Currently, no compact digital camera (‘digicam’) can match the performance of even an entry-level DSLR. Although photo enthusiasts have long preferred an SLR-type camera, the latest DSLRs have much more appeal to mainstream picture-takers than earlier models.

As well as offering the benefits of higher picture quality to family photographers and travellers who record pictures they will look at time and time again, the latest entry-level DSLR cameras are also just as easy to use as a compact digicam. The basic settings are almost the same for both camera types and it’s as easy to use a DSLR in point-and-shoot mode as it is a digicam.

Most recently-released DSLR cameras also include live viewing facilities that let you compose shots by viewing them on the camera’s LCD. So users now have a choice: they can compose shots with the large, bright viewfinder on the camera or switch on live view and use the LCD screen. (Click here for more information on Live Viewing.)
However, unlike the majority of point-and-shoot digicams, photographers with DSLR cameras can then move on to the more technical controls. Thus, a DSLR will help you to learn as you shoot and allow you to develop your expertise at your own pace.
From a technical viewpoint, DSLR cameras produce better pictures than compact digicams for several reasons:
1. Their image sensors are much larger, which means each photosite (light-capturing element) can collect more light with each exposure. (This issue is covered in Larger Sensor, Better Photos.)
2. Because DSLR cameras have more controls and a wider range of settings, it’s easier to determine what is in and out of focus in shots. (We’ll look at these controls in Focusing and Depth of Field, Exposure Metering and Shooting Modes.)
3. Many more accessories are available when you buy a DSLR, including a much wider range of lenses plus flash units, filters and camera release triggers. Interchangeable lenses (which are covered in Looking at Lenses) allow you to choose the best lens for your type of shooting. You can also add new lenses cost-effectively as your requirements change. And, unlike add-on lenses for digicams, exposure levels and other aspects of imaging performance are not compromised when you change a lens.
However, some factors will deter camera buyers from purchasing a DSLR as their only camera:
1. Currently, no DSLR camera can shoot video (although we may see this facility added in the future). In the interim, most DSLR photographers carry a compact digicam or camcorder when they wish to record both stills and video clips. (A camcorder will provide the best picture quality for video clips.)
2. DSLR cameras and their lenses are usually larger and heavier than digicams. Although some models’ bodies are not much larger than long-zoom digicams, the addition of one or two lenses can roughly double the amount of weight you have to carry.
3. A DSLR camera may also be more conspicuous than a digicam when you’re shooting.
But these factors pale into insignificance when compared with the benefits a DSLR camera can provide in terms of better picture quality and greatly increased shooting versatility. With a DSLR camera you can truly ‘shoot like a pro’.
Deciding which DSLR equipment to buy can be difficult because there are so many choices to make. This pocket guide explains how to select a camera and lenses that will suit you and use them to their best advantage. It’s written in non-technical language and presents the information you need in a way that is easy to understand.
As with other pocket guides in the Photo Review series, the second edition of the DSLR Pocket Guide is backed by Photo Review Australia magazine and website. The magazine is published quarterly and carries inspirational portfolios, buying guides and informational features on shooting and editing digital photos.
The Photo Review website (/) publishes reviews of the latest cameras, lenses and other imaging equipment. It also provides regular new updates, information sheets of specific product types and tips on buying and using digital cameras, along with links to software you can download. You can also locate Australian retailers that offer good deals on equipment purchases and have knowledgeable staff to help you make the right buying decisions.


Canon. Advanced Simplicity. Visit for more details.