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Old May 2, 2010, 3:21 PM   #1
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Default When to go to DSLR/how many cameras are too many?

This isn't exactly a "what camera to buy" thread so I put it here, but admins please feel free to move it if you think it belongs somewhere else.

I mentioned in another thread that I just got back from a vacation and I took my Panny FZ35(great for wildlife and zoom) and Canon S90 (great for low light, pocketability and shots where EVF and high zoom weren't needed. I took many shots and learned that there were things about both cameras I liked and disliked.

I had/have a Panny ZS3 sitting in a box unopened and still returnable that I didn't take with me. At times I can see where it would have been nice to have had that and left both of the other cameras in the hotel. Also, while I got some very nice pictures (I hope to post some here after I go through them) I was envious at times of some people who were using DSLRs and the shots they were capable of.

All of this got me wondering whether I should consider a DSLR (or maybe a micro 4/3 since I really do like portability) and whether to keep the ZS3 (or get some other 12x pocket camera).

So first of all, how do I know if I should be considering something more DSLR like? And how do I tell if my disappointing pictures were more a result of camera limitations or my own errors?

Secondly, how many cameras are too many? Am I destined to own 4 cameras or more (a low light pocketable, 12x pocketable, superzoom, micro 4/3 and eventually a DSLR?). I guess to some extent this is an unanswerable question as I realize everything is a question of budget and compromise, but it never stops us from discussing it anyway .

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Old May 2, 2010, 3:27 PM   #2
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it depends, in what way were you unhappy with you results?

did you desire shallow dof, to get subject isolation?
did you desire faster and trackable autofocus?
did you miss shots because the p&s weren't quick enough?
were you looking for better low-light pictures?

these are some of things that if you answered yes to, then a large sensor camera could give you better results.

as for how many cameras are too many? well there is no real answer to that. every new camera or lens gives you added flexibility, but of course how much it adds compared to the cost is always different for every camera and situation.
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Old May 2, 2010, 3:33 PM   #3
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To the first question, weather a dslr is right for you. If you want the image quality a dslr or m4/3 will offer you way better IQ. If you find yourself wanting more DOF control, or want even better low light then the s90. Also if you see yourself taking more action stuff. The is no sub for a dslr.

With all the camera you had with you. You would have to have a camera bag, a compact dslr with a 2 lens kit and a 50mm prime would pretty much take up the same amount of room, and cover pertty much all the same situations each of your camera would cover. That is the main advantage of an interchangeable lens system of the dslr next to IQ.



I have a dslr though it is compact it is not always what i want to carry around. I would go with a compact m4/3 if compact size for travel is important to you. I took the EPL-1 on my vacation to florida and with the 3 lenses I brought for it, cover all my needs. It gave me good low light performance, no shutter lag, and with the kit lens it actually smaller the the fz35. And with the latest firmware update, the AF speed is about that of the nikon dxxxx, sony a3xx and 2xx, or olympus e620.

But I do have 4 camera's in my family a t1i, a epl1 and 2 point and shoots.
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Old May 2, 2010, 6:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hards80 View Post
it depends, in what way were you unhappy with you results?

did you desire shallow dof, to get subject isolation?
did you desire faster and trackable autofocus?
did you miss shots because the p&s weren't quick enough?
were you looking for better low-light pictures?

these are some of things that if you answered yes to, then a large sensor camera could give you better results.
On the whole, I was pretty happy with the results, but there was definitely room for improvement. Some of it was low light. I went to a frog pond and took some pictures. I got some very good shots with the S90. The guy next to me had a Nilon D300 and some of his shots weren't as good as mine at first. But when he got the hang of it, a few of his shots were great. No apparent graininess at all. I also took some pictures of bats in the dark (using a flash light to illuminate them as best I could) and they were blurred -- no surprise there.

Some of my shots of animals in the trees came out blury (probably due to zoom range and inability to keep steady without a tripod), but others came out really sharp. I have to assume this was more me than the camera, but I looked at one shot of a howler monkey I got compared to a guy with a Canon (50D if I remember correctly) and a 300mm lens and while mine was really very good, again, his was great (from what I could see on his LCD).

I was also a little dissapointed in dynamic range -- highlights too easily getting blown out.

Am I unhappy with my pictures. Not at all. They are much better than what I had experienced with previous cameras under similar conditions. I also took enough different shots that in most cases, I was able to get a keeper or 2 if not more in most situations.

What I am finding is that there really isn't much of a pattern to what I shoot. Sometimes it's wildlife when travelling, sometimes its landscapes, museums, people, etc. (but not usually sports). I haven't had the FZ35 long, but I wonder if something like the EPL-1 might be a better bet in the long run (along with a P&S or 2).

It's something I want to mull over, but in the meantime I am very satisfied and happy that I have good cameras for most situations.

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Old May 2, 2010, 6:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I have a dslr though it is compact it is not always what i want to carry around. I would go with a compact m4/3 if compact size for travel is important to you. I took the EPL-1 on my vacation to florida and with the 3 lenses I brought for it, cover all my needs. It gave me good low light performance, no shutter lag, and with the kit lens it actually smaller the the fz35. And with the latest firmware update, the AF speed is about that of the nikon dxxxx, sony a3xx and 2xx, or olympus e620.

But I do have 4 camera's in my family a t1i, a epl1 and 2 point and shoots.
Thanks. Yes, as much as I may try to convince my self otherwise, if the camera isn't small/light enough, it will probably stay home. As you said, though, I suspect using an EPL-1 or something similar with a couple of lenses probably would have been no more cumbersome (and perhaps less so) than haveing the FZ35 hanging around my neck and grabbing the S90 for low light shots.
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Old May 2, 2010, 6:44 PM   #6
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You will get better low light performance with the epl-1. It is a much larger sensor. And it actually preform well up to 2000iso. It drops off as you close into 3200 but still workable. Also with the larger sensor you get higher IQ. That is why the DSLR will always out perform a s90 or g11, which are the best IQ imho in the pns category.

But you will get much better DOF control with the m4/3. And with the lens option. I will be a better bet for the long term. You can aways upgrade just the body in couple of years. But good lenses are well worth keeping.

If you want really good low light for the cave shot, you will really need something that shoots well at 3200 and 6400iso match with a really fast lens, something 1.8 or better. That way you get a much faster shutter speed to avoid the blur when you push the ev to +1 to over expose the cave to get more details.
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Old May 2, 2010, 6:46 PM   #7
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Something like a GF1 and EPL1 makes for a easy carry around the neck camera. It was my wife's walk around camera with the kit lens. And the long zoom was in the purse. As the panny 45-200mm is a very compact lens.
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Old May 2, 2010, 7:31 PM   #8
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I'm the wrong person to ask about how many cameras is too many as I have 6 dSLRs and 2 P&S.... think there is an underwater P&S just around the corner too LOL.

The EPL1 is a great option that I would seriously consider for a walk around camera.
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Old May 2, 2010, 8:17 PM   #9
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There is always room for one or two or more cameras.

When to go DSLR? When there is something your P&S is lacking and you really need and a DSLR can provide it. For me, my P&S wasn't fast enough to keep up with my kids. Otherwise, I'm happy with the portability of P&S.
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Old May 2, 2010, 9:10 PM   #10
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There's no such thing as "too many", but "not enough" is always a problem.
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