Choosing a ''No nonsense'' DSLR - why so hard? Advice needed (please)

Started Jan 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
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EyesHigh
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Choosing a ''No nonsense'' DSLR - why so hard? Advice needed (please)
Jan 17, 2013

Hi there,

I am currently looking to buy my first DSLR and would be upgrading from a Canon S95. After doing a huge amount of reading (possibly too much!), I'm having a hard time choosing a camera suitable for me. The review sites I have used are Camera Labs, this site (DPreview), CNet, Expert Reviews, ALA Test, Amateur Photography, and What Digital Camera. And the camera models I cannot choose between are:

The Nikon D7000, Nikon D90, Nikon D5100, Nikon D5200, Canon 60D, and the Canon 650D.

The most important and fundamental feature of the camera must be image quality; whilst the Canon S95 produces nice photos, I believe the large array of DSLR’s available on the market indicates compact camera’s have their limitations and so I am seeking an upgrade.

Qualities such as high ISO levels, special effects and filters, HD video, and multi-bracketing/HDR modes are NOT important and will not be utilised – I’m very much after a ‘’no nonsense’’ type of camera which quite simply takes detailed and accurate photo’s every time. Although this will be my first DSLR camera I’d like to buy one and only one (at least for 3 – 5 years, fingers crossed), so image quality is the highest priority. By image quality I mean the level of detail and sharpness captured (always), the reliability and usability of focussing points/AF areas, the accuracy of colour and white-balance capture, and in general the amount of information recorded by a RAW file – as I will mostly be shooting in RAW.

I’ve noticed the cameras above vary in sensor size, mega-pixel count, features, and price greatly, so if anybody knows which of the camera, or models I have not mentioned, which would produce simply the best RAW image quality I’d really appreciate the advice?

Thank you

PS: I should mention that I am fully familiar with manual controls and like to experiment with them. From re-reading this post it seems a point-and-shoot does offer the most consistent capturing quality, but I'd like to stress I'm looking for more recorded information with the addition of more manual control options. I will be shooting many wilderness, nature, and mountainous images and would like a camera which will pick up every last pixel of information!

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