DSLR vs Point & Shoot Camera {Jill Kirtland Photography – Mid Ohio Valley Photographer}

I have had many people ask me about what a DSLR is and why they should buy one versus a “point and shoot” camera. Here are some pros/cons of each that hopefully will help you make your decision when you are ready to buy a new camera:

Point & Shoot Cameras

  1. Point and Shoot cameras are smaller in size (can fit in your pocket) and also weigh less.  They are perfect for when you don’t want to worry about lugging around a heavy expensive piece of equipment around your neck at the park. You can interact more with your kids.
  2. Price – they are far less expensive.  They also have a fixed lens, therefore you don’t have to invest money in lenses which sometimes can be more expensive than the camera!
  3. Depth of Field –  If you are looking to get that blurred background (called a “bokeh”) than a point and shoot camera is not able to do that for you.  You do not have control over the depth of field, and therefore everything in your scene will be crisp and clear.
  4. Cons:  They are not upgradable. You have limited control over the quality and artistry of your photos.  They are not very good for shooting at night. They do not take very good wide angle shots.  They also are not good for action shots (sports).


  1. Price – They are far more expensive, even the lower models.  Most entry level DSLRs with a kit lens will run you from $500 – $1000.  You have to invest in different lenses for different things you want to achieve (and it becomes addicting!). It can cost money for accessories, maintenance, and upgrades.
  2. Flexibility – You have so much more control over your shutter speed, apertures, and light sensitivity.  If you learn how to shoot in manual mode, then you will be able to do so much more than you can with a point and shoot.  All professional action (sports) photographers use DSLRs.  They also are much better for portrait photography so you can get that blurred background (bokeh).
  3. Better Image Quality – A DSLR has a much bigger sensor than a point and shoot. This means you will get less noise (noise is the grain you see in pictures).
  4. Better Construction/Better Investment –  DSLRs are build to last longer than point and shoots. They also can tolerate inclement weather better because of weather sealing.  They are built to withstand dust, moisture, rain and snow and cold weather.
  5. Complexity – Unfortunately with such a powerful tool, you also have a learning curve.  It takes time to learn all the different settings, functions and features and also the art of photography when using DSLRs.  Once you are shooting in manual mode, you have to understand what shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and white balance means.

If you think you are ready to move on to purchasing a DSLR and want to learn how to use it and the basics of photography, stay tuned here for the announcement of when I will be offering one-day workshops!