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Old Oct 9, 2010, 9:48 AM   #1
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Default dSLR, too much expectation?

Apart from price and weight I can think of 2 issues that are keeping me from an "entry level" dSLR.

1. Learning curve. Would it be too much to expect that "auto" mode in dSLR take "much better" quality pictures than a P&S? This assumption is based on the fact that dSLRs have sensor sizes that are much larger and the quality of optics is much better. I just don't want to have to wait to learn to use the camera before it'll give me P&S quality images.

2. Hassle of changing lenses. Is it possible to get a multi-purpose 28-300/400mm lens which would suit me 80-90% of the time? I know it is not the same as getting multiple lenses to cover that range and that the price of such a lens might be prohibitive. But for the sake of argument if price was not an issue?

Any recommendations?
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 9:59 AM   #2
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1. Yes.
2. No.

Auto mode with a DSLR will often produce images that you think are much worse than a good P&S. DSLR cameras have the potential to produce far better images, but they demand more from the photographer.

The bigger the sensor, the harder it gets to make large-zoom-factor lenses. The compromises become very large, as do the lenses. Now you don't have to change lenses on a DSLR very often if your style doesn't demand it. I use a single 50mm lens with no zoom at all for 90% of my pictures, but if you want a single lens that can give you wide angle and long telephoto then a DSLR is a poor choice IMO.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 11:31 AM   #3
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Or to put it another way, a DSLR is NOT a magic point and shoot. Better photos come from learning photography. Once you understand the principles of photography you'll get better photos with any camera. But you'll then open up the possibilities a DSLR offers. But if you don't want to learn the principles (and that's OK - many people don't) then you'll likely be more satisfied with a non-DSLR.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 4:06 PM   #4
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Well, a DSLR probably has a better sensor than the P&S.

However, as everyone will testify, a great photographer can take a great photograph with a good camera, but a poor photographer can't capture anything with the best camera.

Nothing wrong with purchasing a "walk around" lens at first. Something about 18mm at the wide end.

Then, as your interest in photography grows, you could buy specific prime lenses or zoom lenses to meet your specific needs.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 7:42 PM   #5
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1 learning more will give you even better results. But you do get high image quality with a dslr in auto especially in low light. But you will not get the most out of the system.

2 Yes you can get a all in one lens if you are willing to give up some performance of a multi lens setup. There at 18-270mm and 28-300mm lenses out there that are good single lens options if you are willing to accept their short comings. Nothing in the 400mm range.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 7:50 PM   #6
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What are you taking photos of, and in what conditions. In more difficult lighting, a dSLR can have some advantages.

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and the Auto modes are getting to be very smart on some of the newer dSLR models (face detection, etc. to help with better Autofocus accuracy). So, I'd probably be the "odd man out" and go with a dSLR, even if you plan on using it's "Green Auto" mode. I've been playing with one of the newer Sony models with those types of features, and frankly, when combined with fast Autofocus Live View (and most point and shoot users are more comfortable using Live View), I'm quite impressed at how well the Auto modes work.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 8:13 PM   #7
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OP, have you asked yourself what it is you want to shoot?

Then, it can be much easier to narrow down and decide what you want, rather than getting overwhelmed with specs for specs' sake.
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 6:29 AM   #8
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I'm agreeing with JimC here.

A DSLR is going to provide superior results to a P&S, all things considered.

And with auto modes, it's pretty difficult to take a bad shot.

I've seen newbie photographers pick up a DSLR (or DSLR-like) camera and produce some pretty respectable results in their first year.

With a little reading, experimentation and coaching that you can get from forums like this, you could become a solid amateur photographer in a year or two (if you have lots of talent, less time than that!).
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 7:03 AM   #9
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IMHO the reason people get DSLR's is because they want to take better pictures. They dont mind changing the lens as it will obtain a better shot from that point in mind I would say you would be better off not getting a DSLR. You can produce good pictures with out using a DSLR.
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 1:42 PM   #10
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1. auto mode on most dslrs i've used isn't great. on the other hand, with the help of the board, learning isn't very difficult.

2. although a lens like you describe won't be the best quality, it will probably be better than the lens on many point and shoots.

i've seen some very impressive pics taken with cameras like the panasonic fz35. the reason people with decent cameras don't get better pics is that they're using auto instead of tweaking their settings. i got a canon p&s years ago, and my first time out i got 95% blurry pics. it was learning to use faster shutter speeds and to manipulate the ISO that allowed my next set of pics to be 95% usable next time out.

i hear one of the best cameras on auto is the olympus epl1. not sure if there's a decent all purpose m4/3 lens for a reasonable price, but i've heard very good things about the panasonic 14-140 lens, which costs more than the camera. if you don't need much zoom, the kit lens is supposed to be fairly good.
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