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What is a DSLT Camera?

Updated on July 14, 2012
Sony's DSLT a37 camera
Sony's DSLT a37 camera | Source

There are two types of digital professional cameras available on the market, DSLR and DSLT. For a long time DSLR cameras have been the only cameras commonly found on the market, however, a new technology with the DSLT is becoming more common.

A Sony presentation on their DSLT cameras
A Sony presentation on their DSLT cameras | Source

What does DSLT mean?

A DSLT camera stands for Digital Single Lens Translucent

The term DSLT refers to the action of the translucent mirror in the camera, which is fixed, allowing the majority of light to come through to the sensor and deflecting a small amount of light to the AF sensor.

What are the advantages of a DSLT camera?

The main advantages of the new DSLT cameras are:

  • the image in the viewfinder never blacks out
  • the cameras are cheaper to produce
  • faster and more reliable auto focus than DSLR or MILC cameras
  • constant auto focus even during video recording, continuous shooting and live view odes
  • shorter shutter lag time due to an increased frame rate - meaning you can take more images faster and there is less time between shots
  • no camera shake due to mirror movement
  • white balance, exposure and other settings can be check through the electronic viewfinder (and verified or changed) before taking a picture

What are the Disadvantages of a DSLT camera?

The main disadvantages of DSLT camera are:

  • the viewfinder is replaced for an electronic finder
  • the electronic viewfinder lacks the brightness and clarity of traditional optical viewfinders
  • different functionality to traditional DSLRs
  • lower light reaching sensor as a portion of the light is reflected onto the auto focus detection
  • the refresh rate of the camera is limited by the time it takes the sensor to form an image
  • DSLT does not commonly do well in low light as it causes sever stuttering of the viewfinder image when panning as it takes longer for the sensor to get enough light to form an image
  • the electronic viewfinder does no properly show what will be captured as it has a less dynamic range than DSLR cameras
  • DSLT cameras can cause eyestrain in some users during the bright light of the electronic view finder, which can be frustrating when using the camera for long periods
  • the mirror surfaces in the camera can become dirty over time, degrading the captured image as the mirror will scatter the light

Sony is the only current manufacturer of DSLT cameras, they are the middle ground between DSLR (digital single lens reflex) and MILC (mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras) cameras, however, they are closer to MILCs rather than the DSLRs as they have an electronic viewfinder.

The electronic viewfinders in the Sony DSLT cameras collect an image through the sensor and the camera is able to use phase-detection auto focus all the time - even during video recording. This constant phase-detection auto focus is generally faster and more reliable than the contrast detection autofocus used in MILCs and DSLRs.

As DSLT cameras are such a new technology, there are a number flaws and issues - however, it also has a range of advantages not seen in DSLR cameras.

Your choice of camera really depends on your needs and wants in a camera and is a matter of personal choice - each person looks for different features so while the DSLT might work for one, a DSLR may be more suited to someone else.

Would you buy a DSLT camera?

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    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks Virginia! I definitely agree with you about the optical viewfinder! One thing I found when testing the DSLT for Sony was that the battery life was far less than my DSLR.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      7 years ago from United States

      I just recently replaced my camera and one of my criteria was having an optical viewfinder because it saves so much on battery life during long video recordings. However, I really appreciated learning about what a DSLT is and why it is useful. Excellent writing on this Hub. I was able to scan to find the information I wanted very easily.

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I actually think the DSLT would be great for someone starting up as it has so many pre-set settings for different situations - basically all you have to do is click. For someone wanting to use the settings manually, it's not so great.

      But, if you're looking for a DSLR start with an entry level model (like the canon 1100D) which will get you used

      to the different settings and functions or you can use the pre-set settings and then if you want later on learn how to use it manually.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      7 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      This is a very interesting hub. I've needed a new camera for quite a while now and have been shopping around. To say that all the jargon/ tecnhology talk was daunting is putting it mildly. So I found your hub excellent for giving me clarity on what the the DSLT actually is. But being a rookie photographer what technology do you think is best?

      Great hub + voted up!

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You are welcome :) You have two choices with your long eyelashes - a DSLR with a great LCD viewing screen or a DSLT again with a viewing screen - the viewfinder of the DSLT would probably work for you as well though as the ones on the Sony cameras are larger than the optical viewfinders so that may make it easier to see!

    • thranax profile image


      7 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      I might get one of these if they ever do go big mostly because I like seeing the image im taking on a screen instead of through an optical viewfinder. Its mostly because im lucky enough to be a male with naturally long eye lashes...helpful to get girls - not to helpful to take pictures!

      Very informative and useful hub on this bridge technology! Thanks for sharing ;)


    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia


    • travel-O-grapher profile image


      7 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Interesting article..informative!


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