Your iPhone camera may be convenient, but nothing beats the quality and functionality of a traditional camera. And there is no shortage of options on the market. In fact, the selection can be downright overwhelming, even for us at Michael Broyles Photography! Two types that are especially popular with amateur photographers are the good old point and shoot and DSLR cameras. But which one should you buy?
First, you might be wondering what distinguishes a DSLR (which stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera from a point and shoot camera. Unlike a point and shoot model, a DSLR camera, according to Photography Life, uses interchangeable lenses and relies on “a mirror mechanism to either reflect light from a camera lens to an optical viewfinder (i.e., an eyepiece on the back of the camera) or let light fully pass through onto the image sensor by moving the mirror out of the way.” As you may imagine, DSLR models are more expensive, produce higher quality images, and have more bells and whistles than point and shoot cameras; however, today’s point and shoot cameras have more features than past models and DSLR cameras are becoming more affordable for everyone, from amateurs to professional photographers. To help you make the best decision based on your needs, consider the pros and cons for each camera below.
What are the Pros of a Point and Shoot Camera?
Size and Weight
Most point and shoot cameras are slim and light, making them easy for you to slip into a purse or pocket and carry with you wherever you go. There are exceptions: cameras with super zoom capabilities are often bigger and bulkier.
Point and shoot cameras are generally less expensive than DSLR models, making them an affordable choice for someone on a budget.
Unlike DSLR cameras, all point and shoot cameras come with fixed lenses. No changing lenses mid-shoot required.
Point and shoot cameras are typically well optimized for shooting in auto mode and produce decent quality photos when using this setting.
What are the Cons of a Point and Shoot Camera?
Point and shoot cameras have smaller image sensors than DSLR cameras, thus producing lower quality images. Despite this, the image quality is still very good for the average user.
Point and shoot cameras do not capture images as fast as a DSLR camera. This is known as shutter lag, or the time between when you press the shutter and the camera captures the image. Due to their shutter lag, point and shoot cameras are not recommended for sports and action photography.
More and more point and shoot cameras are being developed with a wider range of features and settings; however, it can be tricky to locate them on your camera. Often, these features are buried in the camera’s menu system and take time to locate and adjust to your liking (if they can be adjusted at all).
You cannot upgrade a point and shoot camera, change their lenses, or mount external flashes. External accessories, such as lens adapters, may be available but depend largely on the brand and make of your camera.
Point and shoot cameras are not very effective when it comes to shooting photos in the dark.
What are the Pros of a DSLR Camera?
A DSLR camera’s larger image sensors allow for larger pixel sizes and much better image quality. This includes less “noise” or graininess in an image.
Interchangeable, High Quality Lenses
DSLR camera lenses are not only larger (and better optically) than point and shoot cameras, but come in a wide array of options to suit your photography needs. It is advised to purchase the best quality lenses you can afford to ensure the highest quality images.
The ability to interchange lenses on a DSLR camera makes it more suitable for a range of photography pursuits, from the everyday to sports and landscapes. In addition, the number of accessories available for DSLR cameras (e.g., flashes and filters) makes it easy for you to adapt your camera for the situation you find yourself in.
DSLR cameras work well in dim environments, making them ideal for taking photographs at night or in dark rooms.
Unlike point and shoot cameras, DSLRs can focus quickly and capture multiple shots per second. This makes them ideal for action photography.
DSLR camera settings are more accessible than point and shoot models, giving you greater control of your camera and its features once you have gotten acquainted with it.
DSLR cameras are built to handle physical abuse and last much longer than point and shoot cameras. A bonus: higher end models often include weather sealing, allowing them to withstand dust, moisture, and very cold temperatures.
What are the Cons of a DSLR Camera?
DSLR cameras have come down in price since they were first introduced, however, they are still more expensive than point and shoot models. This does not include the price for upgrading your lenses and other accessories you may want to purchase.
Size and Weight
Compared to point and shoot cameras, DSLR models are big, heavy, and can be hard to tote around when you are out and about (this is just the camera…adding a few more lenses to the bag makes it that much heavier).
DSLR cameras require more maintenance over time than point and shoot models. Most maintenance revolves around keeping your camera’s sensor clean from dust and dirt that can get in your camera each time you change its lenses. It is advised that you read up on caring for your camera to prevent dust accumulation and to seek out a professional to clean your image sensor to ensure it is done correctly.
DSLR cameras come with an array of settings and features that can be quite overwhelming for a first-time user. You must invest some time upfront to read your owner’s manual before going out on a photo shoot so you know the location and function for each button and control on your camera.
Look to a professional photographer when you need to give your camera a break. Call Michael Broyles Photography to schedule a consultation and inquire about special packages for June.