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Old May 20, 2009, 8:57 AM   #21
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I've had many DSLRs (Pentax, Nikon, Olympus and Sony) and although they certainly have some advantages over P&S, the gap is narrowing (from both ends). The new line of DSLRs from many manufacturers now have video capabilities (oh yes, the forbidden feature according to many "professionals"). Image stabilization is just about standard, whether in camera, on the lens or both. The new line of DSLRs have much smaller bodies, some even smaller than many long zoom P&S models. On the P&S side, we see faster and faster AF systems, a lot of versatility (Panasonic has a new ZS3 model that carries a 12x zoom, 25-300mm Leica lens on a very compact body, for a mere $379), excellent IQ, better noise control at high ISO, good flash range, good battery life and the best of all features, no lens swap required, which means, no sensor dust and no extra expenses. The real downside of the new P&S models is the fact that they no longer have an EVF. I really dislike shooting through the LCD, specially in bright daylight.

In many ways, I agree with Sarah's comments. I have many P&S and a Sony A200 with two lenses + kit lens. One of the lenses is a Tamron 28-300mm xr di. I bought this lens just so I can carry my camera to most places w/o having to drag along an extra backpack containing photographic equipment. Not to mention the hassle of having to swap lenses in harsh weather conditions. Now I'm looking for a new toy and guess what? It ain't a DSLR!
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Old May 20, 2009, 9:55 AM   #22
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Again - I will re-iterate, it is dangerous to make blanket statements. GOOD photography is about using the right tool for the job. As I mentioned earlier there are absolutely areas where the gap is still very wide.
1. Here's an ISO 6400 image from a DSLR. Show me a digicam that can produce this image at 6400 (the lesson being as digicams have improved high ISO, DSLRs have continued to improve it):


2. Shallow DOF. Like it or not, digicams are making no progress here - in fact they've gone a bit backwards. There used to be digicams with 2.0 aperture, not anymore. It's tough to find ones with 2.8. Sensor size and the related physical focal length size will always prevent digicams from getting shallow DOF. You can't have 'compact' lenses with narrow apertures and get shallow DOF. To get shallow DOF with superzooms and the like you need either a good amount of distance (so you can use more focal length) or a small subject. Whant shallow-dof with a human indoors? FORGET IT.


3. Focus tracking. While there have been some strides in this regard, there is still a VAST chasm between the focus tracking of a digicam and the focus tracking of a DSLR with quality focus tracking (Canon's, Nikon's D90 and above, Sony A700). Focusing on a non-moving subject is easy - it's the moving subjects that are difficult. See below or show me a digicam that can take that basketball photo above in the light conditions that shot was taken in.


4. Image quality. Yes, if you compare a DSLR with kit lens to a digicam for typical snapshots you'll notice no difference. But Tulio, have you ever used professional optics? For portrait, sports, wedding type work (even as a hobbyist) there is a VAST difference. And, talk to someone like Mark1616 or Peripatetic who have used a full frame sensor with pro optics. Is there a big difference between those results and digicams? YES.

5. Expandable. This goes to the 'right tool for the job' - you will ALWAYS get better results when you use a tool designed with a limited scope in mind vs. a 'jack of all trades'. This is true in DSLR world. The superzoom lenses are very convenient but the quality doesnt come close to what separate lenses can produce. Not close. The psuedo-macro capability (often 4:1) of general purpose lenses can't match what you get from a true 1:1 macro. The 18-200mm superzooms can't match what, say, a Canon 70-200 4.0IS or Sony 70-200 2.8 can produce. If all you've ever used is consumer grade glass then yes you won't see the quality I'm talking about.

BUT, and it's a big BUT all this comes at a cost - size, weight, price, inconvenience. Some people don't need the extra quality. If you're never going to shoot wildlife or sports you don't need to buy a camera that has great focus tracking. If you don't care about shallow DOF photography you don't need a camera/llens capable of it. If you don't need to shoot in situations where ISO 6400 is beneficial you don't need a camera capable of it.

What I will agree with is the line between top end digicam and bottom end DSLR with kit lens is getting blurred. BUT, with that bottom level DSLR you can build on it. You can buy a better lens. With a digicam you can't. I'm on my third dslr in the last 6 years. I have lenses that have lived through all 3. Every time you replace a digicam your entire investment goes down the drain. BUT this is a big reason why I question anyone that buys a DSLR for family/vacation use and doesn't want an external flash and only ever wants to use one lens. For those types of shooters, it doesn't make much sense. So, I'm not suggesting everyone buy a DSLR. It isn't always the right tool for the job. In many cases it's the wrong tool. But, a DSLR with the RIGHT lens/flash for the job is capable of results in certain situations digicams still can't approach touching. But I think there are a lot of people who bought DSLRs that would be better off with digicams. It's still just a tool and you need the right parts and the right knowledge to get that extra benefit from it.
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Old May 20, 2009, 10:48 AM   #23
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1. Here's an ISO 6400 image from a DSLR. Show me a digicam that can produce this image at 6400 (the lesson being as digicams have improved high ISO, DSLRs have continued to improve it):

Which camera was used here?
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Old May 20, 2009, 12:28 PM   #24
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Which camera was used here?
Canon 1dmkIII.
NOW, that's an expensive DSLR at $4500
The Canon 5dmkii at $2700 is even better
The $1200 50D isn't as good but it's very good
We'll have to see how the 500D ($850) does but I expect it to be the same as the 50D.

As Periipatetic mentioned the cost takes a steep incline as you move up the quality ladder. The higher you want to go the more you have to pay for less and less incremental increase. That's why it's not a solution for everyone. But that doesn't mean the differences are not noticable.

You want sticker shock? Canon 400mm 2.8 costs $7000. Think it produces better images than a superzoom's lens though? Just because most of us can't justify the cost doesn't mean the quality difference doesn't exist.

Quality is something you minimize until you've experienced it. Ask any accomplished photographer that has used pro grade optics if they can't notice a difference between the shots they take with those optics vs. what they take with their digicam for specialized uses and, of course they'll say their's a difference. But if they're honest and you ask them is there a big difference between standard vacation / family snapshot with large DOF in ideal lighting and they'll tell you - not noticable at small prints. Heck, I've seen some great zoo shots with superzooms that at 5x7 print size the only way you could tell it was digicam vs. point-and-shoot is the DOF is greater. So in good lighting, at narrow apertures you're going to have to pay a LOT to get better zoo shots than what the superzooms can deliver. But if the lighting is poor, suddenly it's tougher.
For example here's a garden variety zoo shot. Superzooms can give quality similar to this - especially at small prints. They'll simply have more DOF. Except this shot was taken at ISO 800. And, of course - part of the benefit of the shot is the annoying background is blurred somewhat. Not something the superzoom is going to do nearly so well.


Or here's an ISO 2000 shot - think you'll get that nice clear background and this level of detail from any superzoom on the market:


But if you don't need it, no need to pay for it.
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Old May 20, 2009, 5:01 PM   #25
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Canon 1dmkIII.
NOW, that's an expensive DSLR at $4500
Well, I'd hope that a $4500 camera can handle high ISO a bit better than a $400 P&S. I think no one will argue that there is definitely a market for DSLRs. Your points are well taken. However, I read a review of the Panasonic LX3 (see link below), in which they compare it with the Canon EOS 450D kit. IMO, the Panasonic produces better image. I think the gap between a low end DSLR and a high end P&S is definitely narrowing, both in terms of IQ and performance and costs. So, in one hand we see people buying low end DSLRs because of the idea that they are better while on the other, DSLR users are buying high end P&S because they can produce comparable results at a lower cost in a much more convenient package.
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Old May 20, 2009, 5:30 PM   #26
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However, I read a review of the Panasonic LX3 (see link below), in which they compare it with the Canon EOS 450D kit.
BUT, you can't think of a DSLR like a digicam. Want a HUGE improvement? Buy a 70-200 f4 for $560 and suddenly you've got telephoto images the LX3 can't come close to. Want to upgrade something about the digicam you have to buy a whole new digicam and you can buy 100 digicams and not get the IQ you'll get from putting that $560 lens on the 450. Want low light? A cheap $90 50mm 1.8 gives it to you. Want that option with a digicam? Sorry, can't do it. That's where people get into trouble - thinking of a DSLR as a digicam - it isn't. It's a system - you buy the components that meet your needs and don't buy the ones that don't. With digicams you're stuck with whatever they give you in the total package. But, sometimes people don't want to pay for the quality and that's perfectly OK. But, if I were to go out and buy a t1i with my current flashes and lenses I can say with 100% certainty I can produce better results in any situation than I could with any digicam - I just give up convenience. But the point is, that lens investment isn't thrown away because I change bodies. Now, if you invest in 3 different systems like you did, then you're throwing away your invesment in lenses unless you can sell them. It's why most photographers will advise people buying DSLRs to invest more in optics than in bodies. Qaulity optics can last you decades.
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Old May 21, 2009, 3:03 AM   #27
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However, I read a review of the Panasonic LX3 (see link below), in which they compare it with the Canon EOS 450D kit.
Do you have that link so our readers can take a look?

Thanks,

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Old May 21, 2009, 3:41 AM   #28
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BUT, you can't think of a DSLR like a digicam. Want a HUGE improvement? Buy a 70-200 f4 for $560 and suddenly you've got telephoto images the LX3 can't come close to. Want to upgrade something about the digicam you have to buy a whole new digicam and you can buy 100 digicams and not get the IQ you'll get from putting that $560 lens on the 450. Want low light? A cheap $90 50mm 1.8 gives it to you. Want that option with a digicam? Sorry, can't do it. That's where people get into trouble - thinking of a DSLR as a digicam - it isn't. It's a system - you buy the components that meet your needs and don't buy the ones that don't. With digicams you're stuck with whatever they give you in the total package. But, sometimes people don't want to pay for the quality and that's perfectly OK. But, if I were to go out and buy a t1i with my current flashes and lenses I can say with 100% certainty I can produce better results in any situation than I could with any digicam - I just give up convenience. But the point is, that lens investment isn't thrown away because I change bodies. Now, if you invest in 3 different systems like you did, then you're throwing away your invesment in lenses unless you can sell them. It's why most photographers will advise people buying DSLRs to invest more in optics than in bodies. Qaulity optics can last you decades.
100% right
ihave sx1 is and even it a high end superzoom and iam starting to shoot from only 3 monthes ago iam not pleased with the big noise even in low iso (iso 80 and 100% crop)


or when i use a 20X zoom the images is realy not sharp at all



in this photo i want to use faster shutter and higher appeture value but i cant because i cant use higher iso than 400 (Realy big noise)

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Old May 21, 2009, 9:44 AM   #29
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Do you have that link so our readers can take a look?

Thanks,

Mark
Ooops, sorry about that...here it goes...

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Pa..._results.shtml
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Old May 21, 2009, 9:59 AM   #30
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BUT, you can't think of a DSLR like a digicam. Want a HUGE improvement? Buy a 70-200 f4 for $560 and suddenly you've got telephoto images the LX3 can't come close to. Want to upgrade something about the digicam you have to buy a whole new digicam and you can buy 100 digicams and not get the IQ you'll get from putting that $560 lens on the 450. Want low light? A cheap $90 50mm 1.8 gives it to you. Want that option with a digicam? Sorry, can't do it. That's where people get into trouble - thinking of a DSLR as a digicam - it isn't. It's a system - you buy the components that meet your needs and don't buy the ones that don't. With digicams you're stuck with whatever they give you in the total package. But, sometimes people don't want to pay for the quality and that's perfectly OK. But, if I were to go out and buy a t1i with my current flashes and lenses I can say with 100% certainty I can produce better results in any situation than I could with any digicam - I just give up convenience. But the point is, that lens investment isn't thrown away because I change bodies. Now, if you invest in 3 different systems like you did, then you're throwing away your invesment in lenses unless you can sell them. It's why most photographers will advise people buying DSLRs to invest more in optics than in bodies. Qaulity optics can last you decades.
I agree with most of what you stated here. However, saying that you can guarantee 100% that you will get better results with a DSLR than with ANY P&S is simply not true. Some low end DSLRs are far from producing the IQ one expects from this system. Most kit lenses are mediocre and there are plenty of bad glass out there. One has to be very selective (and spend a lot of money) in order to build a line of lenses that will cover a range from 18mm to 500mm. And I mean a lot of money. I once had an Oly system and made the mistake of buying a Minolta 100-300mm lens. That was the biggest piece of junk I've ever bought. The lens produced a tremendous amount of PF and CA and unless it was stopped down to f8.0, images would look soft, contrast was poor, etc, etc, etc. I also had the Nikon D40 when it first came out. Horrible DR, blown highlights all over the place unless the exposure was knocked down by -0.7 or even -1.0, in which case everything turned dark. I can go on and on. IMO, most low end DSLRs are not much better than some high end P&S (and you loose convenience big time).
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