DSLR or a Compact Camera?

dslr-vs-point-shoot1Last week, we gave you a list of the top five entry level DSLR‘s for beginners. This week, we are going to take a step backward (yes, you heard that right. Backward, not forward) from there as we try and make the choice between a compact camera and a DSLR easier. Having said that, we must acknowledge, right at the very beginning, that the choice is not a simple one. There are several technical, personal as well as economic factors to be considered. But, we are going to try our best to break it down into simpler elements.

People often use the professional v/s amateur equation to simplify the choice between a DSLR and a compact camera. According to this distinction, the compact camera is ideal for the common man out there who is interested in clicking photographs on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays etc. However, for anyone who is passionate about photography and wants to experiment with the technical elements, a DSLR is the obvious choice. While most of this stands true, a lot of professional photographers are beginning to embrace compact cameras as the quality of their lenses has improved tremendously in the past few years.


Let’s take a closer look at each of them individually:


1. Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera or DSLR

While there is no denying the fact that compact cameras are now offering several features which were earlier exclusive to DSLRs, there is one crucial feature which swings the balance quite decisively in the favour of the latter- a DSLR allows you to change lens unlike a compact camera. This feature widens the possible range of flexibility as you can modify the focal length, speed, amount of light ec and this flexibility is a must-have for a professional photographer.


If you have ever tried taking photographs with a compact camera with low light, you would have noticed that the photos never come out well. This is one of those scenarios where only a DSLR can help you take exceptionally sharp photographs. Therefore, it can safely be said that if you want complete control over photograph settings, a DSLR is what you are looking for.


On the flip side though, a DSLR can cost twice or even thrice as much as a compact camera. Additionally, DSLRs are usually bulky and it can be difficult carrying them around. And finally, they can prove to be a little too complicated sometimes and might just intimidate the common man out there.


2. Compact Camera


It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that compact cameras are perfect for a beginner- they are easy to use, they are light-weight and portable and the settings are usually automated. You can simply slip a compact camera in your backpack and use it on a holiday, or you can capture those precious family moments with amazing ease. A layman can have no complaints with the performance and efficiency of a modern day compact camera.


But, there are things you can’t do with a compact camera. For starters, they don’t allow you to change lenses thus restricting your choice in other sectors. To add to that, they come with smaller sensors which means that even if the megapixel count is as high as a DSLR, the image quality would still be inferior as compared to the latter as the nature of the pixels is different.


One can go into the core technicalities like viewfinder mechanism, shutter lag etc. and the debate will never end. But the choice depends on what you are looking for. When you begin to feel that a compact camera is limiting you from trying new things with photography, it’s time to save up some money and get yourself a DSLR.

Editor in Chief : Arie Struik

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