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Old Nov 21, 2004, 3:08 PM   #1
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There has been a lot of discussion on this topic. I looked at the advantages and tradeoffs in this matter.

Without a shadow of doubt the pictures produced by a digital SLR (the camera database at http://www.pbase.com is very educational!!) are better than those produced by a point and shoot camera; I dont think many people will dispute this; Since I have the Canon S1 I will compare it to the two digital SLRs that I was looking at:

The tradeoffs in my opinion are these:

Cost: Depending on the camera the digital SLR with two lenses (28-135 and 100-400 for example) will cost $3200/ $3700 (digital Rebel/20D);

the S1 costs $500 (all list prices).

Add around $300 for spare batteries and additional memory for each

Weight: The Digital Rebel weighs 560g and the 20D 770g;

the S1 weighs 470g

Add the weight of the lenses to the weights of the digital SLRs:

28-135: 475g (total=1035g/1245g); 100-400: 1380g(total=1940/2150g); you will almost certainly have to carry a tripod in the field since hand-holding the camera with these heavy lenses is not easy.

It is very easy for me to see the pros and the cons; if your livelihood depended on the quality of your pictures (a professional) or you are a very serious amateur, then be prepared to fork out the extra cash and carry the additonal weight.

I dont think the digital SLR compensates by a factor of 4 or 5 (considering the cost and the weight) with the quality of the pictures taken.
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 6:33 PM   #2
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I too have an S1 IS. It's pretty good for my purposes, though if I'd wanted to make bigger prints I might have picked the Canon A85 or even the G6. It's especially interesting to examine the street signs in the pictures of the schoolhouse in Steve's Sample pictures. Not that I make many prints - I'd rather view pictures on my computer screen.

I'd thought about a digital SLR, - e.g. a Canon Digital Rebel combined with one of their L series lenses would give even bigger prints - but I just don't believe that you can switch lenses without - at least sometimes - letting dust get on the sensor.

A digital SLR isn't like a film SLR where you have a fresh bit of film for each exposure. I assume that if dust settles, then all your pictures are ruined until you discover there's dust and manage to remove it. And how do you remove the dust without risking damage to the sensor?
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 10:36 PM   #3
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While I use a Minolta A1, I did own & use a Canon D30, DSLR. They can still be found for between $500-$700 (depending on condition, if the grip/extra battery or a lens is included). Quite a good deal on a very good camera that cost $3000 a couple of years back! Just because it's old, doesn't make it any less of a great camera.
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 10:51 PM   #4
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It's not all about the quality or size of the photos. A lot of the advantages of a dslr come in other forms, speed being one of the most important. If I press the shutter button, I want the shutter to fire. I dont want to wait1 or 2 seconds and miss the shot I'm after. RAW capabilities are also important, if you have ever used raw, you know that there is so much more flexibility than with jpeg.
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 11:39 PM   #5
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It compensates for me because I can choose the lenses I want, digital SLR's produce clean images up to ISO 800 and very good at ISO 1600. I can take an image and crop it 50% and still have more area to work with than the image file of a digital P&S. With a flash attached my camera focuses in total dark. It takes little effort to keep dust accumulations on a sensor down to a minimum. Unless you shoot all the time at f22 or f32 you don't even see dust spots.

The G5 I tried for a while could not focus in normal evening house light if I zoomed it at all into the tele range & sometimes it even balked at the wide angle setting.

Digital point & shoot cameras, plain and simple, do not perform up the standards needed for someone who won't settle for less quality than what a digital SLR is capable of. For everyone else, that's why they make so many point & shoot cameras.

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Old Nov 22, 2004, 12:15 PM   #6
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These are no doubt plausible reasons for preferring a digital SLR, but there still hasn't been any discussion of the problem of dust geting onto the sensor when you switch lenses..... Does it never happen?
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Old Nov 23, 2004, 12:53 AM   #7
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Oh, it's discussed in depth on and off all the time on SLR web pages. If you google the question you'll come up with more discussions than you could read in any one month.

It can and does happen, but if the user exercises just a little bit of common sense it does not have to be a big problem. If you turn the camera off when changing lenses the sensor is not charged so it is less static & less likely to have anything attached to it. Remember, there's both a mirror and shutter covering the sensor. It's not like the sensor is out there just asking for something to fall on it! If you hold the camera facing down when you change lenses, any dust particles present fall out, not in.

I've had a Digital Rebel now since January & have no need to have the sensor cleaned. My 10D has now been in use for about 3 months with no problems.

Most dust particles are virtually non existent. These nasty pictures you see online of dirty sensors were taken with the camera pointed at a full blue sky with the lens stopped down to f22 or what ever the smallest aperture is of the attached lens. How often do you take pictures of the blue sky only? Last time I checked my portfolio all my pictures have something in them, not just blue sky. How many pictures do you take of nothing but a full blue sky or most anything else at f16 or f22? Most of my shots are taken anywhere from f4 to f11- stops where any micro dust particles are not even resolved enough to show up on an image.
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