Feeds

2011's Best... DSLRs

Get snappy and improve your image this Christmas

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Xmas Gift Guide While few would argue that a DSLR offers the best combination of features, performance and image quality, 2011 didn’t really set the world alight with new models. For the most part manufacturers patched holes in their respective ranges, to provide a full spectrum of models to suit both budgets and ability.

A couple of years ago there was a scramble to add HD video capture to DSLRs but now the tweaks tend towards articulating screens and the ousting of CCD sensors in favour of CMOS alternatives with improved noise characteristics. Whatever you end up with, it’s always the glass in front that matters and you’ll need deep pockets to venture beyond the kit lenses that will get you started, but only scratch the surface of the photographic capabilities of the DSLRs of 2011. Oh and a word to the wise, just about all the brands here are offering cashback deals on your purchases, but you’ll need to check the websites for details.

Sony Alpha SLT-A35

RH Numbers

Admittedly this is the cuckoo in the nest as it’s not a true DSLR because it doesn’t have a pentaprism optical viewfinder, it’s an EVF. However, it takes all the Sony Alpha A-mount lenses and those made by Minolta before Sony bought the company. So why is this great pretender here? Well, this entry-level translucent mirror model turned out to be quite an eye-opener when it was reviewed recently, delivering excellent image quality at this price range. This technology allows for a smaller body but doesn’t sacrifice on picture quality or features. The 16.2Mp APS-C sensor and 100 to 25600 ISO range along with a plentiful array of dedicated controls make for a versatile snapper. Even the EVF with its 1.15m-dot resolution has 100 per cent view and does a pretty good job of being an optical alternative. And what you gain is increased burst capture – 5.5fps at full resolution or 7fps at 8.4Mp – and an amazingly responsive autofocus system. Shop around and you can find the twin lens kit deal for just under £500 that’ll really get you started.

Sony Alpha SLT-A35 translucent mirror camera ISO tests
Reg Rating 80%
Price £699
More Info Sony

Canon EOS 600D

RH Numbers

Spicing up the mid-range in 2011 Canon’s EOS 600D trumped last year’s EOS 550D by adding an articulating screen. The thinking here seemed to be: if it aint broke don’t fix it, as very little else in the spec changed – it features the same 18Mp CMOS APS-C sensor and 3in, 1040k LCD panel. The EOS 550D was a superb shooter after all, and if you’re not too fussed about the flip screen, can be found for under £500 with the kit lens. However, you’ll miss out on 2011's other fave feature found on any self-deprecating respecting DSLR, namely the on-board effects. Among these ‘creative filters’ you could impose grainy monochrome, soft focus, fish-eye and this year’s favourites, the toy camera and miniature effects. As our reviewers discovered, up against Nikon’s D5100, there wasn’t much between them apart from a few quid more for the Canon’s higher Mp count. If you're already in the Canon camp, you’ll not be disappointed, especially with the price the EOS 600D is going for these days.

Canon EOS 600D
Reg Rating 80%
Price £769 (with 18-55mm kit lens) , £949 (with 18-135mm kit lens), £679 (body only)
More Info Canon

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Nikon D5100

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.