The way a Digital SLR handles is very different to a digital camera.
The first thing you will notice is how much larger and heavier a Digital SLR is than a standard compact camera. This does depend to a degree on the type of compact digital camera you own. The difference between a larger "Bridge" type compact with a long zoom lens is less pronounced than if you are used to a pocket camera.
Another point that is almost as noticeable is that a Digital SLR has a lot more buttons and dials than a typical digital camera. At first some people find all these extra controls daunting and they can be off putting. As you get to know your Digital SLR you will start to the extra buttons and dials are a very worthwhile advantage of owning one.
If you do feel daunted by the buttons at first remember that you can place the camera in automatic mode and use it just as you would a point and shoot digital camera. This way you can gradually introduce the buttons as you learn what each one of them can do for you.
As you get to know your camera you will be surprised how soon you get to know what the different buttons and dials do and the impact they can have on your photographs just by changing a control here and a setting there. As you get used to using them you will also notice just how useful it is to have so much control at your fingertips. In fact many people feel that the difference in handling is one of the biggest advantages of owning a Digital SLR over a compact digital camera. The ability to change a control quickly can be the difference between getting a shot and missing it, especially when you are dealing with a fast moving subject.
Another feature that is added for you with a Digital SLR is a viewfinder. A viewfinder is becoming harder and harder to find on a standard digital camera. You will also find that a viewfinder on a Digital SLR is a totally different quality to those on a compact digital camera. To start with they tend to be much larger and brighter. This combination can make it easier for you to compose your photographs if you prefer using a viewfinder to a LCD screen. Be aware that the quality of the viewfinder can vary on a Digital SLR, especially with models at the cheaper end of the market.
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
The size of a Digital SLR also makes a difference to how your camera will handle. With more room available there is a good size grip on the front of the camera. This will help you to hold the camera steady and ultimately helps contribute to sharper photos through the reduction in any blur caused by being unable to keep the camera completely still while a picture is being taken.
A further advantage of the larger body size is that you should find the buttons and control dials are a little more spread out and normally a little larger in size. This all helps when it comes to general usability. The extra room means that the text and icons used to describe the control buttons are larger and therefore easier to read. The larger size means there is plenty of room on the back of the camera to place you thumb. This also helps when it comes to keeping the camera steady.
The physical size of the lens units is much larger than you find on a digital camera. The advantage of this is that when you take a picture your hand rests on the underside of the lens giving the camera greater support, stability and balance. The way you zoom in and out is significantly different too. Gone are buttons on the back of the camera or rings around the shutter button on the top. In its place you get lenses with twisting barrels. So to zoom in or out you simply twist the barrel of the lens one way or another.
You may be considering buying a Compact System Camera rather than a Digital SLR. Although these two types of camera have a number of similarities Compact System Cameras tend to handle in a way that is more similar to a digital camera. They have fewer controls and buttons with the majority of settings being accessed through the menu system.