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Old Jan 3, 2007, 4:19 PM   #11
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The short answer on quality is that the digital cameras will produce just as high quality shots in good light. Under ideal lighting conditions, like good outdoor sunlight, or in shots illumintaed by a good stong external flash, or studio lighting, you will sometimes have a hard time telling which shot is from a film SLR, which from an expensive digital SLR, or which from a small pocket digital camera, at normal print sizes. [I would say that a notably higher quality might still be attainable by one of the SLRs, with a quality lens, and a good photographer; but that level of quality is often not attained.]

In any conditions more challenging, the smaller digicams will still come up decidedly short. If you really want to replace a film SLR as your main camera, the best choice is still a digital SLR.

But even on those who shoot SLR or DSLR cameras for quality, there are various digital cameras which are very popular as a second camera (or third...or fourth...). They are more compact, portable, and convenient, and in at least some situations can produce images of near the same quality, especially if you don't need to make very large prints. Really, in any situation where you would have likely shot ASA 100 film, you might get as good or near as good results even with a compact digital.

Many of the best selling digitals are pocket cameras, and they also tend to have quite a few trade offs in features as well as image quality. Even on those which do have optical viewfinders, the viewfinder tends to not be very bright. And on camera flashes also tend to be underpowered, and not provide ideal lighting either. The flash is too close to the lens, so redeye is common. And direct head in lighting also tends to produce less natural results than lighting coming from off camera or from a bounce flash.

If you do want a full featured all in one type of digicam, rather than a compact pocket type model, the best choices are probably superzooms like the Fuji S6000 or S9100, the Sony H2 or H5, or the Canon S3. If don't need quite as much zoom, a Kodak P850 or Canon G6 or G7 might be a good choice. For a more compact model with good features, look at the Canon A series (A630, A640, A530, A540, A710IS) or Olympus SP-350.

Alot of people also end up using more than one digital camera for different situations. Such as combining a Fuji F20 (pocket sized, better than most others in low light/indoors) with a Panasonic FZ7 (long zoom, not good in low light, but very good outdoors and in good light). Or combining a Panasonic FX01 (pocket sized, good outdoors, has a nice wide angle) with a Sony H5 (good long zoom, a bit better than Panasonic in lower light). There are also some models which people buy becuase they are rugged and weather resistant, or can even go underwater. But you won't really find a compact camera that will do everything.

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Old Jan 4, 2007, 5:30 AM   #12
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Hi there, do you have lenses that you could use on a Canon DSLR?
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 6:54 AM   #13
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JohnG wrote:
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When you say nature shots - can you be more specific?

Also, what lenses were you using with your Elan?

'quality' is a very subjective term. There is no doubt a DSLR with a good quality lens will produce better quality photos over a wider gammut of shooting conditions. The question is: will a digicam provide the level of quality YOU require for the types of photos you take. But the key to that is having the right lenses for the given circumstance - so you could be talking about thousands of $$$ instead of $350 - depending on what you shoot.

So, what types of nature shots (landscape, wildlife, marcro, etc...) and what types of lenses were you used to using with the Elan? Depending on what lenses you were using they may still be compatible with Canon DSLRs as well.
Nature shots, as in long rage landscape aswell as short range close-upflower shots.

I use the "stock" lens with the Elan II.

Bob Nichol wrote:
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I went from a Minolta X570 35mm to a Nikon Coolpix 5700 three years ago when DSLRs were very expensive. Lens coverage wise it was equivalent or better than what I was used to with the Minolta, but that was it, I couldn't improve on the coverage because it was a fixed lens. Then the response time began to get to me because it wasn't fast enough nor could I get good results jacking up the ISO. I finally bought a Nikon D70s in August with several lenses and a Nikon flash and never looked back. The 5700 was cascaded to my wife!

If you're used to an SLR you may not be happy with a point & shoot due to their limitations. DSLR is heavier, bulkier and costs more but you gain more creative freedom similar to your film SLR.
I actually can't tell the difference beetween my cheap P&S film camera and my EOS. The picture quality is about the same beetween them in 4x6 prints.

And from looking at comparison images on review sites like this one, i cannot see a difference in picture quality beetween P&S and SLR digital cameras aswell.

I also don't use much of the manual features on the SLR, so image quality is the only reason for me to go towards an SLR.. and since its the same i dont see why me or anyone else buys an SLR or DSLR.

mtngal wrote:
Quote:
I went from a film SLR (Pentax ME, 20 years old) to a Sony F717 (non-dSLR) more than 3 years agoand was very happy with the results. Its a 5 mp camera with a (what I thought) half-way decent EVF, once I got used to it I quite enjoyed shooting with it (forget manual focus, though). However, it developed problems a year ago, so I, now a confirmed fixed lens camera person, bought an FZ30 to replace it, and discovered that more mp do not make better pictures - I didn't get along with the FZ30 at all (there are others who love theirs). After looking at the options at the time and deciding what things I was willing to compromise and what I wasn't - I went back to my roots and got a dSLR - I wanted better image quality than I could get from the FZ30 and decided to compromise by lugging around extra lenses and weight.

So in answer to your question, yes, a person coming from a film camera CAN find happiness with a fixed lens digital camera. However, don't get caught up in the "more mp is better" - my 5 mp Sony appeared to me to have better quality images than the 8 mp FZ30. And be aware that you'll be compromising if you settle for one of the small sensor cameras (the exception is the R-1, which has a bigger sensor but less focal range for the lens). I now am very happy with a Pentax K100 (6 mp) using my 25 year old lenses.
So you went from an SLR to a DP&S and then to another DP&S with a larger sensor and then to a DSLR, all because of quality? Maybe I'm not looking in the right place, cause I can't tell the difference..

Corpsy wrote:
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That can be another factor. Do you plan on processing and tweaking most of your photos afterwards, or do you want the camera to spit out really high quality JPGs? The best quality is usually derived by shooting in RAW and processing them through Photoshop. A few point and shoot cameras allow for this, though most that do don't make it very easy.
By "processing", do you mean editing an image, or simply changing it's format to compress it so that it consumes less space? Wouldnt saving it in RAW allow me to take a significantly smaller ammount of photos?

kenbalbari wrote:
Quote:
But even on those who shoot SLR or DSLR cameras for quality, there are various digital cameras which are very popular as a second camera (or third...or fourth...). They are more compact, portable, and convenient, and in at least some situations can produce images of near the same quality, especially if you don't need to make very large prints. Really, in any situation where you would have likely shot ASA 100 film, you might get as good or near as good results even with a compact digital.

Alot of people also end up using more than one digital camera for different situations. Such as combining a Fuji F20 (pocket sized, better than most others in low light/indoors) with a Panasonic FZ7 (long zoom, not good in low light, but very good outdoors and in good light). Or combining a Panasonic FX01 (pocket sized, good outdoors, has a nice wide angle) with a Sony H5 (good long zoom, a bit better than Panasonic in lower light). There are also some models which people buy becuase they are rugged and weather resistant, or can even go underwater. But you won't really find a compact camera that will do everything.

I really cannot afford two cameras. It would be nice to combine the alleged quality of an SLR with the compact size of a P&S. I wont make prints above A4 size, as I only have a normal size photo printer.

kenbalbari wrote:
Quote:
In any conditions more challenging, the smaller digicams will still come up decidedly short. If you really want to replace a film SLR as your main camera, the best choice is still a digital SLR.
Why is it that the smaller "ultra compact" P&S digital camera will comeup short? They seem to have the same size lens, ISO levels, etc. I dont see why SLRs are better than P&S cameras; they have around the same features. I guess I just don'tknow how to rate cameras in general and wich features count where. Maybe its not linear or a correct science.

kenbalbari wrote:
Quote:
The short answer on quality is that the digital cameras will produce just as high quality shots in good light. Under ideal lighting conditions, like good outdoor sunlight, or in shots illumintaed by a good stong external flash, or studio lighting, you will sometimes have a hard time telling which shot is from a film SLR, which from an expensive digital SLR, or which from a small pocket digital camera, at normal print sizes. [I would say that a notably higher quality might still be attainable by one of the SLRs, with a quality lens, and a good photographer; but that level of quality is often not attained.]

Many of the best selling digitals are pocket cameras, and they also tend to have quite a few trade offs in features as well as image quality. Even on those which do have optical viewfinders, the viewfinder tends to not be very bright. And on camera flashes also tend to be underpowered, and not provide ideal lighting either. The flash is too close to the lens, so redeye is common. And direct head in lighting also tends to produce less natural results than lighting coming from off camera or from a bounce flash.
You seem to talk a lot about lighting conditions, do they really matter a lot in photography? If so, then how?

And the flash is behind the lens, so how could it not be close?

kenbalbari wrote:
Quote:
If you do want a full featured all in one type of digicam, rather than a compact pocket type model, the best choices are probably superzooms like the Fuji S6000 or S9100, the Sony H2 or H5, or the Canon S3. If don't need quite as much zoom, a Kodak P850 or Canon G6 or G7 might be a good choice. For a more compact model with good features, look at the Canon A series (A630, A640, A530, A540, A710IS) or Olympus SP-350.
When you say "full featured", do you mean a camera that isn't SLR, but is still good enough? How much better would a DSLR be than the S3?

I was thinking about the A710 IS or the S3. The G7 is actually more expensive than both, despite it's short zoom.

I dont know anything buy Canon, what else would be good? And again, how much worse are these compared to a DSLR?

speedyj wrote:
Quote:
Hi there, do you have lenses that you could use on a Canon DSLR?
I only have the lens that came with the Elan II. I don't want to invest in a DSLR and then have to buy lenses aswell; what would a more expensive lens add?

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Old Jan 4, 2007, 7:35 AM   #14
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Track,

Based upon your responses I think you'd be happy and well served with a digicam. Since you don't notice a quality difference between photos from digicams vs. DSLRs, you don't want multiple lenses and you don't want to shoot out of the auto modes, I don't see any reason for you to spend more money on a DSLR.

I would suggest looking a digicams with a macro feature and relatively wide angle lens (28mm preferably) because of your interest in macro shooting and landscape shooting. Take a look at Steve's recommended cameras from the review side of the site and go from there.
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 9:07 AM   #15
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Sorry about not explaining better - I loved my Sony F717 and would probably still be happily shooting away with it, but it developed some problems after 3 years- the EVF/LCD became unuseable. I replaced it with the Panasonic FZ30, thinking it would give me at least the same quality as the old Sony, but I didn't like the pictures from it at all. That's why I mentioned not to get wrapped up in the mp hype - the 5 mp Sony gave me better pictures (my opinion) than the 8 mp FZ30 (the physical sensor size is similar with both cameras). I'm now very happy with the pictures I'm taking with a 6 mp dSLR (which has a physically larger sensor, and fewer mp than the FZ30).

Since image quality is in the eyes of the beholder (yours) and you find there's not much difference between cameras, then definitely get a digicam. If I were looking for a p&s, I might look at the Sony H5 - thought it sounded interesting, along with the Fuji line. I'd also look at the lower mp (usually means less expensive, too!) Panasonics - they have excellent lenses. Then go to a store and handle all of them - ergonomics become really important when it comes to cameras. If it feels too clunky or too small or (fill in the blank with something else), look elsewhere - it sounds like there will be lots of cameras that will fit your needs.

The important thing is to have fun with it, right?
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Old Jan 5, 2007, 5:27 PM   #16
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Track:

Ain't it funny how I can start off with "The short answer" and then end up going on for 5-6 paragraphs? Anyway....

Quote:
Why is it that the smaller "ultra compact" P&S digital camera will come up short? They seem to have the same size lens, ISO levels, etc.
You probably won't find an actual "ultracompact" (ultra compact normally meaning a pocket camera not more than about an inch thick) that goes beyond about 140mm equivalent focal length. But the larger superzooms (like the S3) will cover a nice range.

The higher ISO question is probably the biggest problem with the small point and shoots. Alot of them offer some of the same levels. But very few of them actually look good past about ISO 200.

Take a look at the crops in this review:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf30/page6.asp

The Canon SD700IS is actually one of the better point and shoots at higher ISO. So what you see on the right there is likely as good as you can expect for high ISOs unless you want the Fuji F20, F30, or S6000. But that won't matter much if you rarely use higher ISOs, and have reasonable expectations for what a camera can do.

Quote:
You seem to talk a lot about lighting conditions, do they really matter a lot in photography? If so, then how? And the flash is behind the lens, so how could it not be close?
The light normally matters more than the camera. The lighting makes a big difference in shots like these (which use studio lighting):

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=5
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=5

One of the problems with the flash right on top of the camera in small point and shoots is that it causes red eye. That's caused by the light beam from the flash reflecting directly of of the back of the retina in the eye and back to the camera lens. Moving it just a few inches higher, as the pop up flash does on some larger cameras, will prevent that. External flashes also often have swivel and tilt heads so that you can bounce the light off of a wall or ceiling and get less direct light.

Quote:
When you say "full featured", do you mean a camera that isn't SLR, but is still good enough? How much better would a DSLR be than the S3?
Well, alot of the "features" are giving you the ability to fine tune alot of things that really won't matter if you just want to shoot automatic and let the camera handle everything. Some of them are things like ability to shoot in RAW mode or use a dedicated external flash. If you don't want to do alot of image editing and fine tuning, you don't need RAW. You may not want an external flash. Some of it may just be having more buttons available to quickly acces some things that are otherwise buried in menus on the smaller cameras. Some of the larger cameras also have more accessories available like add on lenses or filters.

Quote:
I dont know anything buy Canon, what else would be good? And again, how much worse are these compared to a DSLR?
I think the S3 or A700IS you are looking at will probably be good.

If you want a compact pocket sized model lood at the Canon SD series, or the Fuji F20, or F30. Look at the those or the Fuji s6000 if you want a bit more low light ability than most others.

And a good budget superzoom you might like, for a good bit less than the Sony or Canon models might be the Kodak Z650:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_.../z650_pg5.html

It seems to have a good lens, and take good photos with accurate exposure, and metering. And 6MP should be plenty for the size you will normally print. The only thing you might miss that is on the more expensive models is an optical stabilization feature.

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Old Jan 7, 2007, 12:34 AM   #17
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kenbalbari wrote:
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Well, alot of the "features" are giving you the ability to fine tune alot of things that really won't matter if you just want to shoot automatic and let the camera handle everything. Some of them are things like ability to shoot in RAW mode or use a dedicated external flash. If you don't want to do alot of image editing and fine tuning, you don't need RAW. You may not want an external flash. Some of it may just be having more buttons available to quickly acces some things that are otherwise buried in menus on the smaller cameras. Some of the larger cameras also have more accessories available like add on lenses or filters.
Is that all that DSLRs have over DP&S, the features? I would like to take pictures in RAW mode, if it means that the quality will be better, and i have no problem with editing them later on. I dont think i want to buy more lenses and stuff. Ill buy a more professional camera when im older. Mostly i need a camera for the whole family, that has abt as good quality as a DSLR.. thats why i waited so long to buy one, so that maybe the prices would have gone down so much and thatquality has gone up so much, that i can now buy a P&S digital camera that would be better than my Film SLR.

Thnx!
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