SLR – stands for Single Lens Reflex. Okay still, What is SLR mean? Single Lens Reflex. Now your saying, “Yeah, that tells me a lot you moron”. Calm down. I’ll go into simple detail. Now in the digital age we have DSLR. Digital Single Lens Reflex. Back in the film days, it was just SLR. But still, what does it mean?
Single Lens Reflex is simply a description of how the camera takes a photos. The camera has one lens (not a separate view finder lens). When you look through your view finder, you are looking out directly through the lens of the camera. What you see if what you get. This is accomplished with a mirror right behind the lens that directs the image up to your eye when you are looking through the viewfinder. When you click the shutter button to take a picture, the mirror drops down and lets the image hit the back of the camera. You will notice when this happens, you won’t see anything in the viewfinder for that split second.
In the film days, the film was behind the mirror. When you click the shutter button and the mirror dropped down, it exposed the film until the mirror popped back up again. How long the mirror stays down is called your shutter speed. It is very quick and if you blink you will miss it happening.
In todays digital world, it still operates the same exact way except behind the mirror is a digital sensor that picks up the light. The digital sensor acts like the film except it converts the light into a digital photo. When the mirror drops down, the digital sensor is exposed to the light. It converts that light into digital data and then that data is stored on your memory card as a photo.
I hear you saying now that today’s point and shoot cameras show you the image on the back display of the camera. Isn’t that “what you see is what you get?”. Actually it is. But what’s the difference? D – SLR cameras are made to be a bit more professional and since they are, the DSLR cameras usually have a bigger more powerful light sensor. The bigger the light sensor, the better the photo. The more money you pay for a camera when you buy a DSLR, the better and faster the sensor will be. This could be an article in itself so I’m going to cover that in another article.
So when you hear the term SLR, think single lens reflex, which is merely a mirror that lets you see through the camera’s lens and then drops out of the way to take the photo and then back again. This is the way all SLR cameras work, no matter what brand of camera you have.