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What is a Single Lens Reflex Camera and Why Should I Use One?

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

What is a Single Lens Reflex Camera and Why Should I Use One? 

Anyone who is familiar with photography is likely to have heard about digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs). But single lens reflex cameras (SLRs) are not as commonly mentioned. This article will explore the differences between the two so you can determine whether you want to add an SLR to your collection. 

Technology

Both SLRs and DSLRs use single lens reflex technology. This requires an internal reflex mirror that lets the user see what the lens sees and what will be captured through the viewfinders. However, DSLRs offer an advantage as they provide live digital viewing via a rear LCD screen. 

Image Sensor

The biggest difference between a DSLR and an SLR is that DSLRs are digital whereas SLRs rely on film. DSLRs also count on memory cards to store images while SLRs show the images on the film. 

Interchangeable Lens Feature

Both DSLRs and SLRs can use interchangeable lenses so photographers can integrate ones best suited to their needs. 

Physical Characteristics

You will find SLRs in both vintage and sleek modern designs whereas DSLRs almost always have a contemporary look. SLRs tend to have more buttons and no rear monitors whereas DSLRs have fewer buttons and a rear monitor. SLRs are also heavier and bulkier which could be a downside if you are planning on transporting your camera. 

Video Capability

Most DSLRs have video capabilities while SLRs do not. 

Quality

Film cameras tend to offer a better quality in terms of contrast, color, and dynamic range. They also provide a higher pixel output than their digital counterparts and they are more forgiving of minor focus and exposure issues. 

Price and Value

Because there are more DSLRs on the market, they tend to be less expensive than SLRs. However, SLRs may be more worth it because they don’t need to be upgraded like digital cameras do. They can also make valuable collectables that you may be able to sell for a profit. 

Developing

Digital prints appear instantly and can be uploaded to a computer. Film needs to be developed which is an ongoing expense. You may be able to save money in the long run by creating your own dark room but then you run the risk of developing the film incorrectly and losing the print. 

Limited Exposures

Digital cameras provide you with a seemingly never-ending number of photos (providing you don’t fill up your memory card). With film, you only have a certain number of photos on a roll. For some this is a disadvantage as you can’t shoot away as needed. However, it makes you think carefully about each shot you take which improves your skill and limits the number of shots you will need to sort through.  

SLR cameras come with their share of advantages and disadvantages. Now that you know what they have to offer, will you be adding one to your collection? 

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