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-   -   whats the point of a digital SLR? (https://forums.steves-digicams.com/newbie-help/123545-whats-point-digital-slr.html)

seerskater Jun 12, 2007 1:50 PM

Ive always heard that the big thing about an SLR camera was that when you looked through the viewfinder, you were getting a pretty idea of what it would be like if you looked through the lens . But dont most digital SLR cameras have an LCD screen anyway? I would consider myself a noob at photography so please excuse me if this is a stupid question.

JohnG Jun 12, 2007 2:50 PM

There are a couple of reasons a DSLR existss.

First to answer your specific question though: most (but not all) DSLRs still use an optical view finder and NOT an LCD for composing shots. The LCD only shows the image after it has been taken. A few DSLRs are now out that have live preview on the LCD screen - but the technology still hasn't caught up to optical - the lag for refresh and the level of detail isn't quite there yet. Optical view finders are still fast as the speed of light and more detailed than lcd.

However, there are other benefits to DSLRs:

Larger sensors (provide better image quality and less noise than smaller sensors) - sure they could build digicams with larger sensors but then the camera is larger and more expensivewhich defeats the purpose in many cases.

Interchangability of lenses - it's virtually impossible to have one general super zoom lens that has the same performance and image quality you can achieve by using several more specialized lenses. So, for those photographers who want higher levels of quality, they'll always want to use lenses designed specifically for their job at hand. The size/weight/cost of having a professional quality lens that meets all needs would be astronomical if it were even possible from an engineering standpoint.

More computing power - top of the line DSLRs are computers - they have multiple processors and other dedicated chip sets. You need a larger chasis for that computing power

Customization - the higher you go up the DSLR chain the more you can customize the camera and how it operates. This customization is essential for professionals who need to minimize the time spent tweaking things.

Those are some of the reasons - I'm sure there's a plethora of others.

VTphotog Jun 13, 2007 12:13 AM

seerskater wrote:
Quote:

Ive always heard that the big thing about an SLR camera was that when you looked through the viewfinder, you were getting a pretty idea of what it would be like if you looked through the lens . But dont most digital SLR cameras have an LCD screen anyway? I would consider myself a noob at photography so please excuse me if this is a stupid question.
When looking thru the VF in an SLR, you are looking through the lens, via a mirror in the camera which projects the image onto the VF screen. When taking the picture, the mirror is moved out of the light path before the shutter operates.

As JohnG mentions, the LCD is for reviewing the shot after it is taken. There will probably be more SLR cameras with live view on the LCD and in an EVF, as time goes on, since many photographers are pressuring the manufacturers for WYSIWYG displays to cut down on improper exposures and WB problems, which currently aren't seen until after the shot is taken. Not a problem if you are shooting landscapes or studio settings where you can re-take, but for rapidly changing scenes or subjects, it can be quite frustrating.

Not a stupid question - basic, not stupid. We all start out ignorant, and reduce (but never eliminate) our ignorance with time.

brian

John at the Beach Jun 13, 2007 10:21 AM

Look at a DSLR this way....They operate just like the SLR's but instead of film, you use SD, Compact Flash, etc. for recording your shot...A real nice advantage over film...You get to see what you just took a picture of...That is, if your not over forty and can see that little LCD screen image without reading glasses....yikes...:O

Tom LaPrise Jun 14, 2007 5:37 AM

If you're over 40, like me, you get a camera with a bigger LCD. :-)

tclune Jun 14, 2007 10:31 AM

Just one small addition to the comments so far: the through-the-lens view of SLRs does not actually show you the composition that you will get. Typically, the viewfinder shows you the central 90% or so of the image that you will capture in the picture. The LCDs of lower-end cameras, for all their failings (including lack of resolution that is not a problem with SLR viewfinders) does have the advantage of showing the full composition (in much lower res) that you will be capturing in the final image. Another advantage can be that the LCD may show you the approximate exposure you will end up capturing, but that varies with the camera. All in all, there are enough nice features in LCDs that some higher end cameras are starting to include them, too. Then, you get the best of both worlds.

eric s Jun 14, 2007 12:46 PM

tclune,
you really think its only 90%? I would have said viewfinder coverage is something closer to 95%... but that would have been only a guess.

Both certainly have their advantages. Eventually they'll be able to make a EVF that with none of the downsides and all the advantages... and then eventually (after that) they'll be able to do it at a cost that we'll want to pay for it. :)

Eric

TCav Jun 14, 2007 3:06 PM

tclune wrote:
Quote:

Typically, the viewfinder shows you the central 90% or so of the image that you will capture in the picture.
No. More like 95% to 98%.

98% is like droppingthe outermost 2 pixels off the perimeter of a 230,000 pixel LCD viewfinder. 95% is like dropping6 pixels off the perimeter.

That is much less significant than when you crop a 3:2 image for a 5x7 or 8x10 print.

Reanimator Jun 16, 2007 9:33 AM

just shot a carefully framed test shot and image on lcd is very very close to 100% of what i see via lens, dont know how that stands anyway with film cameras??



getting back to the question all points have been answered i think quite well by johng

an 8 meg compact wont produce images like my 8meg dslr will, sensor is better, lens are better, so u may ask "whats the point of compact cameras? " as you dont see many "pro's" using them

Gary

TCav Jun 16, 2007 10:48 AM

Digital SLRs are for photographs.

P&S digicams are for snapshots.


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