Phones with cameras are ubiquitous, and point-and-shoot cameras have become practically throwaway purchases. It’s the golden age of citizen photography, but as you become more serious about your images, pocketable cameras become more frustrating, and you run into the limits of physics. The tiny sensors and low-speed lenses in camera phones and point-and-shoots can’t do justice to fast-action or low-light photography. Sometimes when you need that really long shot of, say, a hawk soaring above the trees, the wide-angle lens common to compact cameras reduces the graceful lines of the regal bird to a tiny dot.
Enter digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras, which take your photography to the next level.