How do point and shoot Cameras differ from SLR Cameras?

Are you unclear as the the differences between a point and shoot and SLR camera? No need to worry, after reading this article, you’ll have no confusion between the two.

The major difference between a point and shoot camera and an single-lens reflex (SLR) camera are the lenses and viewfinder. SLR cameras capture exactly what you see through your eyes, and point and shoot (P&S) cameras are just like windows behind the glass; you know what you are capturing but not exactly. Another major difference is you cannot mount lenses on P&S cameras. However, on an SLR camera, you can put a variety of lenses.

Table of Contents

What is the Difference Between Point and Shoot and SLR Cameras?

You can differentiate between SLR and point and shoot cameras with their size of camera body, lenses, size of sensor, and functions. Furthermore, after reading these points, you can tell which camera is worth buying in 2020.

Before moving on to the camera, size let me tell you DSLRs are the advanced form of SLR. DSLR cameras contain digital sensors to record images and SLR cameras through glass and prism.

Nowadays, you may not be familiar with SLR, but SLR cameras are very similar in size and build quality to a DSLR.

Suggested: Difference Between Digital and Traditional Photography

Camera Size

When we talk about the size of a P&S camera and SLR camera, SLR is bigger in size and has more weight than a point and shoot camera. Point and shoot(P&S) cameras are also known as compact cameras, which are super small in size, and you can easily put it into your pocket or bag.

The problem with the SLR cameras is they are big, bulky, and inconvenient to carry, neither you can put into your pocket (unless you’re a kangaroo:)).

However, you cannot change the lens, which is our next point.


For professional photographers, lenses are an integral part of their craft. You may be surprised that you cannot change lenses on point and shoot cameras; neither can you mount external flashes.

Nowadays, some top quality point and shoot cameras offer great zoom and focus systems, but at some point, you will need a lens, and here it holds you back.

On the other hand, SLR cameras allow you to increase the quality by using different lenses.

However, when we combine the SLR body with the lens, it costs you almost double than a “Point and Shoot” camera. Also, the quality of the camera is not only measured with its lens sensor playing a vital role.

So bear in mind that a point and shoot camera are not compatible with lenses, and it is a great point that differs between the “Point and Shoot” camera from SLR cameras.

Sensor Size

The third important part of the camera can help you to differentiate between a point and shoot camera, and the SLR camera is the sensor type and size.

SLR cameras always have bigger sensors than point and shoot cameras that allow SLR to obtain images in better quality.

Also, a bigger sensor gets more light, and in low light situations, a bigger sensor makes a great impact and ideal for capturing excellent pictures. That’s why SLR cameras capture better pictures in low light.

Camera Setting and Personalization

Another great tactic you can use to determine the difference is the camera setting. SLR cameras provide better control over the setting of cameras than a point and shoot camera. On SLR, you can change aperture, Shutter Speed, and white balance. On the other hand, point and shoot cameras did not contain basic shutter speed changing options. Furthermore, on an SLR camera, you can mount an external flash, but on point and shoot, you cannot.


If you see the price of both cameras, you can also easily find differences. A good SLR camera that is available now in the form of a DSLR costs around $500, and if you use a lens, the price will increase. However, you can find a good point and shoot camera in the $200 to $300 price range.

These are the points that can help you to differentiate point and shoot cameras vs. SLR cameras.

What is an SLR Camera?

As I already mentioned, SLR cameras are a previous form of DSLR. SLR stands for single-lens reflex. These cameras work on a mirror and prism system.

In SLR cameras, you will capture exactly that you see through the camera. When you press the shutter button a mirror flips up letting in light to the recording medium. When this happens your view is briefly interrupted through the viewfinder. To see specific diagrams of the inner workings of an SLR camera you can check it out here.

What is the Point and Shoot Camera?

Point and shoot cameras are also known as compact cameras. These types of cameras are manufactured to use easily in daily life. Also, for travel, these are the ideal choice because of compact, easy to use, and pocket-friendly design.

The P&S does much of the work for you. There is a built in lens designed to easily produce clean, crisp photos. They are a step up from a smartphone camera and can be found in many price points.

Is it worth buying a point and shoot camera?

If you are a beginner or you want a camera to capture your daily life moments or adventures, then a good point and shoot camera in the price range of $500 worth buying.

However, if you are already familiar with cameras and looking for a camera that can help you to take your photography to the next level, then I recommend you to get a DSLR camera.


These are the major points that can help you to find the difference between a point and shoot camera and SLR camera.

The best option, from my point of view, is the sensor size and lenses. In addition, you cannot decide which camera will be more beneficial for you.

Don’t worry! Think if you want a compact camera just to capture pictures, then consider point and shoot cameras. And if you want to do professional photography and looking for the best camera, then get an SLR/DSLR camera.

The final decision is always up to you. The most important thing is what you want and what your goal is.

Lastly, if you found this article helpful, then don’t forget to share it and leave comments.