Cameras

A list of current DSLRs from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Sigma

“I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph”
Paul Simon, Kodachrome

Summary

There are various types of cameras, the most popular (for stock photography) being the DSLR. Listed are current DSLRs from Canon and Nikon, as well as Sony, Pentax and Sigma. Cameras utilize sensor sizes including full-frame and APS-C.


Types of Cameras

“The term camera comes from the word camera obscura (Latin for ‘dark chamber’), an early mechanism for projecting images.”
Wikipedia

Here the main types of consumer cameras available today:

TypeQuality (relative)Interchangeable lensOptical Through-The-Lens viewfinderDrawback
SmartphoneSmall sensors can limit the image quality
Compact (P&S)Limited lens control
Bridge (Superzoom)Single lens
Mirrorless (MILC, DSLM)Electronic viewfinder
DSLR
Medium-format (MF)Expensive
Ranked in order of typical cost.
Quality=Relative image quality, which is typically a function of sensor size. A larger sensor typically provides a higher-quality image.
Compact cameras are also called Point-and-Shoot (P&S), or Advanced Point-and-Shoot (AP&S).
Mirrorless cameras are also called Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILC) or Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM)
Some DSLR cameras are also called Advanced DSLR (ADSLR).
Medium-format cameras are also called MF or MFC.

Drawbacks

Smartphone and compact cameras typically have small sensors, which can limit the image quality. Bridge (Superzoom) cameras typically sacrifice optical quality for a compact high-zoom lens. Mirrorless (MILC) cameras typically have smaller sensors than DSLR cameras, and don’t provide an optical viewfinder. Medium-format cameras offer terrific image quality but at a steep cost.

For these reasons, a popular choice for stock photography is the DSLR.


DSLR

The DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) type camera has four main benefits:

  • The relatively large sensor (typically 24mm or 36mm) provides a high image quality.
  • The ability to use interchangeable lenses allows higher optical quality (sharper images) and depth-of-field control.
  • The TTL (through-the-lens) optical viewfinder allows you to see the exact image the camera will record.
  • The cost is more affordable for consumers than medium-format cameras.

The name DSLR refers to the viewfinder mechanism, which provides the exact view of the image sensor. Light passes through the main (single) lens and, during composition, is diverted from the sensor by reflection off a mirror and prism (“reflex”), into the viewfinder. During photography, the mirror flips up and the light goes direct to the image sensor (the viewfinder goes dark).

“In the single-lens reflex camera the photographer sees the scene through the camera lens. This avoids the problem of parallax which occurs when the viewfinder or viewing lens is separated from the taking lens. … Almost all SLR use a front surfaced mirror in the optical path to direct the light from the lens via a viewing screen and pentaprism to the eyepiece. At the time of exposure the mirror flipped up out of the light path before the shutter opened.”
Wikipedia

The major manufacturers of DSLRs are:

Ranked by market share (2010). Source: IDC via Bloomberg
*: Sony uses SLT (Single-Lens Translucent) technology, which is like a mirrorless SLR, with an electronic (not optical) viewfinder.


List of DSLRs

Below is a list of the current DSLR cameras available in the U.S. The list is limited to cameras with:

  • Interchangeable lenses (not single lenses like bridge/superzoom cameras)
  • Mirrors (not mirrorless like MILC cameras) or SLT
  • Sensor size of APS-C (20mm) or larger
  • Fixed backs (not interchangeable like many medium-format cameras)

Manufacturers are listed by marketshare. Cameras are listed from professional/highest-cost to consumer/lowest-cost.

Approximate image size
36MP7,000 × 5,000 pixels
24MP6,000 × 4,000 pixels
16MP5,000 × 3,080 pixels
12MP4,000 × 2,800 pixels

Canon

Canon Global | Canon USA DSLRs | Wikipedia

Canon Inc. (キヤノン株式会社?) Kiyanon kabushiki-gaisha is a Japanese multinational corporation based in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan. The name comes from Kwanon, a 1934 prototype 35mm camera.

Canon’s first camera debuted in 1984 and all current DSLR cameras are part of the EOS (Electro-Optical System) system, introduced in 1987. The acronym EOS was chosen for Eos, the Titan Goddess of dawn in Greek mythology, and is often pronounced as a word (UK /ˈiː.ɒs/ or US /ˈiː.ɑːs/), although some spell out the letters, reading it as an initialism.

The Canon EOS-1D C is stated to be the world’s first 4K resolution DSLR camera.

Source: Wikipedia

Canon DSLRs

ModelSensorReleasedReplaced
Professional full-frame
EOS-1D X18MPfull frameMar 20121Ds Mk III and 1D Mk IV
EOS-1D C18MPfull frameJan 2013
Advanced full-frame
EOS 5D Mark III22MPfull frameMar 20125D Mk II
Advanced APS-C
EOS 7D18MPAPS-CSep 2009
Enthusiast Full frame
EOS 6D20MPfull-frameNov 2012
Enthusiast APS-C
EOS 60D18MPAPS-CAug 201050D
Entry-level APS-C
EOS Rebel T5i (700D)18MPAPS-CMar 2013Rebel T4i/EOS 650D
EOS Rebel T5 (1200D)18MPAPS-CMar 2014
EOS Rebel T4i (EOS 650D)18MPAPS-CJun 2012Rebel T3i/EOS 600D
EOS Rebel SL1 (100D)18MPAPS-CMar 2013
EOS Rebel T518MPAPS-CFeb 2014EOS Rebel T3i (EOS 1100D)

Comparison of Canon EOS cameras


Nikon

Nikon Global | Nikon USA | Wikipedia

Founded in 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (日本光学工業株式会社 “Japan Optical Industries Co., Ltd.”), the company was renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988. The name Nikon, which dates from 1946, is a merging of Nippon Kōgaku (日本光学: “Japan Optical”) and Zeiss’ brand Ikon. Nikon based in Tokyo, Japan and is one of the companies of the Mitsubishi Group, a private conglomerate.

Nikon created the first fully camera, the Nikon NASA F4, which was constructed for NASA and first flown in September 1991 on board the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Nikon’s first camera was the Nikon Still Video Camera (SVC) Model 1, a prototype which was first presented at Photokina 1986. The Nikon QV-1000C Still Video Camera was produced since 1988 mainly for professional press use. The Nikon D90 was the first DSLR with video recording capabilities, debuting on August 27, 2008.

After a 1990s partnership with Kodak to produce SLR cameras based on existing Nikon film bodies, Nikon released the Nikon D1 SLR under its own name in 1999. Although it used an APS-C-size light sensor only 2/3 the size of a 35 mm film frame (later called a “DX sensor”), the D1 was among the first cameras to have sufficient image quality and a low enough price for some professionals (particularly photojournalists and sports photographers) to use it as a replacement for a film SLR.

Source: Wikipedia

Nikon DSLRs

ModelSensorAnnouncedReplaced
High-end (Professional)
Nikon D4sFX16MPFeb 2014Nikon D4
Nikon D810FX36MPJun 2014Nikon D800
Nikon D750FX24MP2015
Nikon DfFX16MPNov 2013
Midrange (Prosumer)
Nikon D610FX24MPOct 2013Nikon D600
Nikon D7100DX24MPFeb 2013
Entry-level (Consumer)
Nikon D5500DX24MPFeb 2015Nikon D5300
Nikon D3300DX24MPJan 2014Nikon D3200
FX : Full-Frame (36mm x 24mm) sensor
DX : 2/3-frame (24mm, APS-C) sensor
FXFull-Frame (36mm x 24mm) sensor
DX2/3-frame (24mm, APS-C) sensor

Comparison of Nikon DSLR cameras


Sony

(SLT, not DSLR)

Sony produces SLT (single-lens translucent) cameras instead of DSLR cameras. SLT cameras don’t have an optical viewfinder (just live video on the screen) and don’t have the bulky top prism area that SLR cameras do.

[qSLTs use a fixed mirror that allows most light through to the sensor while reflecting some light to the autofocus sensor. Sony’s SLTs feature full-time phase detection autofocus during video recording as well as continuous shooting of up to 10 frames.Wikipedia[/q][q]The mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC) … provide[s] [an] interchangeable lens mount … [and does] not have a mirror reflex optical viewfinder.Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirrorless_interchangeable-lens_camera[/q]

Sony SLTs (MILC)

ModelSensorReleasedReplaced
Sony α7 II24MPFull frameNov 2014
Sony α7R36MPFull frameOct 2013
Sony α724MPFull frameOct 2013
Sony α7S12MPFull frameApr 2014
Sony α77II24MPAPS-CMay 2014α77
Sony α300020MPAPS-CSep 2013

Pentax

Pentax Ricoh Imaging Company, a division of Ricoh.

Pentax DSLRs

ModelSensorReleasedReplaced
Pentax K-3MPAPS-COct 2013
Pentax K-5 II16MPAPS-C2012
Pentax K-3016MPAPS-CMay 2012
Pentax K-r12MPAPS-CSep 2010K-x

Sigma

Sigma Corporation uses the Foveon X3 image sensor.

Sigma DSLRs

ModelSensorReleasedReplaced
Sigma SD1 Merrill46MPAPS-CSep 2010
Sigma SD1514MPAPS-CJun 2010SD14

Panasonic

Panasonic DSLRs

Micro Four Thirds (17mm) SLR
DSLM Single Lens Mirrorless
ModelSensorReleasedReplaced
Panasonic Lumix GH4 (DMC-GH4)16MPFour Thirds (17mm)Feb 2014GH3
Panasonic Lumix G6 (DMC-G6KK)16MPFour Thirds (17mm)Jan 2014
Panasonic Lumix G516MPFour Thirds (17mm)Jul 2012G3

Olympus

Olympus

Micro Four Thirds (17mm)
ModelSensorReleasedReplaced
Olympus OM-D E-M116MPFour Thirds (17mm)Sep 2013
Olympus OM-D E-M516MPFour Thirds (17mm)
Olympus OM-D E-M1016MPFour Thirds (17mm)Jan 2014

Fujifilm

Fujifilm

APS-C mirrorless
ModelSensorReleasedReplaced
Fujifilm X-T116MPAPS-CJan 2014
Fujifilm X-E216MPAPS-CX-E1
Fujifilm X-Pro116MPAPS-C
Fujifilm X-A116MPAPS-C

Sensor Sizes

Digital cameras use a flat electronic sensor to record the light. There are several sizes of sensors, with the larger sizes typically providing better image quality.

DSLR Sensor Sizes

NameReasonDimensionsArea (mm2MultiplierAlso known as
Full frameThe size of 35mm film36mm x 24mm8641xCanon EF, Nikon FX
APS-H4/5 the size of 35mm film29mm x 19mm5481.3xCanon EF-S
APS-C2/3 the size of 35mm film24mm x 16mm3701.52xNikon DX
APS-CC3/5 the size of 35mm film22mm x 15mm3291.6xCanon APS
Four Thirds4/3 of an inch16mm x 13mm2252xMicro Four Thirds (MFT), Micro 4/3
Dimensions are approximate. Data from Wikipedia.

Sensors are typically either CCD (Charged-Coupled Device) or CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor).

Full Frame [Why 35mm?]

“In 1880 George Eastman began to manufacture gelatin dry photographic plates in Rochester, New York.”
Wikipedia

“In 1881 a farmer in Cambria, Wisconsin, Peter Houston, invented the first roll film camera. … he licensed [the patent] to George Eastman (it was used in Eastman’s Kodak 1888 box camera).”
Wikipedia

“Films formatted with a width of 70mm have existed since the early days of the motion picture industry.”
Wikipedia

In 1885, George Eastman created the first roll film [which was 2.75 inches (70mm) wide??] His first Kodak camera of 1889 used the film to take round pictures 2.5 inches (64mm) in diameter.

The standard “full-frame” size of 35mm dates from 1889. William Dickson, working for Thomas Edison to improve his Kinetoscope motion-picture viewer, ordered some 70mm film from George Eastman.

“The 35mm film standard for motion picture film was established in Thomas Edison’s lab by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson. Dickson took 70mm film stock supplied by George Eastman’s Eastman Kodak Company. The 70mm film was cut lengthwise into two equal width (35mm) strips, spliced together end to end, and then perforated along both edges. The original picture size was 18 x 24 mm (half the full frame size later used in still photography). There were four perforations on each side of a motion picture frame.”
Wikipedia

“[The Kinetescope used] 1-⅜ inch (34.925 mm) gauge filmstrips …”
Wikipedia

“Dickson invented the first practical celluloid film for [the Kinetoscope] and decided on 35mm for the size, a standard still used.”
Wikipedia

“Although the first design was patented as early as 1908, the first commercial 35mm camera was the 1913 Tourist Multiple, for movie and still photography …”
Wikipedia

“The term 135 (ISO 1007) was introduced by Kodak in 1934 as a designation for the cassette for 35mm film, specifically for still photography. It quickly grew in popularity, surpassing 120 film by the late 1960s to become the most popular photographic film size. Despite competition from formats such as 828, 126, 110, and APS, it remains so today.”
Wikipedia

APS-C

APS-C is approximately 2/3 the size of full-frame, at around 24mm. (Different manufacturers use slightly different sizes.) The term dates from 1996 when it meant Advanced Photo System — Classic, which was a size of 25.1mm × 16.7mm.

APS-H, used by Canon, original meant Advanced Photo System — High-Definition, which was a size of 30.2mm × 16.7mm.

Nikon uses the term DX for a size of 23.5mm x 15.6mm.

Advanced Photo System (APS) is a now discontinued film format for still photography first produced in 1996. It was marketed by Eastman Kodak under the brand name Advantix …

The film is 24 mm wide, and has three image formats:

  • H for “High Definition” (30.2 × 16.7 mm; aspect ratio 16:9; 4×7" print)
  • C for “Classic” (25.1 × 16.7 mm; aspect ratio 3:2; 4×6" print)
  • P for “Panoramic” (30.2 × 9.5 mm; aspect ratio 3:1; 4×11" print)

Wikipedia

“[APS-C] sensor sizes range from 20.7×13.8 mm to 28.7×19.1 mm.”
Wikipedia

Four-Thirds (Micro Four-Thirds)

Next page: Canon

Comments

Comments


Reply by Joseph

January 10, 2015

Which CSC should I buy for wildlife photography?


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

January 26, 2015

Hi Joseph,

For wildlife photography, a key factor more than the camera is the lens. Canon makes the most lenses and, for this reason, many wildlife photographers buy Canon cameras. Your choice depends upon your budget. You can always start with a lower-priced camera (or a used camera) and work up later.

Useful features in a camera for wildlife photography include the size of the sensor (the larger the better, such as a ‘full-frame’ 35mm sensor); vibration reduction (can be factor of the lens or the camera); shutter speed (faster is better to freeze long-lens image of an animal in motion).

Good luck!

Andrew

Best wishes,

Andrew


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