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The abbreviation DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex and describes a camera that uses alternating mirrors that are located between the lens and the image plane. This reflects the light that is gathered through the lens and projects it inverted on the dial. With the help of a converging lens and the prism viewfinder, the image appears true sided in the viewfinder. When the shutter button is pressed, the mirror flips up and the image reaches the image sensor. The much larger image sensor (in comparison to sensors in compact cameras) makes taking high quality photos possible despite difficult photographing conditions and reduces image errors like image noise.

DSLR cameras offer a countless number of settings for special effects and a high image quality. Thanks to autofocus and other various automatic functions, they can also be operated without having a lot of knowledge about photography. However, due to their size, weight, and, last but not least, their higher price tag, they’re less suitable for just taking the occasional snapshot.

Although a DSLR camera responds quicker than compact cameras, only a relatively low sequence of images can be taken due to the camera’s trigger mechanics. Specially constructed cameras, like the Canon Pellix, make a faster shutter release possible. Here, a fixed mirror or prism is used instead of an alternating mirror, which is partially transparent and reduces the delay between pressing the shutter release and the exposure. Since the light is divided, a darker image is transmitted to the viewfinder and thus less light is transmitted to the image sensor.

The analogue single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, which is the now rarely-used predecessor of the DSLR camera, functions very similarly mechanically, but uses film instead of an image sensor. This of course required a very time-consuming development of the pictures, which naturally isn’t necessary when using a DSLR camera. Another significant advantage of using a DSLR camera is the display, which makes it possible to view photos immediately after shooting and sort them when needed. One must keep in mind, however, that the photos are not displayed on the screen in their full quality and resolution. Therefore, photos that don’t have optimal lighting conditions or just don’t look right will often be first noticed on the computer or after development.

In order to avoid poor picture quality caused by faulty settings, many cameras offer over- and underexposure warnings that flash on the screen when detected. You can also use the help of a histogram displayed on the screen to graphically display the surrounding lightening conditions regardless of your camera’s display resolution capabilities.

Whether you choose to use a Nikon, Canon, Olympus, or a Sony camera: when deciding which brand of DSLR camera to purchase, it’s important to keep in mind that most brands utilise their own lenses and accessories. Therefore, you’re pretty much stuck to one brand once you’ve made your decision which manufacturer to go with. You can sometimes use adapter rings for a bayonet mount in order to use lenses from other manufacturers. When doing this, however, some automatic functions are either partially supported or not at all. Not all camera brands also manufacture their own bayonet mounts. Fujifilm, for instance, is licenced to use the F-bayonet mount developed by Nikon on their camera.