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Fast-focusing camera

 
 
Beet Root
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      06-22-2011
Hi all,

I'd like to get a new camera that will allow me to take pictures of moving objects (kids, mainly), which means I need it to focus fast. I currently have two cameras, both of which are not quire up to it. One is the Canon Powershot Pro1 (from abt 2005) which works really well for me except when I need to focus fast. The other is a tiny Nikon S550 (from 2008?) which I don't use as often because I'm not quite used to the lack of a viewfinder. The really old SLR I had before the digital cameras was perfect for my needs (a no-frills Canon Rebel from 1994), and much better than either of the two digital cameras I've used with respect to getting a good focus on the subject.I also like to dabble in capturing landscapes, but it's not something I'm particularly good at, or something where I think a newer camera is going tomake a big difference.

My question is, are the newer generation of P&S cameras significantly better than the ones I currently have as far as focusing is concerned? Or shouldI bite the bullet and get a dSLR? If I do get a dSLR,will the basic Rebel XS/XSi/T3 be plenty of camera for me? Or should I consider the T1i/T2i?

I obviously do not want to pay for features I'll likely never use, but I doneed something with a viewfinder, and I understand that limits my options quite a bit. I'd love to make photography much more of a hobby than it is, but I'm afraid time will not permit, at least in the near future, so I'd like to keep the budget reasonable.

Thanks very much for all suggestions, opinions and comments. I do hope thisdoesn't degenerate into a P&S vs dSLR or Canon vs Nikon war. If getting a dSLR, I'd prefer to stay with Canon, simply because I can get them at significant savings. With a P&S, I have no preference, except that I'm probably more familiar with the Canon's controls.

BT [a faster-focusing Powershot Pro1 would be ideal]
 
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David J Taylor
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      06-23-2011
"Beet Root" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Hi all,

[]
> My question is, are the newer generation of P&S cameras significantly
> better than the ones I currently have as far as focusing is concerned?
> Or should I bite the bullet and get a dSLR? If I do get a dSLR,will the
> basic Rebel XS/XSi/T3 be plenty of camera for me? Or should I consider
> the T1i/T2i?

[]
> BT [a faster-focusing Powershot Pro1 would be ideal]


I suspect that a DSLR - even lower end - would meet your needs. Why not
pop into the photo shop and try one? It's heavier, of course, and a full
range of zoom lenses would be more expensive. In really good outdoor
light the P&S may produce good enough image quality, but it may still be
slower for focussing. Get a wider-aperture lens for your DSLR and you
will be in a different league for lower-light images.

I have one up from the low-end (Nikon rather than Canon) and the extra
focussing facilities do help, Can't comment on the Canon range.

Cheers,
David

 
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Wolfgang Weisselberg
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      07-24-2011
Beet Root <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

[photographing kids, P&S focus too slow for action, but work
otherwise. SLR much much better with focussing. Viewfinder
wanted.]

> My question is, are the newer generation of P&S cameras significantly
> better than the ones I currently have as far as focusing is
> concerned?


Hmmm. Not really. While there are some wild claims for very
fast focussing for some high end EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder,
Interchangeable Lens) cameras, P&S are still slow compared to
phase detection AF (what your SLR does). (And reviews say that
even these fastest contrast based AFs are Not Fully There Yet
where PDAF is.) There may come a day when they build PHAF into
the main sensor (sacrificing quite a number of otherwise good
pixels), but that day hasn't come yet.

> Or should I bite the bullet and get a dSLR? If I do get a
> dSLR,will the basic Rebel XS/XSi/T3 be plenty of camera for me? Or
> should I consider the T1i/T2i?


Megapixelwise you have a 8MPix camera, right? Then any DSLR
from 8MPix up will be plenty megapixelwise (especially with good
lenses), if you're fine with your current resolution.

So basically the question is --- what is your bugdet, what do
you want, what feels best in your hands.

Also consider a used 50D/40D/30D or even 20D. You'd get the
thumbwheel thrown in, for example. (The 60D is not on par with
the 50D, since the line split up after the 50D: upward to the 7D,
downward to the 60D.)

Check out sites like dpreview.com, and find out what features
you'd like to have, and which ones you don't care about. (e.g. do
you need video? Remember video ob DSLRs doesn't do AF (as far as
I know), you might be much better off with a dedicated consumer
video camera. OTOH, if you need very low light video and aren't
afraid of manual focus pulling (like they do in real films) ...)


> I obviously do not want to pay for features I'll likely never use, but
> I do need something with a viewfinder,


That rules out almost all P&S cameras --- very few have
viewfinders any more.

(But you don't have a P&S, really, you have a bridge/superzoom
camera. Unless
http://www.dpreview.com/products/can...cts/canon_pro1
isn't your camera.
You should look for bridge cameras, then. They have (electronic)
viewfinders.)

If you are shooting indoors and don't want the straight-on flash
of the P&S cameras, you need a large sensor or an external flash unit.

Large sensors usually means a DSLR or EVIL camera (I understand
there are nice offerings in micro 4/3rds). (There have been
bridge cameras with large sensors, though they are rare.)

Alternatively, a P&S or bridge camera with an external flash unit
(to bounce the light off the ceiling) might improve your shots
a lot. But you have to learn how to use that effectively.


> and I understand that limits my
> options quite a bit. I'd love to make photography much more of a hobby
> than it is, but I'm afraid time will not permit, at least in the near
> future, so I'd like to keep the budget reasonable.


Buy used from a reputable shop. If time opens up in a few years,
you can either sell with not too bad loss on usable lenses,
or upgrade the body and keep the lenses.


> Thanks very much for all suggestions, opinions and comments. I do hope
> this doesn't degenerate into a P&S vs dSLR or Canon vs Nikon war. If
> getting a dSLR, I'd prefer to stay with Canon, simply because I can
> get them at significant savings. With a P&S, I have no preference,
> except that I'm probably more familiar with the Canon's controls.


> BT [a faster-focusing Powershot Pro1 would be ideal]


Then first go to a photography shop and try a modern bridge camera
that otherwise meets your specs, and see how fast it focusses in
dim light compared to your Powershot.

As for noise, most cameras should beat your Pro1 on equal ISO
settings, and larger sensors even on quite higher ISO settings.
(Do judge the noise on a print or screen with the same enlargement
--- judging it at 100% is only comparable with the same number
of megapixels. A 1 MPix image would need to be enlarged to 400%
to be comparable to a 16 MPix 100% view ... And on a print noise
usually is quite less visible than on screen.)

-Wolfgang
 
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