New Parent - DSLR vs Point and Shoot (portability vs quality)

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by skanji, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. skanji

    Aad Guest

    Looking at the emotional value of the pictures. There's no difference at
    If you want technicaly better pictures, go for a dslr.
    The difference between these two will depent on youre investment.
    Both financialy and in the willing to learn about youre camera.
    Right out of the box (on green) the compact will give you better results.
    Of you invest time to study the techs and possibilities, the dslr will win.
    Millions of people are happy with snaps. And you?
    Aad, Feb 20, 2007
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  2. skanji

    J. Clarke Guest

    The people who say "get a point and shoot" generally go on about the
    inconvenience of carrying a bag of lenses.

    I've never understood this. Even if one has a bag of lenses, which
    most SLR owners do not, there is no need to carry it with you at all
    times. A Nikon wtih the 18-200VR will cover the overwhelming majority
    of shooting situations better than a point-and-shoot. No "bag of
    lenses" required.
    J. Clarke, Feb 20, 2007
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  3. I've got 4 lenses (85mm, 50mm, 35mm & 17-55 zoom) but I tend to decide on a
    lens and use it exclusively rather than swapping lenses while I'm out. I
    don't normally even carry a bag for that matter.

    cheers adrian
    Adrian Boliston, Feb 20, 2007
  4. Folks - just wanted to thank everyone for their comments. I've got a
    The ISO number specifies the light-sensitivity of the camera's sensor. The
    higher the ISO number, the less light the camera needs to get a correctly
    exposed photo. The lower the ISO number, the more light the camera needs BUT
    the cleaner the images are. A high ISO number invariably means more image
    noise, ie coloured speckles where there should be a uniform colour. The
    amount of noise varies all the way from "not noticeable" to "utterly
    horrendous", depending on camera type and sensor technology, and gets worse
    the higher the ISO number. To a large extent it can be dealt with by
    post-processing the image on a computer, but the best option is to have as
    little of it as possible in the first place. And the best way to do that is
    to feed the sensor enough light to begin with.

    You can increase the amount of light reaching the sensor by opening up the
    aperture of the camera lens (but there is a hard limit on how far you can
    go, this is built-in to the lens) or by increasing the shutter times (but
    there is a pretty hard limit on how long you can hold the camera steady, AND
    on how long the subject will remain motionless... for a child this is best
    measured in nanoseconds) or by using a flash (but effective flash use is an
    art unto itself; nothing is easier than taking a really crappy flash-lit
    photo). Some cameras do offer "image stabilization" of various kinds, this
    allows you to hand-hold the camera steady for longer periods of time and is
    an excellent way of getting images of very sharp furniture with very blurry

    So - we are usually left with no option but to increase the ISO number to
    get the shot.

    ISO numbers are linear. ISO 200 needs only half as much light as ISO 100,
    ISO 400 needs half as much as ISO 200 and so on.

    In film days, the typical consumer film was something like Kodak colour
    negative, 400 ISO. This was good enough for general purpose shooting and
    gave decent image quality. Nature photographers often used positive,
    "slide", film, at ISO 50. This meant that they needed long exposure times to
    let in enough light to the film, but gave superiour image quality.
    Photo-journalists could use black-and-white negative film, ISO 1600. This
    gave pretty crappy image quality with lots and lots of visible film grain
    (though good enough for newspaper use) but allowed them to take pictures
    anywhere, any time. If you needed a different light sensitivity you had to
    change the film in the camera.

    In digital cameras the ISO is freely adjustable, within limits. The best
    image quality is found at a low ISO number, just like with film. At ISO 100
    any digital camera ever released will (or at least: had better) give you
    good images with little or no unwanted noise. At ISO 100 you have to have a
    lot of light though - think "direct sunlight shining on the subject" here!

    On a compact point-and-shoot camera, image quality typically deteriorates
    FAST once you select higher ISO numbers. By ISO 400 quality is usually
    pretty crappy, ISO 800 is a bad joke.

    Digital SLR cameras have much larger image sensors than the
    point-and-shoots, anything up to 10 times the size. And when it comes to
    image quality at higher ISO numbers, sensor size matters. Any DLSR camera
    worth its salt gives excellent image quality at ISO 400 and anything between
    "good" and "excellent" at ISO 800. ISO 1600 should be quite useable. Some
    even perform decently at ISO 3200. And at ISO 3200 the sensor needs only
    1/32 of the light it needs at ISO 100!

    For indoors use, in typical indoors lighting without a flash, I find that
    ISO 800 is a minimum - and that with a fast (ie. expensive) lens. ISO 1600
    is probably a more realistic starting point. And that means a DSLR or
    nothing, I am afraid, although some of the new Fuji compacts look promising
    in the high-ISO stakes.

    From what I have seen Canon DSLR cameras do a better job at high ISO (800
    and higher) than Nikon ones, Canon uses a different sensor technology than
    everybody else and this seems to be the thing that their sensors excel at. I
    must add though that I haven't used anything newer than a Nikon D70 and
    newer Nikon models may well be greatly improved in this regard. (Nothing
    beats a Canon 5D or 1DsII of course, but you don't even want to consider the
    price-tags of those!)
    Ståle Sannerud, Feb 20, 2007
  5. But you have to be able to take the picture. Try taking it with a
    compact in an average living room in the evening, and keep in mind
    that the baby will be moving. Trust me, I know what I am talking
    about. It seems the OP doesn't want to spend all this money, and I
    understand that; but if he gets a compact for this purpose, he'll just
    waste his money. The more expensive the compact, the more money

    Of course the emotional value is supposed to be there if the image is
    recognizably the baby, but he'll get tired quickly after missing the
    moment he wanted, getting blurry, out of focus and extremely noise
    images etc.

    Seriously, before you suggest that they both work, try it. I also
    thought that differences other than image quality and interchangeable
    lenses can be worked around, but it's not true (luckily, I had a DSLR
    and lenses already).
    achilleaslazarides, Feb 20, 2007
  6. J. Clarke wrote:
    Were I to get a DSLR, a Nikon D40 with the 18 - 200mm VR would indeed be a
    tempting option. But it does cost and weight somewhat more than a non-SLR
    camera and is not something you can slip into the trouser pocket. Both
    have their place. Oh, and you have lost some of the low-light advantage
    of the DSLR by choosing an f/5.6 lens.

    David J Taylor, Feb 20, 2007
  7. skanji

    J. Clarke Guest

    Some, but not all. Don't know first hand about the D40 but the 30D
    does as well at 1600 as my FZ7 does at 200. And that 5.6 is at the
    long end, where the point and shoot also usually takes a hit.

    As for fitting in a trouser pocket, an FZ7 isn't a comfortable fit in
    a trouser pocket and an FZ20 is even bigger. If you want a true
    trouser pocket camera you have to give up quite a lot.
    J. Clarke, Feb 20, 2007
  8. skanji

    C J Campbell Guest

    The DSLR makes things a lot easier, not harder. The D50 is not much bigger
    than a point and shoot anyway.

    Now, if you want a pocket camera, that is fine. There are real good reasons
    for having both!
    C J Campbell, Feb 20, 2007
  9. J. Clarke wrote:
    28 - 200mm image stabilised...

    Yes, of course it has compromises, but it does fit in the pocket.

    David J Taylor, Feb 20, 2007
  10. skanji

    J. Clarke Guest

    The biggest compromise I see is that the only place it seems to be
    available from anyone who claims to actually have it in stock is ebay.
    J. Clarke, Feb 20, 2007
  11. It's on regular retail sale in the UK - indeed, it was on discount at
    Jessops just recently. You can probably buy it over the Internet and
    import it.

    David J Taylor, Feb 20, 2007
  12. skanji

    Aad Guest

    When you buy a dslr with the kitlens you will not be able to take this
    difficult pictures either.
    (kitlens f4, most decent compacts f2 or f2,8)
    If you use the built in flash it will look just as bad.
    When you know how to use the compact is will give you decent pictures.
    Use things like pre-focus, fixed iso and fixed aperture and exposure lock.
    That will give you a lot of extra speed. (the cam doesn't need to calculate
    the whole bunch in this way)
    I use both. The most important thing is to know you're gear and especially
    the -im-possibilities.
    If you know anything about it. Try it and you will see the difference.
    Aad, Feb 20, 2007
  13. skanji

    J. Clarke Guest

    Very few compacts have f/2.0 lenses. In any case you are neglecting
    the much better high ISO performance of the DSLR.
    J. Clarke, Feb 20, 2007
  14. Did you bother to read any of the previous posts? This is pointed out.
    Also, the kit lenses are f/5.6 at 55mm (I checked), even worse. As for
    most compacts having f/2, well, a) most don't have f/2 b) of the ones
    that do, most end up at f/5 or worse at the long end, c) a dslr has
    more than the 2 or 3 stops of advantage assumed given by the lens (but
    anyway, most people did suggest he get the 50mm f/1.8 lens). I don't
    see how we can even discuss any of the three points above, they're
    Indeed. Hence the suggestion to get the 50mm f/1.8. I also don't
    really think a 3 week old (say) sleeping baby will enjoy a flash going
    off into his/her face.
    In situations where ISO 1600 and f/1.8 needs 1/20s? I doubt it.
    This will not help. As I stated before, I also thought that the
    disadvantages of compacts (other than high ISO performance) could be
    worked around in this situation, but they cannot. So even without a
    high-ISO advantage, I think he'd need a dslr. And he really will need
    low light performace, too.
    But this is what I am saying! This isn't a case of equipment snobbery
    or anything like that, it is simply not possible to cover some of the
    situations he'll want to cover with a compact. Where are you going to
    prefocus if you're photographing your baby's face in low light and
    he's moving? Won't you want to record the colour of his eyes changing
    day by day later? Or are you going to put his crib on the balcony to
    get enough light for your compact to focus?
    Ah, I saw this sentence only now. I wouldn't have bothered responding
    if I had seen it earlier. OK, I have never tried any of this and know
    nothing. You're right, prefocusing and fixing the ISO to some value
    will let your compact photograph your baby having a bath and splashing
    around at LV 1 and incadescent light with usable results (focused, not
    much noise). Amazing how I could have missed it.
    achilleaslazarides, Feb 21, 2007
  15. skanji

    Aad Guest

    Yes, but al lot of them start at f2,8. (my old sony 717 did have f2)
    About the iso youre right. (getting better and better these days)
    What about all the other options I've mentioned? About the speed?
    Aad, Feb 21, 2007
  16. skanji

    J. Clarke Guest

    If one shooting 1600 at f/4 with the DSLR one will generally get a
    better result than shooting 800 at f/2.8 with the compact.

    And for 80 bucks you can get an f/1.8 lens for a Canon.

    As for speed, while it's possible to get reasonable shutter lag out of
    some compacts, it takes skill and knowledge, you have to understand
    the settings on your camera in some detail and practice the use of
    half-press until it becomes automatic. And not all compacts allow
    J. Clarke, Feb 21, 2007
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