Digital point-and-shoot cameras are cheaper, more portable and simpler to use. However, SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras have faster shutter speed, and take higher quality and more accurate pictures.

Comparison chart

Digital Camera versus SLR Camera comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartDigital CameraSLR Camera
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Digital CameraSLR Camera
Technology Estimates the image that the camera will take. Single-lens reflex. Reflex mirror that allows live optical viewing through the lens taking the image.
Image Quality Lower quality Faster shutter speeds and less grain
Speed Slower Fast
Optical Viewfinder Usually no Yes
Manual Controls Sometimes Yes
Price Less expensive More expensive
Size and Weight Often pocket sized Larger and heavier
Noise Often silent Noisier
Complexity Easy More difficult for beginners
Battery life Shorter Longer
Lenses Fixed Interchangeable
EOS 400D SLR Camera
EOS 400D SLR Camera


A point-and-shoot digital camera estimates the light that will reach the sensor on an LCD screen.

A SLR camera is a single lens reflex camera. As an SLR camera has a reflex mirror, it allows you to see through the viewfinder the real image that the film will see. It works a little like a periscope, and when the shutter button is clicked, the mirror is quickly moved out of the way, so the image is directed at the exposed film.

Picture quality

Point-and-shoot digital cameras have small image sensors, and so lower image quality. However, if not planning major enlargements for the images, this can be more than good enough for most users.

SLRs have larger image sensors, and so larger pixel sizes, leading to less grainy images.


Point-and-shoot digital cameras are slower than SLR cameras and have “shutter lag.”

SLR cameras have a fast shutter speed.

Optical viewfinder

Many point-and-shoot digital cameras do not have optical viewfinders. Instead, they rely on their LCD screens for picture framing.

SLR cameras use an optical viewfinder.


Point-and-shoot digital cameras are usually easy for beginners to use.

SLR cameras come with many settings and features and have a steep learning curve. However, they also come with a fully automatic mode for beginners.


SLRs are generally more expensive than point-and-shoot digital cameras. Current prices of some of the cameras are available on


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