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Old Jan 26, 2006, 9:35 AM   #11
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The question posed by this thread is a very logical one indeed. Many folks are finding themselves currently at this very juncture. IMHO Stephen Hopkins makes the most logical and well thought out explanation.

For most users making the switch, the D-50, will indeed be a leap ahead technicallyand it will open the creativity door wide, so as to speak. In short, it is a really opportunity for photographic growth.

On the otherside of the coin, there are truly folks, to whom size is of paramount importance. They cannot visualize themselves toting around a camera as large as the Nikon D-50. I will respect that desire, as long as they are willing to accept the inherent limitations that come with ultra small digital cameras by way of their very mechanics, as Stephen Hopkins, shared with us so very cogently.

To me at least, it is more a personal decision rather than a purely technical decision. For me, size is not a crucial factor. I often carry two dSLR bodies, each mounted with different lenses.

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Old Jan 26, 2006, 12:11 PM   #12
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This is an interesting thread indeed. I too was in the same position and chose to go the DSLR route and I have no regrets.

Although IMO, aside from the size issue one other main issue is the cost factor.

Sure, a D50 body is actually cheaper than a Panasonic FZ30 or a Fuji S9000. And would almost be in the same price range as a Canon S2 or a Kodak P880. But once you factor in the cost of a lens then it does cost substantially more.

The D50 for example is something like Cad $ 750 at my place. But if you add the Cad $ 480 the Nikkor 18-70mm lens costs for example then that is substantially more than prosumer camera's.

The question really is does the better low light performance, over-all faster operation, more manual controls etc.. worth the extra you'll be shelling out?

IMO, if you plan to "seriously" (for lack of a better word) get into photography then a DSLR is the way to go. (I am in now way implying that if you don't get a DSLR then you are not serious about photography)

DSLR are simply more flexible, indoors, sports, nature, wildlife etc.. Plus with the ridiculously small sizes of SLRS like the current Canon EOS 350D/XT or the Pentax I don't think size is that much of an issue. (I actually hate their small sizes)

The MP don't really matter since a 5mp DSLR will outperform an 8mp compact any day. You will better crops from the 6mp D50 for example than the 10mp Fuji 9000.

So unless the cost and size of a DSLR is a major issue I would definitely go for the D50. Or unless I am specifically going for only one type of photography. Say, if it's just for outdoor snapshots in bright day light then I guess one of the wider compacts will do perfectly.

Or to make a long post short, in terms of performance, and overall flexibility (even with just a kit lens) (or 2 low end lenses) a DSLR will outperform any *current* prosumer. Over the next few years, who know? The Sony R1 is already a step in that direction. But with a price equal to a Nikon D50+Sigma 18-200mm I still see no reason to go for the Sony.
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Old Jan 27, 2006, 11:40 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the comments--I appreciate your help.It sounds like the pro's of the dSLR would include the versatility ofdifferent lenses, extensive manual controls, speed of operation, and overall better picture quality. The con's being the size and the cost.

To be honest, the advantage that means the most to me is the picture quality (color and crispness). I guess I have to decide if the quality of the photos justifies the premium paid fora dSLR.

Assuming I didn't buy any fancy lenses, and merely dabbled in the manual features, do you guys think the incremental picture quality is worth the money?


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Old Jan 27, 2006, 12:16 PM   #14
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mikedizzle,

even relatively low-quality lenses will yield much better quality than P&S.

Further, if you're willing to make do with a fixed-focal length lens ("zoom" with your feet), the 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor delivers excellent sharpness, contrast, and color for around $100 new. Only problem is that it's a bit long for indoors shots and you can't zoom. However, if you put it on your D50 for some outdoors shots and stop it down a bit (at least to f/2.8, maybe f/4.0), the pictures will blow your mind coming from a P&S.

An alternative cheap prime would be the Vivitar 100mm f/3.5 macro (also sold under the Phoenix and Promaster brand names). It takes very sharp pictures, including (as the name implies) very nice macros. This lens, too, sells for around $100 new.
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Old Feb 3, 2006, 6:39 PM   #15
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I have the Fuji 9500 and only a month ago was posting on forums about how all-in-one cameras are more convenient in the long run..

But I couldn't deny that dSLRs leave high-end digicams way behind on noise, andas you say the D50 is so reasonably priced now I took the plunge.. Believe me, it'slike a whole now world in image clarity - and where's all that noise I was putting up with?

Add to that the nostalgia of that mechanical mirror 'clunk' as you press the shutter(my last SLR was back in 1982, as I've used compact cameras one way or anothersince:roll

As Neekak said, you won't understand what we're on about until you try one!








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Old Feb 3, 2006, 8:03 PM   #16
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There are pros and cons to either solution. Here are a few:

LCD Framing: unlike a consumer (or "prosumer") camera, the LCD can't be used for framing on a DSLR (with very few exceptions) But, you have a true Through the lens (TTL) view through a good optical viewfinder.

Lens Cost: To get the same focal range you can find in a consumer level (non-DSLR) camera, you often have to spend much more money, especially to get lenses that are as "fast" (widest apertures available at wide angle and longer focal lengh settings). 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 in the camera.

On the other hand, they're relatively rare, but I've seen dust problems reported with non-DSLR models, too (the lens mechanisms are often not tight enough to prevent dust from being "sucked in,and when that happens,the camera often requires a trip back to themanufacturer, versus cleaningaDSLR yourself).

Features: youdon't get the "bells, whistles and buzzers" found on a consumer model in a DSLR (i.e., panaroma modes, movie modes, etc.).

A Few Advantages to a Digital SLR:

A true "Through the Lens" Optical Viewfinder (but, this is sometimes overrated, since some viewfinders can leave a bit to be desired. Make sure to test any camera you consider in a store.

Better Dynamic Range -- again, this is mostly due to the much larger sensor being used. That's my opinion looking at images anyway (especially when you look at some of the newer higher megapixel non-DSLR models).

Ability to Shoot at Higher ISO speeds with lower noise. DSLR's have much larger sensors, with better signal to noise ratios as the CCD signal is amplifed for higher ISO speeds. Often, a DSLR is the only tool that will work well for indoor sports, and other conditions requiring the ability to shoot at higher ISO speeds (using a bright lens, of course).

Fast Focus Speeds -- Most Digital SLRs use a Phase Detection Focus System which is pretty fast . Most Consumer Grade Cameras use a Contrast Detection Focus System, which is reliant on seeing enough contrast in the live feed being sent by the sensor. But, the gap is starting to narrow here, and lens selection can make a difference with a DSLR.

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 to help your subjects stand out). This is because Depth of Field is based on the Actual (versus 35mm equivalent) focal length of the lens (and a much shorter focal length lens can be used on a consumer model, to get the same equivalent focal length in a DSLR) because of it's tiny sensor).

Of course, some users may not care about blurring backgrounds for effect, and may like the greater DOF a non-DSLR camera would have at a given 35mm equivalent focal length/aperture/focus distance, too. So, depending on your perspective, this could be looked at as an advantage, or a disadvantage to a DSLR.

I wouldn't underestimate this as advantage, either (more versus less Depth of Field), since it can be difficult to get everything you want in focus at times using larger apertures with a DSLR in less than optimum lighting, and the use of larger apertures requires greater focus precision with a DSLR.

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 usually muchfaster than the processors used in consumer grade cameras. The buffer size (amount of very fast internal memory acting as cache) isusually much larger, too. As a result the camera's overall operation is usually much faster.

A few other comments:

It's been my experience that the larger and heavier the camera, the more likely you'll leave it at home.

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 other applications requiring the benefits of a DSLR.

There are pros and cons to both approaches, and no one solution is going to be perfect for every user in all conditions.

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Old Feb 4, 2006, 12:35 AM   #17
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Wow! Thanks for the post Jim. You made a lot of good points and I appreciate the time you dedicated to my cause.

Best, MD
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Old Feb 8, 2006, 11:11 PM   #18
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mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
The question posed by this thread is a very logical one indeed. Many folks are finding themselves currently at this very juncture. IMHO Stephen Hopkins makes the most logical and well thought out explanation.

For most users making the switch, the D-50, will indeed be a leap ahead technically¬*and it will open the creativity door wide, so as to speak. In short, it is a really opportunity for photographic growth.

On the otherside of the coin, there are truly folks, to whom size is of paramount importance. They cannot visualize themselves toting around a camera as large as the Nikon D-50. I will respect that desire, as long as they are willing to accept the inherent limitations that come with ultra small digital cameras by way of their very mechanics, as Stephen Hopkins, shared with us so very cogently.

To me at least, it is more a personal decision rather than a purely technical decision. For me, size is not a crucial factor. I often carry two dSLR bodies, each mounted with different lenses.

MT
I for one, am a living example of the type of photog where size is of paramount importance. After 30+ years of schlelpping 35 lbs of Nikkor glass and two ' F ' film bodies, I decided that when I move to digital that it would be to simplify my life, not just substitute one recording medium for another.

I chose the Minolta A1 as the most ideal compromise camera for my needs; it's compact, complete (covers 95% of my normal focal length range needs), light, fully capable, has professional level control layout, supurb RAW performance, etc. all in one well engineered package. If only it had a sensor with better high ISO noise performance it would be perfect as far as I'm concerned. Alas, physics (and now corportate restructuring) prevent this from ever happening.

My solution was (is) to have both. I have a d50 for occasions where sensor noise performance trumps portability and convenience, and the A1 for most every thing else (e.g., day-to-day walk around, keep it with you at all times circumstances).

A1--d50; two great cameras, two different use models.

Jeff
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Old Feb 9, 2006, 2:22 AM   #19
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For me it comes down to quality of pictures you get. I've visited several National Parks and taken pictures with regular point and shoot digicam, and now I wished I took those trips with dSLR camera. The posibilites of dSLR are endless, even the "old" Canon Digital Rebel can take great shots with kit lens. Check out:
http://www.photo.net/gallery/photocritique/filter

And check out the camera they used. A lot of great shots were taken by Canon's 300D/350D or by Nikon D50/D70/D70s.

BTW, the D70s with its $300+ kit lens can now be had for $1000 at beach.com that's $120-200 less than it was just a month ago!
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Old Feb 11, 2006, 2:24 AM   #20
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Alright, I got tired of reading all the other posts, so I might repeat a few things. Anyways, here's my two cents.

No doubt about it, P&S cameras are getting better and better. I remember the first 5mp p&s coming out and now we've got up to 9mp p&s. Of course, resolution is one of the least important things when considering a camera.

With a dSLR, you get the huge advantage of interchangable lenses, but because of this, you have to clean the sensor occasionally.

A dSLR's imager is physically much bigger than any p&s, which means better low-light and less noise at higher ISOs. There's no disadvantage there.

Photoshop won't be able to produce good enough depth of field to rival real depth of field. Most other effects that can be achieved with a dSLR can be done on Photoshop, but there aren't a lot of "special effects" that you can do in camera. DOF is important, though, and there's no fast way of making it in Photoshop.

Also, the cost of dSLRs is really low now. I bought my d50 about a week and a half ago at www.adorama.com and paid $599.99 for it with $6.95 shipping with no tax. You can also get a 2gb SD card for around $90 there. Also, the site is not shady at all, so no need to worry about them. Clean as a whistle.

Anyways, I would get a dSLR for sure. If you want a p&s also, look at Canon and Sony. Both companies produce great p&s cameras.

Good luck!
Mike
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