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Old Jun 6, 2011, 12:58 AM   #1
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Default Which is better an SLR or a point and shoot?

Hi everyone,

I am absolutely going crazy about which is the best camera, an SLR or a point and shoot. I have tried 3 point and shoots so far. The first one was the Canon Powershot SX30IS. It was quite a disppointment. It turned my children jaundiced in automatic mode and it turned my cream floor orange and my white shutters yellow-orange. People have told me to change the white balance but you can't in automatic. I loved the 35X zoom though. I then moved on to Panasonic Lumix FZ-100. It wasn't bad and I liked the 24X zoom. I was disappointed that it didn't stamp the date on the picture automatically and the picture quality was quite soft and didn't jump out at you. My last point and shoot was the 36X zoom Nikon Coolpix P500. This one was just a jiggle fest. Regardless of the zoom distance the camera just wouldn't stop moving.

I then was told to move to an SLR which I have now purchased. I chose the Canon Rebel T3i since a mother at my childrens' recital had a t2i and the pictures were great. It seems to be a great camera but I need to know the following details. Are the features on the t3i comparable to the Powershot SX30IS? What about date stamping on the picture? I know that the SLR won't do it but is it really important? I have never had a camera that didn't do it and it seems to bother me that the SLR does not do it. Also, what about zoom? I love to take close up shots of my daughters at recital. Will I be able to do this with my t3i? Which lens would be the best since I can't always sit in the front row?

My last issue would be that last night I took pictures of my girls in my kitchen with the t3i in automatic mode. I noticed that it did exactly what my SX30IS did which is turn my cream colored tiles orange and my white shutters yellow-orange. Maybe I should have stayed with the SX30IS if this is the case? I know that people have told me to move to P and change the white balance which I have done and it seems to work.

As you can see, I am really confused and I would need someone to answer all of these questions if possible A.S.A.P. since I don't have much time before I can return the t3i if I don't like it.

I really appreciate your time and consideration.

Thank you all very much!

JPLD
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Old Jun 6, 2011, 4:52 AM   #2
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  • dSLRs and P&S cameras are 2 entirely different animals. P&S cams make considerable compromises in IQ, lens, and so forth in order to fit a lot of features into a compact package. So no, the features of a camera like the SX30 are not equal to that of a dSLR and vice versa.
  • Zoom will be based on the lens, but no, you won't have 35x because the lens would be huge. However, a dSLR can get shots in lighting conditions that a P&S camera only dreams of getting.
  • Date stamping can easily be done with a variety of free software. Google around and you should find plenty. Not a lot of cameras still offer this feature as most people don't want the date on their photos.
  • No camera, no matter what it costs, will ever get the white balance correct 100% of the time in auto WB mode.
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Old Jun 6, 2011, 5:12 AM   #3
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G'day jpld

Firstly - welcome to Steve's

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpld View Post
I have tried 3 point and shoots so far. The first one was ... quite a disppointment. It turned my children jaundiced in automatic mode and it turned my cream floor orange and my white shutters yellow-orange. People have told me to change the white balance but you can't in automatic.....
Your post shows me several things - 1)- yes you are confused, and 2)- you need to chase up some basic digital-camera training [maybe from your local adult-ed college], and 3)- you MUST get off Auto to get any good images. I know that Auto is nice 'n easy and all that stuff, but it is not a panacea for success ... and as you are finding, many menu options are hidden from you

Whether you really need an SLR is quite debatable

Whatever camera you use p-l-e-a-s-e swap from Auto to "P" Program
Program is auto with lots of menu operations now available to you

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpld View Post
.... I need to know the following details.
1- Are the features on the t3i comparable to the Powershot SX30IS?
2- What about date stamping on the picture?
[I know that the SLR won't do it but is it really important? I have never had a camera that didn't do it and it seems to bother me that the SLR does not do it. ]
3- Also, what about zoom? I love to take close up shots of my daughters at recital.
4- Will I be able to do this with my t3i?
5- Which lens would be the best since I can't always sit in the front row?
6- My last issue would be that last night I took pictures of my girls in my kitchen with the t3i in automatic mode. I noticed that it did exactly what my SX30IS did which is turn my cream colored tiles orange and my white shutters yellow-orange. Maybe I should have stayed with the SX30IS if this is the case? I know that people have told me to move to P and change the white balance which I have done and it seems to work.
Wow - what a list of questions...
my comments follow the numbers above

1-from the style of photography you are describing, I would recomment a point-&-shoot NOT an SLR. The SLR [any SLR] is a semi-professional camera & needs a "driving licence" to get the best out of it. Save it for now & get one in a year or two after you have learned lots more than you have today [no offence meant here]

Each of the 3 P&S cameras you mention have very powerful zoom lenses - and any lens over 12x zoom will need very steady hands, and over 24x zoom should/must be on a tripod

2- Date stamping is a menu on/off issue for those cameras that have it ... however as every digital camera has this info [along with 1001 other camera settings] automatically recorded [and you can see it in Windows Explorer screens], it begs the question "why do you want date stamping on regular snapshots??"

3- Most SLR cameras offer 2 zoom lenses as part of the "package" - however the 'big' zoom is big & heavy and will need a tripod much of the time for best results. For these pix [at the recital] you will probably need 300mm of lens [15x zoom on the P&S], AND for best results, you will need a tripod

4- you can do this with ANY of the 3 compact cameras &/or the dSLR

5- same as 3- above

6- If / when you go to the adult-ed college & do a basic digital camera handling course you will be told about setting the White Balance [WB] to match the lighting of the subject you are photographing. Again, as above, all 3 P&S cameras allow you to set the WB in all modes except Auto - as the camera designer has already taken the decision "if you're the sort of person who wants to use Auto, you don't want to know anything about how it works behind-the-scenes".

To finish off - several things
a) I hope that I haven't been too harsh in my response
b) I suggest you reconsider any of the 3 P&S cameras - they are all very similar, find the one that fits your hand & eye best
c) find a neighbour, high-school kid etc, to give you some qwik tuition before this all-important event, then enrol into an adult-ed class
d) please come back with more Qs as they arise

Regards, Phil
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Old Jun 6, 2011, 6:24 AM   #4
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Good morning,

Before you invest in any other equipment or return the 3Ti , which by the way, is an excellent dslr, you have to ask yourself the question: How much time do I want to invest in understanding how to operate a camera and get the best photographs of my daughters? So that I can cherish them as I get older and want to look at them again and again.

Notice I didn't say pictures but rather photographs. Since pictures are typically candids that you snapped pretty much without thinking, just setting the camera to auto and snapping away. Photographs require a little bit of thought, preparation and most importantly some understanding of the camera equipment you're using. The most important thing you have to understand is that the camera doesn't think only the person holding the camera can do that.

Since you've already told us that you've tried different point and shoots with mixed results, getting another point and shoot wont be your solution.

My suggestion is to join a local camera club and learn how to use the T3i. If you can't invest the time because family life just doesn't allow for that right now, read your manual from front to back and buy one of Scott Kelby's books on the basics of digital photography. You can buy one on Amazon.com, they are very inexpensive less than 20bucks, and they are wonderful in getting you started on the right track.

Or you can simply get another p&s, and continue to get mixed results.

As Ozzie Traveler said; this is not meant to be harsh. Just some constructive suggestions.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

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Old Jun 6, 2011, 6:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpld View Post

I am absolutely going crazy about which is the best camera...
Welcome to the forum.

That is a fairly common affliction around here

Quote:
I have tried 3 point and shoots so far. The first one was the Canon Powershot SX30IS. It was quite a disppointment. It turned my children jaundiced in automatic mode and it turned my cream floor orange and my white shutters yellow-orange. People have told me to change the white balance but you can't in automatic.
As you have been told, the orange cast is due to incorrect white balance.
All cameras have automatic WB. Some are better than others at getting
this balance right, but all of them will get it wrong under some conditions.
You can use manual WB settings to suit the conditions or you can
correct WB on the computer later. This is easier to do with RAW image files.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_image_format



Quote:
I then was told to move to an SLR which I have now purchased. I chose the Canon Rebel T3i
The T3i is a fine camera. It will be much better than a P&S in low
light conditions.

Quote:
Are the features on the t3i comparable to the Powershot SX30IS?
Generally yes. There are obvious differences like interchangeable lens
and optical viewfinder.

Quote:
What about date stamping on the picture? I know that the SLR won't do it but is it really important?
It wouldn't be important to me. Digital cameras store lots of detailed information
including the time and date in each image file. This can be used to add a date
stamp to a printed picture if you really need one.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EXIF

Quote:
Also, what about zoom? I love to take close up shots of my daughters at recital.
A detailed answer to this would fill 1000 pages. Indoor shots at long
focal length (high zoom setting) are notoriously difficult. The DSLR has
a big advantage over the P&S here, but to get the best results, you will
need a fast lens which could cost considerably more than the DSLR body.

Quote:
Will I be able to do this with my t3i? Which lens would be the best since I can't always sit in the front row?
See above.

There are many variables in play here. Light level, movement of subject,
movement of camera, flash allowed?, distance to subject.....

As a general rule. Long lenses with a large aperture (low f number)
are hideously expensive. The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM is a
big favourite for this kind of work.

Quote:
I know that people have told me to move to P and change the white balance which I have done and it seems to work.
You are learning already.

Quote:
As you can see, I am really confused and I would need someone to answer all of these questions if possible A.S.A.P. since I don't have much time before I can return the t3i if I don't like it.

I really appreciate your time and consideration.
You have one major decision to make. Superzoom or DSLR? For indoor
recitals, the DSLR is the obvious choice. Unfortunately, to get the best out
of it, you may need to to buy one or more extra lenses.

The DSLR also has a steeper learning curve, so you shouldn't expect
to achieve great results from day one. Your 'hit rate' will improve with
experience, but even if you have the best equipment, it will never be anywhere
near 100%.

Enjoy your new camera.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 1:38 PM   #6
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If you want to take decent pictures at a recital, you will get better results with a dslr. I recently took some photos at my daughter's dance recital with a 55-300mm lens and they turned out pretty nice. I can't imagine too many point and shoots would've come close in quality...particularly b/c for most recitals that I've attended, you can't use a flash. However, as others have mentioned, you'll need to become familiar with the settings on the camera. It's really not that difficult. I'm a beginner, myself, having traded my P&S for a dslr just a few months ago. The biggest inconvenience, in my opinion, is the size of the dslr plus extra lenses. It's not as convenient to haul around as a tiny P&S. However, you can take photos in rapid succession and the quality of the images is going to be way better. Good luck with your decision!
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 4:22 PM   #7
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Each has their prepose. The compact point and shot is super light and easy to carry around with for everyday stuff. The megazooms give you a ton of reach where the same reach with a dslr is very expensive.

The dslr gives you the highest level of image quality and best low low light performance and action shoot form a camera. But they are larger, and more costly with more lenses.

So what you shoot and need determines what is the best for you.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 4:25 PM   #8
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There is unfortunately a contradiction at work here:

1. You want great pictures.
2. You don't know anything about photography.

Those two things don't go together very well, and unfortunately simply spending more money doesn't help much. Now not knowing anything about photography can be remedied, but it will take some time and effort on your part. Alternatively you can just accept that a lot of your pictures are not going to be very good, but take LOTS and you are likely to get a few good ones and leave it at that.

Any of the cameras you have tried can give excellent results if you know what you are doing.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 5:57 PM   #9
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The question of which is better, a dSLR or a P&S, is irrelevant. The only relevant question is which is better for you.

P&S cameras usually produce good images in most circumstances, and while dSLRs will produce marginally better images in the same circumstances, where they shine is under extraordinary circumstances.

If all you want to do is take photos at the occasional family get-together or the annual vacation, save yourself the time, effort, expense and frustration, get yourself a good P&S, and learn how to use it.

And, btw, few dSLRs put the time and date in the photo. If that's important to you, then forget about dSLRs.
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Old Jun 8, 2011, 3:37 AM   #10
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Hi and welcome I have read your post and I can understand your problems and in the end all you want to do is get good pictures. In the T3i you have a great camera, all you need is a little understanding and a lot of practise, I think you would need to do this with any camera. As its been said before move away from the auto mode, it may well work for you out side in good light but not in doors. Here a liittle understanding of photography is needed You will have to up the ISO settings to get a good picture as I assume there will be no flash allowed. You will need to get a longer zoom, that depends on your budget.
Canon supply good software DPP, load and use it it will enable you to see the exif data which will have all your settings and the date it was taken. Look at the pictures and you will learn from your successes and failures and we all take some bad shots.

Any way I think tou have a good camera take some time to get used to it
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