SLR Vs. DSLR Camera

Written by elizabeth falwell
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SLR Vs. DSLR Camera
Image storage is the key difference between SLR and DSLR cameras. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

There are many more differences between SLR cameras and DSLR cameras than the addition of a single letter. "SLR" stands for single-lens reflex while "DSLR" is the abbreviation for digital single-lens reflex, sometimes called "Digital SLR." Both types of cameras use the same design principles to capture images, although the method in which the camera records these images is vastly different.

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Design Principles

Both SLR and DSLR cameras rely on the same basic principles for taking pictures. When light comes through the lens of either of these cameras, it is reflected upward or downward at a 90-degree angle using a mirror. A prism then reflects the image three times before it reaches the camera's viewfinder or display screen.

Key Difference

The letter "D," which stands for digital, indicates the biggest difference between SLR and DSLR cameras. While SLR cameras record their images on film, typically in 35mm format, DSLR cameras record pictures in a digital format on a memory card.

Advantage of DSLR Cameras Over SLR Cameras

The main difference between SLR and DSLR cameras -- the ability of the latter to store images digitally -- is the reason behind the main advantage of DSLR cameras over SLR models. While photographers using SLR cameras are limited to the relatively small number of frames available on a roll of film, the increasing size of digital memory cards means DSLR camera users have access to a far larger storage system for their images. As a result, DSLR cameras are preferred by many professional photographers and photojournalists, as well as photography enthusiasts.

Advantages of SLR and DSLR Cameras over Older Models

Both SLR and DSLR cameras utilise a single path of light to get an image from the field to the photographer's viewfinder or preview screen. Older camera models used two separate paths, resulting in pictures that appeared slightly different in the viewfinder from the image actually taken by the camera. Because SLR and DSLR models use one light path, the image a photographer sees in the viewfinder is exactly the same as the image the camera records.

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