As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m thinking about buying a digital SLR (DSLR), in particular an entry-level model (e.g. Canon EOS Rebel, Nikon D60/D3000, etc.). Howtookit.com has a nice series of articles about what to look for when purchasing a DSLR (e.g. resolution, sensor, etc.). Darren Rowse at Digital Photography School also has a very good article about buying a DSLR.
I’ve come to the conclusion that 10 megapixel resolution is more than enough for a beginning photographer like me. Most new point-and-shoot compact and DSLR cameras have at least 10MP resolution. Sensor size and lenses are what differentiate DSLRs from compact cameras. DxOMark is an online database that allows users to compare the image quality of different cameras, specifically RAW sensor image quality measurements. Unfortunately, the database does not include digital cameras that do not support RAW, but I’m looking at DSLRs, which usually support RAW, so it doesn’t really matter.
Another great resource is actually Flickr. Just search for photos taken with the camera of interest. For example, I wanted to see how photos from the Canon EOS XSi/450D looked. There’s a Flickr Group Pool with over 125,000 photos taken with the Canon EOS XSi/450D. Some photos are great, some not so great, but you get to know what a camera is capable of.
Happy New Years!
Update: Check out LensProToGoBlog to a nice video explaining sensors.