We now live in a world where everybody has a camera in their pocket, so I often come across the question “why do I need a Digital SLR when I have a camera on my phone?”We are lucky to be in an age where technology is better than ever, and it is a marvel that we can have a pocket sized camera that is no doubt better than the camera we owned 10 years ago that you would find difficult to fit in your bag. So why do I need to carry that big bulky camera with me.
Better quality photo’s
One advantage of an SLR over a phone or a compact camera is quite often quality of picture. This quality is often provided by better electronics but the quality of the glass in front of the camera in the case of interchangeable lenses. The only drawback is that we often never see this quality, because the photo’s are never printed, and the only time they often leave the camera is being shared via social media, which means these images are often compressed and shrunk to make them load much faster on websites. We only tend to see the best images when printed. So if you are not going to print images, then it may not be useful to own a SLR.
A SLR will provide you with more control and better quality, but you have to learn how to use the camera. The reason I own an SLR is that it provides me with more options and versatility when taking an image. I can control how dark and light an image is. I can create different effects such as lighstreaks and blur using an SLR that I would find difficult (but not impossible!) on a phone. Think of having a race car versus a road car on a racetrack. You will probably be able to go quite fast in a road car, but have that race car which allows you to tune and tweak the way the car runs and drives may give you the edge.
A compact or a phone is great for those quick everyday shots where you need speed and realisability, but if you want to be more creative with your shots then a step up to a SLR or even a bridge camera may be the next step.
When should I buy an SLR?
Taking the step to buy an SLR can be a scary thought. Yes, they are complicated, but are you struggling creatively with your current setup. Then taking that step up may be great for your creativity.
Which SLR should I buy?
This is a difficult question, and largely depends on how you use you camera. I own both a mirroless and a standard SLR, which I find useful in diffrent situations.
I love my mirrorless as it is lightweight and compact, but they are complicated to use, and expensive, so may not be good for a beginner, but I find it great to slip into my backpack as my daily driver.
when I go out to specifically shoot, I often take other kit such as a tripod, filters, etc, so weight is not always a consideration as I often have a good strong bag to take out. A common factor is often cost. You can pick up a good SLR for a few hundred pounds, and don’t rule out buying second hand, as most photographers are quite protective with our kit, so second hand camera are often in very good condition, and as a beginner you may not need all those shiny features.
I hope this helps with your decision on deciding if it is time to upgrade. If you are still not sure, then take a trip to your local camera shop and ask them can you try a camera, or why not rent a DSLR for a few days and have a try. Good luck shooting and let me know how you get on.