DSLR stands for “digital single-lens reflex”. A DSLR camera is a digital camera that combines the optics and mechanical apparatus of a single-lens reflex camera. A digital imaging sensor replaces the need to use photographic film to capture the image on.
A DSLR camera is a step up from less expensive, subcompact cameras, which themselves are on par with the quality of photo produced by a smartphone. In fact, many smartphones include photo editing software that places them heads and shoulders above a subcompact camera. DSLR cameras range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to professional grade cameras costing thousands of dollars. What you need it to do determines both what you should look for in a DSLR camera, and what you will likely have to pay.
Putting the multitude of bells and whistles and any budget considerations aside, what anyone considering buying a DSLR camera should be looking for are…
Obviously the goal of anyone taking a photo with any type of camera is to end up with the best photo possible. The larger size of the image sensors in DSLR cameras allows for larger pixel sizes. Therefore DSLR cameras can usually be used at a faster ISO, which results in faster shutter speeds and less grain in the photos.
The ability of DSLR camera lenses to be changed provides photographers with a host of possibilities. There is a wide range of other accessories for DSLRs, such as flashes, filters, tripods and stands, etc. that make a DSLR camera adaptable to many different situations. Select the camera within your budget that offers the greatest adaptability, and avoid a DSLR that does not have a removable lense.
DSLR cameras are generally faster at start up, focusing and shutter lag than subcompact cameras, smartphone cameras or recorders. A faster camera is often the difference between getting the shot you want and missing it, so you want to select a camera that is faster in a class of already fast cameras.
All DSLR cameras use a reflex mirror, so what you see in the viewfinder is what you get. However, not all DSLR cameras have optical viewfinders, which are the screens on which the image is projected. Optical viewfinders use up a lot of battery power so some professional photographers prefer not to use them, or even have them on a camera. That said, it’s far easier to frame a photo seeing it in an optical viewfinder than it is through the sight lens of the camera.
DSLR cameras are designed based on the assumption the photographer will want to control the settings. DSLRs all come with auto modes, but automatic settings limit experimentation. Auto mode also hampers creativity, which is why the manual controls are usually placed right at the photographers finger tips. Low cost DSLRs that limited manual controls have been hitting the market. Be sure the camera you are considering allows for the full range manual controls.
The quality between DSLR lenses varies, but generally the lenses of a DSLR are far superior to point and shoot cameras. DSLR lenses are larger and usually of a much higher quality of manufacture, so of course they cost more. When buying a DSLR camera budget for as good a quality lens as you can afford, even more than one if possible.
There are many more consideration that you may want to take into account when buying a DSLR camera. However, these are the ones everyone thinking of purchasing a DSLR camera should take into account and are vital.