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Digital Camera Showdown: DSLRs vs. Point-and-Shoot Cameras


If a picture's worth a thousand words, you want to make sure your shots have something to say. 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. 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.


Digital Camera Showdown: DSLRs vs. Point-and-Shoot Cameras



Professional Quality Shots

Powerful image sensor and high megapixel count creates high-quality picturesSome higher level point-and-shoot cameras yield high-quality images

Detachable Lenses



10-24 MP1-18 MP


More expensiveLess expensive

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

Digital Single-Lens Reflex


Advantages of DSLRs

  • 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 all kinds of lenses, from wide angle to capture landscapes to telephoto to distort the depth of field.


Shooting with a digital single-lens reflex camera

Limitations of DSLRs

  • Expensive - Because of higher processing power and more megapixels, DSLR cameras are more expensive than the simpler point-and-shoot models.
  • Not beginner-friendly - Without basic photography skills, beginning 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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Taking pictures with a point-and-shoot camera

Advantages of Point-and-Shoots

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



Limitations of Point-and-Shoots

  • Artistic options - Some point-and-shoots offer artistic filters and certain advanced shooting modes, but overall you lose the ability to manually adjust the 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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