Compact Vs Digital SLR Cameras

Posted on May 29, 2016 By

Compact Vs Digital SLR CamerasThe first big decision you will make when getting started with photography is what camera to choose. Choosing between a compact point and shoot or a digital SLR camera will be the ultimate choice. This is not only for financial reasons, but also it will determine what kind of shots you will be able to capture.

Compact vs digital SLR cameras vary in many ways and I am hoping to shed some light on what the main differences are other than the obvious size difference. The first major difference and also the most noticeable is the lens, an SLR camera has interchangeable lenses and a compact camera uses a fixed lens. Yes, many high end compact cameras use lens adapters however the original lens remains fixed and stays the same. Many compact vs digital SLR cameras will compete for lens quality and functionality with the SLR will usually winning that battle. Although cumbersome at times they allow you to take telephoto, fisheye, and ultra wide angle photos to name a few. A compact can achieve these as well but the SLR lens will likely have been more specifically designed for the task at hand thus giving you a better result.

The second major difference is the viewfinder, this is also the most important difference in the compact vs digital SLR cameras. With an SLR camera, when you look through the viewfinder, you are looking at exactly what the image sensor will see when the shutter button is pressed. An internal mirror is positioned to direct the image to the viewfinder using the same lens that is used to take the picture, when the shutter button is pressed, the mirror inside flips up and the image is projected onto the image sensor instead of into the viewfinder. This is called Single Lens Reflex or SLR for short if you didn’t already know.

Lastly I want to mention the image sensor size in the compact vs digital SLR cameras. Generally compact cameras have a much smaller image sensor than an SLR style. This is a less commonly known difference as it all hides deep inside any camera but has the largest effect on image quality. Larger sensors create a shallower depth of field at the same aperture setting, which is an advantage for taking portraits but a disadvantage for landscapes. Image noise is also affected differently with a large sensor. A larger sensor will contain larger pixels and this means that the pixels will be more sensitive to tiny amounts of light resulting in less image noise. This means that an SLR camera will be able to use a higher ISO setting and still have the same amount of noise as a compact camera.

Compact vs digital SLR cameras in summary can achieve the same results. The compact camera will provide you with a smaller, less expansive, and less conspicuous size than an SLR. However a greater range of subject styles and the potential for higher image quality is almost certain with an SLR. SLR’s are better suited to specific application when size and weight aren’t as issue. Compacts on the other hand are great for learning as they have a more simplified shooting process.

Putting cost aside for a second, many people have both cameras so they can use them for different situations. With the price of cameras dropping a lot in the last few years it has allowed amateur photographers to achieve the same results many professionals do. A good photo editing program is a must as it allows the user to adjust many options with either camera.

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