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Old Nov 5, 2004, 7:43 PM   #1
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I have been looking at the two types of camera, SLR and Prosumer and I don't undetand what the difference in size between the sensors will mean for me. For expample the prosumer cameras have a 8 megapixel sensor but the actual sensor size is smaller than the sensor on a 6 megapixil SLR... Is one better for resolution than the other?

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Old Nov 5, 2004, 7:57 PM   #2
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Smaller high megapixel cameras are more prone to noise at lower light levels, longer shutter speeds, or higher ISO levels.

Digicams are nice and compact, and lighter, but they can't be compared to the quality of a full frame dSLR.

Depends on your level of photography.
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Old Nov 7, 2004, 6:36 PM   #3
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Thank you for the information, I guess it was too good to be true that a 8 megapixel compact would be as good a SLR and be half the price.....

Presumably if 90% of your pics are Birthdays, Weddings, Aniversaries, Christmas etc then a high megapixel compact would be just fine.



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Old Nov 8, 2004, 2:34 AM   #4
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Don't for goodness sake get hung up on the pixel thing. 8mp is fine if you are going to do A3 sized posters of all photos, but for up to A4 size then 5mp is fine. Besides, many of the 8mp cameras are cramming a quart into a pint pot and there are imaging problems known as purple fringing.My choice would be the Olympus 5060 for a small(ish) everyday camera, since it has a wide angle lens and a fair zoom. Its big brother (literally) the 8080 is 8mp but I have used and compared the two and find no perceivable quality when printing up to A4. You will though have spent a great deal more for no real benefit.

The difference between prosumer and SLR? An SLR body is a building block to which you can add anything you choose depending on the type of photography you do, from macro with a ring flash to telephotos which can spot a bumblebee at a mile. Better lenses, more powerful flash (at least 3 time more powerful) and an image quality that is superb. But it costs. My Nikon with flash and lenses came to over $4,000 as a cost comparison but the Olympus 5060is about $450 and I use it all the time. But if you are thinking of seriously getting into photography then the limitations of a prosumer camera will start to annoy you pretty quickly. Slow shutter speeds, limited flash, no ability to take good long distance shots (I know some prosumers have nearly 400mm lenses but I am not impressed with the time it takes to get a shot nor the results) and as always, it is a compromise. But if you are a happy snapper then look around the world is your oyster. Incidentally, I have the Sony compact P150 - I would avoid it like th plague, but from personal experience I can highly recommend the Olympus 5060. A compact that gives you manual control if you want it.

Hope this helps you
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Old Nov 8, 2004, 8:42 PM   #5
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Cam offers a very good answer. I too started with a fixed lens camera (Olympus C-730) and after a few years switched to an SLR (Olympus E-1). I missed the flexibility of an SLR and lenses, although I still carry an Oly C-765 in my work bag every day just in case. But - you make a good point - if most of your shooting is snapshots of family, a fixed-lens will do well. I don't think I've seen a bad post on an Oly 5060 -sounds like it has awesome low-light capability.
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 3:24 PM   #6
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In reading your reply to Fhen regarding prosumer vs dslr, it helps me too. I am at my wits end in trying to decide between the two for obvious reasons - money! But I am leaning toward the Canon EOS20D. I am not a full photographer, but have been shooting off and on for some time, and still get some requests for weddings, reunions, banquets etc... I just found out though, that the lcd on the dslr's are not live as on the point and shoot or prosumer models. Which Nikon do you have? And why did you choose it over the competition?
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 4:42 PM   #7
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I always wonder about this too... I'm not sure who is going to buy a high-end prosumer camera :?: For instance, who will buy the Canon Powershot Pro1 (CAN$1000; probably around US$800)? Isn't it better to get, say, the Canon Digital Rebel than the Powershot Pro1? :?:
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 8:52 PM   #8
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To all the peopl who took the time to contribute to my question many thanks for your imput. I have been looking again at specs and also what you all have said and would like to note for all the following on sensor size for the two types of cameras.

DSLR 15mmx22mm and Prosumer 7mmx9mm

The point made by one contributorthat if A4 is the largest print size then don't get carried away with megapixel envy is much appreciated.

For me I have to work out if I am going to move beyond happy snapper to amature. But I still can't help admiring the Nikon Coolpix 8800.....

Again thanks everyone who contributed to this question



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Old Nov 9, 2004, 9:49 PM   #9
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Some pros and cons...

LCD Framing: unlike a consumer (or "prosumer") camera, the LCD can't be used for framing on a DSLR.

Lens Cost: To get the same focal range you can find in a prosumer(non-DSLR) camera, you often have to spend much more money, especially to get lenses that are as "fast" (widest apertures available at wide angle and zoom). To get all the features (macro performance, zoom range, etc.), you must often purchase multiple lenses (and many users do).

Camera Size/Weight: Because of the larger sensors used in most Digital SLR cameras, the lenses also have to be larger and heavier for the same focal ranges/light gathering ability.

Sensor Cleaning: When you swap lenses, you risk dust getting into the the sensor.

Features: youdon't get the "bells, whistles and buzzers" found on a consumer model in a DSLR (i.e., sound recording, panaroma modes, movie modes, etc.).

A Few Advantages to a Digital SLR:

A true "Through the Lens" Optical Viewfinder

Ability to Shoot at Higher ISO speeds with lower noise. DSLR's have much larger sensors, with better signal to noise ratios as the CCD signal is amplifed for higher ISO speeds. Often, a DSLR is the only tool that will work well for indoor sports and other conditions requiring the ability to shoot at higher ISO speeds (but you need to have a bright lens to go with one, too).

Fast Focus Speeds -- Most Digital SLR's use a Phase Detection Focus System which is extremely fast. Most ProsumerType Cameras use a Contrast Detection Focus System which is usuallyslower.

Ability to Control Depth of Field - The smaller sensors used in aProsumer Camera limit your ability to control Depth of Field (blur backgrounds by using wider apertures so that your subject stands out more). This is because Depth of Field is based on the Actual (versus 35mm equivalent) focal length of the lens (and a much shorter focal length lens can be used on anon-DSLR model to get the same equivalent focal length in a DSLR). So, you've got much more control over Depth of Field via Aperture Settings with a DSLR.

Of course, some users may not care about blurring backgrounds to help their subjects stand out, and may like the greater DOF (more of a photo in focus as you get further away from your focus point) a non-DSLR camera would have at a given 35mm equivalent focal length, aperture, and focus distance. So, depending on your perspective, this could be looked at as an advantage, or a disadvantage to a DSLR.

Lenses become an investment - With a Digital SLR, when you upgrade your camera body later, you can usually take your lenses with you within the same manufacturer. With anon-DSLRcamera, the lenses are permanently attached.

Speed of Writes - The processors used in most Digital SLR's are usually much faster than the processors used in prosumer type cameras. As a result the camera's overall operation is usually much faster.

Both types of cameras can be great for many users. Some users have both (a compact consumer model good for most shooting situations, that is much easier to carry); as well as a Digital SLR (with multiple lenses).
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 11:14 PM   #10
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Cam and JimC provided some excellent answers, per usual. Fhen, I would say for the needs/uses you describe a Prosumer camera would be just fine. If you were shooting some of those events (i.e. wedding) professionally and selling prints, then you would probably want to look at moving up. But it sounds like you would just be sharing pics with family, so a DSLR would likely be overkill. I still need to get my Minolta Z1 fixed (it's having focusing issues) and hopefully that'll be done by Christmas so I can use it during the holidays and save some wear on my Nikon D70.
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