SLR – Single Lens Refelx (a film camera)
DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex (a digital camera)
A compact digital camera is lighter costs less and is usually quieter then a digital SLR. The biggest difference is a digital SLR camera has interchangeable lenses wide angle, telephoto etc. The digital SLR has loads of manual features and is usually going to have better quality optics, light metering and sensors. With the sensor on a digital SLR it is bigger then a point and shoot digital camera, the sensor is what holds the image you took.
Cost – A digital camera usually will run you between $100-$400 where a Digital SLR seems like they start around $600 and go up up and up…
Size and weight – a compact digital camera is going to be light and fit in your pocket! So if you want a camera that can easily be thrown in your purse or back pocket a compact digital camera is the one for you.
Zoom – a compact digital camera has an electronic zoom push a button and your camera will automatically zoom and focus for you. With a digital SLR lens you must manually twist the ring on the lens to zoom in and out. You can buy a compact digital camera with a pretty good zoom on it some have 10x or 12x zoom to get that in a digital SLR you need to purchase more lenses which cost more money, but give you a greater range of photography.