This is page 3 of 4. "Camera Comparison" begins here.

C) Advanced point & shoot;

This category is between point & shoots and DSLRs. This camera is somewhat larger than the point & Shoot camera. The range available somewhat overlaps each.

They have more speed and versatility than the point & shoot, and a step up in the quality of pictures, but they still can’t compete with the versatility and results one will see with a DSLR.

This is another category that does not have interchangeable lenses. For general photography it is usually not necessary as the built in lens will often adjust from close up shots to telephoto shots.

They have something known as a "hot shoe" for an external flash unit. Through experience I have found that flash photography is the best way to get “people pictures” to really come to life.

Periodically natural lighting will work just fine, but when shooting people, a thing known as filler flash makes a world of difference over almost any existing lighting. The joke goes, "The professional trick is to use so much fake lighting that your subject looks natural!"

They have better optics [lens glass] than the point & shoot. Thus, they provide better results especially with moving subjects.

The ultra zoom in this category have telephoto lens’ that go to about 12X. With that kind of zoom it gets hard to hold the camera steady enough to get a sharp photo. Many of these have what’s called image stabilization. It is a built in shake reducing mechanism which minimizes blur.

What it means to you is that you can hand hold your camera for a wider variety of pictures than you otherwise could. This way you aren’t lugging a tripod around with you.

For the tear in your eye memories of children's sports this camera very well may do the trick.

Cost at the upper end of this category can be more than entry level DSLRs. If you are considering one of the better Advanced Point & Shoot cameras, compare it with entry level DSLRs to be sure you get what's best for you.

D) DSLR;

The acronym DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex. It's just a fancy name for a camera where you see what you're shooting directly through the lens. This actually can be very helpful for composing the picture exactly the way you want it.

Once again this camera comparison category has a wide variety available.

Some entry level DSLRs overlap, in certain respects, with the advanced point & shoot. However now we are into cameras with more room to customize for your shooting desires as well as top of the line results.

For one thing a DSLR can be placed in fully automatic mode to just point and shoot like the little ones. This gives you the best of both worlds. You can point and shoot with the highest speed available, which is pretty fast. Some of the fastest cameras out right now shoot 10 or more frames per second.

The smaller cameras can’t focus nearly as quickly on a moving subject as a DSLR. The only way to really decide what speed you need is to experience it. Someone can always tell you with words, but until you try one you just don’t know.

The shutter release button has two stages. Stage one is a half press of the button. It brings the camera to life, setting the focus and exposure.

Stage two snaps the picture. DSLRs are so much faster than others from the time you press the shutter release button to the snap of taking the picture.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the "point & shoot" settings; you can place the camera in full manual mode. And you can further fine tune that if you still don’t like the results. It gets pretty involved and gives you a lot of creative control.

Another advantage is interchangeable lenses. With a DSLR you can have one lens for shooting extreme close ups, another for portrait photography, another for general shots and yet a forth for long distance shots. There are wide angle lenses and an array of other specialty lenses.

The quality of your pictures will be better with a DSLR because the internal electronics is far superior. Also, each lens is designed to do a specific job. A single lens cannot be designed to work optimally at all ranges. Faster, sharper cameras and lenses equal better photos.

One more consideration is the lighting. When you get into a DSLR you have so many more options when it comes to lighting.

Recently I was explaining lighting.

Check out these two pictures to see the difference. Without good flash units I would have had to figure the necessary exposure for the shade and manually set the camera to that.

Then I could follow her and get her in focus. Even then, the background would have been way overexposed.

In the bottom photo, using the flash, I left the camera on “point and shoot” settings. Thus, no worry about exposure! Both my pretty little subject and the background are correctly exposed with no effort on my part.

Granted, I had to learn how to use the lighting, but on the spot I got a great action shot that would otherwise have not been captured.

For more information on artificial lighting click here.

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