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What's SLR? Difference between regular digi cams?

by iMariah / December 20, 2004 7:52 AM PST

It's me again. I basically the basics about SLR, from a friend who told me. I am still sort of confused about what exactly it is, and how it is different.

Can someone give me the brief overview of SLR/DSLR, explaining what they are, etc. Also, could you please outline the advantages and disadvantages of it?

Thank You. Your feedback is much appreciated. Happy

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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 20, 2004 10:08 AM PST

SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. (a film camera).
A camera with removeable/replaceable lenses.

DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex (a digital camera). A camera with removeable/replaceable lenses.

The SLR or DSLR are not for the point-n-shoot photographer. To use them effectively you need to know/learn about photography.

Someone new to photography should start with something less. One group of lower cost cameras would be the Canon 75, 85, 95.
They have all of the manual over-ride features that would interest someone who wanted to learn photography. After a year or two, you then graduate to the DSLR.

The DSLR can take better pictures, in the hands of someone who knows photography.

One of the advantages of the DSLR is that it can be used in low-light situations and fast action situations and a combination of the two. Again to do this you need to know the mechanics of photography, because under those conditions you will be using some of the manual controls.

The disadvantage of the DSLR is the cost and it is bigger than what most people want. Once you get a DSLR you will likely want to aquire more lenses for special purposes. Lenses are expensive.

Those guys you see on the sidelines of football games are using SLR or DSLR cameras and are lugging around over $10,000 worth of camera and equipment.


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Another major characteristic of an SLR/DSLR is that, when
by Kiddpeat / December 20, 2004 11:31 AM PST
In reply to: SLR

you look through the viewfinder, you are looking through the lense. You can see the actual image as the film/sensor is seeing it. Thus, you can focus the lense, adjust zoom, frame the image, etc. The replaceable lense also means that you can get very accurate macro photos, and a very large optical zoom. You do have to spend a lot more money to get these things. The cameras themselves, as a general rule, are far more sophisticated and powerful than a point and shoot.

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Point and Shoot
by iMariah / December 20, 2004 12:08 PM PST

What's the definition of "Point and Shoot". Is it simply a lower-end camera for beginners, with pre-set automatic functions? Or is there more to it?

I'm looking at Sony Cybershot DSCW1. On the website it's listed as a "Pro" camera, not point and shoot. Is that correct? What is the major difference that separates it from a point and shoot?

Thanks again for your feedback! Wink

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Personal Comment
by jump1127 / December 20, 2004 10:03 PM PST
In reply to: Point and Shoot

Sony Cybershot DSCW1 is just another compact ( point & shoot ) camera. It's far from the term professional ! Many websites and stores eventually list the camera for the pros, just to cheat many for a quick purchase decision. You need to get on the camera's specification for more details. I'm not sure about how good the picture quality of Sony DSCW1 is. But, most Sony's previous products were very disappointed regard the picture's quality vs sales price. On the average, Pentex, Olympus, Nikon, Canon, and Minolta has built a better digital camera for both DSLR and non-DSLR.

To me, a professional camera offers more varieties. For example, large CCD or CMOS sensor ( if possible equal to 35-mm camera for no multiplier effect ), interchangable lenses ( for most SLR camera taking a picture in a different focus length ), low noise when taking picture at the high ISO ( light sensitivity ), fast shutter speed, and etc. Picture's quality is the most concern.

I don't mean to discourage you. But, the old conventional camera ( film camera ) seems to produce the best quality picture and still far better than the average digital camera regardless of the digital camera's advantages. Nevertheless, soon, the digital camera will catch up. I'd suggest that you'd better not overspend for the technology. Buy a camera for what you really need to now. In additions, study and spend more time reading over the photography books. It really helps. There are many nice articles here, too. Despite my nearly 2-decade of photography, I'm still on the learning progress. Good luck.

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Comment on film: yes, but...
by Kiddpeat / December 20, 2004 11:54 PM PST
In reply to: Personal Comment

Yes, film can do better than the average digital camera, but the average person will never see a difference. All things considered, film cannot do better than digital. A pro digital camera can do as well, or better, than film. Even an average digital camera can do better than film when used by an average person. Why? Immediate feedback, and far less dependence on such arcane things as film speed. Once photo editing comes into play, the digital process leaps ahead of film by a considerable margin.

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'Point and shoot' refers to a highly automated camera
by Kiddpeat / December 21, 2004 12:11 AM PST
In reply to: Point and Shoot

that does not need much knowledge on the part of its user to obtain a good photo. It also is typically limited by a non-removable lens, and limitations on the degree of manual control that can be exercised by the user. It can be a higher end camera, and is not necessarily designed for, or limited to, beginners.

Professionals would not typically use one. Their cameras perform the best when manually controlled. However, a highend SLR can operate in a point and shoot mode where everything except zoom is automatically controlled.

The Sony is not a pro camera. It is a point and shoot although it appears to have some interesting features.

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WELL, Thanks to everyone who helped me make my decision!
by iMariah / December 21, 2004 6:27 AM PST

I'm pretty sure that I will go for the Sony DSCW1.
I think it's the best that I can do, with the price range I'm looking at.

I mean, I don't need a high end SLR camera right at this moment, maybe later, when I get more experience.
For now, I think it's a good mix between a simple point-n-shoot, yet it has many manual features.

I've also looked at the Canon A95 5.3MP camera, and although it has a few advantages (and I mean, very few, according to the specifications), but it's $50CAN more expensive.

I think for the price, the value is very good. I check out all the specs, and it looks to be much better than some of the other ones I was looking at, and I think the W1 is at the top of my list, for the price I'm willing to pay.

Thanks to everyone who helped me, I will definately come back here, and share my experiences with it!

BTW, you can check out a comparison between the two cameras (Sony vs Canon) here:


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Just to make it final:
by iMariah / December 21, 2004 10:20 AM PST

I just wanted to be sure that I want this camera, before I buy it. Can someone give me the main differences between the Sony DSCW1 and Canon A95. I mean, I've seen many comparisons, and they look almost identical in their specs, but in the CNET reviews, they mention things like while balance exposure, etc., that I don't think I saw from Sony.

Can someone please give me a brief overview in the main differences in quality, manual controls, etc.? It would be a HUGE help!

Also, this is my last time asking this (I promise), but is Canon A95's quality really better than Sony DSCW1? Is there a noticible difference? I've read some more reviews that say Canon's quality does not compare to Sony.

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Choose the one you prefer.
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 21, 2004 11:22 AM PST
In reply to: Just to make it final:

Both cameras are very popular. Each has features that the other does not. Both take excellent photographs.

Both cameras have enough manual controls to keep you busy for months. Just don't sit down and try to learn them all at once. That will only get you frustrated.

Start by taking lots of photos in Auto mode. Examine the photos and see what you could have done better. This will lead you into exploring the manual controls.

From your posts, you obviously prefer the Sony.
Someone else will compare the two and prefer the Canon.
That is why there are Fords and Chevrolets.

Either camera is a good choice.
Pick the one that you prefer.


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by iMariah / December 21, 2004 1:17 PM PST

Thanks again.

I prefer Sony? Was it that obvious? [/sarcasm]
Yea, the only reason I'm so into Sony, is because I have a $100 Memory Stick, and I don't want to waste it.

You've been lots of help! Thanks.

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I have this friend...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2004 9:11 PM PST
In reply to: OK.

He has some 500 dollar compact flash card. At first he was just looking at cameras with CF card slots.

Then he discovered that the 500 buck card in the same size today in SDCARD format was 35 bucks. While he is smarting that prices have dropped by 10X in this area, he then considered and bought another camera without the CF card only consideration.


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by gerrybo 653 / December 26, 2004 11:52 AM PST
In reply to: SLR

Technically, there are cameras with interchangable lenses which are not SLR--they have a separate viewfinder. The definition of a single lens reflex camera is one in which the image is viewed through the lens (and not all SLRs have interchangable lenses) typically, but not always, via a mirror in front of the focal plane, which flips up out of the way.

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SLR digital cameras
by bpl30 / December 23, 2004 5:39 PM PST

The differences are many and although only a few years ago SLR cameras were better in quality. This no longer applies.
The biggest difference is that SLR photos are on film which has to be developed in a lab or perhaps at home.
The digital cameras register pictures on cards of different formats. No films and usually one can see the picture on a screen immediately. The advantages of digital are ernormous. Easy to carry, along with photoshop one has the worlds most advanced photo lab.
Pictures can be loaded directly on to your hard disk and sent in minutes to your friends by email. They can be printed on most color printers. SLR despite the fact that many are fantastic are doomed by the digital technology.One can compare the 16 mm movie cameras and the arrival of video cameras. No more paying for bad pictures, no more waiting. Shoot as many as you like without extra cost.
The down side is that they use batteries and one should have a battery charger and a spare battery.They are not as fast as an SlR but most can take small videos in quick time format.
I love my Nikon coolpix and together with photoshop.
No chemicals or dark rooms, no color balance problems,instaneous pictures, fantastic.
What a change.
Brian Lawrence

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Digital photography primer
by whitneyri / December 23, 2004 7:48 PM PST

Last year I formulated a digpics primer for my sister, who was just entering into the digital market. The technology has moved forward, so the benchmarks no longer hold; but, it is still informative enough for the newbie to be of some value. Though you have probably already completed your purchase, the info is free and may still be of some value to you.
If you would like a copy, Email me at "" and I will forward it along to you.

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slr camera
by adamcarroll / November 9, 2008 1:40 AM PST

Hi im a beginear photoraphrer and am in the process of buyin a new camera an slr 1 it is a canon EOS400d of ebay and was also lookin at a fujifilm sd8100f and wanted to which to go for if any1 has any info please reply

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it depends
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / November 9, 2008 5:53 AM PST
In reply to: slr camera

Are you willing to shell out the money for telephoto lens, to match the focal range of the F8100? The question you need to ask yourself is "what am I going to get out of a DSLR?". If you don't know the answer then the Fuji would probably be better for you.

A person that buys the Fuji wants the all in one superzoom, that uses auto settings. People who buy a DSLR buy because of the control it can give them that a point and shoot cannot.

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