SLR is an archaic technology, first patented in 1861 (!). It is of no use for the vast majority of digital camera users. It is still perceived as a premium mainly because of camera manufacturer marketing and uninformed apologists.
SLR just means that a series of mirrors and lenses allows the photographer to to “look” through the main camera lenses.
Guess what? Digital cameras already do this!
When you look at the LCD preview screen, you are already “looking” through the main lenses. These days, SLR is a redundant feature that only increases size, heft, and fragility.
Wikipeida says these features are common to digital SLR cameras:
- Parallax-free optical viewfinder
- Fast phase-detection autofocus
- Interchangeable lenses
- Sensor size and quality
- Depth-of-field control
- Angle of view
- Mode dial
If you scratch out the word “optical” (as I did above), none of these features have anything to do with SLR technology. Well, maybe fast phase-detection autofocus has a minor relationship with SLR due to its need to use an additional sensor, but that problem can easily be mitigated with technology similar to DSLRs that have live previews. All of these features could work fine on cameras lacking SLR junk.
A while back, car manufacturers started bundling options, a blatant profit-enhancing move. Now, on many cars, you can’t get certain options without getting all sorts of unrelated options in a bundle. For example, you usually have to order a bundle of several luxury options to get a built in navigation system (a bad idea, by the way).
Digital SLR is the same thing. If you want a “really, really good camera”, manufacturers have strongly marketed that digital SLR is the only way to go. It’s unfortunate and unacceptable that manufacturers won’t give us advanced options like standard interchangeable lenses without also bundling costly, archaic SLR technology.