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DSLR cameras: Everything you need to know

Shoot like a pro with our essential photography advice…


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DSLR cameras are packed with powerful features, from easy autofocus to large memory cards that can hold thousands of photos. That’s why they’re so popular with anyone interested in photography - keen amateurs and professionals alike.

DSLR stand for ‘digital single-lens reflex’, so let’s break that down first of all:

Digital means the cameras have a digital sensor.

Single-lens means just one lens is used to focus, frame, and take photos.

Reflex means the camera redirects light from the lens into the viewfinder.

What are the main benefits of a DSLR camera?

There are lots of great reasons to choose a DSLR camera:

Picture quality. DSLR cameras have large sensors that let in more light – just like the retina of your eye – giving you better quality images with higher definition.

It’s not just still pictures either. If you’re a vlogger or aspiring YouTuber, you can record pin-sharp videos.

Low light skills. DSLR cameras are great at shooting in dim lighting, thanks to those large sensor that can capture more light.

Easy autofocus. DSLRs have better autofocus features than standard point-and-shoot cameras, so you can shoot faster and capture blur-free images.

Huge choice of lenses. You can choose from lots of different types of lenses, giving you a wide range of shooting options.

Long-lasting battery. A DSLR camera will last a full day’s shooting or more, so you can capture every moment without worrying about losing powerb.

They’re tough and durable. DSLRs are usually weather-sealed and built with tough materials to protect them from knocks and drops.

How does a DSLR camera work?

Press the shutter button on a DSLR camera and its mirror reflects incoming light, bouncing it from the lens to the viewfinder.

What you see in the viewfinder is exactly what the lens sees. Then some advanced camera tech kicks in, and uses the camera’s processor and digital sensor to turn what you see into a photo - saving it onto the memory card.

How to use a DSLR camera

Most DSLRs have point-and-click automatic settings with autofocus. It’s that easy.

On the other hand, if you want more creative control you can easily adjust settings like aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance.

Adjust the aperture if you want to blur backgrounds and create what’s known as the bokeh effect. Decrease the shutter speed, and you can create dark and moody shots with lots of atmosphere.

A few DSLR camera FAQs

Any questions?

If you’re thinking about getting into photography, our camera buying guide is a great place to start. Take a look at our reasons for buying a DSLR camera too.

If you’d like to talk to an expert about choosing a camera or any other piece of tech, pop in-store or have a video chat using ShopLive.

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