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Point and Shoot vs. DSLR

February 12, 2012

Trying to decide what kind of camera to buy?   Both are great cameras with their own pros and cons.  I have two point and shoot cameras and one DSLR and love different aspects of each.  However, when it comes to taking better photos I will always go for the DSLR.  There are just so many things that I can achieve with the DSLR that I can’t with a point and shoot.

Here’s a look at both.

The Point and Shoot

Pros: Small, light weight, can take it anywhere.  I also like the fact that it’s not worth nearly as much money so I don’t feel as nervous about something  happening to it.  It’s easy to take photos with a point and shoot, it requires no training or experience.  Automatic mode works quite well; point and shoots can deliver pretty good standard photos.

Cons: Image quality, lack of ISO range.  Slow speed and shutter delay from the time the button is pressed until the photo is actually taken.  The frustration I experienced in this regard was what prompted me to look into getting a DSLR.  When smiles or giggles only last for a second with a baby, I felt that I was missing way too many with my point and shoot camera.  Depending on the point and shoot, photos can also be a little blurry and lack the sharpness that you can achieve with a DSLR. Most point and shoot cameras do have a manual setting, however they tend to not be very user friendly.

The DSLR

DSLR’s have a reflex mirror which allows live optical viewing through the lens taking the image. DSLR’s also have removable lenses.

Pros: The image quality is so much better than the little point and shoot.  Better colours, better detail and sharpness. If I want great photos I will always choose my DSLR over the point and shoot.  The ability to change lenses on the DSLR is also something that makes it a far superior camera.  I used to wonder how people got those pretty blurry backgrounds in their portraits. I could never get that, even when I got by DSLR (I was using my kit lens).  The reality is that it all comes down to the lenses.  A huge pro for DSLR’s is the ability to achieve great results without flash.  I never used to think this was a big deal, however once you start shooting without flash and see the results, you will likely avoid the direct flash at all costs.

In my opinion, the best thing about DSLR’s is the greater sense of control that they give the user.  And with more freedom in manual comes better results in your photographs.  If you stay on the P mode you will never reach your cameras full potential (or yours).  Yes, it can be a overwhelming and frustrating at times, however mastering manual mode is well worth the effort.  I’m still a long ways off from that, but the more I learn and grow, the more encouraged I am to keep with it.

Cons:  Large and heavier than the compact point and shoot.  You can’t and shouldn’t put your DSLR into your purse your jacket pocket.  Depending on what we’re doing I really don’t want to have to carry around my DSLR camera bag.  A DSLR is also much more expensive than a point and shoot.  However, the prices have come down a lot in the last five years.  Once only for professional photographers, the DSLR has now come into a more affordable price range for hobbyists and moms like me.  Most DSLR’s also don’t have a live LCD screen, therefore you actually have to look into the view finder to take your photo as opposed to holding your camera out in front of you and looking on the screen.

So which one is for you?  If you’re only interested in taking snap shots of your children and don’t really want to get into anything technical, then a point and shoot will probably do the job.  If you’re interested in making photography more of a hobby and/ or taking photos of your family that have a more artistic edge to them, then a DSLR is something to consider.

If you’re like me, you like the benefits that both offer.  I always have a point and shoot in my purse, another point and shoot in a handy location in our house and my DSLR either in my camera bag or up high in our family room.  When travelling I often use the DSLR the first day or so (depending on how long we’re there) and focus on getting all my better shots at that time.  The following days I just put the point and shoot in my purse and focus on having fun with my family.

I have loved the way that I have felt challenged with my DSLR.  I have taken significantly better photos with the DSLR than the point and shoot and am continuing to learn and grow in photography.  With a love for taking better photos of our children, I am so glad that I invested in a DSLR.  I haven’t regretted it for a minute.  If you’re serious about taking better photos of your children, consider investing in a DSLR.  They aren’t just for professionals and just because you have a DSLR doesn’t mean that you’re going to become a professional, just someone that is passionate about taking better photos of their family and has a desire to learn.

Shari Saysomsack (Just another mom with a camera)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2012 12:47 am

    Some dSLRs have live viewing screen… my Nikon D5000 does… although it results in the similar delay that your point and shoot has…

  2. February 13, 2012 12:52 am

    That’s true! My dSLR has the capability as well, but it’s not practical. I think it would result in too much camera shake holding the camera away from my body! ~Sonja

  3. April 10, 2012 9:46 am

    both definitely have advantages. for me, its purely size vs quality. and most point n shoots are just not good enough, except for snapshots. there’s a new line of rather high end compacts, that pack pretty good quality in almost compact camera size. the fuji x10, lumix lx5, etc etc. im thinking of getting one, coz like u, i find the time when i wish i had a compact.. the dslr is sometimes just too bulky!

    • April 10, 2012 2:42 pm

      You are totally right! I wish I had a better point and shoot for that reason alone! ~Sonja

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