Sony, Canon and Nikon have marked the start of 2008 by unveiling a host of new digital SLRs.
Sony has boosted its Alpha series with four new models – ranging from the entry level A200 to the A700, which is aimed at enthusiasts and semi-professionals.
Sony says the 10.2-megapixel A200 – which replaces the A100 – makes it easy even for newcomers and casual photographers to achieve great-looking results.
The 10.2-megapixel A300 and the 14.2-megapixel A350 are the first digital SLR cameras to feature Sony’s ‘Quick AF Live View’ technology.
This allows photographers to view and frame images on the camera’s 2.7 inch LCD without sacrificing auto-focusing speed common to other live-view systems.
The Alpha range of digital SLRs is supported by more than 24 compatible lenses plus lighting systems and other accessories.
You can also look for older Minolta lenses with A-type fittings. These are relatively cheap second-hand and will work well on Sony’s DSLRs.
Canon has also launched its latest D-SLR, the 12.2-megapixel EOS 450D.
A choice of 13 custom functions allows the photographer to customise the camera to their shooting style.
Canon says it’s designed for photographers of all levels and experience and features an improved grip design that provides a natural fit with the user’s hands.
The EOS 450D has a large viewfinder which Canon says makes image composition clearer and more comfortable, while it’s ‘live view’ mode makes it easier to shoot from awkward angles, such as ground-level macro shots or when shooting from a tripod.
Finally, Nikon has unveiled one of the smallest digital SLRs it has ever produced.
It says the wealth of features on the D60 SLR will appeal to camera enthusiasts but that the camera’s user-friendliness will also allow novice photographers to take ‘breathtaking pictures’.
Nikon claims the 10.2-megapixel D60 produces superb, high-quality images with incredible resolution, while the ‘Retouch Menu’ allows the photographer to enhance images in-camera.
Which? camera expert Chris Christoforou said: ‘The digital SLR market is growing fast and these new launches will persuade even more people to trade up from a smaller, compact cameras.
‘This is especially true since some of them have features like ‘live view’ to help the inexperienced photographer.
‘Digital SLRs also have some drawbacks though, not least the cost, so they’re not for everyone.’