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Old Oct 29, 2007, 11:15 AM   #1
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Just curious as to when you would suggest a upgrade to a DSLR?

The wife and I are scheduled to take a cruise to Alaska in the summer and I expect it to be a once in a lifetime trip. Right nowI have a Canon A540 and I was content with it until this past weekend we had some friends stay with us and they had a Canon DSLR xti with a couple of different lenses. WOW is all I can say, took some really great pics with it and the zoom with incredible.

I do not see me using many manual settings but that thing sure took so great pics.

Whats your opinion as to when is it time to move up to a DSLR, if ever. What would be the deciding factors?


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Old Oct 29, 2007, 11:53 AM   #2
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The Canon XTi is a 10MP camera, which is not an insignificant increase overthe 6MP in your A540. And the lenses available forCanon's dSLRs are also better than the lens inyour A540.

Taken together, they would create imagesthatmight be better than what you're accustomed to.

But the XTiand associated lenses requires a significant investmentin not just money, but also in the time and effort required to achieve an adequatelevel of proficiency.

That requires a commitment on your part. When you decide to make that commitment, that's when it's time for a dSLR.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 12:00 PM   #3
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I tell my students to be aware that if you've never shot an SLR or dSLR before, the learning curve can be steep. You may need several months to learn the ins and outs.

If your P&S no longer meets your needs, and your interests include shooting a variety of pictures, from macros to telephoto for example, or specific areas of interest where manual settings are virtually a must (sports venues, etc.), then you may be ready for the move. A superzoom may be a better investment if you plan to use auto all the time.

The next consideration is the investment. In addition to the body, you will have to invest in lenses. The better the lens, the higher the cost. A high quality, sharp lens (say the ef70-200 is L lens) costs twice the price of the XTi body(great camera, btw, and outstanding lens) although there are lesser-quality (usually less-sharp, too)lens alternatives.

So, the major questions I ask include: Do you have the time to invest in learning how to use the camera? Do you have the need to invest in a dSLR when a superzoom may work better for you? Do you have the ability to carry a camera bag with several lenses and attachments? Do you have the money to invest in lenses, etc.?

There are many other considerations I am sure others will point out. Personally, I have used rangefinders, TLRs, SLRs, and now dSLRs for well over 50 years and manual settings come naturally. I would suggest if you do decide on a dSLR (and I would like to sway you to that end), that you take a several week in-person class. You will find the investment in time will pay off in great photos of your trip to Alaska.

Oh, take your A540 too... just in case!

BTW, I lived in the remote bush of Alaska for several years ... what a wonderful state with tons of photo ops!
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 5:25 PM   #4
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I don't entirely agree with the statement "A superzoom may be a better investment if you plan to use auto all the time." Well, I do because he put in the word "may" instead of "is". The so-called budget dSLRs all have auto modes where you can leave much of the decision making up to the camera, and I use one quite often, when I'm just walking about.

My take on it is you are ready for a dSLR when your desire for higher quality pictures is greater than your dislike of all of the many disadvantages of a dSLR. Those disadvantages are the time and learning curve (and no, you don't have to know what every bell and whistle on the camera does, but you doneed to understand photography basics to understand how to get what you want out of the camera), the cost (can be VERY significant, as was pointed out), extra equipment and weight (there's no lens that does everything very well - for the most part, those that try to do it all are not significantly better than a superzoom), to name a few.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 6:39 PM   #5
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A lot of people go out and buy an SLR or DSLR becuase they "take better pictures" only to find out that their pictures turn out even worse.

You have to know what you are doing with an SLR. Even in "Automatic" more care and thought must go into each shot. Simple things like how you hold the camera can make a differance. Some SLR owners foget this becuase it has all become second nature to them.

My piont here is you have to want to put your best into it to get the best from a DSLR otherwise you would be better off with something else.

I would suggest that you borrow one for a weekend. Or go out shooting with someone if they don't want to loan it out. A see if its realy what you want.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 7:11 PM   #6
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tjsnaps wrote:
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A lot of people go out and buy an SLR or DSLR becuase they "take better pictures" only to find out that their pictures turn out even worse.

You have to know what you are doing with an SLR. Even in "Automatic" more care and thought must go into each shot. Simple things like how you hold the camera can make a differance. Some SLR owners foget this becuase it has all become second nature to them.

My piont here is you have to want to put your best into it to get the best from a DSLR otherwise you would be better off with something else.

I would suggest that you borrow one for a weekend. Or go out shooting with someone if they don't want to loan it out. A see if its realy what you want.
Not to mention that you'll have to get & learn a good image processing software program to squeeze the most out of the DSLR images.
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Old Oct 30, 2007, 6:40 AM   #7
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when i felt i was ready for a dslr, i still wasn't convinced so i bought a fuji S9100. it has full manual and LOTS of controls. well, i fell in love with all the controls and soon got a 30D, and i love working with it. i've learned a lot about white balance, changing ISO settings vs aperture vs shutter speed in order to show more light in pics, learned when to use different kinds of metering. there is a lot to learn - i'm still learning months later.

i have seen some really wonderful pics taken with a canon A620 and with an S3-IS, and even with those cameras, it can help to use some of the manual settings to get the best results. i also have a lot of friends who would have been better off without their dslrs - which they ended up not using in the long run because they didn't have the time to commit to learning to use them.

there's a lot of convenience with a camera like an S5-IS, which has built in image stabilization, a long zoom and all the other fun stuff but doesn't require carrying multiple lenses, weighs less than a single good quality lens and is a LOT less likely to get dust on the sensor.

dslr's require more maintenance, weigh more, may require multiple or specized lenses. really sharp high quality pics tend to require really expensive high quality lenses. on the other hand, a good quality pic from a dslr is going to be higher quality than a good pic from a digicam, and i'm always happier in low light with a dslr.

good luck with your decision!
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Old Oct 30, 2007, 7:09 AM   #8
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rachunter wrote:
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Just curious as to when you would suggest a upgrade to a DSLR?
Please read...

http://www.wrexham-cameras.com/WHATS...ST-KOD-CAN.htm
(my friendly local camera shop)

...and get your hands on both types before deciding.

What no-one (even this other Steve of Wrexcam) seems to mention explicitly is what, in my view is the greatest feature of hybrids such as my Kodak Z712is. I almost never leave exposure to the camera. In the live preview (once you've half-pressed the release), you can twiddle the exposure up & down until it looks right. This is a breakthrough in photography that almost no-one seems to have noticed.

Witha dSLR you'll usually have to take the shot and then look at it afterwards to see whether it was OK.

Good luck! Remember that brain power is more important than type of camera.
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