The first major different becomes apparent as soon as you take a Digital SLR out of its box. You will notice that what you get is a camera body without a lens attached. When you buy a Digital SLR you usually get the option to buy what is known as a kit. This is where one or two lenses are included in the package to help get you started.
Another point you will notice more or less immediately is that a Digital SLR is larger than almost all digital cameras.
The main differences kick in once you start to use your Digital SLR. First up the way it handles is different. It will have a number of extra buttons and dials. At first these might appear confusing, but as you get used to your Digital SLR you will soon start to appreciate having so many key controls at your fingertips.
Next up you should notice a significant improvement in the quality of your photographs.
Other significant biggest differences between a Digital SLR and a digital camera include the flexibility offered by a Digital SLR and the potential for better picture quality.
The flexibility comes from the fact that a Digital SLR is able to use different lenses as well as being compatible with other accessories. Being able to use difference lenses gives you the chance to use the right lens for the job. So if you are photographing a wide landscape scene you can attach a wide angle lens to your Digital SLR body. This ensures you are able to capture as much or the width of the scene as possible.
If your next shot is of a subject in the far distance you can switch to a telephoto lens to bring your subject into much closer view. There are also plenty of lenses you can lay your hands on that cover distances in between these two extremes.
Digital SLR Basics
Digital SLRs and Digital Cameras Key Differences
Digital SLR or Compact System Cameras
Digital SLR Handling
Help for Beginners
Lenses and Accessories
Buying a Camera Lens
Digital SLR Accessories
Learn More About Features
Resolution and Sensor Size
Manual Exposure Modes
Help With Tricky Lighting
Live View and Articulated Screens
Depth of Field Preview Button
Current and Recommended Models
Summary of Current Models
Recommended Digital SLRs
Digital SLR Guide Author
This guide was written by Ian Younger
When it comes to better picture quality there are a number of contributing factors. These include the opportunity to use better quality lenses than you find on a typical digital camera. The quality of the lens plays a major role in picture quality.
Next up are better quality and larger camera sensors. Larger sensors mean larger pixel size. These larger pixels are able to capture more light and therefore more detail.
Other areas where the quality of the Digital SLR's components leads to increased picture quality include better noise control. This means a Digital SLR is likely to perform better in lowlight.
The other big contributor to picture quality is the controls you have at your disposal. For example auto focus systems tend to be more advanced and more comprehensive. This can lead to sharper or more creative focusing.
Other features offering you that bit of extra creative control include more options for white balance, light metering and a wider range for applying exposure compensation.
Further flexibility is offered through the ability to attach other accessories such as flash guns. These can significantly increase the power of the flash light you have available and also open up other options such as using something called off camera flash.
Another major difference between a digital camera and a Digital SLR is the way the cameras handle. By this I mean the way you switch between settings on your camera. Handling is covered in the next section of this guide.