DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex camera, and while that may sound super technical and scary, modern DSLRs are actually built to be user-friendly and easy to operate. They function like the point-and-shoot cameras we all grew up with, while still giving users an impressive range of control.
We recognize that some people may still be intimidated by DSLRs, which is why we’ve decided to outline exactly why these cameras are great for photography novices as well as seasoned shutterbugs.
Here are five reasons you should try one out:
1. They’re easy to use
DSLRs have been designed to take optimal shots, but they’re also built to be accessible. Perhaps the best part of modern DSLRs is that they operate on a sliding scale of control, allowing you to grow into your photography. You can start out with all the features on automatic and then take as much creative license as you want.
They also come with handy programs intended to help you learn. Canon’s EOS Rebel T5 has a Creative Auto mode that comes with shooting guides that show up on the LCD screen. These guides explain how to make changes to exposure, tone, and sharpness. You can use modes like this to figure out how your adjustments are going to affect the final image and go from there.
2. They’re perfect for those on the go
DSLRs are ideal for everyday life because of how compact they are. While different models vary in size, some modern DSLRs are built to fit in a purse or backpack without weighing you down. In fact, Canon’s EOS Rebel SL1 is the world’s smallest and lightest DSLR camera* weighing in at less than a pound. That’s lighter than a block of butter!
You also don’t need a whole lot of equipment to get good shots. Many DSLRs come with a great, versatile lens. Canon’s EOS Rebel T6i and EOS 70D come equipped with a lens that is good for everyday shooting. Canon’s Optical Image Stabilization technology ensures clear, crisp images, even in dim light. Plus, you can play around with five different built-in filters. As you begin to experiment with your photography and find your niche, you’ll also be able to start using lenses that will take your photos from good to great. There’s a lot of variety out there—Canon offers a selection of over 70 lenses—so you’re sure to find one perfect for your needs.
For now, though, your versatile kit lens will help you shoot everything from your kids’ soccer game, to graduation, to your next vacation.
3. They have helpful automatic settings
DSLR cameras have been specifically designed to make quality decisions about exposure so that you can focus on getting the perfect shot. Canon’s DSLRs have a system that intelligently uses both normal and high-precision focus, depending on the aperture and available light, so your images are always crisp. This is great if you’re just starting out because you can focus on getting the perfect shot and let the camera do the heavy lifting. Once you become more comfortable, you can learn how to make those decisions yourself. You can take creative control and experiment to see how each element affects the look and feel of your photos.
Automatic settings also aren’t all-or-nothing. You can always choose to switch some modes to manual and leave some pre-set, like the Av and Tv modes on DSLRs. “Av” stands for aperture and “Tv” stands for Shutter – these priority modes are really semi-automatic modes. You’ll have some control over the priority setting but the camera still helps you out by making the rest of the decisions for you so you’ll always have a well exposed image.
By using these you can introduce yourself to the fundamentals of photography without making the full jump to manual.
For some additional help, check out Canon’s DSLR simulator Outside of Auto. The program will help you take creative control of your photos and learn how to use your camera in manual mode.
4. Sharing your shots is a cinch
The most important part of taking photos is being able to share them with the people you love. Luckily, modern DSLRs like the Canon EOS Rebel T6i and the EOS 70D come equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity so getting your photos from your camera to your device or computer is super easy.
With Canon’s Camera Connect app, you can instantly transfer your photos from your camera to your phone and then post them to social media. If you don’t have Internet access, just plug your camera directly into your computer and upload the files directly. This will also give you the opportunity to play around with photo editing software and take your images to the next level.
5. They take stunningly beautiful photos
The big reason to start using a DSLR, especially if you’re a beginner, is simple: they take great photos. The depth and detail you capture through a DSLR will astonish you. And, because of the incredible resolution, you can print your images in a massive range of sizes and still be able to retain that impeccable quality. You’ll be able to share your memories with your family and friends.
While it’s super handy to have automatic settings and HD touchscreens, the most important part of using a DSLR is that you can capture important moments in beautiful detail. A DSLR will help you bring quality back to your photography.
*Among digital SLR cameras that use APS-C size equivalent sensors. As of February 1, 2015, based on Canon’s research.