If you are a serious shutterbug or looking to get serious about photography, selecting the right camera to execute your craft is one of the most important purchasing decisions you will make. Buying a quality single-lens reflex (SLR) camera is essential for anyone looking to delve into the more technical aspects of photography. So, what separates SLRs from their compact counterparts? In regular cameras, there are two optical light paths from the subject to the camera: one path leading to the lens and the other to the viewfinder. Since the lens and viewfinder aren’t on the same optical path, the photo you capture won’t be exactly what you are seeing through the viewfinder. SLR cameras contain a moving mirror system that allows you to capture exactly what you are seeing through the viewfinder. It is for this reason that professional photographers, who require greater precision and quality in their images, use SLR rather than regular cameras. SLRs are also the tool of choice by professionals because, unlike regular point and shoot models, they allow you to customise your camera to suit your individual requirements with a variety of accessories such as interchangeable filters and lenses. The next decision you will need to make is whether you stick with film or go digital. While the advent of digital technology has made taking great shots much easier for even the photography novice, most old-school photographers maintain their orthodox devotion to film. The major difference between a digital SLR and the traditional SLR is that the latter saves the images captured on film rather than a digital storage method such as an SD card. Because the storage medium if different, so too are the cameras’ image sensors. In SLR cameras, the light shining through the lens is projected directly onto 35mm film whereas DLSRs contain a CCD or CMOS imaging sensor that captures light and coverts it into digital data. One advantage of the digital type SLR over the film-based version is that images can be stored on reusable memory cards that have the capacity to store hundreds or even thousands of images. With digital storage, the cost of film and processing can be avoided. Instead, you just print the images you want. Another advantage of DLSR cameras over their traditional counterparts is that most now come with an LCD screen. This allows you review your pictures straight after taking them instead of waiting to get your film developed. So, if your photo doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, you can make the necessary setting modifications immediately and reshoot the scene. Film also determines the light sensitivity of the camera. So, if you are shooting with ISO 400 film, you are unable to change your light sensitivity until you have finished the whole roll. With a DSLR, you have the advantage of simply adjusting the ISO with the push of a button, helping to extend you creative control.