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Old Aug 21, 2006, 2:15 PM   #1
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Hi folks,

My brother in law is about to get into digital photography and has asked me which camera to buy, a compact or DSLR. I know he would obviously be better off with a DLSR, but I advised him to get familiar with adigital compact, something like a Canon Ixus, or the new Finepix or similar. The way I see it, he will still want a compact for the times when theadvantage of a smallcamera that will slip into the pocket easily are needed.

He could always buy a DSLR when he has familiarised himself with the system, as a lot of the funtions on say a Canon compactare similar to a Canon DSLR.

Now that's only IMHO, so I would appreciate any advice bysome of the whiz kids on this forum, in case I'm way off the mark.

PS Money is not much of a problem, but I don't think it would wise to get both from the onset.

Dave.


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Old Aug 21, 2006, 2:44 PM   #2
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I think he should start out on a compact digital, but with manual controls, because if he get's used to this, then when he gets a digital slr, it should be no problem for him, because only some DSLR have auto controls and he might need this, when he first starts out....:G

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Old Aug 21, 2006, 2:53 PM   #3
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The conditions you're using one in would be the biggest factor.

As a general rule, a DSLR is going to be better for things like Autofocus Speed and Relaibility, Cycle times between photos, Noise Levels (similar to film grain) as ISO speeds get higher, higher available ISO speeds (very important for shooting in low light), more photos in a row before the camera slows down, faster write speeds to media, etc.

It's also very difficult to control depth of field with a non-DSLR camera (for example, using wider apertures to help subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds), since non-DSLR models have very tiny sensors in comparison to a DSLR, and their lenses have much shorter actual focal lengths (so you've got much greater depth of field with a non-DSLR model for any given framing and aperture setting). That can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.

Of course, the larger and heavier a camera, the more likely you'll leave it at home. So, take that into consideration, too. lol

If photos are going to be taken primarily in good light, then a subcompact camera may be just fine. But, if you want to use a camera for things like night sports in a stadium, or indoor shooting without a flash, a DSLR model is going to be a much better choice, since you may not be able to get shutter speeds fast enough to reduce most motion blur with most non-DSLR models due to higher noise levels as ISO speeds are increased, and lower usable ISO speeds.

The ability to quickly focus in low light also comes into the equation (and a DSLR is usually much better in this area).

But, with a DSLR solution, you need to make sure you've got lenses that are up to the task, too (and a bright zoom lens can be large, heavy and expensive, thanks to much larger sensors in a DSLR).

However, with a DSLR, your lenses become more of an investment, since you can usually take them with you within the same manufacturer if you upgrade the camera body later (and the used market is full of decent lenses, too).

With a non-DSLR camera, the lens is permanently attached. So, if you upgrade to a newer camera later, you can't take the lens with you.

I keep a little pocket camera with me at all times. But, it's useless for things like taking photos of live music at local restaurants without a flash (shutter speeds would be too slow). So, I use a DSLR for that.

Now, some newer subcompact models do give you higher available ISO speeds now. For example, the newer Fuji F30. But, it's lens is not very bright as you zoom into longer focal lengths. So, it's not really a substitute for a DSLR with a brighter lens in more challenging conditions (and you don't have the performance and flexibility you do with many DSLR models either).

If money is no object, I'd go for a DSLR solution, since it's going to be usable in more conditions, if you also have decent lenses for it.

But, I would probably get a smaller camera to carry around, too.

There are pros and cons to both.

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Old Aug 21, 2006, 2:59 PM   #4
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shooting_rubber wrote:
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I think he should start out on a compact digital, but with manual controls, because if he get's used to this, then when he gets a digital slr, it should be no problem for him, because only some DSLR have auto controls and he might need this, when he first starts out....:G
What DSLR models are you looking at?

Any current entry level (or even Pro level) DSLR is going to have an Auto mode or Programmed Auto mode if you want to let the camera do all of the thinking

A number of DSLR models even have scene modes to go along with it (more common in the entry level DSLR models).

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Old Aug 21, 2006, 3:01 PM   #5
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I looked at one that didn't have Auto controls, but I don't remember which one
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Old Aug 21, 2006, 3:07 PM   #6
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Take a closer look.

Even the most expensive Professional DSLR models (like the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II or Nikon D2x) get a Programmed Auto (P) mode.

P (Programmed Auto) mode is exactly the same thing as Auto, only you have more flexiblity if you don't like the camera's choices (spin a control wheel to step through other available aperture/shutter speed combinations if you don't like the ones the camera's autoexposure algorithms selected).

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Old Aug 21, 2006, 3:10 PM   #7
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I will......:-) next time I see it!
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Old Aug 21, 2006, 3:38 PM   #8
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
shooting_rubber wrote:
Quote:
I think he should start out on a compact digital, but with manual controls, because if he get's used to this, then when he gets a digital slr, it should be no problem for him, because only some DSLR have auto controls and he might need this, when he first starts out....:G
What DSLR models are you looking at?

Any current entry level (or even Pro level) DSLR is going to have an Auto mode or Programmed Auto mode if you want to let the camera do all of the thinking

A number of DSLR models even have scene modes to go along with it (more common in the entry level DSLR models).

I was going to ask the same thing.... I do not know of any DSLR without some sort of automode.


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Old Aug 21, 2006, 4:54 PM   #9
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ok i guess i was mistaken
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