DSLR cameras explained
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Digital SLR camera basics

Pocket-size point-and-shoot cameras are inexpensive and convenient, but they don't hold a candle to the quality of a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, especially if you're looking to experiment with manual settings or even interchangeable lenses for full control of your photography. But what do you get for your investment?

Clear pics with digital SLRs

If you're shopping for a digital SLR camera after years of using a point-and-shoot camera, you're in for a treat. Thanks to larger image sensors and the wider dynamic range offered by SLRs, digital photos look crystal clear, with richer contrast and more vivid colors.

Quick clicks with digital SLRs

Digital SLRs aren't just about image quality—you'll be able to take more photos in a shorter amount of time, with precise focus adjustments that simply aren't possible with the smaller lenses found on point-and-shoot cameras. SLR lenses also offer a much wider optical zoom range than their smaller cousins, making them ideal companions for sporting events and other occasions where it's hard to get close to your subject.

Lens factor of digital SLRs

Speaking of lenses, SLR owners have more creative possibilities, such as swapping a zoom lens (which brings the action closer) for a wide angle lens that captures scenic vistas or fits the whole family into a shot. Most lenses aren't interchangeable between different manufacturers, so make sure to research what each company has to offer before committing to that brand.

Movie magic with digital SLRs

HD video recording has become a hot feature on many digital SLR models. Although these cameras usually don't allow auto-focus while recording video, the image is typically sharper than dedicated, low-cost video cameras, eliminating the need for carrying two devices. Most digital SLR cameras also include an HDMI port for easy connectivity to an HDTV for viewing your photos or videos exactly where they deserve to be—on the big screen of your computer or TV.

Make camera shopping even easier

Learn more about what digital camera features to consider.

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