catalogs logo logo

What is an SLR camera

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Learn to get the best pictures from a camera if you are not a professional.

Learn to get the best pictures from a camera if you are not a professional.

Taking pictures can be a nice hobby. If you are a professional photographer, you can almost always guarantee that the pictures will come out. But if you are a rank amateur, how can you guarantee that your picture will come out beautifully? An SLR camera.


How it works


When you use an SLR camera, you will notice a big difference in your photographs. It’s called a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, and it uses an automatic moving mirror system. This permits the photographer to see exactly what will be captured by the film or digital imaging system. In contrast to non-SLR cameras where the view through the viewfinder could be significantly different from what was captured on film: if you see it, it may not show.


The Pentaprism


SLR cameras use a pentaprism. This is a five-sided prism used to alter a beam of light by 90 degrees. The beam reflects inside the prism twice, and this allows the image to be viewed through a right angle without inverting it as an ordinary right-angle prism would. The pentaprism is located above the visual path going from the lens to the film. The directional goal is to move the light thorough the path to the view finder. When the shutter is triggered, the mirror moves out of the light path and the light shines directly onto the film.


The focus can be adjusted manually by the photographer or automatically by the autofocus system. This system permits accurate viewing, composing and focusing, especially useful with interchangeable lenses.


Because the viewfinder looks through the lens, the SLR cameras allow the photographer to see the precise focus, color, framing and brightness that will be recorded on film.



Point and Shoot Cameras


A different kind of camera is the point-and-shoot camera. It is a still camera used with simple photo shoot operations. It typically has an autofocus feature and automatic exposure system. Point-and-shoot is the best-selling type of camera. If you want an easy-to-use camera for vacations, parties, reunions and other events, people will usually buy these types of cameras.


SLR Advantages


Your interests can be satisfied simply by expanding your system. For instance get a macro lens if you want to take pictures of small items. Upgrading is easy. A camera body can be replaced, but your old lenses will continue to work. Backup is easy. Get two camera bodies. If one fails, you’re still in business. Almost every level of equipment quality is available. You are limited only by your pocketbook. 


SLR Disadvantages


SLRs will be heavier and bulkier than the point-and-shoots. And they will cost more. Most point-and-shoots are optimized so that anyone can use them. But SLRs are harder to use. While point-and-shoot cameras can be purchased for less than $100, SLR’s typically start around $500.


So if someone asks you what is an SLR camera? You can say that it is a good way to take professional looking pictures without all the experience needed of a professional, because the camera itself is designed to allow you to take high quality pictures.


Popular Savings Offers


Before you continue reading about the What is an SLR camera there is a special announcement we would like to share with you. has negotiated special medicare rates for our vibrant community of seniors. If you are over the age of 60, you can head over to our Seniors Health Section which is full of information about medicare. All you need is your zip code and a few minutes of your time to potentially save 100s of dollars on your medicare bills.

Get Free Catalogs When You Sign Up

Don't wait, sign up and get Free Shipping Offers, Discount Codes and lots of Savings Now!


Top Deals

See All

Recent Posts

Get Free Catalogs When You Sign Up

Don't wait, sign up and get Free Shipping Offers, Discount Codes and lots of Savings Now!


Saving Tools

Follow Us


Since 1996, has been considered the web's catalog shopping authority. Our trends experts have carefully reviewed thousands of catalogs and online stores and have featured only the most respected, distinctive, and trusted ones. From popular favorites to new discoveries, you'll shop and save with exclusive coupon codes!

Invitations for applications for insurance on are made through QuoteLab, LLC and Submission of your information constitutes permission for an agent to contact you with additional information about the cost and coverage details of health and auto insurance plans. Descriptions are for informational purposes only and subject to change. Insurance plans may not be available in all states. For a complete description, please call to determine eligibility and to request a copy of the applicable policy. is not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program. By using this site, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.