### Nikon 1 Series

This is Nikon's first attempt at a mirrorless camera. It features a very small sensor which made a lot of people unhappy at first. What set the 1 series apart is the unique features it sports. According to Nikon, it has the fastest auto focus system in the world. Combine that with a blazing fast 10 frames per second and you start to get the picture (literally). Nikon also offers this in two flavors the J1 and V1. The main difference being that the V1 has an electronic viewfinder instead of just a screen. Finally, there is a compact that you can really shoot sports with. The J1 with a kit lens starts at $650 USD or so, and the V1 with a kit lens starts around$850.

### Epson R-D1

The short lived R-D1 and shorter lived R-D1s was the rangefinder lovers answer to the digital revolution. It's based on the Bessa rangefinders and is very functional and has great looks. Unfortunately, they don't make them anymore. So they're specs are getting a little dated.

Another downside is that people still really want them. They fetch $1500-2000 USD in online auctions. Don't calculate the cost per megapixel because it's 6.1 megapixel sensor makes the math pretty ugly. Regardless of the availability, someone will come out with a camera just like these soon enough. Don't forget, they use M mount lenses, same as Leica, so factor that into the cost. ## Point-and-Shoots The main reason people take the step from point-and-shoot to DSLR is control. You want the shutter to click right when you press the button. You want to control shutter speeds and apertures. You may even want to control white balance and ISO. What most people don't realize is that there has been an advanced point-and-shoot market for many years. The Canon G series has been a big hit for years, and Fuji more recently made big waves with their genre bending camera, the X100. There will always be people who want the control without the weight. Point-and-shoot cameras have very small sensors, so getting the dreamy, creamy backgrounds is sometimes hard. The shutter delay in the models mentioned below isn't that bad, much better than a$60 camera that comes from a big box store. Their megapixel rate is usually slightly lower than their big brothers, but not dismal.

### Sigma DP Series

Kicking off our line-up is this line of fixed lens cameras. That's right, no zoom. The DP1x has a 28mm equivalent lens. The DP2s has a 41mm equivalent lens. There's also a DP2x which is a newer DP2s. The reason these cameras are cool is the sensor. It's a good size for a compact camera, but more interestingly it's a FOVEON sensor. These sensors are different than both CCD and CMOS sensors and turn out images with a unique feel.

### Panasonic DMC-LX5

So you want to point to your camera and say "see, it's a Leica," but you'd also like to pay rent without hiring yourself out as unicycle clown. We've got the answer. The DMC-LX5, along with many other Panasonic cameras, has a big LEICA right on the front of its 24-90mm equivalent f2.0-3.3 lens.

There aren't too many bell and whistles on this camera, but unlike the other compacts on this list, it does have a zoom lens. To go with that adding functionality, the price is better, too. You can have your very own advanced point-and-shoot DMC-LX5 for around $370 USD. ## Medium Format Remember how I mentioned that this article wasn't necessarily written to save you money. This next set of cameras will display that point pretty nicely. These cameras have retained the name medium format, even though that is just a nod to film cameras these resemble. The funny thing is that these cameras are actually DSLRs in the most basic sense. They have a viewfinder, a prism and a mirror that allow you to see as the camera is seeing. But medium format cameras fall into a different realm. First, they are big. I mean next to impossible to use one-handed. Next, they start around 28 megapixels and increase dramatically from there. The sensors could hold their own up against a business card. These cameras are built for serious landscape, portrait and fashion photographers. The weight means that sports would be tough, though. Maybe just strap on a wide angle lens and crop in on the action later. ### Mamiya DM Series So you want a 54x40mm sensor. The Mamiya DM series is perfect for you. The cameras in this series come with the Leaf Aptus-II backs. Mamiya claims that once the body, lens and back come together, "your life will be forever changed." This camera is for serious commercial and fashion work, so tethering is easy. You can even control it with your iPhone. This series features versions ranging from 28-80 megapixels. The 28 version with an 80mm lens will set you back around$10,000 USD. The 80 version will set you back around $34,000. That's a pretty nice car. On serious note, the 28 version is deal. You can easily drop that much on DSLR gear if you're serious, so if portraits or landscapes are your thing, why not get a camera built for it. ### Pentax 645D So you looked at the Mamiya DM 28 and you said, "I can get a cheaper DSLR that produces that resolution." I understand. For around$10,000 USD, you can the Pentax 645D that produces 40 megapixel images. That won't get you a lens though.

The 645D is a natural step up from the DSLR. It has good autofocus and a big LCD screen on the back. It is ugly in the most dramatic fashion, but if we're honest, so are most high end DSLRs. I consider this camera a slight step down from the Mamiya, but the Mamiya is more modular. It's for people who have worked with medium format before. The Pentax is a much more cohesive package.

So you love the Leica M9, but it's just too inexpensive. And you really want to tether your camera with firewire 800. The H4D is probably one of the best digital cameras in the world. Like the Mamiya, it comes in a range. The prices are a little more expensive. The lowest model (31 megapixels) with a 80mm lens will cost you about \$14,000. The other models are comparably more expensive.

Don't forget to factor in memory cards. A 4GB compact flash card will hold about 50 images. It also comes with built-in GPS embedding the location, altitude and time on all your image.

## Before You Make the Jump

Jumping from your phone or a cheap compact into the DSLR can be pretty daunting. There are a lot of options to consider. I'm here to throw a few more options into the mix. I think that mirrorless cameras are very similar to what people think they want from a DSLR. Just remember, before you make the jump, really consider what you want to use the camera for. If you're looking for something that will always be by your side, a point-and-shoot or mirrorless might be the answer. If you're looking for total old-school control, consider a rangefinder. And if landscapes and portraits are what gets you going (and you have deep pockets), the medium format camera are unmatched.