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Old Apr 5, 2010, 4:57 AM   #11
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Also, how much do the faster lenses generally used in P&S cameras (at least compared to zoom lenses I can afford and would want to lug around) cancel out the better noise characteristics of the DSLRs?
Apples and oranges. You'd be trading one flaw for another.

But with that said, you can the avoid image noise in the P&S images by shooting at lower ISOs, and you can avoid the distortions and chromatic aberration in the dSLR + Superzoom lens images by staying away from the extremes in the zoom range. But since the dSLR + Superzoom has less of a range than a P&S Superzoom, it would be easier to avoid image noise in a P&S than to avoid distortion and CA in a dSLR + superzoom lens.

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... when you say the P&S lenses are "better", what does that mean in this context? Are you referring to resolution, distortion, aberration or all three?
All three. P&S digicams have smaller image sensors, so there's less field curvature, so, in general, the corners will be sharper. Also , the optical elements are smaller, and the lens designs are simpler, so they're more likely to be sharp. And, in general, simpler lens designs mean less CA.

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... Which one returns the best total resolution, and how does this vary across focal lengths? I understand that a DSLR superzoom will certainly not return as much resolution as the sensor is capable of, (there is a reason all SLR body reviews are done with primes) but other than that, how much does it return?

To use imaging resource as an example, there is a single three-shot test of a Gretag resolution chart for the FZ35, while the lens review for the Nikon 18-200 has nothing of the sort; instead I get a bunch of fancy graphs which don't really tell me anything useful, unless I had such graphs with the FZ35, which I don't. It's frustrating... dpreview has the same problem; no studio samples with the DSLR lens, just the useless (to me) graphs.
Yes, unfortunately, there are no reall 'Head to Head' comparisons. All there is to go by are the reviews and test results. Bu thte good thing is that there are sufficient test results to make some comparisions, subjective as they may be.

When you compare the sample images for a P&S with the sample images for a dSLR, and look at the test results for the kit lens used on the dSLR, you identify the problem areas in the test results, and look for them in the sample images. Then you compare the test results for the Superzoom lens you want to use with the dSLR with the test results for the kit lens, and you can get an idea of how different the images might be with the superzoom lens. It's not easy, but there's enough data for you to judge for yourself.

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What do I plan on doing with the camera? The usual, I suppose... vacations, travel, parties, etc. I especially enjoy taking pictures at the zoo. I do occasionally get frustrated with autofocus time with my P&S (and it's even worse with my FZ5, which lacks manual focus.) They get printed at sizes up to 8x10. (Is that "small" or "large"?)

I will note that if I'm "shooting the eagles", I'm likely to miss the shot with a P&S due to the slower reaction time...
There are P&S Superzooms that focus faster and have less lag time than your FZ5, though there are people here much more qualified that me, that can point them out for you.

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I can always crop the DSLR shot to make up for the somewhat reduced zoom.
True, but you can capture a 12MP image with a P&S at (the 35mm equivalent of) 486mm focal length, or a 12MP image with a dSLR at (the 35mm equivalent of) 300mm and crop it down to 7.5MP to get the same angle of view, which would you prefer? Consider also that you might want to crop that P&S image too, so where will that put your dSLR image?

It's certainly your call, but if you want to get a dLSR and then tie one hand behind its back by only using it with a superzoom lens, my feeling is that you'd be better off with a P&S superzoom. The biggest advantage of getting a dSLR is so you can get multiple lenses, each designed for a particular purpose. Only getting a single lens that you'll use for everything ignores the biggest advantage of a dSLR.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 5:29 AM   #12
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I perfer a multi lens solution also. But there are time when the megazoom lens with a dslr would be handy. With traveling allot, a one lens solution is very useful. And though the megazoom lenses are not as good as 2 lenses covering the same range. Some of them are not that bad. The Tamaron 18-270mm is a very popular megazoom lens in Germany. So if you are willing to accept the trade off in IQ, it gives you a much easier travel lens.

Between a megazoom p&s and a dslr with a megazoom lens. There is a big price difference. Around 500 for a fz35 or about 1000 for a dslr body and the megazoom lens. The dslr will not have any shutter lag issues. And will give you a much better burst rate.

But the big advantage of the dslr is, if you do decide to go with a more subject dedicated lens, you do not need to get another camera, just go out and get the lens you need.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:29 AM   #13
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There was another good discussion here on this issue a few days ago, at...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/what-camera-should-i-buy/168419-dslr-high-zoom-point-shoot-camera.html

Also, I note that today's 'Picture of the day' at...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/photo-day-contest/168580-april-4-2010-cottonball.html#post1074681

...is a very fine example of what a cheap superzoom can do. I own that camera (Z1012is) and its predecessor model, and they're now extinct. The current superzooms may well be able to do even better.

It comes down to high dSLR total cost (don't forget lenses and a big bag!), large bulk & weight, and great absolute image quality, including low noise at high ISO...

....vs. low superzoom cost, no spare lenses, small bag, and lower image quality. Only you can decide which is more important to you.

However, I'd point out that starting with a superzoom and getting a dSLR as well, should you feel you need one, is a very logical course of action. Will you actually have the big bagful of dSLR kit with you, and the camera all ready to shoot, when the shot of a lifetime comes along?

Last edited by Alan T; Apr 5, 2010 at 6:32 AM. Reason: linked to wrong thread
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 8:38 AM   #14
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Whatever happened to the big 'honkin bridge cameras with a larger sensor like the old Sony F707? I'm imagining a super-zoom with a bigger sensor (and yes, bigger lens), but with the reduced weight and size of a non-SLR. Surely there could be some middle ground between APS-C and the fingernail clipping of a sensor on a SZ P&S camera.

Really, a do-it-all lens on a non-SLR u4/3 would be close, if it existed, which it doesn't yet. And those u4/3 system products still command quite a price premium over their APS-C equivalents.

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Old Apr 5, 2010, 12:37 PM   #15
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Well they have 14-150mm lenses for m4/3. So that is pretty decent range. 28-300mm eq. The epl-1 is not that much more then and entry level dslr. It is around 560-600.

Here is an thread on the EPL-1 if you are interested.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ol...mpression.html
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 4:22 PM   #16
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Well they have 14-150mm lenses for m4/3. So that is pretty decent range. 28-300mm eq. The epl-1 is not that much more then and entry level dslr. It is around 560-600.

Here is an thread on the EPL-1 if you are interested.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ol...mpression.html
Wow! Yes, apparently I haven't been watching the u4/3 line very closely. I apologize to the earlier posters that suggested u4/3 that I ignored... this appears as close as I am going to get for what I am looking for.

Now, I just need to decide if the increased price is worth the advantages. I think it just might, and I'm very much looking forward to that new Olympus lens being released.

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Old Apr 5, 2010, 5:10 PM   #17
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But even with the 14-150 on a m4/3 body, you still don't get the range that, for instance, the Panasonic FZ35 would give you.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 5:45 PM   #18
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olympus 70-300mm with a panasonic DWM adapter 600mm eq. Used on ebay about 350 for the lens set up with adapter. If you are looking for some really long reach. Also panasonic is suppose to release a m4/3 100-300mm lens in the fall with built in lens IS.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 7:23 PM   #19
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But even with the 14-150 on a m4/3 body, you still don't get the range that, for instance, the Panasonic FZ35 would give you.
I would be content with the 300mm equiv. A 75-300 is what I used to shoot with my old N50. Given what (I hope) is the superior IQ of an E-PL1 + 14-150 zoom vs. a FZ35, I'm guessing I can crop my way to the FZ35 zoom levels without a loss in IQ, even if it does cancel out a bit of the gains.

Of course, it's call somewhat academic right now since the Oly 14-150 still hasn't been released. I'm hoping there will be decently swift reviews of the unit when it actually ships.

SirWired

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Old Apr 5, 2010, 7:28 PM   #20
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I uses the oly kit lens and a panny 45-200mm so that gives me a pretty wide range. 28mm close in and reaching out to 400mm. That is an option if you want a 2 lens option vs the 1 lens option. But you can get a great lens 14-140 with the panny HD lens, but that is a really expensive leica lens. 900 dollars
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