3. Digital Camera Models
For the sake of simplicity I’m going to stick with Nikon, Canon, and Fuji. These brands have made the best digital cameras and lenses for professionals and amateurs alike since the beginning of digital photography. With the exception of Fuji, all cameras are dSLRs (digital Single Lens Reflex cameras). Other brands like Sony and Sigma make decent consumer cameras, but I personally don’t care for them.
What about Nikon vs. Canon?
We’re long past the point of image quality being a deciding factor between Nikon or Canon – both of them offer the same high quality of detail and color. The difference lies in the user interface, lens availability, and personal preference. For example, I shoot both Nikon and Canon and rent different cameras/lenses for each job. I prefer Nikon mid-range lenses, Canon primes, Nikon D810 or Nikon D750 for studio work and indoor weddings, Canon 5D Mark III for outdoor portraits and outdoor weddings, and Fuji X100T for everyday photos of my kids.
The cameras I just mentioned are pro-level cameras that have specific features for the pro-level work I get hired to do, so don’t get discouraged when you see how much they cost. Cheaper models are equally capable for 99% of who this website is written for: beginner photographers or serious amateurs on a budget. Buying a decent and affordable camera today, will make the enjoyment of owning a pro-level camera when your photography really takes off, that much more enjoyable.
Lastly, the difference between a photo taken with Nikon’s cheapest dSLR vs. a full frame pro camera like the Nikon D810 is so small, it’s literally indistinguishable unless you print a 4 foot print.
Full frame, crop, DX, FX, etc.
Digital SLR cameras have two different sensor sizes: a crop size sensor, or a full frame sensor. Full frame sensors are 35mm wide and are generally found in semi-pro and pro cameras. Crop sensor cameras are roughly 24mm wide and are found in entry-level and some semi-pro dSLRs.
Full frame cameras are not always compatible with crop sensor camera lenses, and I’ll make sure to point this out when I refer to a particular lens. Although full frame cameras are more expensive, the difference in picture quality is indistinguishable to most of us.
Nikon full frame cameras are called FX, while Canon doesn’t have a unique name for them other than “full frame”. Current Nikon FX cameras are the D610, D750, D810, Df, and D4. Canon’s full frame cameras are the 6D, 5D Mark III, and 1DX.
Canon’s crop sensor cameras are called ASP-C, and Nikon’s are called DX. Current Nikon DX cameras are the D3300, D5500, and the D7200. Canon ASP-C cameras are the Rebel series, 70D, and the 7D Mark II.