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Cameras - DSLR - Digital Single Lens Reflex or Simple Point and Shoot for Me ?

Updated on January 27, 2018
agvulpes profile image

Although not a professional, Peter is a very keen photographer who mainly takes wildlife and landscape images.

You Need a Better Camera Right ?

So you have decided to buy a new camera? The decision you now have to make is, how deeply do I want to get into this photography caper. lol

If you are not too sure which type of camera to buy, let me see if I can shed some light on the subject of which type of camera is suitable to your needs!

As an 'entry level' photographer there are two options:

If money is no object, I think there is a case to argue, to own one of each type.

That's if you are relatively rich of course lol. However if you have advanced to a certain level in your photography you would already have a pretty handy 'point and shoot' camera similar to a Canon Powershot A400, which I have, and found it to be a great little camera.

But we are ready for the next level in our photography, I see you nodding your head so we are on the same page, right?

Now I'm not going to talk specific camera's in this article, I have written a revue on what I think is the best 'entry level' DSLR Camera available today!

You can read my review here: Digital-Photography-Canon-DSLR-500D-Camera

What I would like to talk about here is the difference between DSLR cameras and the plethora of 'point and shoot' cameras that are for sale!

Cross section view of a SLR Camera

How a SLR Camera looks inside!
How a SLR Camera looks inside!

Canon DSLR body showing mirror

Canon EOS DSLR Camera body indicating where the mirror is located!
Canon EOS DSLR Camera body indicating where the mirror is located!

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR)

Single Lens Reflex are commonly referred to as SLR or Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) and are a huge advancement on the point and shoot camera format.
SLR's permit the photographer to see through the viewfinder exactly (almost) the image that will be taken. Be it Film or Digital.
When the image is composed looking through the viewfinder the light reflected from the subject traveling through the lens is deflected by the 'mirror' and is rotated 90 degrees by the pentaprism or pentamirror and into the eye of the photographer.

See the above diagram.
When the 'shutter' release button is operated the mirror is flipped up out of the way of the light and the shutter flies open, according to the operator settings, and the image is recorded on the film or 'Digital cmos sensor'.

Of course all of this is done in the twinkling of an eye. If the DSLR is set to 'Auto' the camera takes care of all of the settings.

  • F stop,
  • Shutter Speed,
  • ISO setting
  • Focus.
  • Or in the time the photographer has set in his/her manual settings!

Paralax Error or 'Don't Lose Your Head'

Parallax error: How to lose your head
Parallax error: How to lose your head

Parallax Error

There are many advantages of the SLR camera over the 'point and shoot' variety!

In my experience one of the biggest worries when using a Point and Shoot camera is the Parallax Error.

The above diagram gives an indication what causes this to occur.

With the DSLR system there is almost complete elimination of 'Parallax Error'.

In photography what this boils down to is the fact that what you see through the viewfinder is what will be included in the image that you take . Well sort of!

DSLR Advantages.

Other advantages of SLR Cameras not necessarily in order of importance:

  • The ability to change lenses so that photographs can be taken from Macro (very small) or Zoom right up to capturing a reasonable shot of the Moon, depending on the budget of the Photographer!
  • Take video and see what you are actually taking. Although some Point and Shoot Cameras do have good Video capability.
  • Control Depth of Field. Very important in some photographs. Depth of field is the area of the photograph that appears to be sharp.

There are 3 distances involving Depth of Field.

  • 1)You will notice in some photographs that the image is out of focus at a distance from the camera to the subject
  • 2) The distance from the camera that is sharp
  • 3) and a distance from the subject to the background.

The depth of field is controllable by the correct settings of the Lenses and shutter speed.

This is a very simple explanation of Depth of Field and I hope you get the idea ?

Depth of Field the Cup is in Focus

Depth of field: see how the cup is in focus and the foreground and background are out of focus?
Depth of field: see how the cup is in focus and the foreground and background are out of focus?

© 2010 Peter


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    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Australia

      @aesta1 yes the DSLR cameras are much heavier than the point and shoot ! However I think that the manufacturers are aware of this and are working on producing lighter weight models by reducing the amount of mechanical parts eg mirrors!

      I'm sure you will see much lighter and cheaper cameras appearing as time progresses :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Now I understand the difference between a regular point and shoot and a DSLR. I have not gotten one even when I saw our two young grand daughters using this and really like their pictures. I just say I find it heavy but mostly, it is because I did not really know the difference. Time to get one when I get home.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      @SweetiePie I'm sure you will be agreeably surprised when/if you get a DSLR Camera. My advise is to get the best one you can possible afford. There are a number of new models coming out now and you can probably pick up a new superceded model as a twin lens kit for a bargain price.

      Thanks for dropping by :)

    • SweetiePie profile image


      5 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I still need to get a DSLR camera and with all the work I see local photographers have with senior pictures, weddings, Christmas, and because holidays, people with good cameras can definitely get some work with these.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Mih36 I hope that the information in this Hub has, in at least some small way, been helpful to the person interested in buying a DSLR Camera. I just love the Canon EOS 500D I am learning to drive at this time.

    • Mih36 profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      Thanks for giving a great article on how to pick the right digital camera. What to look for in a cameras DSLRS.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for dropping by and having a look at my Hubs and becoming a follower. I appreciate the kind words and will call over to your Hub and check out your work. I hope you were able to pick up some useful information regarding DSLRs

    • dealrocker profile image


      9 years ago from California

      This was a great hub. Nice information about DSLRs. Liked your other hubs too. Keep up the great work. Joining your fanclub and would like to invite you to join mine. :)

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for taking the time out to read my Hub on digital single lens reflex cameras. Nearly all point and shoot cameras have parallax error to some degree or other.

      My advise to all users of these cameras is to use the guide lines that you see when looking through the viewfinder and keep all the subject matter within the guidelines and then some! Never fill the whole viewfinder up with the image.

    • PaperNotes profile image


      9 years ago

      I love photography! thanks for this wonderful hub. I never realized some camera have parallax errors or what it was. Thank you for explaining.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      I you plan on placing your photos on HubPages I think you are wise to buy a DSLR camera. I would definitely have a look at the Canon EOS DSLR 500D it is a beauty! Feel free to look at another Hub I have written:

      Thanks for dropping by!

    • agusfanani profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      I plan to buy a camera and I think my choice will be DSLR. Thank you.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Well I tried last night, moon was close to full, just hand held with the 250mm lens and the results were not that good. I will need to use a tripod and because I don't have a remote control I will use the 10second delay feature on the Canon 500D.

    • SomewayOuttaHere profile image


      9 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

      wow! that'll be interesting - a shot of the moon; I like that. hope you upload it here when you do. No, no ideas yet...

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      SOH - thanks for dropping by and leaving a nice comment.

      I to have taken shots on my little point and shoot and wondered why they did not turn out. I believe it is in the metering system of the camera and we are not experienced enough to make our own judgment on the lighting?

      Talking of lenses I am challenging myself to get a good shot of the moon with the equipment that I have!

      Do you have any ideas?

    • SomewayOuttaHere profile image


      9 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

      thanks...i'll read more; i have a dslr and love some of the shots I've been able to take with it. and yes with a point and shoot, many times I did not get what I thought i had taken! I have a couple that I never use anymore. I can't wait to get a longer lense. I have to research lense info a bit more.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Darlene thanks for dropping by and leaving such a supportive comment, it is very much appreciated!

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      dallas 93444, yes you do not always get what you pay for, on the other hand you can pay too much for a product.

      However here in Australia there are many bargains on offer in the Photographic field. Business has not been that good for dealers and the price of the Aussie dollars is allowing importers to reduce their prices. (or so I'm told)

      I have had many Canon products over the years and I have never struck a lemon yet.

      Thanks so much for dropping in and leaving an insightful comment!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      9 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Another good hub on cameras, I do relate thank you so much for passing on your facts, wise knowledge about such things is a master of a subject is something we all need, thumbs up my friend...

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      9 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      The sweetness of low prices, reflects the bitterness of low quality. I have a cannon DSLR and the experience is exactly as you stated. Great hub.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Thanks mate and yes they are a great camera !

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I think you did great.. I've got one of those.. I love it!!

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      carolina muscle, I hope my explanation was easy enough to understand?

      Thanks for dropping by!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      An interesting intro into the subject, thanks!


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