Understanding the single lens reflex (SLR) camera | lynda.com overview
Digital SLR Camera Guide
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Digital Camera Technology : What Is an SLR Camera?
A digital single-lens reflex camera is a digital camera that combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor, as opposed to photographic film. The reflex design scheme is the primary difference between a DSLR and other digital cameras. In the reflex design, light travels through the lens, then to a mirror that alternates to send the image to either the viewfinder or the image sensor. The traditional alternative would be to have a viewfinder with its own lens, hence the term "single lens" for this design. By using only one lens, the viewfinder of a DSLR presents an image that will not differ substantially from what is captured by the camera's sensor. A DSLR differs from non-reflex single-lens digital cameras in that the viewfinder presents a direct optical view through the lens, rather than being captured by the camera's image sensor and displayed by a digital screen.