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Old Jun 16, 2007, 10:06 PM   #11
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This thread is proof of the greatness of these forums. A guy asks a question, and gets many answers, all of which are great responses. I have only one more to add, and it is probably going to sound silly. Seerskater asked "What's the point of a digital SLR?"

I can't help but think that the point is to continue using the gazillion lenses "left over" from the film days(which are not gone yet). Can you imagine the major camera companies dumping their faithful SLR owners in favor of a radical new single-fixed lens camera with a decent sensor and a do-all lens.

I think progress in the field of photography may eventually lead us to theperfect camera, but until then, we may as well get used to our DSLRs. After all, the slr concept has been around a pretty good portion of the last century.

Thanks for listening, Robert
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 8:00 AM   #12
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Hawgwild wrote:
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This thread is proof of the greatness of these forums. A guy asks a question, and gets many answers, all of which are great responses. I have only one more to add, and it is probably going to sound silly. Seerskater asked "What's the point of a digital SLR?"

I can't help but think that the point is to continue using the gazillion lenses "left over" from the film days(which are not gone yet). Can you imagine the major camera companies dumping their faithful SLR owners in favor of a radical new single-fixed lens camera with a decent sensor and a do-all lens.

I think progress in the field of photography may eventually lead us to theperfect camera, but until then, we may as well get used to our DSLRs. After all, the slr concept has been around a pretty good portion of the last century.

Thanks for listening, Robert
Are you saying that you think today's P&S digicams are steps toward the inevitable "perfect camera", and that digital SLRs are the product of a global conspiracy to phase out the use of all the interchangeable lenses currently inuse around the world?

I think that today's P&S digicams are attempts to make a camera so simple that even a cavemancould use it, and that digial SLRs are attempts to support those who have specialized needs that can't be satisfied by a "do-all lens".
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 8:56 AM   #13
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I agree with Hawgwild that the fit-in-your-shirtpocket auto-everything camera will approach dSLRs in image quality - by using the same sensor. Likely with limited zoom (~28-100mm equiv) to start so the tunnel viewfinder can be used without serious parallax. Those will be aimed at the folks who want quality snapshots and/or those with a good sized bank account.

A good snapshot can be every bit as good as a good pro photo: they just don't happen anywhere near as often. And/or hold up to as much enlargement.

I also agree with TCav: the pocket camera will be aimed at the snapshot market and dSLRs aimed at "specialists". For a while, "specialists" will include anyone with a yen for long lenses, but once a high quality sensor can support and EVF there will be some long lenses for snapshooters. There will always be a market for dSLRs, but that market is likely to shrink in the future. Could shrink to those who want to attach a camera to things like telescoped, microscopes, ... but that amount of market shrinkage is unlikely. There will always be folks who need/want to adjust things like aperature, shutter speed, ISO, ... quickly and much more easily than digging down through a menu. But by picking the right mode in a P&S and being able to easily dial in an EV correction will deal with most of that need/urge.

Even though 35mm pretty much took over from medium format chemical photography in the 1950's & `60's, the medium format stuff is still there. So I'd expect the market for entry level dSLRs to drop a bit. That should make the price of some of the low end glass to drop a bit.
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 10:04 AM   #14
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BillDrew wrote:
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I agree with Hawgwild that the fit-in-your-shirtpocket auto-everything camera will approach dSLRs in image quality - by using the same sensor. Likely with limited zoom (~28-100mm equiv) to start so the tunnel viewfinder can be used without serious parallax. Those will be aimed at the folks who want quality snapshots and/or those with a good sized bank account.

A good snapshot can be every bit as good as a good pro photo: they just don't happen anywhere near as often. And/or hold up to as much enlargement.

I also agree with TCav: the pocket camera will be aimed at the snapshot market and dSLRs aimed at "specialists". For a while, "specialists" will include anyone with a yen for long lenses, but once a high quality sensor can support and EVF there will be some long lenses for snapshooters. There will always be a market for dSLRs, but that market is likely to shrink in the future. Could shrink to those who want to attach a camera to things like telescoped, microscopes, ... but that amount of market shrinkage is unlikely. There will always be folks who need/want to adjust things like aperature, shutter speed, ISO, ... quickly and much more easily than digging down through a menu. But by picking the right mode in a P&S and being able to easily dial in an EV correction will deal with most of that need/urge.

Even though 35mm pretty much took over from medium format chemical photography in the 1950's & `60's, the medium format stuff is still there. So I'd expect the market for entry level dSLRs to drop a bit. That should make the price of some of the low end glass to drop a bit.
Ummmmm. Ok.

One of the things we seem to do in these forums is to use the term dSLR to refer to those single lens reflex cameras with digital image sensors and interchangeable lenses, while we relegate single lens reflex cameras with digital image sensors and non-interchangeable lenses to the status of P&S digicams. This may not be appropriate. Some of these non-interchangeable lens dSLRs are filling the place of interchangeable lens dSLRs for people that would otherwise have purchased a dSLR and one superzoom lens, and paid a lot more money when doing so. If we count those as dSLRs too, then I agree.

But another distinguishing characteristic between dSLRs (the interchangeable lens kind) and P&S digicams, is the larger sensors in dSLRsthat permit greater control over depth of field and higher ISO settings. While the DoF thing isofartistic concern, the higher ISO settings have very practical applications. And because of this, I think there will always be a significant market for dSLRs (until somebody puts a large sensor in a P&S.)

The phenomenon that we seem to be mis-identifying, is that a lot more people have cameras now than ever before, while the number of people that have SLRs may only be keeping pace with the growth of the general population with significant disposable income. This may just be a result of not having to buy film and wait for developing, since we can use our personal computers, something we already have and use daily, to do the same thing. A $200 digicam works out to becheaper that a $50 Instamatic (even if you don't adjust for inflation.) So the growing number of P&S digicams should not be confused with any hypothetical goalof developing the perfect camera, but simply filling a demand for technology.
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 12:33 PM   #15
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TCav wrote:
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One of the things we seem to do in these forums is to use the term dSLR to refer to those single lens reflex cameras with digital image sensors and interchangeable lenses, while we reegate single lens reflex cameras with digital image sensors and non-interchangeable lenses to the status of P&S digicams. This may not be appropriate. Some of these non-interchangeable lens dSLRs are filling the place of interchangeable lens dSLRs for people that would otherwise have purchased a dSLR and one superzoom lens, and paid a lot more money when doing so.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no non-interchangeable lens DSLRs at the moment. The technical definition of an SLR camera is one in which a single lens is used for both taking the photo and for composing it, and a mirror is used to reflect the image from the lens to the viewfinder which retracts when the shutter is released. A camera with only an EVF or a viewfinder that uses a separate lens (some smaller digicams use these) are not SLRs.

Personally I think it's inevitable that p&s cameras will reach a level on par with todays entry level DSLRs. Some technological innovation will come along and sensors will become 5 times more sensitive and then an ultrazoom like the Canon IS S3 could have decent ISO 3200 performance. There then wouldn't be much draw for the average consumer to move to a DSLR once they're able to take good photos in low light and for high school sports with cheaper, smaller cameras.

However, quality glass will always be expensive, and those of us in these forums who use pricey, fast lenses and quality primes and know why we use them can likely look forward to doing so until we can no longer carry them. And if sensor techology improves for p&s cameras, it'll improve for DSLRs too. ISO 12800 would be pretty cool.
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 2:04 PM   #16
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Corpsy wrote:
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To the best of my knowledge, there are no non-interchangeable lens DSLRs at the moment. The technical definition of an SLR camera is one in which a single lens is used for both taking the photo and for composing it, and a mirror is used to reflect the image from the lens to the viewfinder which retracts when the shutter is released. A camera with only an EVF or a viewfinder that uses a separate lens (some smaller digicams use these) are not SLRs.

This is the kind of cameraI was referring to when I said "single lens reflex cameras with digital image sensors and non-interchangeable lenses". In addition to the LCD display, there is an optical viewfinder used to view another LCD display of the image plus camera status information.

And, yes, it doesn't have a mirror and focusing screen, but it does have an optical eyepiece (and probably a mirror or prism, if nota pentamirror or pentaprism) through which the image through the lens is displayed.
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 3:07 PM   #17
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I wondered that same thing that seerskater does-- I think. I can understand the advantages of bigger sensors, interchangable lenses, better electronics, etc. But what's the point of the flipping mirror?

I know that there may be a lag with an lcd display, but there is going to be some shutter lag with the mirror mechanism. In some cases shutter lag may be preferable to viewing lag. But it seems that any mechanical feature is more expensive and prone to failure than an electronic feature (e.g., moving mirror vs. LCD screen).

Does anybody make a high-quality digital camera that accepts a full-line of interchangable lenses but doesn't bother with the mirror mechanism?

I appreciate all the thoughtful responses given to this question already.
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 3:34 PM   #18
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dwkreutzer wrote:
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I wondered that same thing that seerskater does-- I think. I can understand the advantages of bigger sensors, interchangable lenses, better electronics, etc. But what's the point of the flipping mirror?

I know that there may be a lag with an lcd display, but there is going to be some shutter lag with the mirror mechanism. In some cases shutter lag may be preferable to viewing lag. But it seems that any mechanical feature is more expensive and prone to failure than an electronic feature (e.g., moving mirror vs. LCD screen).

Does anybody make a high-quality digital camera that accepts a full-line of interchangable lenses but doesn't bother with the mirror mechanism?

I appreciate all the thoughtful responses given to this question already.
Nope, none.

Not alot of thoughtful responses beyond that. Even though some have clamored for such a camera, its not ready for prime time. Not yet anyway.

The main problem is the video lag. It differs form the shutter lag with an optical viewfinder in that you need to make composition decisions based on old data with the electronic viewfinder. The composition through the optical viewfinder is as its happening before you. Until that video lag is near zero, the advantage goes to the DSLR.
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 4:10 PM   #19
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dwkreutzer wrote:
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Does anybody make a high-quality digital camera that accepts a full-line of interchangable lenses but doesn't bother with the mirror mechanism?
Not yet, but if enough of us keep demanding it, it will happen eventually.

I have both a DSLR and an advanced fixed lens digital (Minolta D7hi). The DSLR does give improved image quality for large prints, and can use different lenses for different conditions (mostly on the long end). The D7hi, however provides immediate information in the viewfinder of exposure as well as WB. I know what the picture is going to look like before I take the shot. Much nicer than anything I have used before or since.

Since the average person's reaction time is 1/2 second or greater, shutter lag due to video lag or mirror operation is really a moot point.

brian
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Old Jun 17, 2007, 4:19 PM   #20
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first off id like to say thanks for all these replies! as Hawgwild said, "A guy asks a question, and gets many answers, all of which are great responses."

ok, now i understand the LCD screen part, and i understand all the advantages that DSLR's have over p&s, but i agree with dwkreutz. Why does a camera have to be SLR to be able to change lenses, have better sensors, and more computer power? I though SLR only referred to a little mirror behind the lens. Why cant you get a non-compact camera that has all those features that isn't SLR?
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