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Old Jan 23, 2012, 11:01 AM   #1
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Default Newcomer seeking advice

Just joined, so don't yet know how this works. I am an old timer amateur. When I was young I built a darkroom into my home to develop and enlarge my pix. I purchased an SLR and carried a big bag of equipment everywhere I went. I spent all my time fiddling with the equipment or in the darkroom. I was too busy to enjoy life!

Got rid of everything in order to be more sociable. Kept away from photography for 30 years or more. But have become reinfected through my computer. NO MORE DARKROOM!! I have 5 digital cameras now but want to get better quality. Have thought about a DSLR, but that would take me back to interchangeable lenses and the big bag of equipment.

Basically, I see the need for different lenses in order to go from telephoto to macro. But wouldn't I accomplish the same thing by just getting the best zoom camera? I have a Fuji finepix that does the macro and telephoto without the need to exchange lenses. It has a 30X zoom!

I understand that one advantage of DSLRS is that they use a larger sensor. Is there a camera with the great zoom AND a large sensor?

I'm not sure I understand why a larger sensor yields better quality photos. Maybe an equivalent comparison to a film camera would be comparing a 35 mm film camera to a camera using film yielding larger negatives.

Sorry, if this is too long. But I would appreciate any advice or comments.

Thank you.
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Old Jan 23, 2012, 11:32 AM   #2
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Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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Welcome to Steve's

The sensors found in dSLR models are *much* larger than the sensor in a point and shoot camera with a 30x zoom.

As a result, you'd need to use much larger lenses to cover the same focal range.

Now, there are some "all in one" lens types designed to work with cameras that have larger APS-C size sensors. For example, a Tamron 18-270mm. But, as a general rule of thumb, you'll get better image quality by using more than one lens to cover the same focal range.
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 5:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by yenehc View Post
I'm not sure I understand why a larger sensor yields better quality photos. Maybe an equivalent comparison to a film camera would be comparing a 35 mm film camera to a camera using film yielding larger negatives.
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 2:24 PM   #4
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G'day yene

Welcome to the forum mate - nice to hear about your experiences & desires to move 'on'

Film to digital > think about several formats .... 1/2-frame vs 35mm and roll-film's 645 vs 6 x 9cm [2-1/4" x 3-1/4"]. You will know that a 35mm neg takes less to blow up to 12x18" print than a 1/2-frame neg: equally the pro's using 645 negs need less blowing up than 35mm and so it goes

This is because the greater the magnification required, the greater the film-grain AND the greater any unsharpness from lens or camera-shake will be seen on the final result

So the same applies with digital sensors - a small sensor in a P&S pocket camera needs 50x magnification to get to a 10x8" print, whereas a dSLR sensor needs about 15x magnification leading to a better quality & sharper image

Lenses - as always an SLR lens costing as much if not lots more than a complete P&S camera will [should] deliver better sharpness than the P&S job

Against all this you/we need to consider 'convenience'
The size & weight of an SLR + 2 or 3 lenses against a superzoom whose single lens covers the same sort of territory is probably the biggest factor. Not all superzooms use small sensors [tho all are smaller than the traditional dSLR].

For many years I have used a Panny FZ30, old now but very very good. It's 12x zoom was 35mm to 420mm [in film camera terms] and the sharpness is better than I get with the APS-sensor Pentax and its Sigma lenses -but- I am only printing to 11" x 14" max > if I was a wedding 'tog for example, I could not use this camera to print a 36" print for someone's entry lobby to their house - which comes back to sensor sizes vs your expected printing sizes

A compromise for you might be either of-
a) one of the new mirrorless "m4/3" jobs using a sensor equiv to [35mm 1/2-frame] + a 10x zoom lens of 28-280mm in film camera terms, or
b) a fixed-lens superzoom like the upcoming Fuji XS1 with its larger than normal sensor & a 30x zoom lens covering 24mm to 720mm in film camera terms ... tho anything over 400mm [equiv] must be tripod-mounted to ensure half-decent sharpness

Hope this helps a bit
Regards, Phil
Has Lumix mirrorless & superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
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