Compact system camera vs. DSLR – which is right for me?

Step up your photography game with a DSLR or compact system camera. Here’s how to choose…

16 Aug 2018

If you want to take photos that will ‘wow’ your friends, the right camera is a must. Now may be the perfect time to step up your photography game. But do you go for a DSLR or a compact system camera? Let’s explore the options...

DSLR Cameras

In a nutshell: A camera used by pros – gives you total control over your photography

Professionals and amateur enthusiasts love the DSLR. Offering precision control, it lets you create different effects with different lenses and adjust the settings for that perfect shot.


What can I do with a DSLR?

You can:

  • Take photos that are rich in detail thanks to a large image sensor
  • Change lenses to suit the image type
  • Adjust aperture, shutter speed, ISO levels, white balance and more
  • Take steady, blur-free pictures with stabilisation tech
  • See everything in the frame with an optical viewfinder


How does it work?

'D' stands for 'digital' and ‘SLR’ means single-lens reflex. Inside the camera sits a mirror that reflects the image seen through the lens up to the viewfinder when taking a picture. 

When choosing a DSLR you might want to consider…

  1. Sensor size – the bigger the sensor the better the image quality
  2. Rotatable screen – DSLRs usually come with an optical viewfinder for framing shots. Choose a rotatable LCD screen if you plan on shooting from awkward angles.
  3. Sensor cleaning – to keep your camera clean if you’ll regularly change your lens


Canon EOS 4000D – A DSLR we loveCanon 4000D

Looking for your first DSLR? This Canon is a great choice.

Take spontaneous shots with its responsive handling and bright optical viewfinder. Capture every detail and get shallow-focus results like a pro with its large 18-megapixel sensor.

Fancy trying your hand at movies too? With the EOS 4000D, you can play with different angles and control the camera remotely via the app.

When you’re done, sharing the results couldn’t be easier. Use its inbuilt Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology to pair it with smart devices and upload files with ease.

Check out the Canon EOS 4000D

See our full range of DSLR cameras


Compact system cameras

In a nutshell: Lightweight and easy to use – the perfect camera for snapping high quality shots when you’re out and about

Compact system cameras are ideal if you want to simply point-and-click. They’re smaller and easier to use than a DSLR but with the same great picture quality.


While DSLRs contain a mirror and prism system – making them large and heavy – compact cams are smaller and mirrorless and therefore easy to carry about.

What can I do with a compact system camera?

You can…

  • Change lenses – as you would a DSLR – for different types of photographs
  • Take high-quality images – their image sensors can be as large as those in a DSLR
  • Choose to point-and-shoot or take control of individual settings

Compact system

When choosing a compact system camera you might want to consider…

  1. Lenses – does it have the ones you need? Compact system cameras often have less lens choice than DSLRs
  2. Viewfinder – does it have an optical one? Not all compact system cameras do - they rely on the screen on the back of the camera instead
  3. Sharing – look for one with built-in Wi-Fi for quick and easy sharing 

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless – a compact system camera we love

This compact cam is packed with a powerful punch.

Its 24.1-megapixel censor produces outstanding image quality. The wide-angle lens, fast autofocus and optical image stabilisation makes capturing smooth shots a breeze.

Always catching your subject with their eyes closed? With 10 fps continuous shooting you’ll never miss a moment again. Its intuitive touchscreen also lets you drag autofocus and create bold and vivid results.

You can even produce impressive home movies in detailed 4K, and share the results with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Check out the Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless cameraSony a6000

Sony a6000 Mirrorless – a compact cam with flexibility

The Sony a600 carries some of the features of the Canon EOS M50, but the 24.3 megapixel Exmor CMOS image sensor is a little more sophisticated.

The autofocus is also incredibly quick at 0.06 seconds. And its 11ps continuous shooting mode makes blur-free photographs a thing of the past.

The camera also benefits from DSLR-style operation and functionality including an intuitive control dial, viewfinder and hot-shoe adapter. Unlike DSLRs however, the a6000 is incredibly lightweight at 285g so it’s perfect for carrying around.

Check out the Sony a6000 Mirrorless camera - and get it with a range of accessories.

Or see our compact system cameras


Still need help choosing between the two? Take a look at our online buying guide.


Not found your one? Browse all our cameras

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