REVIEWS / DSLR & Mirrorless Camera Reviews
When testing SLR and hybrid cameras, we evaluate each model's design, controls, handling and build quality, as well as the choice of available functions and the general ease of use of the camera and its settings. Next we look at responsiveness. We check how quickly the camera starts up, focuses and saves photos. We then take a series of shots of our test scene at all the available ISO settings so we can check sharpness levels and how the camera handles digital noise. The Barbie tests are used to check face detection and stabilisation. Finally, we test the video mode, looking at smoothness, image quality and audio quality.
This section of the site features reviews of SLRs, interchangeable lens cameras and other hybrids and advanced-level cameras with large-format sensors. Bridge and compact camera reviews can be found in a separate section of the site.
All DSLRs take good-quality photos these days, even in low-light conditions (realistically usable sensitivity settings can top 3200 ISO or more). As a result, SLRs have been battling it out with video modes. They pretty much all film Full HD now, almost always in 1080p and often at 50 fps to keep things nice and smooth. However, the video autofocus is still a big issue for many SLRs. In fact, anyone who regularly shoots video may be better off with a hybrid camera or one of the exceptional new Sony Alphas—the only SLRs on the market right now that have an effective continuous autofocus in video mode.
Otherwise, controls, layout and design are still the main differences between consumer and expert-level SLRs (more buttons, weatherproofing, bigger viewfinders, etc.).
The biggest change in the market over recent years has been the arrival of interchangeable lens compacts or mirrorless cameras. The arrival of models from big camera brands like Nikon and Canon has brought more credibility to the sector. These cameras are clearly here to stay!
Interchangeable lens compacts are smaller and often cheaper to buy than a full-blown SLR, and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from ultra-compact touchscreen models to old-school rangefinder-style snappers. The various models offer different ranges of controls and options, such as Wi-Fi and GPS. They also vary in quality—in terms of electronics, some models are clearly closer to a compact camera than an SLR. Their versatility can appeal to compact camera users looking to move up a gear, as well as advanced SLR users looking for a more pocket-friendly snapper. In fact, for many users, a hybrid model is now their one and only camera.