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28 February 2024

An amateur’s guide to the best SLRs

By David Tusing


Photography enthusiasts these days are lucky. Of all the many products that face redundancy, the evolution of the digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera from its film-based avatar is one blessing they can count. And with fast-reducing prices, these cameras are giving the compact point-and-shoot quite a run for its money.

Price reductions and competition is good news for  amateurs and even professionals. But that doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy in haste. Digital SLRs are still pricey and quite an investment compared to the simpler user-friendly digital cameras on the market.
There is also a huge choice of brands now to choose from.

By far the easiest and quickest way to define an SLR is that it has removable lenses – and because you can play with lenses, your pictures have more depth and are, generally, of better quality.

According to the experts we consulted, a good way to start is by checking prices. They say it is wise to first decide what you wish to do with the camera, and then set a budget.

Because there are many other things that come with investing in an SLR – memory cards, bags (sand is bad for expensive lenses), good software and a computer/laptop that will be able to store all your pictures in, it is necessary to understand exactly how much you are looking to invest. Then you can decide which one is suitable.

There is no doubt digital SLRs are the best way to let your talent flourish so happy snapping.


NIKON D40X: Dh2,999
The D40x is an incarnation of the hugely successful D40, though with more megapixels (10.2 from six) and a slightly higher price (the D40 is Dh2,249). For those toying with the idea of a first digital SLR, our experts say you can set out and buy the D40 or its x-brother, with your eyes closed because it’s got everything you need in a first camera. Available at Grand Stores.
Call: 04 341 4555
Canon Eos 40d: Dh7,499
Many experts we spoke to while researching this piece swore by Canon – and the 40D. If you are still saving for a digital SLR, this item is worth putting in your cart. Another upgrade from the 30D, this one features 10.1megapixels, a three-inch LCD screen and continuous shooting function of 6.5 frames per second. Sleeker and feature rich, this one is a class apart from all the others that came before it. Available at Jacky’s Electronics.
Call: 04 341 4858
CANON EOS 400D: Dh2,999

Also called the Digital Rebel XTi, the EOS 400D is a step up from its predecessor the 300D in many respects. Now with 10megapixels, a 2.5 inch LCD screen and a dust removal system, this beauty is every amateur snapper’s dream come true. Do not be fooled by the affordable price tag, this compact design does not compromise on performance. Available at Jacky’s Electronics. Call: 04 341 4858

At 12.3megapixels and a 2.5 inch LCD screen, this offering from Fujifilm is pricey (even without the lens) but sturdy and reliable with customisable options in abundance. There is very little noise or graining when shooting in extremely high ISO or low light environments. What’s more, the lens mount is similar to that of Nikon’s, which means you can use some Nikon accessories. Available at Grand Stores.
Call: 04 341 4555
NIKON d80: Dh5,250

The D80 could easily be the grand dame of the digital SLRs and perfect for newbies and enthusiasts who like their shots to pack a little punch. An improvement from the D70, the D80’s 10.2megapixels, 2.5-inch LCD screen and a host of  in-camera editing functions makes it a winner all the way. Available at Grand Stores.

Call 04 341 4555