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differencebetweendslrandslrIf you’re new to photography and in the market for a camera, you are probably wondering what the difference is between DSLR and SLR.  You need the right camera for the type of photography you are going to be doing and cameras are a big investment so you’ll want to pick correctly.  Of course, you can always buy both if you want to cover all your bases and be ready for whatever direction you end up going in. Once you have your camera or if you can borrow one, here is a great class to take to get the basics of photography.  This class is taught by professional photographer Larry Foster and his online photography class is called “The Fundamentals of Photography.” This class will give you what you need to start on your photographer path and afterward you’ll know exactly which type of camera is best for you.

What DSLR and SLR Means

SLR stands for single lens reflex. This is your typical camera that you buy today.  The SLR technology started 1948 and was the hottest technology in cameras until the 1990s. Probably what you care about as a new photographer shopping for a camera is that the SLR camera uses film.  You will need to get your photos developed or develop them yourself.

DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex.  The digital means that it is that SLR film camera taken digital.  With a DSLR you cannot use film.  You take the photo and you have it.  You can upload it to your computer and print it out immediately.  It is the most popular camera used today.

If you would like to delve into all the finer details in the differences between DSLR and SLR cameras, here is a photography blog post that goes into great detail on the difference between SLR and DSLR cameras.

How to Decide Between an SLR and DSLR Camera

Some will say that the quality of the photograph is better with film. Possibly, but with the advances made in camera technology and the growth of Photoshop, that may no longer be the case. If you take a look at photographs that were taken in the 1940s or earlier, you might think there is a point to the theory that film is far superior. But, for the most part, it is personal preference.  Some consider film photography an art that they do not want to see lost to technology. So they hang on to their SLR and continue to develop their photos.

The advantage of the DSLR and using digital photography is that everything is instantaneous. You tinker a little with the settings, you shoot, you look and you keep it or trash it. If your first shot is overexposed then you know it immediately, change the camera settings and shoot the subject again. It allows the person who is new to photography to learn as they go. It is a great advantage to reporters because they can turn their photos in immediately, without having to hit the dark room first.

What is the Best Camera for the Hobbyist?

Whether you buy an SLR or a DSLR camera for hobby photography, is really a matter of personal choice.   If you don’t have an editor on your back demanding time sensitive photos, then film works out great.  The time that film photography is a problem for the hobby photographer is when it comes time to develop them. There are fewer and fewer film developers these days.  It used to be that you could drop off your film at any drug store. Nowadays, you just might have to mail your roll off to the developer and wait for your photos to be mailed back to you.  So, if you choose film, you might have to develop your own photos if you are in a hurry.  So, that can be a fairly important difference between DSLR and SLR.

The DSLR camera gives the hobbyist the advantage of instant gratification and learning on the go.  You are also able to take advantage of Photoshop and special camera settings that give different digital effects.  So, if you want to play around with adding a picture frame, or some other unique look, to your photo then you can do that digitally.  You can do all sorts of changes to your photos digitally, also.  You do not have to wait for the photos to be developed then scanned to tinker with them in Photoshop.

Once you take that photo with film, it is a keeper.  It isn’t so easy to upload it on to your computer and let Photoshop crop it, change the exposure on it, etc.  With DSLR, uploading your photos into Photoshop will be the first thing you do after taking the photos.

Keeping Photos on a Website

Whether you are a pro or a hobby photographer, you might want to maintain a website to show off your photography.  Photocrati Media offers an online course on how to put up and maintain a photography website.  The course “Supercharge Your Photography Website” goes into detail on how to set up a WordPress website for photography, using plug-ins and optimizing your website in order to sell your photos.

Super Cool Photography Tricks

When you are just learning photography, keep your eye out for really cool techniques to learn. For instance, Alex Koloskov teaches an online course in liquid photography called “Practical Guide to Liquid Photography.” This class will teach you how to take photos like a drop of water hitting a pool of water and other awesome effects.  For this class you are going to need a digital camera (DSLR). It is high speed action photography at its most unique.

Which Camera to Buy

As a brand new photographer, trying to decide which camera to buy can make your head spin. You might want to talk to a friend that is a professional photographer or is a very serious amateur photographer and get some tips from their experience and have them explain the difference between DSLR and SLR as it pertains to you.  What you plan to do with your camera is going to point you in the direction of just a few choices.  Where you would like to be in five years in photography is also going to be a very important factor in which camera you should choose.

Once you have reviewed the difference and decided between SLR and DSLR, or film and digital, you will have to choose a brand and model.  It is at that point you will have to get advice from someone who knows photography that is outside of the camera store.  You need advice from someone that has your best interest at heart, not to just sell you the most expensive thing they have.

Are You Going Commercial With Photography?

If your goal is to become a commercial photographer, you need to check out Charlie Borland’s online class “Total Training in Commercial Photography.” This is an intensively comprehensive course to get you started making the big bucks in commercial photography. Also, Rex Biggers has a digital photography class online that can be a huge help in using Photoshop with a DSLR camera.  It is called “Photoshop and Digital Photography.”

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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