Compact Camera or Digital SLR – How Do You Choose Between Them?

Both cameras can take great photos and that can just make the decision harder. The choice between a compact camera and a digital SLR will involve a review of some specific features.

Modern cameras are almost exclusively digital. This review will deal with digital cameras rather than film cameras. When I am talking about SLR (single Lens Reflex) cameras, I will also be talking about D-SLRs, or DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex). A digital camera is cheaper to use than it’s film equivalent as there are no development costs and also no delay in seeing the picture. Professional photographers are now happy to use digital cameras. Lets deal with a major misconception.

Size doesn’t matter is a well known saying. Computers have become much smaller, just look at the iPad. Size is really relevant to the job in hand and compact cameras certainly suit their name. Digital SLR cameras do not lend themselves to fitting in your purse, they are just too bulky. Having a new camera is great but you need to make sure you get one that meets your needs. Ask yourself questions like, what do you want to use it for, how will you carry it. The quality of pictures you can take from either a compact or digital SLR camera is very good.

There are fewer differences nowadays between compact cameras and digital SLRs. The quality of the photos that compact cameras take is getting better everyday. There is no doubt though that the best possible photos will come from a digital SLR camera. Whilst technology has advanced and you can have a 16 megapixel compact camera, the photo from a 10 megapixel DSLR will be just as good or superior. This does boil down to size and depends on the size of the sensor. A larger sensor will collect more photons, and produce a photo that has a less grainy effect. The picture quality will not suffer in low light conditions or where a fast shutter speed is used due to the large sensor. Knowing that you will be taking photos in low light such as a party or wedding reception or sports action shots will mean a digital SLR will best fit your needs.

One lens does all the functions for a compact camera. You will have a wide range of lenses available for a DSLR. The choice of lens available allows you to select the perfect lens for each situation. A new camera does not now mean you have to throw out your old lenses as manufacturers with their new cameras have made them compatible with older lenses. Even some of the old auto-focus lens will work just like they did on your old camera. This can be a real cost saver if you have previously spent a lot on lenses. A DSLR gives you ultimate control over all the setting that go into taking a great photo. A critical element of any photo is the lighting. Ever wanted to take shots at night without a flash? A DSLR can be setup with a timed exposure to take the shot as long as the camera is kept still. Make sure the camera cannot move and then you can experiment with different exposure settings. Being able to use fast film in these conditions is an advantage which many compacts will not enjoy.

Compact cameras are normally less expensive, and include everything you need. DSLRs are heavier and bulkier. The LCD panel of a DSLR camera will contain extensive information which combine with the manual controls in taking a photo. Just the bells and whistles that show on their LCD display is enough to scare many people away. The camera needs to be maintained. DSLRs have interchangeable lenses. To keep the camera in top condition the inside will need to be cleaned periodically. A DSLR is less rugged than a compact is a belief held by some people. Does anyone know someone who has dropped their DSLR because I don’t. My wife’s bag containing her compact camera has been dropped on the couch a few times.

The reality is that professional photographers will have both types of equipment and many amateur photographers do as well. You are more likely to keep a compact camera by your side and hopefully will never miss a shot.

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