DSLR vs Point and Shoot Camera

What makes a DSLR better than a Point and Shoot Camera? Many people wonder if it’s time to upgrade to DSLRs as they are more affordable. Point and shoot cameras are now capable of a wide range of features, which is a significant improvement on older models. New technologies such as GPS, face detection, smile detection, and other advanced technologies are flooding the point-and-shoot market. This makes it harder for users to select the right camera for them. Similar things are happening in DSLR, where manufacturers are trying to capture a wide range of customers, from professional to entry-level. One thing is certain: there are many people stuck in the middle trying to decide if they want to keep their point-and-shoots or switch to a DSLR.

This article will discuss the pros and cons of point-and-shoots and DSLRs. It will help you to decide which one is best for you and make the right choice. This article is for those who find themselves stuck in the middle.

Caspian Tern with a Fish

Let’s now look at the benefits of point-and-shoot cameras.

  • It is first and foremost the . They can be carried around in your pocket or purse. You don’t even have to buy a dedicated point-and-shoot camera with these phones. It’s easier than ever to hit the slopes or keep good memories.
  • Lightweight. The majority of point-and-shoot cameras are very lightweight. Extra bags, tripods and other accessories are not necessary. However, there are advanced point-and-shoot cameras with SLR-like zoom capabilities that can make them bulkier and heavier.
  • Fixed lenses. All point-and-shoot cameras have fixed lenses. It’s not difficult to change lenses.
  • Massive Field of Field. This means that point-and-shoot cameras can’t distinguish foreground and background. It brings everything into focus and makes the scene look sharp. This can be good or bad.
  • Cost. Point-and-shoot cameras are always cheaper than DSLRs to buy and to maintain.

Point and shoot cameras have their disadvantages

  • Quality. Because of the smaller sensor size, point-and-shoots can’t match DSLRs in terms of image quality even though they have more Megapixels.
  • The downside to a wide depth of field. You can achieve a very narrow depth of field with special lenses and DSLR cameras. This allows you to isolate your foreground and the background.
  • Flexibility. Point-and-shoot cameras cannot be upgraded. With the exception of high-end models, you can’t mount flashes or change lenses. The number of accessories available is limited by the manufacturer and model of the camera.
  • Limited control. Point and shoot cameras offer less control than DSLRs over the process of shooting pictures. Many compact point-and-shoot cameras have very limited control over shutter speed and aperture. There is no distance marking and it is harder to control the camera in manual mode.
  • Night photography.
  • Inability of taking wide-angle shots.
  • Point and shoot cameras can only capture images at a slow speed. Point-and-shoot cameras are not made for action and sports photography.
Jade Portrait

Let’s now discuss the main benefits of DSLRs:

  • Higher image quality. A DSLR camera has a larger sensor area than a point-and-shoot camera. A point and click camera has about 3-5% more sensor area than a full frame DSLR camera. A larger sensor can help you get better images with less noise (noise, which is the grain in a photograph) and a higher overall image quality.
  • Higher sensitivity to light. You can capture photos in dim areas that you wouldn’t be able with a point-and-shoot camera.
  • Focus speeds and shutter speed. DSLRs are able to quickly acquire focus and take multiple shots per minute. Professional DSLRs can capture up to 10 frames per second. SLRs are used for professional action and sports photography.
  • What you see. Reflex mirrors are used in DSLRs to allow you to see through the lens instead of looking through the hole.
  • Flexible controls. DSLRs were not designed for simplicity like point-and-shoots. A DSLR will have more controls and buttons than a point-and-shoot. You can quickly adjust settings once you have mastered the controls.
  • A better investment. DSLR cameras generally hold their value much better than point-and-shoots. While no digital camera is a good investment for any purpose, the chances of selling your DSLR at an acceptable price are better than a point-and-shoot camera. After a year of moderate usage, our Nikon D80 was sold for 10% less than we paid for it when we bought it.
  • The ability to use different lenses. A wide range of lenses can be mounted to DSLRs. They range from super wide angle to very telephoto depending on your needs. For his bird photography, my husband uses long telephoto lenses like the Nikon 300mm F/4.0. I use portrait lenses such the Nikon 50mm F/1.4. Point and shoot cameras are limited to the “optical Zoom” of the lens. DSLR lenses also perform better optically than lenses in point-and-shoot cameras.
  • Complete control over depth-of-field. You can choose to separate foreground and background, or bring all in focus using the aperture control. Many telephoto and portrait lenses can isolate your subject and create beautiful blurred background, also known by “bokeh”.
  • Weather sealing. Don’t use a point-and-shoot in difficult weather conditions. Point and shoot cameras can only be used for normal purposes. However, DSLRs with higher resolutions are capable of withstanding moisture, snow, and extreme cold temperatures. He has never had any problems with his DSLR when he shoots landscapes at subzero temperatures.
  • Strong construction. DSLRs built to last. Although there are parts made from tough plastic, professional DSLRs are made out of magnesium-alloy. They can withstand a lot of abuse while point-and shoots would soon break down.

The downside to owning a DSLR?

  • High prices. DSLRs are more expensive than point-and-shoot cameras. A used entry-level DSLR will likely cost more than a point and shoot. The camera is not the only expense – quality lenses can cost more than the camera and you will need to spend extra on accessories like filters, larger camera bags, memory cards, and other accessories. An entry-level camera and a kit lens with a cost of $500 to 800 will get you started. This is just the initial cost. You might end up spending three times as much for accessories over time.
  • Complexity. DSLR camera are very difficult to use. You will need to spend a lot of time learning the features and figuring out the functions of the buttons once you have purchased a DSLR. This can lead to frustration for some people. You will need to learn patience when using a DSLR.
  • Maintenance. A DSLR’s maintenance costs are much more than a point-and-shoot. Dust can build up on lenses and cause camera sensor to get dirty. Although all manufacturers offer some warranty, it is not guaranteed that the product will continue to work after the warranty ends. Repairs on DSLRs or lenses can be very expensive. To prevent dust accumulation, you will need to know how to maintain your lenses and camera.
  • Size and Weight. These babies can be heavy and big! It took me some time to adjust to the camera’s size and weight. The camera was so heavy that it would cause severe neck pain. To ease the pain, we bought special straps. It is also difficult to hold the camera still due to weight. You will need to learn how to hold it properly to reduce blurring in your photos.
  • Noise. Because of the nature of DSLRs and the construction of DSLRs, noise is produced every time that the shutter opens or closes. The noise level can be reduced by using a “Quiet mode” on some newer cameras, such as the Nikon D600.

I won’t ask you if your point-and-shoot camera has reached its limit. Most likely you have not. My personal preference was to use auto mode and trust the camera to do the rest. I didn’t pay much attention to the functions or settings of my camera. To be completely honest, I don’t remember ever changing any settings on my camera. I blamed the camera if a photo didn’t turn out as expected. A DSLR produces better images. Even though I now know how to use a DSLR camera, every once in awhile I find myself with a point-and-shoot and realize that it wasn’t the camera that was wrong. I was able to use a DSLR to learn the basics of photography, such as ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Because they were predetermined for me by my easy-to-use point and shoot, I didn’t have to think about them before.
Keep in mind all your requirements and ask these questions to determine if you really require a DSLR.

  1. Are I willing to spend my time and considerable money on a DSLR?
  2. Do I want to learn more about photography and the camera?
  3. Are there other uses for a camera that is more powerful than family photos?
  4. Is this a purchase that will benefit my family or business?

Next, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each list to determine which side you are on. My husband has a DSLR purchase guide. His guide gives great tips on how to choose the right camera for you. One more thing: Don’t throw away your old point-and-shoot, you may need it one day!

Osman Portrait

This is my quick story to close this article:
It is important to me, as a mother of two young children, that I preserve our family memories through pictures. I wanted a large album with beautiful photos of my family to look back on in the future. I didn’t think much about lenses or cameras because I believed that I could hire a professional photographer to capture these special moments with my point-and-shoot camera. Soon after, however, I realized how many of these special moments occur in our lives. It is sometimes difficult or impossible to hire a professional photographer to preserve those memories. As I tried to capture those moments using what I had, I became frustrated by bad photos and memories that would never be recovered. I got tired of thinking, “I wish this image was better” or “I hope it wasn’t as blurry”, and decided to do something about it. My husband and I made the decision two years ago to get a DSLR. I am so grateful for this because I can now photograph my family and children. I also have a passion for photography, and the tools I need to realize my dream of being a professional photographer.