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This year's DSLR stars

Optical profusions

Power points

Pentax K-x

Pentax K-x

Talking of batteries, the Pentax K-x didn’t receive complaints of proprietary power packs, as it relied on four AA cells to bring it to life. This choice of batteries helped keep the camera’s initial price down and, for many, is the preferred option as these cells are available anywhere. While the Pentax K-x could knock out 720p video at 24fps, internal noise was a bit of an issue on the audio, and there was no external mic option.

However, stills photos fans were in for a great deal, given that one of the winning features of the Pentax K-x was its 18-55mm kit lens. Armed with extremely sharp optics, the camera proved to be a great low light performer too, with a 12800 ISO capability, if needed. The dedicated Live View button was a nice touch and its small size had appeal to those moving up from a compact. With a respectable 12.1Mp sensor, image stabilisation in the body (rather than the lens), the Pentax K-x was certainly one of the best all-rounders of the year, at a price that made it even harder to resist.

Nikon D3s

Nikon D3s

Now, if money was no object when shopping for a DSLR in 2010, then a look at the higher end Nikon models would have naturally been in order. At over £4,000 for the body only, the Nikon D3s was aimed at professional sports and wildlife photographers. With its full-frame 12.1Mp sensor, the D3s was all about low light and low noise photography – ISO 102400, anyone? Indeed, grabbing light, either in dim conditions or due to a fast shutter speed, is what the D3s thrived on, offering 9fps continuous shooting at full-frame and 11fps in the smaller DX format.

The size and weight of the D3s gave it pro gravitas too, with its EN-EL4 battery notching up around 4300 shots per charge. The D3s managed just a nod to video with its 720p/24fps functionality, that Nikon justified by claiming that most videos are for Internet use only. Undoubtedly, the emphasis was to deliver a camera with outstanding low light sensitivity to use in the great outdoors. Here, the Nikon D3s offered a performance that, with every shot, wouldn’t fail to show you where your money had been spent.

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