Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cameras started going digital in the late ‘90s worldwide, but even in 2002, India was not fully into the digital camera revolution. Falling prices of digital cameras, and the cost of developing film from print cameras saw a surge in the digital cameras in India between 2004-2006. 5 years ago, it was not uncommon for an Indian gathering to witness 2-3 digital camera-owners amongst them. Currently, every one in the gathering has one, and you’ll even see a few Canon/Nikon DSLRs. That’s pretty awesome. But should you buy one or upgrade your existing camera? And if you should, the bigger question is : which one?

The first question is relatively easier to answer. If you love capturing memories, then yes, you should buy yourself a good digital camera. To answer the second question, you would need to prioritise based on several factors, the most important of which is cash-in-hand. If you’re the kind who has loads (and we mean lakhs) of cash lying around, then you should look at some professional-level DSLRs, provided that’s the kind of photography you want to achieve. Nikon’s D3X (MRP Rs. 5,24,950/-) and D3S (MRP Rs. 2,89,950/-) are possibilities, while Canon’s EOS 1D Mark IV (MRP Rs. 2,59,995/-) and EOS 5D Mark II (MRP Rs. 1,41,995/-) are alternatives. If you’re in the market for a Digital SLR camera, and your budget is not so high, then you could choose between a wide variety of cheaper, and capable alternatives. Keep in mind that with Digital SLRs, the lenses are usually more important than the camera body itself. So a slightly less capable digital SLR, with a wide swathe of awesome lenses could produce the desired “wow” effect in your photography. Nikon’s current DSLR line-up starts with the D3100 (MRP Rs. 32,950/-), the slightly outdated D5000 (MRP Rs. 37,950/-), the even more outdated, but even more capable D90 (MRP Rs. 58,950/-) and the D7000. Canon’s range starts with the EOS 1000D (MRP Rs. 25,295/-), the EOS 550D (MRP Rs. 49,495/-), the EOS 60D and the EOS 7D (MRP Rs. 1,31,995/-) which falls almost into the top-end of Canon’s line-up. Sony’s DSLR line-up in India is pathetically laughable, with the company offering the slightly outdated A230 (MRP Rs. 25,990/- for the a230l and MRP Rs. 35,990/- for the a230y) and A330L (MRP Rs. 39,990/-) Sony’s recently launched Alpha 580 and Alpha 560 models have been reviewed favourably for several features, which are available at a competitive price, when compared to similar mid-range models from Nikon and Canon. If you’re really interested, you could wait and see if these are launched in India. But till then, this pretty much wraps up the available DSLR options for an average Indian consumer. If you’re really feeling luxuriously rich, you could check out guys like Hasselblad, but we’d rather leave the offerings of such higher-than-top-end companies to dedicated digital SLR or digital photography websites.

We’re also gonna look at available options for point-and-shoot digital cameras, but we’ll do that in a later post (or series of posts!), since there are tonnes of options. But for now, we’ll say this : If you’re in the market for a point-and-shoot camera, and you’re thinking of buying something within the sub-Rs. 7000/- range, then we’d suggest that you seriously re-think the alternate option of buying a high-end smartphone, such as the Nokia N8 (Currently selling for less than Rs. 24,000), or the iPhone 4 (expected to go on sale soon in India, at around Rs. 36,000/- for the 16 GB version), with an equally (if not better) capable digital camera. This is our opinion.

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