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Do You Really Know Everything About Your DSLR?

Do You Really Know Everything About Your DSLR?

Most people know the basic ins and outs of beginner DSLR cameras (quite a step up over your standard point and shoot cameras), and are able to take great still shots and videos. However, many are totally unaware of some of the other features that are on great cameras in the DSLR category that have tremendous specs, that allow shooters to take amazing image quality and video recordings instead of just great ones. These even apply to entry level DSLR cameras.

Below are some different features, specs and information regarding the best DSLR cameras for beginners and we believe these will assist you in making your choice and understanding more about your first DSLR camera.


Specs Overview

  • Power. High powered CMOS megapixel sensors or APS-C sensors dual pixel cropped to obtain the highest image quality based off the image sensor and sensor size which are found with a full frame sensor on entry level or even the best DSLR cameras.

  • Full frame cameras articulating an incredible depth of field view.

  • Some of the best mirrorless cameras.

  • Interchangeable lenses and kit lens, from wide-angle to telephoto to zoom lenses. Great even in low light. Like the Canon EF.

  • Offers wide array of shooting speed settings and additional functionality.

  • Ergonomic build quality for longer uses usually also includes a great camera bag for ease with traveling even locally. Some of the entry level DSLR make for great compact cameras. For example like the Canon EOS rebel SL3/EOS 250D.

  • High quality pictures and video recording with Full HD video (1080p) and UHD (4K) many times with HDR high resolution and amazing frame rates per second (FPS), many times up to and above 120 FPS. These will give you that distinct amazing image quality.

  • Intuitive autofocus systems (AF system) with continuous shooting capabilities.

  • High ISO range settings with terrific image stabilization.

  • For protection DSLR cameras are usually weather sealed against at a minimum dust and debris. (Please check your model user manual for exact specs)

  • Connectivity. So you are a beginner DSLR user, enthusiast or an professional photographer possibly vlogging. You need to be able to connect your digital camera to livestream and or apps that come with your SLR camera that can effortlessly upload high quality stills and video recordings to your smartphone or computer or social media. Built-in Wi-FI and bluetooth are included as well with usually the minimum bluetooth on an entry level DSLR camera being the 4.2 standard even going above the 5 standard. Some higher end DSLR cameras may even offer access to the 5ghz band of Wi-Fi which will allow for faster data transfers.

  • So important to see the live view of your image to get the high quality image you are searching for. Whether you are using the LCD screen or the touchscreen optical viewfinder, you want to ensure that you can see the image properly in different light settings.

  • Whether continuous shooting or possibly vlogging, you need great battery life. Typically even beginner DSLR cameras offer good to great battery life with USB-C or wall adapter charging. Many batteries can be left in the camera while charging. We do recommend though if you have a long photo shoot or video recording, to purchase a spare battery.

  • DSLR cameras usually offer two memory card slots for storage. Some beginner DSLR cameras offer one memory card slot. Many times up to and above 128 GB of storage. So your stills and video recordings can be stored. Many DSLR cameras offer UH-II memory card compatibility for even faster read/write speeds.

    Here is some more detail with tips for using your first DSLR.

Leveling Guide

The in-camera leveling guide in the touchscreen optical viewfinder allows for you to find the horizon when shooting landscapes or squaring up architectural shots. Some cameras even have a level for pitch axis, which is the up/down tilt. This function is extremely useful for handheld shots. 

Voice Memos

Have you always wondered what the microphone is for on the back of your DSLR camera like the one on this Canon EOS from  It is there to help you with your note taking skills.  This microphone allows you to eliminate the need to carry a notebook around to document your photos.  Instead, you can record names of people and places and add a voice clip and embed it in the image file.


These days, creating time-lapse videos from shooting modes are gaining popularity. So more and more entry level DSLR cameras are including built-in intervalometers allowing you to create your own video clips even when continuous shooting. Just make sure your camera’s battery is fully charged, or use an AC adaptor, before attempting a long sequence of shots. Battery life is so important especially when on a long video recording or say your are vlogging. The last thing you want to do is run out of battery power as a vlogger midway through. Most entry level cameras or the best cameras for beginners in the DSLR world will have charging via USB-C and/or through a wall adapter. We highly recommend purchasing a spare battery for these scenarios.

Filter Effects

We know the best DSLR cameras come with a multitude of filter effects.  We also know that some of these filters can be a little over the top or even cheesy.  However, many of them can add quite the creative touch to your photos as will as be extremely helpful with some problem areas when shooting.  Soft Focus can help when you are photographing a subject with a challenging complexion.  Fisheye effect and miniature effect will add some pizzazz to your cityscape shots when missing the proper lenses to help.  The pastel or watercolor effects will help to tone down the harsh midday light when shooting outside.  Shooting in the monochrome rendition by setting JPEG capture to b&w and use red, green or yellow filters to alter tone and create a uniquely stunning photograph.

Dynamic Range Extenders

While most cameras have their own name for this function, the purpose remains the same.  The newer versions of digital cameras bearing the DSLR have this shadow-highlight optimizing capability of gaining up the shadows without having to boost the highlights.  

Flash Compensation

This feature is useful when you have to use the pop-up flash on your DSLR.  The camera will decide how much flash output is needed, and then you can set the camera to give either more or less power to the flash depending on the look you are going for in your shot.  Using flash compensation allows you to control how much flash you use resulting in better pictures. 

Depth of Field

What you see isn’t always what you get when you look through your optical viewfinder or LCD screen.  Your camera doesn’t apply many of your chosen your settings until you actually snap the picture. In order for you to see what the picture will really look like after taken, you need to use the Depth–of-Field preview to see what you’re truly getting.  This is achieved by pressing the button on the front of your camera beside the lens.  Your viewfinder will appear to be a little darker as it adjusts, but you will be able to see what you’ll get through the viewfinder before you snap the photo.

 Back Button Focus

You can set your camera’s dial is set to guide mode opening up a plethora of different shooting modes. Holding your shutter halfway engages your DSLR camera’s autofocus system.  But sometimes you may need to focus faster and even more precisely.  This can be achieved by pressing a button on the back of your camera to engage autofocus and use the shutter only for snapping the picture.  This will prevent your camera from refocusing every time you press the shutter.  This is helpful when wanting to maintain the same focal point even when people may walk in front of you in the middle of your photo shoot, or you are shooting in a studio setting.

Live View

We touched a bit previously on Live View. DSLR cameras that support the Live View function allow you to use the LCD as a bigger optical viewfinder or viewing screen.  The focusing isn’t quite as fast as it is through the optical viewfinder and it does tend to drain the batteries much faster than just using the viewfinder.

However, using Live View shows 100% of the scene and allows you to get a more realistic look at what the resulting image will look like even when you are shooting in black & white mode. The best way to dig deeper into your DSLR camera’s capabilities is to read the instruction manual starting from the back of the book.   The most interesting information is in the custom-function tables and appendixes in the back of the book.


Some of the best and most prominent Camera manufacturers make amazing DSLR cameras for the beginner DSLR user to even more advanced users such as vloggers. Camera manufactures like Sony, Olympus, Canon DSLR like the Mark II and Mark IV denoting advanced features after some of their DSLR cameras, (Including a great Canon Rebel T8I DSLR), the Nikon D3500 which is great beginner DSLR camera, The Pentax K-70 made for extreme conditions. Or the Nikon D5600 which we have seen recommended for landscape photography by retailers.

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