What is a DSLR?

Camera Equipment

Most photography enthusiasts lug around DSLR cameras these days. However, do you know what a DSLR is exactly? It’s an acronym which stands for “digital single lens reflex” but knowing what it stands for gives only a bit of an idea of how this kind of camera works. A digital SLR is often seen slung around the neck of a professional photographer, or someone who is taking his photography beyond just a snapshot hobby. It provides better performance compared to point and shoot cameras, more flexibility and, when used correctly, can give higher quality photos.

How Does a DSLR work?

A DSLR combines the mechanics of a single lens reflex camera with its digital imaging sensor. This kind of camera has several parts which make capturing stunning photos possible. It is quite heavy, but because of its many parts, high performance and great photos can be expected. Basically, here’s how it works:

  1. Light would pass through the lens and strike the mirror which is in the body of the camera itself.
  2. The mirror would then reflect the light through a focusing screen and then through a pentaprism especially designed for a DSLR.
  3. The pentaprism would then reflect the image so that the user would see it on the viewfinder as it is seen by the naked eye. Crude cameras back in the olden days only showed images in reverse, but a DSLR would give you that “what you see is what you get” look in terms of composition.
  4. When you click to take a photo, the shutter would then expose the sensor while the mirror moves to allow the light to pass directly onto the sensor, giving you your exposure.

That’s the gist of how a DSLR works, and the same process applies to other models. The megapixel rating of the DSLR is based on the capacity of the sensor, and in general, the higher the megapixel rating, the better your camera would be in capturing detailed photos with great image resolutions.

The Pros of Using a Digital SLR

A DSLR is a truly desirable camera to have when you want to take great photos or when you feel like turning your amateur hobby into something more serious. This camera comes with a number of pros which makes having a digital SLR a great investment:

  • Overall better performance compared to a point and shoot camera. It’s usually faster to respond than a digital point and shoot helping you capture the moment you want.
  • You can have more manual focus control when you use a DSLR. The focus ring on the lens can be twisted to bring the subject into focus with a lot more precision than a point and shoot which may not even offer manual focus.
  • Isolating your subjects using a DSLR is easier. This is great when you enjoy shooting portraits or making your subject pop out against the background. The larger sensor found in DLSRs helps to make the most of shallow depth of field.
  • A DSLR kit usually has interchangeable lenses. You definitely don’t have this on your point and shoot cameras! Interchangeable lenses are great when you have varying photography opportunities. There are wide angle lenses, macro photography lenses, sports lenses, and walk around or basic lenses for general shots. Having lenses that are built for more specific jobs rather than one lens that’s used for everything enables the lens to be better suited and therefore a higher quality image is generally had.

The Cons of Using a Digital SLR

It cannot be denied that a digital SLR has a lot of advantages over point and shoot cameras, but there are still cons when using a DSLR. Consider the following:

  • The price is definitely more than the cost of a point and shoot. This is, however, justified by the fact that DSLRs have much better performance. It does not make it accessible to those who are on a tight budget though, so getting a second hand DSLR may be the solution when the cheapest is still too expensive for one’s budget.
  • Apart from the expensive camera itself, upgrading your lens kit may seem to take forever because lenses too are expensive. A basic kit can be good, but when you want something more, the expensive lenses may take a huge chunk from your budget.
  • The bulk is an obvious con. When you are used to how compact and light your point and shoot camera is, the bulk of DSLRS may make them quite inconvenient. Bringing it along to formal events where you’re all dressed nice and smart may seem out of place, or to concerts and other similar events where such “professional” gadgets are not allowed.
  • While the array of control options that DSLRs give you may sound great, it can be quite confusing and if you don’t exert enough effort into it, it may result in confusion and not being able to use the camera to its full extent. It is more complex and may take a bit of adjusting to.

Of course, you can adjust to these cons, and overall, DSLRs are high performance investments which are truly worth it if you’re really into photography and want to make photography more than just an occasional hobby.

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