No, a Canon Powershot camera is not a DSLR camera. Canon PowerShot cameras are part of Canon’s ‘compact digital cameras’ range and most of them come as either point-and-shoot cameras or bridge cameras.
More recently Canon has other versions of PowerShots such as smart cameras like the PowerShot PX.
This post will tell you the differences between a PowerShot and a DSLR and what this means for you as a consumer.
What Is Considered A DSLR?
DSLR stands for ‘Digital Single Lens Reflex’ and is also referred to as digital SLR.
It’s ‘Digital’ because you get images digitally.
Single Lens Reflex (SLR) describes the mirror and prism system within the lens which lets you see exactly what the camera sees through the viewfinder.
With DSLRs, you have an interchangeable lens system meaning you can change the lens you are using on the camera depending on the type of photographs or videos you are trying to capture.
DSLRs can come in many forms and they can be aimed at complete beginner photographers to seasoned veterans in photography.
You tend to find APS-C or crop sensor cameras being aimed at the beginner, hobbyist end of the market and full-frame cameras aimed at more professional users.
Related reading : Crop Sensor vs Full-Frame
What Does PowerShot Mean In Cameras?
PowerShot is a series of cameras made by Canon that are designed for consumers and prosumers, but not really for professionals.
The PowerShot series of cameras have had many different forms and they fall under ‘compact’/‘point and shoot’ and ‘bridge’ cameras.
This is because they have a compact design that doesn’t use an SLR (single lens reflex system) within the camera and they are easy to use.
Some look very similar to DSLRs but these models are actually ‘SLR-like’ bridge cameras. We’ll show you some examples later in this post.
The main thing about PowerShot cameras is that they do not have an interchangeable lens system meaning you are unable to change the lens on the camera.
What Is The Difference Between Powershot And DSLR?
The main differences between a Canon PowerShot and a Canon DSLR are the following:
The first major difference is that you can change lenses on Canon DSLRs, but you cannot on a Canon PowerShot camera. This is because DSLRs have an interchangeable lens system.
Having an interchangeable lens system means that you have the freedom to pick whatever lens you want (as long as it’s compatible) depending on the focal length you need.
For example, you could use a 24mm for landscapes, a 50mm lens for portraits or a 200mm for wildlife photography.
Sometimes this can be a curse though because certain lenses will only give you a given range of focal lengths or if you get a prime lens it will just be one fixed focal length.
This can especially be a problem if you are on a budget and need high-quality wide-angle lenses because wide-angle lenses can be quite expensive.
On the other hand, Powershot cameras have one fixed lens but allow for a high level of zoom so that you can still get a variety of perspectives.
For example, on the G7 X Mark III the lens gives you a range of focal lengths equivalent to 24mm to 100mm if you compared it to a full-frame camera.
This is still a nice variety of focal lengths to choose from so you definitely are not ‘stuck’ when using a PowerShot camera.
Of course, the quality of a 24mm on a PowerShot is unlikely to match a 24mm lens on a DSLR with similar specs.
Beyond lenses, you also have more manual control over the settings in your camera on DSLRs. DSLRs have extensive menus and customization options whereas on PowerShot cameras the options are more limited.
This varies from camera to camera in terms of how much manual control you can get, but in general, you will have more manual control on DSLRs compared to PowerShot cameras.
One of the main benefits of a PowerShot camera is that they are much smaller and more compact. This makes it perfect for people who are on the go and don’t want to carry a lot of equipment with them.
Unfortunately, this benefit of being more portable can also be a curse.
Due to being smaller, PowerShot cameras have less space for batteries so battery life is always lower in a PowerShot camera compared to a similarly priced DSLR.
Although, if you are using a PowerShot camera you should still have enough battery life to get you through normal use without a problem.
This is especially true since you are more likely to go for a PowerShot if you are just using it for basic videos for family occasions, holidays or YouTube vlogs.
DSLRs also have larger sensors compared to PowerShot cameras. This is both because Powershot cameras are smaller and larger sensors are less necessary for the typical user of a PowerShot camera.
Having a larger sensor on a DSLR allows for better low-light capabilities on the camera.
This can be very important if you are shooting professionally for clients. For example, if you need to do a nighttime session or are shooting indoors then low-light capabilities can be important in making sure your photos and videos still have that professional edge.
Even if you are not shooting for clients, there are times when you need low-light capabilities for your own personal use.
If you are really into night-time photography or astrophotography then having a larger sensor is vital.
Another feature of DSLRs is that they tend to have more options for accessories. This varies from model to model but this can include things like:
- Remote shooting capabilities
- External flash capabilities
- External microphone inputs
Of course, there are still some PowerShot cameras that do allow for accessories. For example, the Canon G7 X Mark III is the first G7 X model with an external microphone input.
By definition, DSLRs also always have an optical viewfinder that shows you exactly what the camera can see through the lens. PowerShot cameras do not have this in general, but some PowerShot cameras do have electronic viewfinders (EVF).
When putting all of the differences together, DSLRs have more of a learning curve, but they also have a higher skill ceiling.
This means a DSLR can take you a lot further in your photography or videography journey.
💡 Because of all the factors detailed above, DSLRs are aimed at users that are complete beginners, all the way up to professionals. On the other hand, PowerShot cameras are aimed more at complete beginners, up to hobbyists or enthusiasts.
Examples Of PowerShot Cameras
To give you some examples of PowerShot cameras, we’ve made a list below of some of the different series of PowerShot cameras from recent years:
- Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III – G series
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 – ELPH Series (also known as Digital IXUS)
- Canon Powershot SX70 HS – S series
Examples Of DSLR Cameras
To give you some examples of Canon DSLRs cameras, we’ve made a list below of some of the different series of Canon DSLR cameras from recent years:
- Canon EOS Rebel T8i – APS-C DSLR
- Canon EOS 90D – APS-C DSLR
- Canon EOS-1D X Mark III – Full-frame DSLR
Should I Get A Canon PowerShot Or A Canon DSLR?
If you’re trying to make the decision between getting a Canon PowerShot or a Canon DSLR then there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself.
The first thing you need to know is what you will be using the camera for.
What Do I Want The Camera For?
Are you using the camera for basic family occasions like holidays and birthdays, or are you planning on professional pieces that you want to charge clients for?
If you are just going to be taking basic photos and videos of your family or even some basic vlogs for a YouTube channel, then a PowerShot camera like the G7 X Mark III will be perfect for your needs.
On the other hand, if you want to start getting into more cinematic videos or professional-level photos then a DSLR will be a better option.
How Much Do I Want To Spend?
In general, PowerShot cameras will tend to be cheaper, but you can actually get entry-level DSLRs for cheaper prices than some PowerShot cameras.
For example, look at the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III compared to the Canon EOS Rebel T7 and the Rebel T8i:
The Rebel T7 is quite a bit more affordable than the G7 X Mark III. Of course, the Rebel T7 is an older model which was released in 2018, whereas the G7 X Mark III was released in 2019.
If you wanted a newer DSLR like the Rebel T8i then you will be paying more than the G7 X Mark III.
The main thing to consider is not just the price, but the specifications of the cameras.
A common way people pick between cameras (if they plan on doing videography) is to look at the FPS provided at different resolutions.
For example, a common standard is to check if the camera can record videos at 60fps in 1080p (Full HD).
💡 As a general rule, if you plan on spending under $1000 then you can look at entry-level DSLRs and pretty much any PowerShot camera. If you plan on spending more than $1000 then you should probably be looking at DSLRs.
How Much Do I Want To Learn?
Another important thing to consider is how much time you want to put into learning photography and videography.
If you’re not too bothered about learning and improving at photography or videography then a DSLR might not be worth it.
This is because PowerShot cameras are more user-friendly and you don’t have to mess about with settings as much.
You don’t have to mess about with different lenses at all!
If you just want to pick the camera up and easily take pictures or press record, then a PowerShot will be better suited to you.
On the other hand, if you really want to test and improve your skills over time and take photography seriously then a DSLR will provide you with what you need.
A DSLR will have a steeper learning curve, but it will also give you more potential and it can grow with your skills more.
You can also invest in different lenses over time to expand your creativity.
Is Canon Powershot SX60 A DSLR Camera?
The Canon PowerShot SX60 and other PowerShot cameras may look like DSLRs, but they are not. The Canon SX60 is an SLR-like bridge camera. Bridge cameras are cameras that fall between point-and-shoots and DSLRs.
They tend to look like DSLRs but are still much more compact. Bridge cameras also do not have interchangeable lens systems.