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8th November 2005
Affordable DSLR interactive group test
by Ian Burley

A camera group test with a difference! You can get involved in the camera review process. Tell us what you want us examine and we'll do our best to come up with the answers from the five key entry-level DSLRs in this first interactive camera group test.

Entry-level cameras

Updated: Sunday, 27th November - latest discussion topics:
  • DXO Analyzer Noise test results - now includes colour channels for a fuller picture

  • DXO Analyzer Noise test results - luminance; some surprises here

  • Viewfinder accuracy - fully illustrated

  • Pentax *istDL NiMH battery issue

  • Image noise - samples re-shot to make comparison more even and to include ISO 400 as well as 800 and 1600

  • Image noise - samples posted

  • The first interactive group test question, on shoting rates and manual focus quality, answered

  • Nikon D50 port cover

  • Which has the best screen?

  • Image noise

  • Viewfinder for spectacle wearers

  • In a brand new departure for DPNow, let us introduce you to our first interactive group test. We have the five key contenders in the affordable DSLR camera stakes and we want to involve you in their testing. Ask us what you want to find out about how these cameras perform and for the duration of the live feature, we'll do our best to provide the answers. We'll take test pictures, take close-ups of the cameras and lenses, compare features in the hand; you name it and we'll consider it.

    Here are examples of some of the questions we can expect: How do the cameras feel in the hand? Which is the noisiest? What is the relative brightness of the viewfinders? Etc. And, of course, you can ask specific questions about individual models, too.

    We're not just looking for input from potential buyers. If you already have one of the cameras we’re featuring, we want you to contribute to the debate by sharing your personal experiences with that camera. Even if you don't have one of these cameras and aren't in the market to buy one, we'd still like you to get involved with any useful comments.

    Entry-level cameras

    The cameras we're testing are:
  • Canon EOS-350D (Digital Rebel XT in some markets)
  • UKUSA Europe
  • Konica Minolta Dynax 5D (Maxxum in some markets)
  • UKUSAEurope
  • Nikon D50
  • UKUSA Europe
  • Olympus E-500 (EVolt in some markets)
  • UK USA Europe
  • Pentax *istDL
  • UKUSAEurope

    All the cameras featured are fitted with their standard kit zoom lenses.

    How do you get involved?
    We've set up a new DPNow discussion forum board dedicated to affordable DSLRs. To make a comment or a request, if you haven't already, you will need to register a simple profile on the forum. This is a once-only process and after you have received your forum password via email, you will have posting privileges to all the DPNow forum boards.

    Then all you need to do is post your question or comment on the board and we will do the rest. We will try our very best to accommodate everyone, but as this is new, we have no idea how popular it will be yet.

    Entry-level cameras

    The digital SLR market and, especially the budget sector where these cameras belong, is booming. But with the increase in choice for you, the customer, deciding on which model is best becomes increasingly challenging. Inevitably, you will want to compare like with like and this is where our concept of an interactive group test comes to the fore. We can focus on what you need to know, which will probably reflect the needs of many others. We're certainly hoping there will be some consensus on what really matters when weighing up the pros and cons of affordable DSLRs – maybe we will be surprised at just what that consensus turns out to be!

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