Digital SLR Vs. Regular Digital Camera

by Shiromi Nassreen

The choice between a digital SLR camera and a standard point-and-shoot digital camera comes down to how you intend to use the camera. Both types of cameras have their pros and cons. The biggest con of the digital SLR is its hefty price tag. However, for professional photography, a digital SLR camera is essential.


Digital SLR cameras (DSLR) and regular digital cameras, also known as point-and-shoot cameras or digital compacts, provide two decidedly different functions for the user. Point-and-shoot digital cameras tend to be smaller, often small enough to fit in a pocket. The size of the camera and its auto mode makes it the perfect camera for taking snapshots while on the go. The DSLR, on the other hand, is designed for the serious photographer. DSLR cameras are larger and you can swap out lenses so that you're using the right lens for each situation. In addition, the DSLR manual controls are designed for experienced photographers who want to take greater control of the end product.


The DSLR cameras have a manual zoom, unlike the regular point-and-shoot cameras that have electronic zooms that are controlled with a button. Lenses are removable from the camera on a DSLR, unlike the point-and-shoot camera. Both types of camera feature an auto mode and a manual mode. However, the manual options on the point-and-shoot are more limited than the options for the DSLR. The DSLR camera is much bigger and bulkier than its regular digital camera counterpart.


Benefits of the DSLR camera include such factors as image quality. This is because the DSLR has larger image sensors allowing greater pixel quantities. In addition, DSLRs also have faster shutter speeds. The large ISO range on the DSLR means that you can take good pictures even in low-light conditions, without a flash. Point-and-shoot digital cameras are smaller and cheaper. These cameras are also much quieter to operate than a DSLR. Rather than having to set up the shot yourself, the user can simply take the picture in auto mode. This enables a novice to take a decent picture.


A major consideration for someone choosing between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot camera is price. The base price of a DSLR camera is considerably more expensive than a compact digital. In addition, most owners of DSLR cameras choose to upgrade the lens, which is an additional expense to consider. DSLR cameras tend to be more complex than their automatic counterparts. DSLR cameras also require more maintenance. For instance, every time you change the lens, you risk getting dirt on the image sensor, resulting in poor quality pictures. However, image quality on point-and-shoot cameras tends to be poorer as they have smaller image sensors. The shutter speed is also slower than DSLR cameras.


As technology continues to change, the gap between DSLR cameras and regular digital cameras continues to close up. For instance, image sensors on the point-and-shoot cameras are getting better, though still not at the quality of the DSLR. ISO ranges are also continuing to be improved upon, which increases the point-and-shoot cameras versatility. Shutter speed is another feature that is also being improved in the standard digital camera. The price gap is also closing up; DSLR cameras continue to come down in price.

About the Author

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera professional photographer with dslr while working image by asiana from