Do you want to focus closer, zoom farther, and catch the peek of the action? Perhaps it's time to move up to a Digital SLR.
Digital SLRs (also known as DSLRs) are the kinds of cameras serious hobbyists and professional photographers use. Overall image quality is better because the imaging sensors are larger. A host of accessories, from specialized lenses to powerful flashes that can light up big room, are available. Fortunately, a new breed of inexpensive, high-resolution entry-level cameras, led by the The Best Starter DSLR Right Now to help you make your buying decision.
You are ready for a Digital SLR if...
...You can't zoom in close enough to distant subjects. Compact cameras have one built-in lens, and you're limited to its range. Digital SLRs have interchangeable lenses so you can bring distant subjects closer.
...When you photograph the Grand Canyon, it doesn't look so grand. Compact camera lenses aren't wide enough to create those dramatic landscapes that the pros shoot. You can buy special wide-angle lenses for a DSLR that will do that.
...When you're photographing a soccer match, your kid runs out of the picture before the shutter goes off. Most compact cameras react slowly when you press the shutter release, and this leads so-called "shutter lag" can lead to frustration when you miss fast-changing moments. DSLRs have virtually no shutter lag.
...Nighttime is never the right time to take sharp, clear pictures. Compact cameras that boast many megapixels produce a lot of distracting "noise" (which looks like film grain), especially when shooting dark subjects, ruining image quality. DSLRs have larger sensors, which produce clearer nighttime pictures.
...You can't get close enough to flowers to show detail in every petal. While some compact cameras have a macro mode, it only works in wide angle, and you don't have much control. Specialized Macro lenses on DSLRs produce stunning super close-ups.
...When you make big prints, the results are disappointing. Although manufacturers may boast that you can make huge blow-ups with compact cameras, overall image quality is simply better with a DSLR.
...You want to hold the camera up to your eye, look through a viewfinder, and see exactly what the picture will look like. Most compact digital cameras force you to hold the camera at arm's length so you can see what's on the screen. If the sun's out, you'll barely see what's there. DSLR viewfinders are bright and accurate, and can be used in bright sunlight.
...Your flash won't adequately light anything that's more than ten feet away. Compact cameras have weak built-in flash that won't illuminate beyond around 10 feet. DSLRs with built-in flash will do a bit better, but you can also add an external flash, which produces enough light to illuminate more distant subjects.
Are you ready? Read The Best Starter DSLR Right Now to help you make your buying decision.