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Old Sep 5, 2005, 5:26 PM   #1
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I have been wanting to buy a digital SLR camera for a few months, however my budged didn't allow it, so I decided to go for a feature-rich point and shoot camera, the Canon S2 (hope mine doesn't have the battery issue).

I've been thinking alot about both kind of cameras, and I am a little confused; all good cameras in this site have good reviews, mentioning pros and cons (obviously), and after a lot of researching, I can't find a good reason why a Canon Rebel XT or a Pentax *ist DS/DL should get me better results than a Canon PowerShot S2, Sony H1 or the equivalent Panasonic Lumix.

Pros of the SLR I find: more resolution and a bigger sensor (less noise, not noticeable by me on sample images), interchangeable lenses (I only see an advantage if I buy a fixed 50mm f/1.8 lense, and some really good zoom lenses (28-80mm, 80-300mm, 400-800mm or something similar).

Cons of the SLR: bulky, expensive, need a good set of lenses to get really good results, need of a tripod for big zooms (no image stabilizer), results I've seen don't seem to be worth the buck (this is where I want some expert opinion).

Pros of good Point and shoot: ease of use (relative as I like using reflex cameras), versatile lenses with good zoom and good aperture range (took the PowerShot S2 IS as a reference), you can control everything manually, video recording, more compact, cheaper.

Cons of Point and shoot: have to stay with the limitations of the camera (lenses), unless you buy telephoto or wide angle converters and filters (don't know how good they are). Smaller sensor, suposed to create more noise, don't know if this is only noticeable on higher ISO settings which I normally avoid on digicams (even on a Canon Rebel Digital I've tried).

So, my whole question is, why would you buy a SLR and why not? What kind of SLR is more versatile (let's talk about lenses), Canon, Pentax or Olympus with the new 4/3 system? What makes a Canon Rebel or a Pentax *ist DS/DL worth twice as much as a Powershot S2 or a Sony H1?

I know there are really pro SLR cameras (16 megapixels and a lot of features) which cost thousands of dollars, my question only applies to the simpler SLR cameras.


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Old Sep 5, 2005, 5:39 PM   #2
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Schmiedel-

I own dSLR cameras (Canon 20D, Nikon D-70, Pentax 1stDS) and I have a good selection of lenses to support those dSLR cameras. I also own point and shoot digital cameras as well, such as the Olympus C-8080, and the C-7000.

I generally carry one of dSLR cameras along with my C-8080 and my C-7000. Operationally, I find that I am more likely to use the p & s cameras before the dSLR except when I am faced with a low light situation, or the need for long zoom.

Just a personal observation. You have made a good point. Thanks.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 5, 2005, 5:46 PM   #3
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I agree with the low light situation only if you have really good lenses (good aperture selection) for your SLR; however, I've also gotten quite good results with point and shoot cameras, as long as you can manually adjust focus and the camera provides decent aperture settings.

What I'm interested in is in really quality issues where a SLR really beats a point and shoot camera... Most Point and shoot cameras are kind of SLR anyway, or not?
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Old Sep 5, 2005, 6:38 PM   #4
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Schmeidel-

No, I don't see P & S digital cameras as sort of like dSLR cameras. Here is a photo that really demonstrates the kind of situation where I go to my dSLR. The position I had to take this photo was over 100 feet from the stage and no flash was allowed.

I took this photo with my Pentax 1stDS using a Sigma 28-300mm lens with the ISO jacked up to 3200. It is a photo that my Olympus C-8080 or C-7000 could not have taken.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 5, 2005, 7:15 PM   #5
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I am a longtime 35mm SLR user, but when I switched to a digital camera, I went with a high end digicam such as you are considering. No regrets at all.

One advantage of digicams is the EVF ability to preview exposure. This is something SLR will not do. Some think the viewfinder in SLR, being optical, gives better resolution, but this has no effect on the picture taken, whereas seeing the light levels and the picture as it will show, lets me fine tune exposure on the spot, and get the picture I want.

One issue I had never considered with film, but would have to think about with digital SLR, is dirty sensor. Film frame is new each time, but digital sensors pick up dust and dirt, more so if you change lenses frequently, and need cleaning periodically. No big deal, really, unless it was needed just when you were taking that really great picture.

If image stabilisation is an issue for you, Minolta has CCD anti-shake, built into the camera body which means not having to spend extra for it on each lens.

Personally, I would only consider a DSLR if I were consistently shooting in low light without flash, or indoor sports. I would have to do hands on tests, though. It would take a lot to convince me to go back to carrying around all the extra gear associated with SLR.

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Old Sep 5, 2005, 9:02 PM   #6
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Brian-

You raise a very valid point. Being able to preview your photo is more easily done on a point and shoot digital camera. It can also be done on a dSLR as well by simply depressing the depth of field preview button.

Cleaning the dSLR sensor is not a big deal. I have sucessfully done it on all of the dSLR's that we own using the Copperhill method.

Each type of digital camera has its place. That is why I carry both in my camera bag.

Now take a guess, is this photo a P & S or a dSLR photo.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 6, 2005, 11:03 AM   #7
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OK, as far as I see I made a good choice for the moment. I'm not really taking pictures in a theater or something like that, I'm more taking a lot of pictures outside or in a house (family), so the Canon S2 will do well for normal shooting and for some more difficult outside scenes where the big zoom and image stabilization might compensate for the aperture limitations these lenses have.

The picture of sarah is a great example, I don't see so much noise on the picture, and it was taken with a high ISO setting, which would cause a lot of noise on a standard point and shoot camera. That should be the advantage of the big sensor these cameras have.

About the second picture, I don't think a P&S camera should have any problems taking it, unless you tell me it was taken from a long distance without a flash...
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Old Sep 6, 2005, 12:28 PM   #8
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Schmiedel-

Yes, as long as you are not doing low light level photos, the Canon S2 will work very well for you. It is a great digital camera. The second photo (of me) was taken with a Pentax 750Z. I posted it to demonstrate that P&S cameras are really quite capable.

Sarah Joyce
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