Fast-focusing camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Beet Root, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Beet Root

    Beet Root Guest

    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]
    Beet Root, Jun 23, 2011
    #1
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  2. "Beet Root" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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
    David J Taylor, Jun 23, 2011
    #2
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  3. Beet Root <> 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/canon/compacts/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
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jul 24, 2011
    #3
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