Point & Shoot vs SLR

Welcome to Fundamentals! We're starting off the series by focusing on 35mm. We'll be going into more detail on different film formats later on but if you're starting out, 35mm is the best place to begin. In terms of the number of exposures you get per roll, it's the most affordable option and so will give you more of a chance to play, experiment and grow as you start taking photos.

There are so many different 35mm camera options out there and it can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming when you're trying to work out which is right for you. They can be roughly divided into two categories - Point and Shoot and SLR. There are, of course, pros to both - have a think about what you are after from a camera, and what will work best for you.



Point and shoot cameras are more compact, designed to do most of the work for you. Many of them use autofocus, will set the exposure options automatically, and have an inbuilt flash as well.


  • Price - P&S cameras tend to be cheaper and there are lots of very affordable models to be found online, perfect if you want to try film out before investing in something with more features.
  • Size - You'll never have to worry about lugging a heavy camera around, the compact shape and style mean these cameras are smaller and lighter - you can always have one on you. They're especially great for a night out with friends, and can easily fit in a small bag or pocket.
  • Simplicity - The key feature of a P&S is that it does the bulk of the work for you. It's designed to allow you to take photos quickly and easily. They have a large depth of field so lots of your image will be in focus, and automatic features mean all you have to do is point, and shoot. There are obviously downsides to this but it does mean you can focus on composition and having fun with film rather than the technical side.



SLR cameras or Single Lens Reflex are built around a moveable mirror and are bigger, often more technical models.


  • Adaptability - Unlike with a P&S, where you have limited, to no control over the camera settings, an SLR has manual features that you can change to suit your needs or desired effect. Most photographs on a P&S will come out looking the same, but with an SLR you can play with exposure and focus to drastically impact how the photo is captured.
  • Lenses - The ability to switch out different lenses gives you more options as a photographer and enables you to adapt the same camera to produce different results. You have less restrictions.
  • Quality - You can still take great photos with a P&S but with the ability to switch to better lenses and control the settings, an SLR can really improve the quality of the images you capture.
  • Durability - Many people start shooting analogue on a second or even third hand camera, and this is one of the beauties of film - cameras were built to stand the test of time, so if you take care of it, chances are an SLR will last you a long time, and will be worth the investment. Point and Shoots tend to be plastic to make them lighter and cheaper to produce and so are more likely to break.


Author : Becca Knight 

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