With the advancement in technology, the gap between entry-level compact cameras and high-end professional systems has begun to blur.
While this is good news for photography enthusiasts, it’s easy to get confused. It also makes it difficult for beginners to find the right camera, especially when starting in photography. Two of the highly confusing term in photography are SLR (single-lens reflex camera), and point-and-shoot cameras. Let us explore how Point-and-shoot cameras differ from SLR cameras.
The main difference between an SLR and DSLR camera is how the photographer views the scene. In an SLR camera, a photographer sees the actual image as seen by the film while in a point-and-shoot camera, you see a simple window through the viewfinder.
Point-and-shoot Cameras Versus SLR Cameras
SLR Camera Strengths
- Image quality. SLR cameras feature robust image sensors and large pixels sizes that are far above point and shoot cameras. Not only do they capture more light and allow you to tinker with ISO settings and shutter speeds, but they also reduce noise in the image. As such, the final image is professional-grade and of high quality.
- Flexibility and Customization. SLRs are the most flexible and adaptable cameras in the photography world. You can control every feature of the camera to suit your needs.
- Interchangeable Lenses. This is a plus to SLRs. The ability to change to different lenses gives room for unlimited possibilities now that lenses are arguably the most significant aspect of photography. Lenses play the greatest role in the quality of the final image.
- Generally, SLR cameras are faster when it comes to shutter lag, focus, and starting up. They can capture up to 10 frames per second.
- Weather Sealing. Though Point-to-point cameras can be used for standard photography, high-end SLRs can withstand moisture, dust, snow, and rain. This is why they are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.
SLR Camera Weaknesses
- Less Portability. SLR cameras, along with their lenses, are typically heavier and occupy more space. They can weigh heavily on your shoulders when you add a lens or two to your kit bag.
- Maintenance and Care. SLR cameras require ongoing maintenance, unlike point and shoot cameras. Their interchanging lenses feature increases the risk of dust and dirt getting into your camera, and the cost of repair can be outrageously expensive.
- Extra Accessories. SLR cameras come as body only. But you can purchase a kit bag and invest in more external flashes, extra lenses, among other accessories.
- SLR cameras can be complex to work with. You`ll need to undergo a steep learning curve to familiarize yourself with their main features, which can be frustrating for novices and untrained photographers.
- SLR cameras are generally more expensive than P&S cameras. Also, you may want to upgrade the lenses and flashes, which adds to the cost.
Point and Shoot Camera Strengths
- Fixed Lenses with Built-in Flash. All point and shoot cameras have fixed lenses. You`ll not have to carry additional accessories or sweat trying to interchange lenses.
- Most P&S cameras are very lightweight and easy to move around. You`ll not need tripods, extra kit bags, or other accessories to carry around.
- Point and shoot cameras are way cheaper to purchase and maintain than SLRs. You`ll not need to buy additional accessories like flashes and lenses.
- LCD Framing. Point and shoot cameras mostly prefer to frame their shot using LCDs. Some also come with a `flip out’ screen feature so that you can take shots from different angles.
- Auto Mode. Point and shoot cameras produce images with varying quality, but they generally shoot very well in auto mode. They take the manual work away from you.
Point and Shoot Cameras Weaknesses
- Short Battery Life. As the LCD screen consumes much power, the battery tends to die quickly than on an SLR camera. This can be a turn off for you if you intend to take pictures for an extended period.
- Less Flexibility and Adaptability. Point and shoot cameras cannot be upgraded. You cannot mount extra flashes or interchange their lenses, unlike in SLR cameras.
- They have limited Manual Controls. Unlike in SLRs, point and shoot cameras give you less control over features and settings when taking pictures. There is limited control over shutter and aperture speed.
- Low-Quality Pictures. Due to their compact size, point and shoot cameras have a smaller image sensor, which is why they can’t match SLRs in terms of image quality.
- Slow Speeds. Point and shoot cameras have fixed autofocus settings and shutter speed, unlike in SLR cameras. As such, they are not suited for action photography and sports.
The best camera for you is defined by what you want to accomplish with it. Naturally, professional photographers go for high-end SLR cameras. Now that you know how point and shoot cameras differ from SLR cameras, you`ll be able to choose the best camera depending on what you intend to accomplish. Weigh the factors that matter more to you, such as budget and output, and find what type of camera comes out strongest.