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DSLRs vs. Point-and-Shoot Cameras

If you're looking to purchase a camera, one of the first decisions you'll need to make is whether you want a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or a point-and-shoot camera. Point-and-shoot cameras come in a wide range of options with both basic and technologically advanced features. DSLRs are challenging to use, but yield better shots. Learn a few basic differences to help you decide whether a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera is right for you.

DSLR

Point and Shoot

Professional Quality Shots

A combination of a powerful image sensor and high megapixel count creates high-quality picturesSome higher level point-and-shoot cameras yield high-quality images

Detachable Lenses

All DSLRs have detachable lensesSome point-and-shoot cameras have detachable lenses

Megapixels

10-24 MP1-18 MP

Price*

More expensiveLess expensive

*See the Camera Buying Guide for more information on prices.


Digital single-lens reflex

Advantages of a DSLR

  • Higher Image Quality - High image processing power combined with a large amount of megapixels provides high-quality images.
  • Artistic Choice - With detachable lenses and manual options you have more artistic freedom when it comes to creating unique shots. Photographers can choose from lenses like wide angle to capture landscapes and even telephoto to make it seem like you're right next to your subject even though you're yards away.
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Limitations of a DSLR

  • Expensive - Because of higher processing power and more megapixels, DSLR cameras are more expensive than the simpler point-and-shoot cameras.
  • Not Beginner-friendly - Without basic photography skills, beginner photographers may feel lost when using a DSLR.
  • Video Recording - Most DSLR cameras offer the video recording feature but lack high-quality audio/video capabilities.
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Point-and-shoot

Advantages of a point-and-shoot

  • Affordable Cost - Point-and-shoot cameras have less processing power and fewer megapixels, which makes them more affordable.
  •  Great for Every Photographer - Point-and-shoots can satisfy both a beginner and advanced photographer's needs because they offer different shooting modes and lightweight body types.
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Limitations of a point-and-shoot

  • Artistic Options - Some point-and-shoots offer artistic filters and certain modes, but overall you lose the ability to create manually adjust shutter speed and f-stop.
  • Lower Image Quality - Most high megapixel point-and-shoots don't have matching processing power, which can lead to low-quality images. 
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