Photography Equipment/DSLR Systems
Unless one purchases and uses only a single body and the kit lens, one's equipment is not a DSLR camera, but a DSLR system, meaning a compatible set of bodies, lenses, and accessories. Indeed, SLR and DSLR bodies in the same system can be interchanged (notably, the same lenses can be used). However, bodies from one system (e.g. Canon EOS) cannot generally be used with lenses from another system (e.g. Nikon F-mount), which becomes a major concern if one has a significant investment in lenses.
Because components are not interchangeable between systems, photographers typically choose one system and remain with it for as long as possible. Few consider owning multiple systems to be economical and switching between systems often entails considerable expense.
The key consideration in selecting a system is the lenses and bodies that one expects to use in future, typically over a 10-30 year time frame: one can expect to acquire additional lenses, and periodically upgrade the body.
Canon and Nikon
The two leading DSLR systems are Canon and Nikon, or more properly the Canon EOS system with Canon EF-mount and the Nikon F-mount system, referring to the lens systems. There are other brands, detailed below, but Canon and Nikon are the preeminent systems, with combined market share of about 89%. While there are significant differences, discussed at Canon and Nikon, they are both widely respected and widely used.
Canon and Nikon have broad ranges of lenses and accessories, and extensive support, so one can easily:
- rent lenses for them,
- purchase components and get repairs, and
- resell equipment in a large market.
Other brands of DSLRs include:
- Pentax : Pentax K mount (photo.net) (dpreview.com)
- Sigma (notable for using the Foveon X3 sensor)
- Sony (was Konica Minolta) : Sony Alpha mount (photo.net) (dpreview.com)
Why use another brand?
If you are building a new system, any of the major manufacturers can be considered a good choice. Factors to consider would be:
- Legacy glass
- If you have a large collection of older lenses, a DSLR from the same manufacturer may allow you to continue to use them.
- Different manufacturers take different approaches to the same issues, and you may find one suits you better than the others. An example would be image stabilisation – some makers have chosen to include it as an in-body option, which thus applies to all lenses, while others build stabilising mechanics into the lenses themselves.
- Naturally, the perceived price to performance ratio will be a major consideration for most buyers.