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
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.”
Here the main types of consumer cameras available today:
|Type||Quality (relative)||Interchangeable lens||Optical Through-The-Lens viewfinder||Drawback|
|Smartphone||✘||✘||✘||Small sensors can limit the image quality|
|Compact (P&S)||✘||✘||✘||Limited lens control|
|Bridge (Superzoom)||✔||✘||✘||Single lens|
|Mirrorless (MILC, DSLM)||✔||✔||✘||Electronic viewfinder|
|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.
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.
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.”
The major manufacturers of DSLRs are:
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|
|36MP||7,000 × 5,000 pixels|
|24MP||6,000 × 4,000 pixels|
|16MP||5,000 × 3,080 pixels|
|12MP||4,000 × 2,800 pixels|
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.
|EOS-1D X||18MP||full frame||Mar 2012||1Ds Mk III and 1D Mk IV|
|EOS-1D C||18MP||full frame||Jan 2013|
|EOS 5D Mark III||22MP||full frame||Mar 2012||5D Mk II|
|EOS 7D||18MP||APS-C||Sep 2009|
|Enthusiast Full frame|
|EOS 6D||20MP||full-frame||Nov 2012|
|EOS 60D||18MP||APS-C||Aug 2010||50D|
|EOS Rebel T5i (700D)||18MP||APS-C||Mar 2013||Rebel T4i/EOS 650D|
|EOS Rebel T5 (1200D)||18MP||APS-C||Mar 2014|
|EOS Rebel T4i (EOS 650D)||18MP||APS-C||Jun 2012||Rebel T3i/EOS 600D|
|EOS Rebel SL1 (100D)||18MP||APS-C||Mar 2013|
|EOS Rebel T5||18MP||APS-C||Feb 2014||EOS Rebel T3i (EOS 1100D)|
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.
|Nikon D4s||FX||16MP||Feb 2014||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D810||FX||36MP||Jun 2014||Nikon D800|
|Nikon Df||FX||16MP||Nov 2013|
|Nikon D610||FX||24MP||Oct 2013||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D7100||DX||24MP||Feb 2013|
|Nikon D5500||DX||24MP||Feb 2015||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3300||DX||24MP||Jan 2014||Nikon D3200|
|FX : Full-Frame (36mm x 24mm) sensor|
DX : 2/3-frame (24mm, APS-C) sensor
|FX||Full-Frame (36mm x 24mm) sensor|
|DX||2/3-frame (24mm, APS-C) sensor|
(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)
|Sony α7 II||24MP||Full frame||Nov 2014|
|Sony α7R||36MP||Full frame||Oct 2013|
|Sony α7||24MP||Full frame||Oct 2013|
|Sony α7S||12MP||Full frame||Apr 2014|
|Sony α77II||24MP||APS-C||May 2014||α77|
|Sony α3000||20MP||APS-C||Sep 2013|
Pentax Ricoh Imaging Company, a division of Ricoh.
|Pentax K-3||MP||APS-C||Oct 2013|
|Pentax K-5 II||16MP||APS-C||2012|
|Pentax K-30||16MP||APS-C||May 2012|
|Pentax K-r||12MP||APS-C||Sep 2010||K-x|
Sigma Corporation uses the Foveon X3 image sensor.
|Sigma SD1 Merrill||46MP||APS-C||Sep 2010|
|Sigma SD15||14MP||APS-C||Jun 2010||SD14|
Panasonic DSLRsMicro Four Thirds (17mm) SLR
DSLM Single Lens Mirrorless
|Panasonic Lumix GH4 (DMC-GH4)||16MP||Four Thirds (17mm)||Feb 2014||GH3|
|Panasonic Lumix G6 (DMC-G6KK)||16MP||Four Thirds (17mm)||Jan 2014|
|Panasonic Lumix G5||16MP||Four Thirds (17mm)||Jul 2012||G3|
OlympusMicro Four Thirds (17mm)
|Olympus OM-D E-M1||16MP||Four Thirds (17mm)||Sep 2013|
|Olympus OM-D E-M5||16MP||Four Thirds (17mm)|
|Olympus OM-D E-M10||16MP||Four Thirds (17mm)||Jan 2014|
|Fujifilm X-T1||16MP||APS-C||Jan 2014|
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
|Name||Reason||Dimensions||Area (mm2||Multiplier||Also known as|
|Full frame||The size of 35mm film||36mm x 24mm||864||1x||Canon EF, Nikon FX|
|APS-H||4/5 the size of 35mm film||29mm x 19mm||548||1.3x||Canon EF-S|
|APS-C||2/3 the size of 35mm film||24mm x 16mm||370||1.52x||Nikon DX|
|APS-CC||3/5 the size of 35mm film||22mm x 15mm||329||1.6x||Canon APS|
|Four Thirds||4/3 of an inch||16mm x 13mm||225||2x||Micro 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.”
“Films formatted with a width of 70mm have existed since the early days of the motion picture industry.”
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 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.”
“[The Kinetescope used] 1-⅜ inch (34.925 mm) gauge filmstrips …”
“Dickson invented the first practical celluloid film for [the Kinetoscope] and decided on 35mm for the size, a standard still used.”
“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 …”
“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.”
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)
“[APS-C] sensor sizes range from 20.7×13.8 mm to 28.7×19.1 mm.”