The Great DSLR Shoot-Out

If you consider yourself a serious photographer and don’t yet own a digital SLR, it is our duty to inform you that you have officially run out of excuses.

DSLRs provide the most control over your pictures, the most flexibility to adapt to different shooting—and the most satisfaction. As enjoyable as digital compacts and EVFs may be, sooner or later you’re going to run into frustrating limitations. You need more lens reach. Or bright, clear, reflex viewing. Or more flash options. Or more control over the image quality and file size. Or higher image quality. These are what DSLRs give you.

And they are just plain fun. When we lend DSLRs to our point-and-shoot friends, we give them fair warning: you use this, you’re going to want one. We haven’t been wrong yet.

But which one is for you? The contenders range from fun compact sub-$700 cameras to pricier, more pro-oriented rigs, plus considerable variety in between. That’s why we’ve done lab tests as well as hands-on evaluations, and judged the suitability of each model for either the amateur snapper or the hardcore enthusiast. And so, off we go…