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Old Nov 30, 2005, 10:08 AM   #1
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I have read in the reviews on this site that the cheapest SLR'S with their basic lens will produce better images than the dearest Prosumer cameras. Is this true?

I was considering a digicam like the Fuji 9500, but was wondering if an SLR like the Nikon D50 or the Canon Rebel with a Sigma/Tamron 18-200 would give me better results? I particularly want a wide ranging zoom in this price bracket?

Your opions would be apreciated. Barry.:?
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 10:41 AM   #2
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The general situation is this: any dSLR will have a larger sensor than the prosumer cameras. A larger sensor means that there will be less noise in the image for the same number of megapixels.

Now, lower noise in and of itself doesnt't mean much. The question is, does the noise affect the quality of the image? To a first approximation, the answer is that the current prosumer cameras will not have a noise problem that anyone cares about if you can get away with an ISO of 100 or less. At ISO of 200, it is a matter of the particular image and personal pereference whether there is a noise issue for most prosumer cameras. If there's lots of light, ISO 200 will be good enough for most everyone. By the time you get to ISO 400, most people can tell that there is a noise issue on most prosumer cameras, even with good light.

The Fuji s9500 has a sensor that is better with noise than most prosumers, but it packs in more pixels than perhaps it should. The 5200, which has 5 MP, is generally seen as having half the noise of comparable cameras -- ISO 400 is fine, 800 is pushing the envelope, and 1600 is for emergencies only. The 9500, with its higher pxiel density, has more noise than the 5200 at all speeds, but is noticably better than the Panasonic FZ-30 in this regard. The usual places where you would feel the need for ISO of 1600 or even 3200 would be in no-flash indoor photography or stop-action pictures of night or indoor athletics games.

Besides a larger sensor, it is possible with a dSLR to get multiple lenses to cover the range of zooms you cover with just one in your ultrazoom. The good thing about that is that no lens can excel at all zooms from, say, 28mm to 400mm. The lens will have distortion problems at one end or the other (or both), chromatic aberration at some zooms, etc. The extreme for image quality would be to have "prime" lenses for each desired zoom -- that is created to perform optimally at exactly one zoom. This would require a fair number of expensivelenses to cover the range of possibilites with your dSLR, but would provide the best possible imaging. Most photographers -- even professional photographers -- will have prime lenses for some zooms and general-purpose "kit" lenses to cover the rest of the zoom range they may work under or to be able to accommodate quick changes of zoom in rapidly-changing situations.

So, what do you get that is good from a prosumer camera? The first thing is a lower price, but the Fuji s9500 is at a price point that pretty much undercuts that virtue. The second thing is smaller lenses for long zoom. The size of the lens has to go up with the size of the sensor that it is focusing on, so dSLRs require much bigger and heavier (and costly) lenses for the same zoom range. The third thing that you get with the prosumer camera is a sealed box. Dirt getting onto the sensor is a real concern for interchangable lens cameras, and requires technique to avoid and understainding of how to clean the sensor once it does get dirty. It can be bulky to carry around multiple lenses, too.

Are the pluses of a prosumer camera enough to outweigh the minuses? That depends on your situation, of course. But, if image quality is your only concern, there is no question that dSLRs -- even inexpensive dSLRs, -- will win over prosumer ultrazooms every time.

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Old Nov 30, 2005, 11:37 AM   #3
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of course, the prosumer sensor thing may change after the Sony DSC-R1 with the CMOS APS-C sized(slightly smaller) sensor....which have shown to have comparable noise perfomance to a DSLR(better even, to the Oly's E-system due to the even smaller 4/3 sensor) at high ISO....but its priced accordingly and does not have a "ultra zoom" per se.....things could change though if it sells well...
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 11:50 AM   #4
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tclune points out a lot of truths ... bottom line with dSLRs is the tremendous versatility and adaptability available (all at an ever-growing cost as you buy more accessories and lenses for it).

Nonetheless I disagree with two statements: the very first one is not correct. In fact, the Sony R1 comes to mind re sensor size.

I "personally" disagree also with his last statement ... and that is and has been a matter of vast argument, even among professionals, since the advent of decent non-dSLR digital cameras. It boils down to personal preferences and skill. Even a ball-peen hammer in the hands of an expert carpenter will build an outstanding cabinet ... granted it would be easier to use the proper hammer for the job at hand. A skillful and artistic photographer can produce photos rivaling or exceeding the very best with virtually any half-decent camera.

Nonetheless, while I keep a somewhat large Sony DSCF828 instantly available at all times, a good dSLR such as the Canon 20d (am drooling at a 5d) with an assortment of appropriate lenses and accessories can often make the job easier. IMHO

On edit, read this ... and the last paragraph on the last page ... all good info http://www.neocamera.com/feature_dslr.html

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Old Dec 1, 2005, 4:43 AM   #5
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This question gets asked a lot and I don't quite understand why. DSLR cameras are in a class of their own - trying to compare them with the so-called 'prosumer' cameras, even the new large-sensor Sony model, is like comparing apples and cumquats. These designs are as different as much as a Rollei 35mm rangefinder is different from a Hasselblad. No one who's considering buying one is too likely to be happy with the other, since they serve totally different purposes.

DSLRsall have removeable lenses and very precise optical TTL viewfinders, prosumer or ultra-zoom cameras don't - they have Electronic Viewfinders of widely differing quality.If you want a long zoom range and don't want to carry around a bag full of lenses for a DSLR, or you can't afford to, a prosumerlike the Fuji S9000or Canon Powershot Pro1will give youvery goodresults. There arelots ofother differences between these classes of cameras,and each hastheir own advantages and disadvantages.You'll find tons of information about this in these forums and on Steve's review pages.

What it really boils down to is how much money you can spend and what your needs are. Don't buy a DSLR if you're not going to get the best out of it and don't buy anything else if you won't be happy with the results. As for me, I'm more than happy with my Fuji S5200. And I didn't have to rob a bank to buy it.
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Old Dec 1, 2005, 8:43 AM   #6
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I don't think thats quite true anymore though. With camera like the R1, the S9000, FZ-30 or whathaveyou, they are aiming for people who potentially wanted to buy an SLR and maybe are still timid from doing so. And in some cases they are priced accordingly. I don't think its really that far apart of a comparison. Some of those people eventually might get SLR once they out grow their camera, and at that point the only way up is SLR....This is especially true now that some DSLR are cheaper than their prosumer counterpart albeit with maybe less focal range.
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Old Dec 1, 2005, 11:38 AM   #7
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barrylevers wrote:
I have read in the reviews on this site that the cheapest SLR'S with their basic lens will produce better images than the dearest Prosumer cameras.
Just many SLR camera users have preferred not using fastest apertures because normal zoom lenses often loose some sharpness at biggest apertures...

For the part of DSLRs, a much wider range of focal length can chosen from. Single lenses even exist with 7X to 10X zoom to match the convenience of the A2. However, these lenses come with the price of reduced image quality and slower apertures. Lenses with large zoom ranges usually have slow maximum apertures such as F3.5-F6.3, which at the telephoto end, is much slower than the A2's F3.5 at 200mm (300mm with accessory lens). This is important when considering the need for high ISO settings. A similar shutter speed at F3.5 with ISO 200 and at F6.3 with ISO 800 would produce the same exposure. Therefore, a DSLR with a single lens can't easily match the range, aperture speed and convenience of a non-SLR camera. Conversely a DSLR with a set of interchangeable lenses can have flexibility way beyond that of the a fixed lens camera. Note that the price of fast quality lenses for SLR cameras is very high and must be considered when evaluating its value. *
And fast good quality zoom lenses can be many times more costlier than camera body itself.

One of the biggest differences:
DSLRs lack any kind video mode.
So in that aspect prosumer is more versatile.
(ability to take videos might save the day sometimes... and you can't capture everything into still image)

Also DSLRs require separate lenses for macrophotography.

tclune wrote:
there is no question that dSLRs -- even inexpensive dSLRs, will win over prosumer ultrazooms every time.
"ultrazooms" and prosumer really don't meet often...

Do you know any more serious, knowing, photographer who would be satisfied with 38mm "wide" angle?

Oh, and this must be the exception which aproves the rule?
High ISO settings are used to achieve higher shutter speeds either to freeze action or prevent camera shake in hand-help photography. The Konica-Minolta A2 has an Anti-Shake system which reduces camera shake. It turns out that the anti-shake system works exceptionally well. So well that in cases where ISO 1600 does not allow a sufficiently fast shutter speed for hand-held photography with the 20D, the A2 managed to produce quite sharp and noise-free pictures using only ISO 200. *

The Fuji s9500 has a sensor that is better with noise...
What I've looked pics from those Fuji's "super CCD" cameras it appears that sensor propably isn't not near so exceptional as they advertise... but they have implemented very strong (and better than in others) in camera noise processing.

toshi43 wrote:
...trying to compare them with the so-called 'prosumer' cameras, even the new large-sensor Sony model
Sony R1 is quite pure "DSLR" from many aspects, size, features (no video) and sensor size... it just doesn't have removeable lens so I don't know what the h**l its designers were thinking.
(or maybe it was their practise work because KM and Sony have co-operation agreement and I think one of the things in it was something around DSLRs)

* Italic texts are quotes from here

Page three has quite good comparison considering usable ISOs at different print sizes.
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Old Dec 1, 2005, 11:45 AM   #8
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Let's move to the hands on mode. I actually own the Fuji S-9000/S-9500 as well as the Pentax 1st DS, and the Olympus E-500. From actual shooting I can tell you that the Fuji S-9000/9500 was a huge disappointment. There is indeed a LOT of noise at ISO 1600. So much that Neat Image is needed for just about every single image.

In contrast the Pentax 1st DS and the Olympus E-500 offer much less noise and far greater image quality and the ability to switch lenses easily. If it must be a point and shoot take a good look at the Fuji S-5200/5600. It is a better camera and saves you money.

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Old Dec 1, 2005, 1:56 PM   #9
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You might see my posting out there about upgrading from a prosumer to a dSLR. I was accustomed to shooting with a film SLR, but I liked having a point and shoot to take to parties and such. The guy at the camera store told me I would not be satisfied with the prosumer model and he was correct!

But it depends what you're used to and what you're looking for in my humble opinion. If you want a broad range of options in just one camera, a prosumer may be for you.

The one thing I HATE about non dSLR's though is the delay when you shoot. I didn't think it would bug me, but when I'm shooting sports, it makes a difference.

I am hoping to purchase a dSLR AND a small point and shoot, and sell my prosumer.

Good luck with your decision. Don't hesitate to actually go to a camera store (a camera store, not a chain) and talk to someone. I wish I would have listened to their advice. :sad:

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Old Dec 1, 2005, 3:32 PM   #10
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If I had the money and could choose between a high-end prosumer and a DSLR with an equivalent focal length at the same price, I'd go for the DSLR evey time. Cameras like the new Sony R1 and the Samsung Pro815 puzzle me. They're as big as entry-levelDSLRs and cost about the same, yet they don't offerDSLR advantageslike TTL optical viewfinders and interchangeable lenses.

Granted, the Sony has a larger APS sensor and excellent picture quality, but it's still a fixed-lens 5XEVF camera thathas none ofthe other features that make DSLRs attractive to the people that buy them. I've seen excellentDSLRs like the Nikon D50offered at about the same price as thePro815. The R1's MSRP in theUS is $999, Olympus' E500 DSLRis $899 including two Zuiko zoom kit lenses. In Canada, the difference is somewhat less - the Oly kit goes for $1250 while the R1 is $1300.I know which one I'd pick.

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