As a general rule, in-camera processing boosted contrast in JPEGs, but not always to good effect. In the Sony A77 in particular, JPEGs showed obvious blocking up of detail, and in the Canons overall sharpness appeared better, but there was some impact on fine detail. In both Nikons, in-camera processing was minimal, and it was the same in the Sony A58 – there was little difference between Raw and JPEG files.
We took side-by-side shots with all six cameras to compare resolution in Raw and JPEG files. Lenses differed between manufacturers, but were matched as closely as possible. Each was set to 50mm at f/8. Raw images were processed in Lightroom with default sharpening and compared on-screen at equal sizes. JPEGs shown are straight out of the camera. With pixel counts of 24 megapixels, both Nikons are the most impressive here, and the D5300 at least matches the D7100 too. Images from the A77 weren’t far behind, just a touch softer, perhaps because it has a low-pass filter. Lower pixel counts in the other cameras make a difference, and the two Canons suffer the most. The EOS 700D in particular produces the softest Raw files.
CANON EOS 700D
CANON EOS 70D
The verdict Obviously there are significant differences between the different levels of cameras, but exactly where these differences lie varies between cameras and manufacturers. The camera that’s right for you will depend on a number of factors – what you want to take pictures of, the value you place on handling
spend the extra for the D7100, but there’s a compromise in handling. For fast action, you could get away with the speed of the A58 rather than laying out the extra for a flagship model. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but here’s our round-up of the best performers at different levels.
versus image quality, whether you want a main camera, backup body, or upgrade, and how much money you’re willing to spend. For example, if you exclusively shoot landscapes, the image quality of the D5300 may mean you don’t need to
Best advanced APS-C DSLR
Best mid-level APS-C DSLR
Best entry-level APS-C DSLR
The full version of this feature appeared in issues 42, 43 and 44 of Advanced Photographer , including tests of 11 APS-C DSLRs. Issue 44 is on sale now. Issues 42 and 43 are available to back order from http://bit.ly/ apissues.
If you shell out for one of the top APS-C DSLRs, you’re sure to get a very capable camera. But the D7100 stands out because it has the most advanced AF system, top image quality from its high-resolution sensor, and class-leading low light performance. It doesn’t have quite the same speed as other cameras at this level, but it’s still quick, and all of this comes at a reasonable price.
The Canon EOS 70D is a great choice for action photography, and Dual Pixel AF makes it top of the list for Live View or movie shooting. But the D5300 stands out simply for its image quality – it at least matches the D7100. There’s definitely a compromise in build and handling, but the combination of image quality and price means you can’t go wrong.
The best all-round package for us at this level is the Sony A58. Its resolution is impressive, and performance in all other areas we tested put it near the front of the pack in its class. Its translucent mirror set-up also means it can provide shooting speeds on a par with the fastest APS-C DSLRs, and even faster than the Nikon D7100. Even better, it’s one of the cheapest APS-C DSLRs around.
Issue 8 | Photography Newswww.photographynews.co.uk
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