We use digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras for our workshops and the 'Borrow a camera' programs. Our current inventory includes 14 Canon 3000D DSLRs, 6 Nikon D3500 DSLRs and 1 Nikon z5 Mirrorless camera. We try out newer technology and models as they come out and refresh our cameras as they get dated.
Both the Nikon D3500 and Canon 3000D have excellent standard lenses that come with the camera, and the image sensors are very good. The quality of the lens makes a huge difference to the images. The captures come out very sharp (if you have learnt how to use it properly!) and if you shoot with a shallow depth of field, the subject stands out against a more blurred background. The colours are excellent and you have the capability to enhance them in Adobe Lightroom.
DSLR cameras are known for their optical viewfinders, which give you a true picture of the scene that you’re shooting. Mirrorless cameras, in contrast, utilise electronic viewfinders and/or touchscreens for framing purposes. In our experience, students really enjoy the analogue experience of an optical viewfinder. It is very important that the camera has a viewfinder that you can put your eye on to see what you are capturing, and that the viewfinder gives you a ‘direct view’ of what is in front of you. A DSLR camera is the perfect tool to channel your creativity.
Mirrorless cameras and phone cameras provide an indirect/digital view of reality as you are looking at a screen when capturing an image. As the artist, you will not connect as deeply with the subject and not enjoy the experience, and we do not recommend them for our programs. Many of the camera capabilities available on DSLRs are not be available on phones and compact cameras.
DSLR cameras are traditionally known for their excellent ergonomics and accessible controls, which make them easy and comfortable for learners to handle. This makes them a good choice for beginners who want a camera that’s easy to carry around, with many featuring among the best travel cameras.