DSLR cameras have become a familiar gadget to most mommies now, including me. It is well known that DSLR is a must to produce a clear,full detailed and beautiful photos. Thus, it is a suitable gadget to capture exquisite memories, especially those of engagement,marriage,pregnancies, babies, kids, birthdays etcetra, for people who like to capture the moments themselves. But, how to know, you really need one?I’m no pro(yet hehe) in photography but I wanna share what I have read about this topic
What is DSLR?
DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras.It evolves from the manual SLR (Single Lens Reflex ) camera. The difference is, DSLR camera uses memory card to store it photo files(soft copy), whilst SLR cameras uses film negative.Using film negatives means , you have to develop it by your own or send it to “kedai gambar” to develop it into photo prints. I’m not gonna elaborate much the details of the camera’s spec, because you can read it on internet or in the camera’s manual.
Usually only the professional photographers use DSLRs. It was mostly because, of the price and next,complicated features. Luckily due to DSLR manufacturers rivals to get more buyers, DLSRs can be bought with lower price today(but still pricey) and readable manual.
What is my point,actually?
My points is, how do you know when to buy a DSLR camera?
My history with cameras
I’m a camera junkie since I was….seven, I think. At that time, my father use an old Olympus E-series(I forgots the series actually) with steel casing. But as seven year old I was, I was more interested for posing in pictures. The camera has been for us since my mom was pregnant with my older sister, until I was about 15 years old. It was about 20 years the camera have been in service with us. When I went for boarding school in 1996, I am really in need for my own camera since the old one is broken. My father bought me a Konica compact camera which cost about RM70 at that time. It was quite costly for us since we are in mid-class income family .The camera been with me until 2005.Then, I fall in love with digital cameras. Still very pricey for me who just started working. I have used the digital camera before in uni since I am the self-acclaimed photographer of my clinical rotation group hehe.In 2007, I bought one at RM550, Olympus brand. Again, the camera gave the best performance but it too become broken and unrepairable after 2 years(maybe because of over usage hehe).In August 2008 me and my hubby bought our first DSLR camera , Nikon D60 after 1 year of consideration, and still in awe with it until now.
How do you know when to buy a DSLR camera
Yep, you should already own a compact digital camera which you can just Point and Shoot right? This type of camera will be addressed as P & S camera in further paragraphs. You can use it after just holding it a few seconds, without even to look at the manual! Then, why should you buy DSLR, a much more complicated, and yet a quite pricey camera(RM2K and above)?
DSLR camera have many features that P & S cameras don’t have. By using DSLR, you will gain more control on the camera over the lens, different and better shutter speed( speed of taking picture), automatic and manual mode focus and a bunch of other smaller features like white balance and ISO that you never realize it was important until you depend on the features every day, like I do! Having said this, many people own a camera that’s too powerful and too complicated for their needs. That’s why it’s a good idea to know about both cameras capabilities before you decide whether to spend more money to upgrade your camera to a DSLR (and lenses)or stick to your P & S camera.
What picture to take?
Before you buy new DSLR camera , ask your self. What pictures do you want to take?If that pictures you plan to take cannot be fulfilled by a standard digital P & S camera, then it means it is time for you to buy a DSLR. Like example, I like to take portrait pictures but my P & S and my handphone camera cannot focus too close and will make the subject blurry. I want to focus at the subject eyes only with other details in blur @ bokeh but with P & S camera, it focuses on entire face, not the eyes only and I cannot get the bokeh effect that I want. My P & S camera also cannot take continual action sequence shots for a longer period of time. With DSLR, I can get the action sequence shot in 3 to 10 frames per second.DSLR also allow me to gradually change my lens from kit lens, to macro,wide angle or telephoto lens, depending on the shot call.
Three common advantages of DSLRs compared to P & S cameras:
Bokeh is derived from Japanese word which means fuzzy.It easily translated as blurred background or out-of-focus background. With DSLR, you can get this bokeh with the subject is still in focus. Which means you can get portrait picture with a very crisp and clear face in front of an out-of-focus background. The DSLR have the abilities to isolate the subject from the background, which the P & S camera can’t. To do this, DSLR have a wide variety of bigger apertures that allow them to do.And you can control them!
Some example of bokeh(see the background of the photos)
DSLR allows you to get bigger zoom range. The lens in digital P & S cameras usually doesn’t allow you to do manual zoom bigger than 2x its magnification. The camera manufacturer know this and their market digital zoom in every P & S camera with 6x or greater. The problem in, digital zoom is not a real zoom, it is merely an enlargement of the picture and you can see the quality is not as good as in manual zoom. DSLR allow you to switch to telephoto lens until 300mm or greater zoom which allow you to zoom much further, you can event take shot of a bird flying in the sky!
If I get closer, this bird might fly away, so I use a 70 – 300mm telephoto lens to get this photo.Plus I can get bokeh too with this lens .
And this handsome shot is taken by my university colleague
Action sequence shots
When you use a DSLR, voila!You can get continuous photo fire rate! Many P & S cameras, if equipped, can get 2 photos/frames per second max.With DSLR, you can get up to 3 to 10 photos/frames per second.This means the actions will not be missed!This type of photos have to be taken in available light.To do this, just frame the shot, hold the shutter down longer than you take normal sequence. Afterwards, you can choose best pictures from all the action sequence pictures.
Action sequence-creative kids photography.Source: Steve Z Photography
DSLR are better than P & S cameras, but only for specific pictures. These three advantages above clarify the difference between the photos taken by DSLR and P & S camera.
Well, fret not because you might consider this, one of the biggest advantages of P & S cameras are they are small, compact, sleek,colourful and can even fit in your pocket! A DSLR is bulky and the colour is only black(duh!) and you may need more equipment like speedlite(the flash), tripods, and 2 or 3 more different lens which can fit into you luggage! When you use a DSLR, the equipment tends need to be fitted in 2 or 3 special bags.Plus, you also need to buy a special cleansing equipment. If you don’t like the idea of carrying a black and bulky camera gear to everywhere you are going, then , a DSLR is not suitable for you. If you don’t need greater zoom length, wider apertures to take pictures with bokeh feature or fast photo taking ability, you probably won’t need a DSLR. I’m not encouraging not to buy one, though, just want to make sure you are going to get the most out of of your going to be DSLR camera .Satisfaction guaranteed.
I rest my case
Adapted from and credits to: Digital Photography Secrets