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Best low cost dSLR cameras 2007
The best digital SLR cameras for under 500 quid (~$1,000).
(by Mike Slocombe for Digital Lifestyles, Jan 2008)
2007 was a great year for dSLRs, with a highly competitive market seeing camera quality rising and prices falling - there's never been a better time to snaffle a digital SLR!
Here's our faves and recommendations from last year.
Bargain basement dSLRs (under £400)
Pentax K100D Super
Although the megapixel count is lower than we would have liked at just 6MP, the K100D is a well specified, entry-level SLR wrapped up in a fairly rugged, curvy package offered at a rock-bottom price.
Offering a dust removal system, 11 point auto focus, a top shutter speed of 1/4000, ISO up to 3200, a 2.5-inch LCD and sensor-shift image stabilisation, the K100D packs enough functionality to keep demanding snappers - and point'n'shooters happy.
The Pentax-developed Auto Picture Mode makes life easier by automatically selects one of five Picture modes, including Portrait, Landscape and Macro, by calculating photographic factors to deliver optimised shots, leaving users untroubled by worries about aperture, shutter-speed, white-balance and all the other spoddy stuff.
For consumers looking for an unthreatening, compact, point-and-shoot camera capable of producing sharp, crisp and colourful pictures with little fuss, the £350 Pentax K100D kit (with 18-55mm kit lens) could be the perfect starter DSLR.
2. Olympus Evolt E-410
One of the smallest and lightest dSLRS available, the E-410 offers pleasingly simple old-school looks with a thoroughly modern performance.
With its ultra-compact size, good handling, slew of well-explained scene modes and easy-to-use interface, this is a great carry-everywhere camera, with the Live View and the built in sensor cleaning adding icing to the budget cake.
Although we loved the look and feel of this diminutive snapper, we did find the viewfinder a little squinty and rued the lack of a dedicated auto focus lamp.
Despite this, we reckon the camera would make a great introduction to those interested in getting into SLR photography, and with the E-410 body plus 14-42mm ED lens retailing for around £380, the kit represents excellent value.
Check out our in-depth review here: Olympus Evolt E-410
Budget dSLRs (under £500)
This well-built 10 megapixel snapper offers fabulous image quality, instant-on response, a nippy auto focus system, auto ISO, three frames per second burst mode and a large 2.5? LCD monitor at the bargain price of £400 with the 18-55mm lens.
There's a full array of automatic and manual exposure modes onboard, backed by a choice of scene modes to help newbies get snapping, and there's also extensive in-camera image editing for tweaking photos.
Like the D40 before it, autofocus is only supported with AF-S or AF-I lenses, which limits users to newer Nikon lenses.
The menus and playback functions are all intuitive, and it's a great carry-everywhere choice for new users and enthusiasts looking for a versatile, tough, compact, lightweight and easy to use camera.
See more details and specs.
Olympus Evolt E-510
A second entry for Olympus in our budget dSLR recommendations, the E-510 has much in common with its cheaper brother, including the Live View LCD monitor and sensor cleaning, but the 10 megapixel E-510 offers some fairly compelling features that make the extra outlay worth considering.
The E-510 adds a sensor-shift image stabilisation system and offers the photographer far more control with dedicated buttons for WB, ISO, Metering and AF mode, a dedicated AF area button, a customisable function button and more control over EV steps.
The camera also feels reassuringly more chunky in the hand and with the Olympus E-510 and 14-42mm lens kit currently selling for around £500 and under, it's well worth checking out.
DPReview of the E-510
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