whats so good about SLR digital cameras?

  Jabba10 19:38 28 Oct 2005

I'm looking for a good quality digital camera and notice that the price bracket I'm looking at falls into two categories. 'Normal' digital cameras with huge magapixel resolutions and 'SLR' digital cameras with lower resolutions. It may be a silly question, but why would anyone want to buy an SLR camera?
Am I missing something...what does an SLR do that these other cameras (which seem much better specified) don't?

  Spideyman 19:51 28 Oct 2005


The difference depends on what you want from your photgraphy. SLR's tend to have lenses that can be changed, normal digital cameras have a fixed lense where the user is limited to what he/she can shoot. For example nature photgraphy or sports would be better with a 300mm or greater lense, normal cameras wouldnt have this option. SLR's also have greater functionality giving the user more experimental control, such as aperture, shutter speed, RAW shooting ect. So what camera you buy depends on how far you think you might want to get into photraphy, thats why i bought an SLR, i wanted total control over my hobby. Hope this helps.

  Jabba10 21:42 28 Oct 2005

Thanks for your views. You've clarified things alot.

  Kate B 00:15 29 Oct 2005

Quite apart from anything else, digital cameras where you use the screen on the back to frame your image are much more likely to give you camera shake - simply because you can't hold it that steady with your arms extended. I've been taking photographs with SLRs for 20 years and I now use the Sony DSCF717 which offers you the option of using the viewfinder as a monitor rather than being optical, as they are on other non-SLRs. You will hold a camera much more steady close to your eye - ie looking through a viewfinder. I'm going to upgrade soon to a true digital SLR - probably the new Sony as I'm keen on their cameras.

  Forum Editor 08:56 29 Oct 2005

I've been using SLR cameras for many years - either Nikons or Canons - and I first dipped a toe into digital waters with an Olympus Camedia C-5060.

I was so impressed with the results that I bought a Canon 300D so I could use my existing lenses, and I haven't picked up my film camera since. Digital SLRs provide you with the best of both worlds - the versatility of being able to swap lenses and the convenience of the digital format. I still use the Olympus if I don't fancy carrying a camera bag around, and although it's 'only' 5.1 megapixels the image quality is superb. It has a conventional viewfinder in addition to a back screen, so I don't have the camera-shake problem mentioned by Kate.

  Jabba10 17:08 29 Oct 2005

thanks for your feedback guys and girls.

  Jarvo 20:21 29 Oct 2005

Digital SLR's also use bigger CCDs that allow you to use faster ISO speeds with next to no noise and are less prone to colour frindgeing.

As a general rule for example a 6MP D SLR will produce more natural images than a 8MP pro consumer camera. I took a leap from a Fuji 6MP pro consumer to a Canon 10D SLR and could not believe the difference.

The only downside D SLR's are large and not so good to take out on a night to social occasions, that was a nice excuse for me to treat myself to a little canon ixus anyway ;-)



  Stuartli 10:24 30 Oct 2005

An SLR is exactly that, a single lens reflex which allows you to view through the viewfinder precisely what is being displayed/captured by the actual lens, whether fixed or zoom.

The image is seen in the viewfinder via a mirror and a roof prism; virtually all SLRs have an instant return mirror to minimise the loss of the viewfinder image during an exposure.

It also allows for precise through the lens exposure control and, with dedicated flashguns, the same feature (not sure if digital rather than film cameras are equally capable, but very likely).

Top film SLRs were very similar in size to a standard camera - the Ashai Pentax is a classic example and I still regularly use my Spotmatic version (which features through the lens metering).

  ade.h 17:15 30 Oct 2005

Hold on to that - it's a classic. If I remember correctly, it was the first or one of the first SLRs to use TTL.

My uncle used to run a camera shop, and I worked for him for a while when I was at college. A lot of manual Pentaxes passed through the store and it's fair to say that they can still take a better photograph in the right hands than almost any digital compact.

You don't need the latest technology, but it certainly helps to have an SLR.

  Kate B 18:37 30 Oct 2005

I've got a Pentax KX fully manual SLR and I absolutely love it. It's been round the world with me, has never let me down and taught me a lot about photography. It's a descendant of the Spotmatic.

  Stuartli 18:59 30 Oct 2005

I'm well aware it's a classic..:-)

I'd been using a Pentax for several years for Press sports coverage and desired a Spotmatic from the moment it was first revealed by Ashai.

It was the first through the lens metering SLR and the name arose because, originally, it was designed with spot metering.

However, final production models took readings from over a larger area as it was felt it would provide more accurate exposures for novice users than a spot meter system.

I've also got a Nikon F401x body that I use with a superb Tamron 28-200mm AF zoom lens that's only slightly larger than a standard Nikon lens when closed down.

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