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DSLR vs Compact Digital Camera

Okay, so if you’re going out of your way to go and buy yourself a brand new camera in time for the convention season, what do you buy? With all of these funky terms going around, such as DSLR, or CDCs, what do you pick and why?


Canon e70

The term DSLR, or SLR, stands for (Digital) Single Lens Reflex. In terms of what it means for the photographer is that the lenses are interchangeable. Typically these cameras have a way to autofocus on anything they’re facing, but of course a lot of it is down to the settings on the camera. With an extensive collection of features and hundreds of lenses you can choose from, the DSLR is a great way to get into photography.


  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Lens mount is generally standardised
  • Autofocus


  • Usually quite big
  • Lenses can get expensive


SONY Cyber-ShotA CDC, or a Compact Digital Camera, works in a much different way. They don’t have interchangeable lenses, so you cannot get better (or wider/more narrow) shots… But they usually feature a hefty array of zoom functions to compensate this. CDCs are much more lightweight, so for a complete beginner, a CDC could be the way to go. These focus less on the technical aspect, with great auto modes built into them. If you’re looking for a fuss free camera, you might want to look into CDCs.


  • Simplicity
  • Generally cheaper than DSLRs
  • Smaller overall body size


  • Not as versatile as a DSLR
  • No interchangeable lenses

Which to pick?

It’s hard to say what is truly better but in terms of quality, the DSLRs were the way to go. In this day and age however, I’d say a good CDC shouldn’t be overlooked, as they’ve truly caught up with the times. In fact, it’s probably best to say that a CDC will be the way to go in the future… But when you take images of such high quality as the ones in the Alcon 2014 gallery, you know you’ve bought the right camera for you.

Ultimately, a photographer does get better with the equipment they buy. This is a fact, but let’s be realistic here: The best photographers must learn to be a photographer first, including learning all the terms and the lingo. Only once they’ve mastered their technology should they focus on buying more expensive cameras. It’s arguable that the best cameras in this day and age are still DSLRs. After all, the mighty Canon e70 still sits up at the top of the charts of many photography enthusiast magazines. As for me, I’m happy with my Panasonic Lumix DMC G5 still. It’s got a lot of oomph for a cheap little camera, which is neither a CDC nor a DSLR, this wasn’t me choosing one over the other: Just finding the first camera that was right for me.

What do you think makes a good camera? Would you pick a DSLR or a CDC and why? Let us know in the comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter!


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