Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I have a question about digital SLRs. Right now I have a Canon point-and-shoot with manual controls (Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual modes, exposure compensation, auto or flexpoint autofocus, ISO 100-400, etc.) I'm okay with the larger size of an SLR and with the shorter battery life, but what will an 8mp SLR do that an 8mp point-and-shoot with manual options won't? Do any of your SLRs allow you to see the image on an LCD on the back of the camera, or do all SLRs require you to look through the eyepiece? I really value your opinions - thanks in advance. Posted by Picasa


owen said...

I don't think you can go wrong buying the latest Canon entry level SLR, the 400D (or it might be called the Digital Rebel XTi in the States). It's a fabulous looking camera that is going to give the 30D a run for it's money. The downside with SLRs is that you need to spend more money on lenses than if you just got an 8MP point and shoot or 'bridge' camera. These tend to have fixed lenses, and generally the quality of the images is much lower. Give me an SLR any day!
Also, you can review the pictures on the rear LCD as soon as you have taken them, you just have to compose the picture with the eyepiece. Although I think the Olympus models do allow a live preview option. Hope that helps :)

jlbussey said...

1. I don't know about the Olympus but the battery on my Canon 20D (same battery in the RebelXT) lasts a VERY long time. I can take 2000+ photos on one charge. (3000+ if I'm using my macro lens a lot, as it's all manual.)

2. The equivalent number of megapixels is misleading. The SLR sensor is physically larger and each pixel is larger, and therefore you get a much better quality image out of the SLR, both in terms of noise and color fidelity. (Even a 5-6mp SLR will give you a better image than an 8mp point-and-shoot.) You will have a larger range of ISO levels to work with (up to 3200 on mine), and much less noise at higher ISO. My 20D has less noise at 1600 than my old point and shoot had at 400.

3. An SLR will allow you to shoot in RAW format giving you much better control over the final image, particularly image color.

4. You must look through the eyepiece, so you don't get a "preview" of the shot. They also can't shoot video. Since the sensor in an SLR is only "on" for the instant the shutter is open, there's no way to see the picture before you take it -- the mirror is in the way even if the sensor stayed on. I was bothered by this at first since I was used to the screen, but I don't miss it at all now. The only thing I miss about my Nikon is the flipout-and-rotate screen that I could orient to see things with the camera held in odd locations away from my body to get different angles. But I got over it, and I wouldn't trade my 20D to get that back.

5. When you have a single lens that tries to do all things, like be both a macro lens and a telephoto lens, there will always be compromises in quality. The glass is the most important part of any camera and you don't have to compromise anything with an SLR. On the other hand, it does get expensive!

jlbussey said...

I've heard of the live preview as a new option on some new models of SLR, but they work by having a separate (lower quality) sensor. I'm not sure how comparable the light sensitivity and other charactaristics could be to make it useful.

You really don't need preview anyway, you only think you do; it's like a crutch.

garyx said...

Personally, I feel I get better quality images with dslr’s, especially with RAW, and that I have more control over my creativity through more inbuilt camera features and through interchangeable lens.

That’s not to say you can’t be creative with a P&S as this article about assignment photographer Alex Majoli who uses Olympus P&S cameras will testify.

You might find another article at Digital Photography School useful in your final analysis.

If I were to buy another camera right now it would be the Canon 5D; if cost is an issue then I'd wait and see what the 400D brings otherwise I'd go for the 350D, which offers a good feature set, and quality results. But then I just use Canon, and so my response is somewhat biased.

Seeing Anew said...

Thanks so much to you all for your comments. They've not only helped me immensely, but I think would be very helpful to anyone who is trying to make that leap between point & shoot and digital SLR. If anyone has further comments to add on this thread, I'd be very interested. Thanks again.