SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. Most of you are probably looking at or have a DSLR or digital Single Lens Reflex camera. There are film cameras that are also SLR cameras.
The precise mechanics involved in digital SLR cameras are described in detail on Wikipedia. SLR now translates into lenses that are interchangeable and less shutter lag time. SLR cameras also give you more control over the camera.
DSLR cameras are preferred for numerous reasons. Even people who are not professional photographers notice the difference between pictures taken with DSLRs and point and shoot cameras. The sensor in a DSLR is much larger and more sensitive as well.
The ability to change lenses makes DSLRs popular because you can choose the lens to suit your shoot. Available types of lenses are zoom, prime, and macro. There are also special purpose lenses, such as the fish-eye lens. You will want to choose lenses based on whether you want wide angle shots, “normal” pictures, portraits, or shots at varying depths.
Most books recommend beginning with 3 lenses – a prime lens for portraits and 2 zoom lenses, a short and a long telephoto.
Most people begin with the kit lens (the one that comes with the camera) and that’s just fine. Later we’ll discuss other lenses and their benefits.
Do you have a SLR camera? Which one?