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Ask a Photographer: Why buy a dSLR?

I'm often asked about my opinion on camera selection, i.e. "What camera should I buy?". That's a really hard question to answer because it all depends on what you want to do with the camera. Today a more narrow question was asked that's a little easier to discuss, and that is: "What are the advantages of a dSLR over a point-and-shoot camera?". Since my reply ran on a bit, I thought it would make a good blog topic, so here you go...

The first advantage that comes to mind for reasons why to get a dSLR is that the lenses are interchangeable. Often, lenses are worth more than the camera body for good reason, but sometimes you can find good inexpensive ones.

There are several factors that make a lens good. The most interesting reason is that the well built ones have a very wide aperture, which is the F number. The lower the number, the wider the aperture, the larger the opening. This is important because wide apertures produce shallow depth of field (DOF). Shallow DOF causes the subject to be in sharp focus but other things in the foreground or in the background bcome blurry and abstract. The lower the number, the more blurry other things become. This makes for a more artistic photograph. Bright items that are blurry typically produce a distinct pattern known as bokeh, and this is considered desirable in much photography.

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