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Old Feb 20, 2010, 7:18 PM   #1
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Default dSLR x Prosumer

Hi,

I'm a photo enthusiast. I had SLR before, in the film times. But since 1998 I had many compact (P&S) and prosumer digital cameras, but no dSLRs yet. And my last Prosumer died in an accident.

Now I'd like a camera with better quality, that suits to make photos of social events and meetings (Rotary Club), in lo light light, where a bright and wide angle lens is useful and lo noise sensor is important.

But ALSO I'd like a camera to play along, in vacation, tourism, wildlife, landscapes, and also family - where a large zoom (from wide do strong tele) is essential, and the camera should not be so bulky to be carried everywhere...

The dSLR has the problem to be bigger, specially with large zooms (ex: 28mm to 300mm...), making unconfortable to use frequently - a powerful camera is unuseful if remains at home in a tray... Also there is the intrinsic limitation that it does not allow to preview the image in the LCD display - it requires the old style viewfinder, making not possible flexible framing I learnt to do with the digitals in all these years.

The prosumers are evoluting a lot, with very powerfull zooms (amazing 26-624mm in the Nikon P90), and many manual settings. The size is very better suitable. Also they have many resources that are present only in very expensive dSLRS, like higher resolution and video recording. BUT, usually they have much NOISE in lo light conditions (in part due the long zoom, and the smaller CCD).

The main question is: is there too many difference in the image quality, specially in lo light condition, between a dSLR and a Prosumer camera?
I mean entry level dSLRS, just a few more expensive, because top level and full professional dSLRs obvisiuly will have better results, but what about a entry level dSLR and a Prosumer?

Thanks for any help. I'm enchanted with the Nikon P90 (or simmilar), but I'm afraid to be disapointed with it's results comparing with dSLR, and on the other hand I'm afraid to buy a dSLR and do not use it fully due its size and weight...

Thanks and regards!

Last edited by MarceloRSC; Feb 20, 2010 at 7:20 PM.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 7:35 PM   #2
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No matter how good the CCD camera is, it will not be able to match an entry level DSLR in imagine quality. And in low light the difference is night and day.

Allot of the entry level dslr have excellent sensors. The best for low light would be the pentax k-x. Then the Canon T1i and the new T2i. All three have 12800iso. And match with a fast prime of 1.4-2.0. They will give excellent results.

If you are looking for a compact dslr. The Olympus E620 is the smallest of the dslr. It has a 4/3 sensor so it noise start being an issue pass 800iso, and acceptable to 1600iso. But if you want better low light a APS-C dslr with a iso of 6400 and up will give you very good low light imagine.

With a olympus, if you add a 70-300mm zoom it will be equal to 140-600mm with the 2.0 crop factor.

With the K-x with the 2 lens kit, the 55-300 will give you reach out to 450mm

And both are sub 600 dollar cameras with the one lens kits. So you can choice what long zoom you want. But the pentax k-x has the 2 lens kit with the 55-300mm zoom selling for 650 dollars on amazon.

So if you want something that will give you greater iq and low light performance. A dslr will be the better camera for that. But a megazoom bridge camera gives you the convenience of a simpler system, and a smaller package.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 7:40 PM   #3
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Entry level dSLRs will outperform "prosumer", "bridge" cameras in low light by virtue of their larger image sensors.

But here's a couple of things to consider.

Single lenses with large zoom ranges ("superzoom" lenses) have image quality issues that might interfere with some of your other goals. They are dim, so they don't do well in low light, they have significant rectilinear distortion especially at the wide end, making them less desireable for shooting indoors (even if there is enough light), and aren't very long, so they probably won't work well for wildlife shooting. And they tend to be big, bulky, and heavy.

Composing a shot using the LCD display means the autofocus will be slower than if you use the optical viewfinder, continuous shooting is slower which can be a problem when shooting sports/action/wildlife, and it drains the battery a lot faster.

BTW, do you still have lenses from your film SLR? Depending on the camera brand, they could be used on todays dSLRs, saving you some money from the very start.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 7:56 PM   #4
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Default Low Light Capable Cameras

marcelo-

Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

Low light level shooting is the very real hurdle for any P+S cameras due to their small imagers. For example, the Nikon P-90 that you referred to in your post, has a very substantial noise problem that P-90 users continually complain about at any ISO setting of 400 and more. That is not very usable.

Yes, there are other P+S digital cameras with lot of zoom, such as the Panasonic FZ-35 that are able to use ISO settings up through ISO 800, and even ISO 1600 in a pinch.

However, it is the DSLR cameras, with their imagers that average 15X larger that are the very real high ISO performers. Entry level cameras such as the Canon XSi, the Nikon D-3000, the Pentax Kx, and the Sony A-230 are much more able performers at high ISO settings, particularly the Pentax Kx which, with 18-55mm kit lens is selling for $(US)499.00.

Your point is well made that in general, when a DSLR camera is equipped with a lens that has a comparable focal length lens lens to the FZ-35, the camera and lens combination becomes very sizable.

That brings us back to cameras like the 14 ounce, very compact FZ-35 that is selling for around $(US) 325.00. I am a long time supporter of smaller, more efficient cameras, but the limiting factor is the law of light transmission. Users like myself are dedicated to learning to get more and better image quality from cameras like the FZ-35 under low light conditions.

Micro 4/3rds cameras are not the answer. Currently camera manufacturers are working feverishly to increase the high ISO capability of these cameras. But current cameras like the Panasonic G-1 currently top out at ISO 800 just like the P+S cameras. I have tied, I own the G-1, and actually find that I do slightly better with my FZ-35, another camera that I own.

So the next logical question is simply this: how does the image quality of cameras like the FZ-35 really compare? So I will attach a photo that I took with the FZ-28, the camera that came before the current FZ-35. This is an on stage photo taken at ISO 800 without flash.

I think that you have opened an interesting discussion. Enjoy your weekend.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 8:42 PM   #5
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marcelo-


I think that you have opened an interesting discussion. Enjoy your weekend.

Sarah Joyce
Of course there's always the Sigma DP2. A niche camera (because it has a fixed lens) but then again, here are some ISO 3200 images taken without a flash...





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Old Feb 20, 2010, 11:08 PM   #6
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Well, Dave-

Camera size was one of the OP's main priorities. That is why I described DSLR cameras and then went to smaller form factor cameras. Your Sigma DP2 meet that category rather nicely and I am impressed with your photos.

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Old Feb 21, 2010, 2:29 AM   #7
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Both are very good for a point a shoot camera in low light. Here is a low light photo with a dslr in low light for comparison, , one in auto 1.8 at 1/20 sec, one in long exposures f22 at 4 sec. Both at 1600iso, and a crop of the second one
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 10:40 AM   #8
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shoturtle-

There is also the shutter speed issue as well. If there is any action in your photo environment, the shutter speed has to be sufficiently high enough to freeze the action.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 12:54 PM   #9
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That is why I posted a long and short exposure time to compare.
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 1:08 PM   #10
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shoturtle-

There is also the shutter speed issue as well. If there is any action in your photo environment, the shutter speed has to be sufficiently high enough to freeze the action.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
The Sigma is neither an SLR or a prosumer camera. It is most often described as a "niche" camera. I have no idea what that actually means.

It has no zoom, and unless you hook it up to a scope via an adapter, it won't do telephoto - It's largest aperture is 2.8, (which ain't bad, but it's three stops less than 1.4). But saying ALL of the above, it has an IQ that meets or surpasses that of many SLR cameras. It has such a strong resolving power that you can do heavy cropping and STILL have crystal clear images. You can walk around with it in P or Auto mode, and take excellent images, or you can go to partial or complete manual as easily as any SLR.

It's limitations in todays world affect the buying habits of the public. They want a broad zoom range, they want and expect every bell and whistle that they've heard about.

But nothing beats the ease and quality of this machine in practice.

The DP2 is my eighth digicam, and I also own two pro SLR machines. As I said in another thread, if I could only own one camera - The Sigma would be the one.

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