DSLR vs Hybrid: The Group Test

A DSLR or a mirrorless hybrid. What to choose?

Image 1 of 5 PANASONIC LUMIX DMC G10
PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G10
Image 2 of 5 SONY ALPHA SLT A33
SONY ALPHA SLT-A33
Image 3 of 5 NIKON D3100
NIKON D3100
Image 4 of 5 OLYMPUS DIGITAL PEN E PL1
OLYMPUS DIGITAL PEN E-PL1
Image 5 of 5 CANON EOS 500D
CANON EOS 500D

The camera aisle of your local tech emporium is expanding, with traditional digital SLRs being joined by a new breed of hybrid – or compact system – cameras. The hybrids ditch the DSLR’s mirror mechanism to bring lens and sensor closer together, making them much more compact. But is smaller always better?

Best: Image quality
Canon EOS 500D
£500 (Including 18-55mm IS lens)
Love: Lightweight and robust build. Full-HD video. Reasonable price
Hate: No built in anti-shake– it’s via the lens
Canon EOS 500D review I Link: Canon

Best: Ease of use
Nikon D3100
£500 (Including 18-55mm VR lens)
Love: Fast and responsive, with full-HD video and a useful guide mode
Hate: Too small to grip comfortably. Video is awkward to access
Nikon D3100 pics I Nikon D3100 review I Link: Nikon

Best: Fast shooting
Sony Alpha SLT-A33
£570 (Including 18-55mm lens)
Love: Fast, intuitive and user-friendly point-and-shoot functionality
Hate: Battery life could be improved. It’s not cheap
Sony Alpha SLT-A33 pics I Sony Alpha SLT-A33 review I Link: Sony

Best: Portability
Olympus Digital PEN E-PL1
£380 (Including 14-42mm lens)
Love: Great results. Flash included. Top auto mode
Hate: Plasticky build. Not as stylish as other PENs
Olympus PEN E-PL1 pics I Olympus PEN E-PL1 review I Link: Olympus

Best: Beginners
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10
£350 (Including 14-42mm lens)
Love: User friendly yet bursting with features. Competitively priced
Hate: No built-in anti-shake. Some barrel distortion at wide angle
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 pics I Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 review I Link: Panasonic