back to article 2011's Best... DSLRs

While few would argue that a DSLR offers the best combination of features, performance and image quality, 2011 didn’t really set the world alight with new models. For the most part manufacturers patched holes in their respective ranges, to provide a full spectrum of models to suit both budgets and ability. A couple of years ago …


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  1. Liam Johnson

    Canon 60D?

    Surely Canons 7D is a more sensible competitor for Nikons D7000?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Chalk and Cheese Confused Again. = Terrible Sandwiches!

      ^exactly why I came to post..

      Although the 7D is many years old and could not be considered in a 2011 round-up, It is totally disingenuous to compare the 60D with Nikons d7000... They are in no way similar catagories!

      There is a whole £330 in difference, that is a complete step in product range. If the author thinks £330 is nothing.. I'll like to remove 'nothing' from his wallet... (Amazon Body only comparison D60=£730 D7000=£1060)

      Try comparing apples with apples.. compare the D7000 with the old D7 and then explain that Nikkon are late to the party.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Better comparisson would be D5100 verses 600D..

      D7000 is more like the alloy weather sealed 7D (which is still cheaper).

    3. Cowardly Animosity

      So rather than buying one of these I should be adding the 7D to my shortlist, I assume?

  2. Nick Davey


    liking the austerity busting pirces of these models too, something for the common man here.

    1. UkForest

      Hold your horses fella, that's only beacuse no high-end camera has been ready to release this year. Just around the corner we've got the Canon 1dx (£5,300 - Body Only) and after that we're expecting the 5D mk III (Guessing about £2,000 - Body Only)...

      Nikon will no doubt be ready to pounce with there big boys too!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ UkForest

        I believe that whooshing sound you just heard was Nick's point passing rapidly over your cranium.

    2. Alan Firminger

      D7000 pricing

      I got a D7000 a in September, for GBP 909 from Procamerashop. At the time the standard price in Currys or Amazon was ~ 990 .

      Having an investment I occasionally watched prices. A fortnight ago Amazon quoted 1440 ! Then a week later it was at 1120, reduced from 1220 . Procamerashop followed a diminished but similar trajectory putting their price up to, I think it was, 1040 and now 1020.

      Is this a falling pound, floods in Thailand or good reviews comparing against the more expensive Canon ? I don't understand it.

  3. Matt 70
    Thumb Up

    d7000 owner..

    Its not bad, but it has a few issues. The video is still an after thought.

    Having to chop in and out of live mode to change aperture is just plain silly with most lenses.

    The 20 minute time limit is also poor.

    Audio is rubbish, and with no way to gauge if the setting your on is effective.

    The metering in matrix mode is not reliable and its best to use it in centre weighted.

    The lack of a 100% zoom on a single key press is also irritating.

    The small buffer can cause issues, but you change your style to suit and shoot slower.

    Autofocus seems pretty good.

    Image quality in lightroom is great.

    Low ISO performance is fantastic.

    I upgraded from a d200, but also use a d300, d3 and d3s.

    With the 35mm 1.8 af-s on its a lovely camera.

    I got mine two months ago before the floods for £794 body only..theyve gone up 150 since then.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      20 minute video recording

      AFAIK, that is an artificial limit imposed by the EU (afaik). If you go above a certail time threshold, your device is regarded as a Video Camera and attracted a very different level of Import Duty and Taxation.

      1. IanPotter

        20 minute video recording

        Though the fact the sdhc cards are formatted as FAT and therefor have a 4GB max file size may have something to do with it too...

      2. Rampant Spaniel

        Nope, the limit for taxation is 29.59 minutes. 20 mins is either filesize (which can be nixed by using multiple files) and overheating of the sensor.

        The d7000 is a great camera. I shoot commercially with a 5d2, 7d and rz67. I've also shot with canon 1 series, nikons, minoltas and blads. There's very few bad cameras these days, there's always the wrong camera for the job, but the competition is strong these days which keeps offerings honest.

        The big boys only ever go toe to toe with products at the very top end of the scale I.e. 1d3 vs d3x. If they did the only factor left to differentiate would be price which would be bad for business. If you want video the sony slt cameras are probably a good bet (phase detect af during video), if you want small the nex or m43rds, if you want low light then probably nikon etc. Nikons tend towards creamier results and canons more towards vivid. Nikons have a slightly better flash system. There's lots of little factors which can make a difference. Time spent honing skills is probably the best bet for great results.

        Also do not underestimate the importance of glass. I'll take a 10d with a great lens over a 1 series with a kit lens. They last significantly longer and perform better. Buying cheap glass is a false economy, you'll be replacing or repairing them frequently and the resale value is much lower as a percentage of the purchase price.

  4. EddieD

    Probably the kiss of death for them,

    But I'm going to get a K5 (I used to have a Minolta...and look what happened to them..) - I currently have a K-x, which has been superb, and was bought based on the review in this very organ, but given that I walk up mountains in mid-winter, I think a weather sealed camera might be an idea.

    The ability to use all my old KA mount lenses was the clincher -good glass is good glass, and my 20-30 year old lenses work wonders on the new cameras, and the old 50mm f1.4 is absolutely peerless for night work.

    As for the reviews - it's hard now to find distinctions between the big 2, and it comes down to what you prefer, and what one user finds ergonomic, the next user thinks is the biggest pile of cack ever.

    I think it would be hard to be disappointed with modern dSLRs.

    1. Alex Rose
      Thumb Up


      Got to agree with you about old glass. I use a 550D and probably my favourite lens at the moment is an old Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.4 which I picked up for £38, cleaned up and married to my Canon with an adaptor. It may need manual focus but the results blow the 10x more expensive Canon EF 50mm f1.4 out of the water.

      I'm getting good results with some old Pentax K series mount lenses as well, for macro work I'm loving a Canon FD 50mm f1.4.

      It's getting to the point where I hardly ever mount an EF or EF-S lens these days!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I completely agree on ergonomics and the K-5 is by FAR the best handling (digital) camera I've ever used. It feels just right in the hand, it's beautifully made, weather-sealed, it's not needlessly big (compare the size with the gargantuan D300s) and with in-body shake reduction I can use the Zeiss-rivalling Takumar 50mm lenses with shake reduction!

      Unless you're a pixel-peeping fanboi or need a 400mm f/2.8, there's almost nothing to choose between any of the mainstream models in terms of quality (in the real world, not made-up lab tests).

      I don't use video much because SLRs with mirrors are just not designed for it so the user experience is very poor. If I wanted to shoot video on my camera, I would get a Panasonic GH2 or G3.

  5. IanPotter

    Pentax range

    The Ricoh takeover hasn't had any affect (so far) on the Pentax range. The two model entry (K100, K200, K-R, K-X) and enthusiast (k10d, k20d, K-7, K-5) range is pretty well established and a lot easier to grok than the myriad models Canon, Nikon and Sony have been throwing around of late.

    One can only hope that we'll see some more lens announcements under Ricoh. I can heartily recommend the K-5 though, I got mine this time last year with the 18-135mm lens (upgrading from a K10D) and really like it. Pentax's range of compact primes has no equivalent in any other system either.

  6. Jon Massey

    Pentax range has slimmed slightly

    The (belting value for money) Kx has been dropped off the bottom. There's still plenty of stock around, but whether it is to be replaced or not is an open question. The k-r used to sit above it in the range, but is now the entry model (and also a mighty fine camera).

    (/ex-Kx owner now with a K5, the DA* zooms and a full set of FA Limited primes!)

    1. Jerome 0
      Thumb Up

      Pentax K-x

      The K-x is a fantastic camera for the money. I'm a Canon man myself, but when a friend wanted to venture into the world of DSLRs but didn't have the budget for a 550D, I had no hesitation in recommending the K-x. He couldn't be happier with it. In many respects it's a match for the Canon; the only real drawback is the lack of focus confirmation indicators in the viewfinder.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alpha cameras

    The Sony A35's big brother, the A77 is a monster and very enjoyable to use with 24 megapixels and 10fps shooting. Lots of toys such as 1080p video and GPS built in as well. Though it's currently rare as hen's teeth thanks to the Thai floods.

  8. DF118

    Argh, Sony!

    Why did you copy the stupid "power slider around shutter release" idiocy of all the other brands? Minolta always had it right - power switch on the left.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worth mentioning...

    ...that the D5100 has an identical sensor to the D7000, and despite the slightly lower megapixelage compared to the Canon, it has a measurably better image quality. It's excellent at high ISO in either camera. The D5100 is a great camera- the excess of "fluff" features such as scene modes make it look like more of a toy than it is. What you get is most of a D7000 in a more compact and cheaper body. It's a great choice for a serious amateur.

    I agree with previous postings though- the D7000 is much better compared with the 7D in an article like this, otherwise it's not really fair. As for the comments on video- if you want a video camera, why are you buying an SLR?

    1. Ivan Headache


      Because lots of professional videographers are switching to DSLRs.

      Why? - becuse they have a far greater choice of lenses at sensible prices - and above all, the camera bodies are cheaper than the video bodies (oh and they take better stills - except for the RED (but that's an arm and both legs))

      When I say lots, I do actually mean lots. I watched a concert video ealier in the year that had been shot on (IIRC) 5 DSLRs, I've witnessed several videos being shot on DSLR exclisovl;y and some being shot on a mix of both cameras.

      I've spoken to many who say that the DSLR is now their camera of choice - Canon's appear to be the favourites from what I have seen.

      Apart from that, I've just treated myself to a Pentax K5 - and apart from the hellish learning curve with it, I'm getting great results. My only nit-pick is that it's quite difficult to get hold of the SD card when taking it out of the camera - it's close on impossible with gloves on as there is very little in the way of gripping space for the index finger.

  10. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    The real dirt

    I've been using DSLRs for a while and it doesn't matter whether the camera body is made of plastic or metal. For well made cameras, both body materials with outlast the digital technology by 10 years. The real longevity issue is with how well the camera is protected from dust. Any lens that changes size during use is inhaling and exhaling air from somewhere. Dust coming with that air can cause glare in the lens, confuse focus sensors, and wear away mechanical parts.

    1. Alan Firminger

      I have wondered about that

      Are you sure ? It would be possible to design a mount that did not breathe, perhaps with a flexible diaphragm. No lens that I have pushed and pulled has felt in any way springy, as a bicycle pump. Nor do lenses react against fast movement.

      I think it is impossible to test this

  11. J 3
    Thumb Up


    Unless you you have plenty of nice Nikon glass, you'd make better use of your money buying the Pentax K-5. Similar performance and features, for less money. Only "problem" is that the brand name does not start with C or N... ;-) Anyway, nowadays all these have very similar performance... I stick to Pentax mainly because I have a bunch of lenses already.

    I own a K10D, and recently bought the K-5, intending to keep the K10D as a backup body. Now I don't want to ever use the K10D again, so I think I'll try to sell it... But then again, I bought the K-5 body only and splurged on a nice Sigma lens, I'm sure that helped quite a bit.

    1. Alan Firminger

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