What is a DSLR and do you really need one ?


What is a DSLR? Do you really need such a complex camera?

We keep on talking about these cameras, but how do they acutally work?
First of all the abbreviation SLR stands for Single Reflex Lens. DSLR just stands for Digital Single Relfex lens. The main difference is that DSLRs use digital sensors instead of negative film. I’ll explain what that means.

Well it all started back in 1928 when Rolleiflex came up with the basic concept of the SLR. Actually it was called TLR (Twin Lens Reflex). But the basic idea for the modern DSLR is not much different.

The Single Reflex Lens is basically a darkroom with a light sensitive captor, whether it is film or a digital sensor. In front of this sensor there is a mirror placed at an angle which reflects the light into a pentaprism that turns the image upside-down so that you can see the actual frame in the visor of your camera. This mirror lifts up as the image is being captured so that light can get to the sensor.

An optical lens is placed in front of this system. The lens allows the camera to take the picture as it creates a small image on the sensor of the world in front of it so that the sensor can read this image and turn it into a picture. That’s why the lens is such an important part of this system. (that’s why the good lenses are so expensive too).

Inside this lens lies an aperture. This is a set of 5-9 blades that form an almost circular opening in the lens that can vary in size. Aperture is one of the most important setting in photography and many photographers just base their entire work only on the aperture setting. We’ll discuss this in a later post.

So why do you need such a complex camera. Well as an amateur photographer, you don’t. Many people buy DSLRs because they are big and they look fancy. In reality, after buying one, your pictures might be worse than before. A DSLR requires you to know basic photography settings. Some new entry level DSLRs offer a wide range of automatic settings, but they are only good up to a certain level. So if you are an amateur and planning to continue being an amateur, don’t buy a DSLR. Get a compact point and shoot camera. You’ll enjoy it more, for sure.

But as an aspiring food photographer, these cameras are the best choice. Why? Well there are 2 reasons:

– Image quality, due to interchangeable lenses. This will give you limitless possibilities to shoot
– Versatility and Speed. As you expand your skills, you’ll wanna shoot on manual or semiautomatic modes, that point and shoot cameras don’t have.

Well some of them do. Why not buy one of those?

Well some may have manual modes, but they require more time to set up as the controls are a pain to use. Plus with DSLRs you can use flash, transmitters for wireless flash, tethered shooting, PC-sync ports, and if that is not enough then the speed of these cameras will definitively convince you. It takes like 0.2 s to power up and take a pictures with these amazing cameras.

So that’s why buying a DSLR is not based only on your ego ☺, or just for some of the advantages mentioned above. I think the biggest advantage of the DSLR is that it allows you to grow as a photographer and produce stunning images. It offers all the tools you’ll ever need.

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