What Is the Biggest Difference Between the SLR and DSLR?

photo of two black cameras

Taking pictures almost always starts as a fun hobby and eventually turns into a good source of income. If you’re new to this world, you’ll want to start your journey by learning the different types of cameras and how they work.

Among the most common are SLR and DSLR cameras. There’s a good chance you’ve come across them before, but do you know how one differs from the other? We’ll talk about their main differences below, but you can visit it here for a more in-depth look.

SLR vs DSLR Cameras

Before you can even differentiate one from the other, it’s worth looking into them individually. This way, you’d be able to decide which camera type is better suited to your photography style.

DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex, which means it’s a camera that lets you shoot directly from the viewfinder. The first-ever DSLR camera was invented in 1999 and quickly became popular among professionals and beginners alike.

On the other hand, SLR stands for single-lens reflex. As the name suggests, it is not digital, so it captures images on film. It runs on a different type of technology that makes use of an internal reflex mirror.

Image Sensor

The main difference between the two cameras is their sensors. Analog and film cameras are SLR cameras. They are older, and because they use film, you can only click a specific number of pictures per film roll.

In contrast, DSLRs make use of digital sensors. In a sense, DSLRs are an advanced and digital version of the SLR. They also come with memory cards that can store thousands of images.

Lens Tech

Both cameras utilize single-lens reflex technology, which means they both have internal reflex mirrors and optical viewfinders. This is where the photographer can see what they are about to photograph.

However, DSLRs are much more advanced and usually come with built-in LCD screens. Here, you can see the live digital picture before clicking. Because the digital interface aids learning, this feature is beneficial for those new to photography.

Interestingly, both types of cameras can use interchangeable lenses. As such, you’ll find no problems fitting a lens of your preference based on the kind of pictures you want to take and your shooting needs. For this reason, both options are very versatile for professionals and amateurs.

black and yellow dslr camera lens


Are you looking to purchase a camera to record videos? Unfortunately, you can’t rely on an SLR to get the job done. As mentioned, SLRs make use of film, so you won’t be able to use one to record videos. Instead, you will need a DSLR video recording feature for this purpose.

Photo Quality 

When it comes to the quality and resolution of pictures, SLRs win. Film cameras can capture color and contrast in a unique way. No matter how great a DSLR camera is, it will never achieve the dynamic color and quality of the film. One reason for this is that SLRs produce many more pixels per picture than DSLRs.

Price Point 

Since DSLRs are very popular these days, they are less expensive than SLRs. In fact, you will find models available at affordable price points. Because of this, they are the more accessible option if you are on a budget or want to learn photography without emptying your bank account.

On the other hand, SLRs tend to be highly expensive, especially if they are vintage. That said, they can be a good investment since you can sell them in the future when their value rises. 

black rolleiflex camera grayscale photo

Which One Should You Get?

Confused about which one to purchase? Here are some things you should consider. In the end, the decision will all boil down to your level of proficiency as a photographer, your budget, and your style of shooting pictures.

In case you are new to photography, a DSLR can be a safe and affordable option. You can even upgrade it later by customizing and adding new accessories. If you are experienced in photography and looking to take some unique and dynamic pictures, an SLR is the better option. 

What Is Their Biggest Difference?

The most significant difference between the two is the image sensor. SLRs record pictures on film, and while this means you get high-quality images with dynamic colors, you will not have a digital viewfinder.

DSLRs come with digital sensors, so you can easily view the image before clicking. They are also much more efficient because you can take thousands of pictures with a single memory card.