In the previous article in this series (DSLRs: The hottest entry level camera models you can buy – Part 1) we covered the basic advantages of DSLRs and listed two models as good entry level choices: the Nikon D5100 and the Canon T3i. In part 2 we’ll name two more models to consider.
Although Pentax is a camera company that has been around for a long time, it hasn’t really gotten the coverage or publicity that the megabrands get such as Nikon and Canon. No doubt this is due to a lack of a large war chest of advertising dollars. But what the company does with its cameras more than makes up for its mild case of anonymity.
The K-30, in short, is one of the best entry level DSLRs that you can buy. It features excellent image quality, good performance, a good variety of features, competitive pricing, and to top it off, it is weatherproof.
The Pentax K-30 wins on style points as the camera body has a steel frame encased in a polycarbonate shell; this makes the camera resistant to harsh weather—a plus for those who frequent the outdoors or those who are prone to spilling drinks on their cameras. It is comfortable to hold and has a nice design. It comes with a standard 18mm-50mm zoom lens.
Interestingly enough, the camera is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery but can also take 4-AA batteries as its energy source.
Its 16-megapixel sensor is great for shooting in low-light situations, and overall color and image quality is some of the best in its class. Shooting at ISO1600 gives very good images with a relative lack of noise. On the video side of things, it's par for the course, no complaints but nothing outstanding either.
There are 19 automatic scene shooting modes to cover just about any occasion. Onboard special effects and filters gives you creative control over your images, while the performance end of the camera presents very accurate light metering, quick autofocus, and 6-frames per second burst mode. Its TFT-LCD display panel is sharp and on-screen menus are easy to understand.
The Pentax K-30 is a great all-around DSLR that is easy on the eyes as well as your wallet. It is definitely a model to consider if you want to move up from a point-and-shoot camera to a DSLR.
The A37 is the least expensive of this specific line of cameras by Sony, but it doesn’t skimp on features or performance.
As with other Sony Alpha cameras, it uses translucent mirror technology, which speeds up focusing for stills and video, allows for better quick burst shooting, and shows more scene coverage through the viewfinder. The camera comes with a standard wide angle to normal zoom lens (28mm-55mm).
Image quality is good with its 16-megapixel sensor, and noise levels are pretty low up to ISO 3200 although you’ll probably be spending most of your time in ISO 400 and 800 for cleaner images. There’s a good deal of creative effects onboard such as HDR, panorama mode, photo filter effects, and image optimization.
The resolution for the LCD screen isn’t as sharp as other competitors, but it is still adequate for viewing scenes. The camera body is quite small and will fit in the hands of just about anybody.
For an entry level DSLR with good performance and value, the Sony A37 is a camera to consider.
Check everything out
So there you have it; our picks for entry level DSLRs, but there are lots more cameras out there, so do your homework and check out the rest of the models too before you commit to buy.
Frank Ling is the National Technology Examiner for Examiner.com. He is a writer, professional photographer, and video editor. One of his all-time favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher as a QA trainer for testing game software.