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(Digital Single Lens Reflex) A digital still image camera that uses a single lens reflex (SLR) mechanism. Most professional cameras have been single lens reflex, although analog film until digital SLRs emerged in the early 1990s. Following are the two major differences between DSLRs and standard digital cameras.

Removable Lenses
No single lens can handle every photographic requirement, and SLR cameras have always used removable lenses. A wide variety of lenses are available for each camera system, and many lenses that fit 35mm film SLRs also fit digital SLRs. However, the CCD or CMOS sensor in all but high-end digital SLRs is generally not as large as a 35mm frame, and 35mm lenses produce different focal lengths (see crop factor). See CCD sensor and CMOS sensor.

Through the Lens
In an SLR, the photographer sees the image through the actual picture lens. To compose the picture, a mirror reflects the light from the lens to the viewfinder. When the picture is taken, the mirror momentarily flips out of the way to allow the light to pass through the lens diaphragm to the CCD or CMOS sensor (or to film in analog SLRs). Through-the-lens viewing enables precise manual focusing because tiny LCD screens do not have sufficient resolution. In addition, holding the viewfinder against the face helps steady it.

The LCD screen in early DSLRs was used to review the recorded image, not to preview the picture before shooting. In 2006, Olympus introduced the first DSLR with a "live preview LCD," and other camera vendors followed. See mirrorless camera, viewfinder, digital camera and Four Thirds system.

Beware the Dust!

Unlike an analog SLR, which uses a fresh film frame for each photo, the digital SLR uses the same sensor chip forever. Since the sensor is susceptible to dust, it is imperative to always keep the lens port covered. Starting in 2007, DSLRs began to include automatic dust removal.

A "mirror lockup" function flips the mirror out of the way to expose the sensor for cleaning, and there is a raft of cleaning materials on the market. For a comprehensive overview, visit www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com.
References in periodicals archive ?
Most old-school SLR camera releases were designed for Bulb (long-exposure images captured on a single image over periods of seconds or even minutes) but today's D-SLR remotes, such as the TriggerTrap, offer much more than just basic remote shutter release
The Nikon D800 re-imagines what is possible from this level of D-SLR, to address the needs of an emerging and ever changing market; this is the camera that is going to bridge the gap for the most demanding imaging professionals, and provide never before seen levels of SLR image and video quality," said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc.
2 MP D-SLR Camera w/ 18-55mm Lens, 3" LCD - Originally $974.
This latest Nikon FX-format (full-frame) D-SLR camera is developed with advanced specifications that include significantly improved moving subject acquisition capabilities, and compelling image quality at high sensitivities to enable excellent response to a wide variety of scenes and subjects.
Watson identified standalone cameras like the Nikon D-SLR are the number one choice for amateurs looking to take their photography to the next level due to their greater depth and superior quality.
For exceptional image quality, it employs a Nikon DX-format CMOS sensor, the same type used in our outstanding DX-format D-SLR cameras.
The image quality is comparable to a 35mm full frame D-SLR sensor making the camera extremely attractive for professional photographers.
Takashi Yoshida, managing director, Nikon Middle East, said: "As Nikon continues to maintain a leading position in the D-SLR category, we remain committed to providing customers in the Middle East with versatile, high-quality cameras such as the D5200 that can achieve the same performance as other higher-end models.
Designed to give users even more creative freedom in a compact body, the P300 comes equipped with several features commonly found in D-SLR cameras such Aperture Priority (A), Shutter Priority (S) and Full Manual (M) Control.
Camcorder prices are continuing to fall and the D-SLR is merely another example taking that direction--and on how manufacturers are responding to it.
It is also the lightest and smallest camera amongst Nikon D-SLR collection.
Five decades later, the Olympus passion for innovation is still setting the pace with the new Pen E-P1, which combines an incredibly small size, retro style, and ease of use without giving up any of the benefits of D-SLR quality.