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Old Nov 25, 2003, 8:21 AM   #1
Hub
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Default Which Camera Sony or Canon?

I have been using a Canon A1 for over 20 years. I have never used a digital camera. I am now considering either the new Canon Digital Rebel SLR or the Sony DSCF828 which really isn't on the market quite yet. I was all set to buy the Canon until I stumbled across the Sony's specs. With my limited knowledge of digital photography, the Sony in its specifications, appears to be the better camera. They both cost the same! My question is does the Sony really look that much better by the specs than the Canon? I know that this is a difficult question because I doubt if anyone has actually used the Sony yet. However, I am talking in just comparing the specs. Any comments or advise would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 8:54 AM   #2
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Nobody knows for sure with the 828, since the only samples I've seen are from pre-producton cameras.

The 828 does appear to have relatively high noise (because of the density of the new 8 Megapixel CCD), but Sony will probably have this issue worked out so that noise is not as noticeable in the production models.

One of the benefits of a camera like the Sony, is that it will have great focal range (28-200mm) with a very fast lens.

With a dSLR, you'd need to have more than one lens to get the same focal range and light gathering capability.

However, Canon EOS-300D will be able to shoot at much higher ISO speeds, with lower noise, compared to any consumer digital camera (including the new Sony).

There are pros and cons to both choices. If you want a camera better suited for low light sports, etc., then the EOS-300D would make a much better choice (provided you bought fast lenses (lower F-stop numbers to go with it).
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 9:36 AM   #3
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Pros and Cons == Prosumer versus Digital SLR:

There are pros and cons to a Digital SLR.

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

Lens Cost: To get the same focal range you can find in a consumer level 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 more than one lens, too.

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.

A Few Advantages to a Digital SLR:

A true "Through the Lens Optical Viewfinder" -- what you see is the same image being transmitted to the sensor.

Much Better Dynamic Range -- again, this is mostly due to the much larger sensor being used.

Ability to Shoot at Higher ISO speeds with lower noise. Most Prosumer models have fairly high noise levels at higher ISO speeds (again, mostly due to pixel density of the smaller sensors). The SLR's have much larger sensors, and much better signal to noise ratios.

For low light photography (or sports photography), many users find that consumer grade cameras can be virtually useless in many situations, due to extremely high noise --- especially at ISO 400. Settings above ISO 400 are usually not even available on many Consumer Grade Cameras (because the images would be virtually unusable due to noise). Many users find noise levels to be too high even at ISO 100 or 200, compared to a Digital SLR in some lighting conditions.

Fast Focus Speeds -- Most Digital SLR's use a Phase Detection Focus System which is extremely fast. Most Consumer Grade Cameras use a Contrast Detection Focus System which can be slow (and often unreliable) in lower light.

Ability to Control Depth of Field - The smaller sensors used in a Consumer Grade Camera limit your ability to control Depth of Field (blur backgrounds by using wider apertures). The much larger sensors used in a Digital SLR give you much more flexibility over Depth of Field, especially since you have a great variety of lenses available for an SLR.

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

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

A few other comments:

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) for special purpose applications.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.

As far as quality, it's always a good idea to read through more than one review of the models you are considering. This will give you a better idea of the features available, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the models you are considering.

Here are some of my favorite sites:

http://www.steves-digicams.com - Steve reviews a lot of cameras. Bear in mind, that he's usually less critical than most reviewers though, so take this into consideration. Steve's reviews are great for new users, because he goes through a cameras menu system in great detail. His conclusion section is very useful in determining a cameras strengths and weaknesses, too. Also, Steve usually includes some of the same subjects in his sample photos section for each camera reviewed. This makes it easy to compare photos from camera models you are considering.

http://www.imaging-resource.com - Dave Etchell's does great reviews. He also offers a feature known as the "comparometer", which lets you compare images from cameras you are considering "side by side" in the same conditions. Dave also has a "picky details" section for each camera he reviews, so you can look at things like Startup times, autofocus lag, shot to shot times, etc. Performance can vary dramatically between camera models.

http://www.dpreview.com - Phil Askey is the most thorough reviewer in the business. Unfortunately, because his reviews are so detailed, he doesn't review as many cameras as some of the other reviewers. Phil also tends to be more critical than other reviewers, so take this into consideration.

http://www.megapixel.net - Denys Bouton offers a unique review style, and I find his information very helpful. He comes out with a new online "issue" monthly (on the 15th of the month).

http://www.dcresource.com - Although his reviews aren't as detailed as those from Phil Askey or Dave Etchells, Jeff Keller (owner/editor of dcresource.com) offers unbiased opinions of the cameras that he reviews. He will tell you what he likes, and doesn't like about the cameras he reviews.

Another good resource is a photo sharing web site like pbase.com

They have a camera database, that let's you look at photo albums from their subscribers, from most cameras on the market. Bear in mind, that the photographers skill, and the lighting conditions have more to do with good photos than anything else. Also, unless photos from the same cameras, are taken of the same subject, in the same conditions, there is no way to say which camera performs better.

However, this does give you a way to see what photos look like, from typical users, and you can browse through the albums to see what photos look like in the conditions that you'll use the cameras in.

Here's the link to the camera database:

http://www.pbase.com/cameras
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 11:51 PM   #4
Hub
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Jim,
It took me all day to realize that the EOS-300D and the Digital Rebel are one in the same cameras. When you mentioned the 300-D in your other comments, I thought that you were bringing a third camera into the question. Oh Duh! Thanks for your help. Your comments and other reviews have convinced me that the Canon is the way to go versus the Sony.
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