What Does Digital SLR Camera Mean?

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Updated July 26, 2022

If you’re new to digital photography, you may be wondering what does “digital SLR camera” mean? Well, have no fear! We’re going to walk you through exactly what the term means and how these cameras work. If you have been hesitant about using digital SLRs, we are going to help you discover the benefits and ease of use of digital SLRs. For more details about great DSLR options, read about the best digital camera.


  • A Digital SLR is a camera that uses different types of lenses to capture pictures and videos.
  • Digital SLR can film in both low-lit and well-lit environments.
  • Digital SLRs are mobile devices with batteries to help film events anywhere you go.

What does the abbreviation DSLR stand for?

The abbreviation DSLR tells us more about the camera’s design. In full, digital SLR means Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera. This type of camera uses a digital imaging sensor (captures the image), a clever system of mirrors and prisms (to help you view the image as the camera sees it), and a single-lens reflex system to assist you in composing high-quality digital photos.

Insider Tip

Amateur photographers should go for affordable lenses and then get more expensive options later on so that they can appreciate the upgrades as they develop their skills.

How does a DSLR Camera Work?

The camera lens focuses on incoming light, while the shutter and variable aperture controls adjust how much light hits the sensor. The sensor then records the light on tiny light-sensitive cells known as photosites or pixels. Each photosite (pixel) measures the amount of incoming light that falls on it.

With the evolution of digital cameras, the number of pixels on the imaging sensor has increased. Twenty years ago, it was hard to get a camera that would deliver over 1 megapixel (MP), or a million total pixels. But today, cameras with 12MP are common among professional cameras. These types of cameras can produce images the size of the magazine cover with no loss of quality. 

Benefits of Interchangeable Lenses

  • DSLRs allow you to attach the lens of your choice to the camera body, be it a zoom lens or a fisheye lens. The ability to change the rules to fit your needs is a versatile property of DSLRs. You’ll need to understand the numbers on lenses, however.
  • Whether you want to get into portrait or landscape photography, understanding the focal length you need for your specific shoot will help you pick the right lens.

What are the Major Differences Between DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras? 

DSLRs are versatile and more durable than some digital bridge cameras. Plus, they can pair with lots of lens options. You also get a long battery life, as well as high shooting speeds with autofocus settings. But one major disadvantage of a DSLR is that what you see in the viewfinder differs from what you see in the exposure. You won’t find this problem in mirrorless cameras.

Getting the best DSLR camera will depend on your needs because different DSLR models and lenses offer unique benefits. 

Different Types of DSLR Image Sensors

Are you wondering what does the sensor in a digital camera do? The main types of camera sensors are CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) and CCD (charge-coupled device) imagers. Although each sensor type uses different technology to record images, there is no inherent difference in the quality of each design. And yet, there are varying sensor sizes in digital cameras based on make and model.

For many years, CCD sensors have been the prevalent technology for recording low-noise and high image quality. But since they are expensive to manufacture and use a lot of power compared to a CMOS sensor, they are expensive to purchase. Fortunately, CMOS sensors have advanced to the point where they rival the capabilities and quality of CCD technology. The benefit of using a CMOS sensor is that it comes with significantly lower power consumption, smaller size, and an affordable price tag. You may also want to find out what a digital camera UV filter does and why some photographers swear by it.


What is the difference between SLR and DSLR cameras?

SLR cameras use photographic film to capture images, while DSLRs use an image sensor.

What is a mirrorless camera?

A mirrorless camera is a digital camera without a reflex mirror. Instead, light passes through the lens into the digital sensor, and the image is projected on the camera’s LCD screen. This feature allows you to adjust the settings of the image before taking a shot.

What are the key types of cameras in use today?

  • DSLR cameras
  • Bridge cameras
  • Mirrorless cameras
  • Film cameras
  • Compact cameras
  • Action cameras
  • 360 cameras
  • Smartphone cameras
  • Instant cameras
  • Medium format cameras

STAT: Entry-level compact cameras use 1/2.5″ image sensors, which is 3% the size of a full-frame sensor. (source)

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