I remember buying my first DSLR\u00a0camera 7 years ago. It was the Canon EOS 300D, and I remember that it cost me just under one thousand pounds, a small fortune for what was an entry level DSLR. Nowadays, of course, the equivalent camera will cost you under \u00a3400! There's no doubt that these cameras are now more affordable than ever. But exactly why would you fork out for a DSLR camera over a simple compact camera? Here are my top 5 reasons: \u00a05 reasons you need a DSLR camera 1. Shallow depth of field Most compact cameras have small sensors, and therefore the focal length of the lenses used are very 'small'. \u00a0Consequently, photos taken with these cameras render everything in sharp focus. This may be great for landscape photos, but often with portraits it's preferable to capture just the subject in sharp focus, and blur out the background. This shallow depth of field effect can look stunning, but is almost impossible to achieve with a traditional digital compact camera. With the right lens on a DSLR camera, it's easy to achieve. Photo Credits: Peyman Az\/500px 2. Lightning fast focus Have you\u00a0ever tried getting a compact camera to focus quickly? That's right, they just don't. And whilst you're waiting for the focus to kick in your friend with his DSLR \u00a0camera has just nabbed that shot! DSLRs are so much faster than compact cameras at focusing, and this really can make the difference between you getting that shot and not getting it! Photo Credits: Tristan Shu\/500px 3. They open up a world of photography When you buy a digital SLR you automatically gain access to the manufacturer's system. In the case of Nikon and Canon this means you can access literally hundreds of different lenses and accessories including some that are designed for specific types of photography, such as macro. This means that you can take on literally any form of photography at a future point in time, using your DSLR as the core component. Photo Credits: Leon Baas\/500px 4. Access to great lenses There's no doubt that owning an SLR means you have access to a fantastic range of lenses, from ultra wide angle through to extreme telephoto. A great quality lens is the single thing that will make the biggest difference to image quality, and also the 'style' of your photos. Photo Credits: Gleb Tarro\/500px 5. They're reasonably priced now As I said in my introduction, digital SLRs are now very reasonably priced. In fact, they are often only \u00a360-\u00a3100 more than a typical compact camera. Bearing in mind the wide range of advantages they offer, it's a bit of a 'no brainer' choosing one over a compact camera. The only reason I can honestly think of for choosing a compact camera is if you want something small and very portable to shoot with. Conclusion Of course you can now buy compact cameras with DSLR sized sensors, which negates point 1 to a degree. However, whilst this new breed of compact cameras are undoubtedly terrific, they don't offer the range of lenses, flashes and accessories that an SLR can, and they won't allow you to 'grow' with your hobby the same way as a DSLR camera. Bearing in mind the relatively low cost of DSLR cameras now now, they really are the best option for keen photographers. About the Author Matt runs Foden Photography, specialising in weddings, event and lifestyle portrait shoots. He is based in the Suburbs of London, UK.