s entrants exhibit higher capability and versatility than before, and as a result, made for a compelling year in which the boundaries of a professional DSLR have been further pushed.

Zero1 2017 Winner: Nikon D850

Nikon D850

When you look at a full-frame DSLR, you expect extreme performance capabilities at the core of the bulky bodies, and the Nikon D850 is hands down one of the very best performers ever. While the high resolution 46-megapixel full frame BSI CMOS sensor is something that we’d expected from the best of Nikon, what makes this one truly remarkable is its high speed shooting abilities. With the added battery grip, it can shoot at 9fps in continuous shooting with AF-AE lock on. The autofocus mechanism is one of the best we’ve used till date, aided by its widely impressive dynamic range and high native ISO performance. It uses a 153-point AF system linked to a 1,80,000-pixel metering system.

The BSI sensor improves low light photography by a wide margin, and this coupled with Nikon’s near-impeccable colour accuracy in photography now makes the D850 suitable for fast shooting in tricky lighting conditions as well. The Nikon D850 has also made major strides forward in the field of video shooting, presenting 4K video shooting at 30fps, and codes the UHD videos at 4:2:2 uncompressed output. Slow motion videos can be recorded at 120fps in 1080p full high definition, and all of these benefit in terms of the colour tone, noise, dynamic range and tonal accuracy produced thanks to the wide dynamic range, the high resolution full frame sensor and superior low light shooting abilities. You also get in-camera time lapse movie export at 4K, with 8K time lapse shooting.

Even in terms of functionality, Nikon has made significant improvements in overall performance. It now includes a 3.2-inch full touchscreen tilting LCD display, a joystick for AF point adjustment, illuminated buttons and Snapbridge – bringing WiFi and Bluetooth to Nikon’s full frame camera range for the first time. Its battery is rated for 1,840 shots, which will suffice for most prosumers for a full day’s assignment.

Summing up, the Nikon D850 is one of the most well-rounded full-frame DSLRs that you can buy right now, and is also one of the best performers. It is certainly the best performer of 2017, which sees it easily win the best full frame DSLR award of 2017.

Runner-up: Canon EOS 6D Mark II

The Canon 6D lineup received a major overhaul this year, with the new generation 6D coming with a 26-megapixel full frame Dual Pixel sensor. It retains the same 45-point autofocus mechanism from its crop-sensor Dual Pixel brethren, which fairs decently primarily because of the Dual Pixel abilities. Native ISO goes up to 40,000 and can be extended up to 102,400, and continuous shooting peaks at 6.5fps with AF/AE lock. Video performance has also been enhanced, and you can now shoot 1080p full HD videos at 60fps.

But, while the performance has visibly and obviously improved from the older 6D and is now notably closer to the 5D range, what truly makes the Canon EOS 6D Mark II remarkable is its ease of shooting. The body weight is significantly lighter than most of its competition, the sensor is capable enough of high resolution shooting, colour tones and noise performance in videos are quite good too, and the camera interface is very well simplified and easy to understand for even first-time photographers.

It is this that makes the Canon EOS 6D Mark II the perfect full frame camera for first time full-frame shooters. It is one of the easiest full frame cameras to shoot with, and with its improved abilities, makes for a compelling camera to buy.

DSLR

Budget DSLRs

December 18, 2015 — by Digit0

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If smartphone cameras aren’t cutting it anymore, maybe it’s time to invest in a real camera. Here are best performing DSLRs under Rs. 55k.

Zero1 Winner: Nikon D5500

With the smallest DSLR body that helps first time DSLR users to adapt to the realm of DSLRs, the Nikon D5500 equips a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 5fps continuous shooting, excellent movie quality and wireless connectivity. Coupling all of this with an uber-responsive LCD viewfinder and we have a stellar DSLR camera unit that can be used for a good 4-5 years.
The Nikon D5500 is a DX-format DSLR that is compatible with the vast range of Nikon’s F-mount lenses. The pentaprism viewfinder has 95% frame coverage, and the 39 focus points means that it focuses at very high speeds, which is ideal for shooting sports events, or fast-moving objects. Areas where the Nikon D5500 scores high include its excellent image quality, much improved video quality and in-camera audio reception, and wireless connectivity, which allows you to transfer your files from the camera, on the go.
Nikon has packed almost everything possible into the D5500, and it is a decent upgrade over Nikon’s older D3xxx series, making it the undisputed winner.
Price: Rs.48,199

Runner-ups : Canon EOS 750D:

The Canon EOS 750D is similar to the Nikon D5500 in terms of performance, but loses out on account of lesser autofocus points, limited dynamic range, slightly inferior focusing speed and low light photography, and a bulkier body. The EOS 750D is a wider, broader DSLR with straighter edges than its predecessor, the EOS 700D. Having said that, it is still a fine camera to begin with.
Price: Rs.51,515

Pentax K-S2

Coming up third is the Pentax K-S2, the biggest attraction of which is the completely weatherproofed body. The K-S2 is the only DSLR in this segment, and till much higher up the pricing ladder, which has weatherproofing. Image quality, however, is really good – at par with the Canon 750D.
Price: Rs.59,395

Best Buy: Nikon D3200

The Nikon D3200 may be a generation old, but at its price with two lenses (18-55mm and 55-200mm), makes for a steal deal.
Price: Rs.32,000