How To Know If a Digital SLR is Right for You

The majority of consumers who purchase a new digital camera opt for a point and shoot model.  Many wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t, consider an SLR. However, for those who want greater control, an SLR camera can certainly be a good option. Point and shoot cameras produce great pictures, but an SLR is for those who want more.

Most of the basic point and shoot cameras offer all kinds of automatic functions to allow us to take pictures with a minimal amount of fuss. No messing around with focus, aperture settings, shutter speed, or even flash in most instances. Their ease of use, affordability, and smaller size has kept point and shoot cameras on the top of most consumers shopping lists.

Now certainly some point and shoot models do allow users to take control of some functions. Equally true is that if a lower quality lens is used with an SLR camera or user skill is poor,  picture quality will not be enhanced just by having such a camera. For anyone opting to go the route of an SLR, they should be willing to spend more for quality lenses and have a strong interest in learning more about adjusting the settings on the camera to get the pay off of images that stand out.

There are a number of reasons some avid amateurs choose an SLR digital camera. One feature that is attractive with these models is that they eliminate the issue of parallax error. Parallax error occurs with a point and shoot camera that has users viewing a scene through a lens which is separate from the lens that the camera uses to capture an image. This can easily result in the subject of a picture being cropped unintentionally.  SLR is the acronym for single lens reflex; the camera uses the same lens for viewing and taking images eliminating such unintentional errors. 

SLR cameras are more expensive than the typical point and shoot camera, and are often sold as body only, requiring the user to purchase the lens separately.  Affordable camera bodies are certainly available but skimping on the lens can result in disappointing results. Despite the increased cost and complexity in purchasing the body and lens separately, the increased versatility it offers is the prime advantage as far as improving image quality that the SLR model cameras offer. The number of lens options allows users to purchase not only higher quality lenses but more specialized lenses such as wide and super wide angle lenses, telephoto, full range zooms, and so forth. For anyone wanting to shoot in specialized situations, such as those who want to do a lot of macro (very close range) photography, this is a necessity.

Another attraction is that SLR cameras also tend to be much faster than lower end, point and shoot cameras and don’t experience the same lag time. Certainly higher end, point and shoot cameras offer far less latency and lag time than those that were available several years ago but SLR models are still faster. These models also tend to use batteries much more conservatively as they don’t use all of the automated functions.
Although the miniature size and portability of an ultra compact point and shoot camera can not be matched by the more complex and bulky SLR, things are changing. SLR models have been shrinking in recent years, making them a bit more attractive to non-professionals who want to make photography more of a hobby.

Certainly for those who merely want to snap picture of family gatherings, pets, and family vacations there is no reason to opt for the costlier and more complex SLR model. However, for those who are more avid in their desire master the world of photography an SLR may be the tool of choice.