purchasing a higher end digital - SLR or P&S?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Glen S, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Glen S

    Glen S Guest

    I've been given the task of purchasing a "better" quality digital camera
    for our dept. "Better" is a relative term, but our current model is an
    older Epson 850Z if that helps.

    The models I am considering so far are the Nikon D100 or D70, the
    coolpix 8800, the Pentax *istDS, or the Sony DSCF828. Personally I'm
    leaning towards one of the SLR's, and since I already own a slew of
    Pentax SLR's I have a bias that direction. Having said that from what I
    have read so far the Nikon models are looking pretty good, and I have to
    keep in mind that others besides myself will be using this camera as
    well so I was thinking the simplicity of a point & shoot may be the
    best solution. However, like my MZ-7 pentax in full auto mode, I'm sure
    the digital SLR offerings are similar and they are more or less point &
    shoot's in any case, but since I am the de-facto photog of the group I
    want a lot of control over the camera for things like depth of field,
    exposure etc.. without having to jump through a dozen hoops.

    I am still not 100% comfortable in the digital realm here, and I am
    trying out a Minolta Dimage 7i to get a feel for it. After reading the
    manual and seeing how you set exposures, DOF, etc. on this unit I was in
    a fog (it was late however:) I like controlling these things by just
    picking a shutter speed on a dial and adjusting the exposure
    accordingly, without having to press button x while holding button y
    down and turning dial z to the right etc..

    Talking to the others in the group, the most common single feature they
    want is that the camera takes the picture when the shutter is pressed,
    not 1-2 or 3 seconds later when the camera desides the time is right.
    This is important to me as well as I like to take a lot of sports pic's
    and to date have found the digital P&S's far from adequate, although I
    have heard that the higher end ones are better in this regard.

    So, to all those with a lot more experience than I in this area, for the
    best quality shots and easiest manual controls, and still have the
    ability to be a good "dumbed down" point & shoot, and the least "shutter
    to picture" lag should I go SLR or high end P&S?

    tia
     
    Glen S, Jan 21, 2005
    #1
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  2. Glen S

    bob Guest

    Glen S <whoknows@no_spam.com> wrote in news:pH9Id.133624$KO5.8652@clgrps13:

    > best quality shots and easiest manual controls, and still have the
    > ability to be a good "dumbed down" point & shoot, and the least "shutter
    > to picture" lag should I go SLR or high end P&S?
    >
    >


    SLR.

    "dumbed down" menas it can pick the exposure and focus. The SLR can handle
    these tasks.

    The manual controls are even more obtuse on the P&S than the SLR,
    especially the manual focus options on most P&S, which require menu
    navigation.

    Shutter lag: SLR is the clear winner.

    The areas where the P&S has an advantage are areas you did not mention:
    Price, portability, and, to some extent, versatility (movie mode, VR/IS,
    bigger zoom factors, night mode, etc.)

    Bob
     
    bob, Jan 21, 2005
    #2
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  3. Glen S

    Guest

    Glen S <whoknows@no_spam.com> wrote:
    : So, to all those with a lot more experience than I in this area, for the
    : best quality shots and easiest manual controls, and still have the
    : ability to be a good "dumbed down" point & shoot, and the least "shutter
    : to picture" lag should I go SLR or high end P&S?

    P&S cameras are toys. They have the big advantage of being smaller and less
    expensive (with a smaller sensor than DSLRs). Aside from the compact and convenient
    nature of them (long zooms, small sizes, etc), they have very little photographic
    benefit over an SLR. One possible exception is repositioning the LCD screen while
    taking the picture (think self-portrait here). A DSLR doesn't show an image on the
    LCD until the shot is taken.


    --

    *************************************************************************
    * Cory Papenfuss *
    * Electrical Engineering candidate Ph.D. graduate student *
    * Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University *
    *************************************************************************
     
    , Jan 21, 2005
    #3
  4. "Glen S" <whoknows@no_spam.com> wrote in message
    news:pH9Id.133624$KO5.8652@clgrps13...
    > and I have to keep in mind that others besides myself will be using this
    > camera as well so I was thinking the simplicity of a point & shoot may be
    > the best solution.


    You need two cameras. Maybe buy a nice little P&S model for about $200 on
    ebay and then buy your DSLR. May I suggest a Olympus D-40 or 4040 if you
    need more options?
     
    Dave R knows who, Jan 21, 2005
    #4
  5. Glen S

    bmoag Guest

    You really don't say what your "department" needs the camera to do.
    You may not need a camera of the complexity of either the 828 or the D70.
    These cameras can be used in P&S mode but why spend that much money when
    true P&S cameras will yield images that may be adequate for your use.
    As one who owns and uses a Sony828 and a NikonD70 I think I understand the
    differences between these two better than most people who post here.
    The 828 has shutter lag but on fully automatic produces better jpeg images
    out of the camera, images that require less adjustment in Photoshop, than
    the D70. You have to learn the menus and accomodate to the electronic
    viewfinder however. The 828 is far too slow for general use in its RAW mode.
    It may be heresy on this group to say it but the color accuracy and detail
    of images coming out of the 828 unmanpiulated are actually better than the
    D70: the 2 million pixels really do make a difference.
    The D70 handles like an SLR. In my opinion the default jpeg settings on this
    camera render images that are essentially worthless (no better than average
    P&S quality) but if you are willing to learn how to process RAW files the
    D70 becomes an awesome camera. The D70 has a bewildering array of electronic
    menu options that you have to learn to use to get quality images out of the
    camera.
    I think that Kodak produces a line of digital cameras that yield images that
    require vey little post camera processing for most people's uses, but Kodak
    squandered their brand name with all the low end cameras they cranked out
    over the years. You might want to look into them if you need a camera with
    good automatic settings that non-photographers can use.
     
    bmoag, Jan 21, 2005
    #5
  6. Glen S

    Glen S Guest

    wrote:
    > Glen S <whoknows@no_spam.com> wrote:
    > : So, to all those with a lot more experience than I in this area, for the
    > : best quality shots and easiest manual controls, and still have the
    > : ability to be a good "dumbed down" point & shoot, and the least "shutter
    > : to picture" lag should I go SLR or high end P&S?
    >
    > P&S cameras are toys. They have the big advantage of being smaller and less
    > expensive (with a smaller sensor than DSLRs). Aside from the compact and convenient
    > nature of them (long zooms, small sizes, etc), they have very little photographic
    > benefit over an SLR. One possible exception is repositioning the LCD screen while
    > taking the picture (think self-portrait here). A DSLR doesn't show an image on the
    > LCD until the shot is taken.
    >
    >


    Well, the P&S's I was looking at are only marginally less expensive, and
    some of the "goodies" they offer are appealing to some in our group,
    mainly the ability to shoot small amounts of video, time lapse etc.. (I
    find these kinda cool too)

    I am leaning towards DSLR's though, and shutter lag will likely be the
    deciding factor here. My next step will be to stop by one of the better
    camera shops next trip to the city and do some serious hands on
    looking/testing and find a knowledgeable salesperson experienced in both
    types of photography (digital and film)
     
    Glen S, Jan 21, 2005
    #6
  7. Glen S

    Lars Coleman Guest

    On Fri, 21 Jan 2005 16:21:34 GMT, bob wrote:

    > SLR.
    >
    > "dumbed down" menas it can pick the exposure and focus. The SLR can handle
    > these tasks.
    >
    > The manual controls are even more obtuse on the P&S than the SLR,
    > especially the manual focus options on most P&S, which require menu
    > navigation.
    >
    > Shutter lag: SLR is the clear winner.
    >
    > The areas where the P&S has an advantage are areas you did not mention:
    > Price, portability, and, to some extent, versatility (movie mode, VR/IS,
    > bigger zoom factors, night mode, etc.)


    Night mode? As far as I know dSLRs are much better for taking pictures
    under low light conditions because they have less noise at higher ISO.
    It's not uncommon that a dSLR has less noise at ISO 1600 than P&S cam has
    at ISO 200.

    Also I'd put interchangeable lenses under versatility section, with P&S you
    are stuck with whatever lense the cam comes with.
     
    Lars Coleman, Jan 21, 2005
    #7
  8. Glen S

    Glen S Guest

    bmoag wrote:
    > You really don't say what your "department" needs the camera to do.
    > You may not need a camera of the complexity of either the 828 or the D70.
    > These cameras can be used in P&S mode but why spend that much money when
    > true P&S cameras will yield images that may be adequate for your use.
    > As one who owns and uses a Sony828 and a NikonD70 I think I understand the
    > differences between these two better than most people who post here.
    > The 828 has shutter lag but on fully automatic produces better jpeg images
    > out of the camera, images that require less adjustment in Photoshop, than
    > the D70. You have to learn the menus and accomodate to the electronic
    > viewfinder however. The 828 is far too slow for general use in its RAW mode.
    > It may be heresy on this group to say it but the color accuracy and detail
    > of images coming out of the 828 unmanpiulated are actually better than the
    > D70: the 2 million pixels really do make a difference.
    > The D70 handles like an SLR. In my opinion the default jpeg settings on this
    > camera render images that are essentially worthless (no better than average
    > P&S quality) but if you are willing to learn how to process RAW files the
    > D70 becomes an awesome camera. The D70 has a bewildering array of electronic
    > menu options that you have to learn to use to get quality images out of the
    > camera.
    > I think that Kodak produces a line of digital cameras that yield images that
    > require vey little post camera processing for most people's uses, but Kodak
    > squandered their brand name with all the low end cameras they cranked out
    > over the years. You might want to look into them if you need a camera with
    > good automatic settings that non-photographers can use.
    >
    >

    In a nutshell we need a camera that will suffice for taking *good*
    pictures at work related events etc... and is not to hard to use, and
    being the main photog of the group I also want something that will give
    me lab quality prints and not be limited to taking pictures of
    relatively "still" subjects, as has been my experience with most digital
    cameras.
     
    Glen S, Jan 21, 2005
    #8
  9. >A DSLR doesn't show an image on the
    >LCD until the shot is taken.


    huh? you are kidding me?
    you mean I cant view the scene thru the LCD on a DSLR and I have to use the
    tiny eye viewer?
    Aint good for people with bad vision.
     
    Developwebsites, Jan 21, 2005
    #9
  10. Glen S

    unStoppable Guest

    In article <gYaId.4221$>,
    says...

    > It may be heresy on this group to say it but the color accuracy and detail
    > of images coming out of the 828 unmanpiulated are actually better than the
    > D70: the 2 million pixels really do make a difference.


    Yep, 2 million pixels is A LOT. You can't go against numbers (numbers
    are objective unlike opinions), no matter how many more bells and
    whistles D70 has.
     
    unStoppable, Jan 21, 2005
    #10
  11. Glen S

    Crownfield Guest

    Developwebsites wrote:
    >
    > >A DSLR doesn't show an image on the
    > >LCD until the shot is taken.

    >
    > huh? you are kidding me?
    > you mean I cant view the scene thru the LCD on a DSLR and I have to use the
    > tiny eye viewer?
    > Aint good for people with bad vision.


    sure it is.

    how do you think film cameras work?
    I have never seen a film camera with a live lcd screen.
     
    Crownfield, Jan 21, 2005
    #11
  12. Glen S

    bob Guest

    Lars Coleman <> wrote in
    news:1v0gwosc9ugbg$:

    > Night mode? As far as I know dSLRs are much better for taking pictures


    Like those Sony cameras with the built in infrared emitters that can take
    pictures in pitch black.

    >
    > Also I'd put interchangeable lenses under versatility section, with
    > P&S you are stuck with whatever lense the cam comes with.


    Kind of, yes. But if you consider, for instance, that Panasonic with the
    35 to 400+ f/2.8 (or whatever) lens, it is a more versaitle lens than any
    single SLR lens; since the OP specifies novice, casual users, my
    assumption is they might not understand the concept (or details) of
    changing lenses.

    Bob
     
    bob, Jan 21, 2005
    #12
  13. Glen S

    Paul Wylie Guest

    Glen S <whoknows@no_spam.com> wrote:
    > In a nutshell we need a camera that will suffice for taking *good*
    > pictures at work related events etc... and is not to hard to use, and
    > being the main photog of the group I also want something that will give
    > me lab quality prints and not be limited to taking pictures of
    > relatively "still" subjects, as has been my experience with most digital
    > cameras.


    I had a KM Dimage A2 (8MP, about $800-$900) and returned it. I now have a
    Canon 300D (with the kit lens--6MP, about $900) and am much happier.

    The Canon's easier to use and leaves me with far fewer unpleasant
    surprises. It was common with the A2 for me to think I had a reasonably
    sharp image when viewing the LCD, only to discover after uploading it to
    the computer that the image was blurry thanks to being out of focus or
    having significant motion blur.

    If portability, live preview and movie modes are important, than a
    high-end P&S is the way to go. If high-quality images and ease of use are
    most important, then I'd recommend a dSLR.

    --Paul
    ** Note "removemunged" in email address and remove to reply. **
     
    Paul Wylie, Jan 21, 2005
    #13
  14. Glen S

    Frank ess Guest

    Dave R knows who wrote:
    > "Glen S" <whoknows@no_spam.com> wrote in message
    > news:pH9Id.133624$KO5.8652@clgrps13...
    >> and I have to keep in mind that others besides myself will be using
    >> this camera as well so I was thinking the simplicity of a point &
    >> shoot may be the best solution.

    >
    > You need two cameras. Maybe buy a nice little P&S model for about
    > $200 on ebay and then buy your DSLR. May I suggest a Olympus D-40 or
    > 4040 if you need more options?


    Dave R knows may be right. Horses for courses, you know.

    You may want to factor in this observation, gleaned from my recent
    experience in transforming from long-time upper-end P&S user (Nikon CP
    5000, 5700, 8700) to dSLR lover (Canon 20D):

    Because of their many automatic features, any of the parenthesized
    cameras is easy to take pretty good pictures with. It is infinitely
    easier to take much better pictures with the dSLR.

    It seems to me now that getting better product out of the earlier
    cameras was a struggle: you had to fight the developers plans to get to
    the instrument's capabilities.

    Getting improved product out of dSLRs seems to me to be a matter of
    giving the machine permission to do what it can do. The controls are
    much more easily manipulated, the capabilities much more accessible.


    --
    Frank ess

    Forecasting is difficult. Particularly about the Future.
    —Deepak Gupta
     
    Frank ess, Jan 21, 2005
    #14
  15. Glen S

    Colic Guest

    So, on a point and shoot you have a 1.8" or so LCD that you need to look at.
    With bad eyesight this can be a real pain. Indeed, the DSLR has an even
    smaller viewfinder, however most DSLRs have the ability built in for
    dioptric adjustment of the image in the viewfinder. This means that they
    can compensate for your bad eyesight to some extent. This can not be said
    for the point and shoot crowd.

    I find the use of an LCD MUCH more limiting than viewing the scene in a
    viewfinder. Often in outside bright light the LCD tells you little of use.
    Always in a viewfinder what you see is what you see. There is one time I
    like an LCD over a viewfinder, when taking images with the camera held above
    my head or down low. Being able to twist the LCD down, and then hold the
    camera over peoples heads, and still frame to get a shot is very usefull.
    The same can be said when holding the camera low, such as at ground level,
    to get an odd angle / purspective.

    C

    "Developwebsites" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >A DSLR doesn't show an image on the
    >>LCD until the shot is taken.

    >
    > huh? you are kidding me?
    > you mean I cant view the scene thru the LCD on a DSLR and I have to use
    > the
    > tiny eye viewer?
    > Aint good for people with bad vision.
    >
     
    Colic, Jan 21, 2005
    #15
  16. Glen S

    Guest


    >I've been given the task of purchasing a
    >"better" quality digital camera for our dept.


    Dept? If you're purchasing a camera to be used by a commercial endeavor
    (as opposed to being used by consumers), then get one of professional
    quality. No disrespect intended, but the task of purchasing a camera
    should not have been given to someone who does not know the guidelines
    for purchasing a camera.

    It's better for you if your boss thinks "Wow, the camera Glen bought
    takes great pictures" than for him to think "He wasted our money on
    another piece of crap."

    A "better" camera intended for "departmental use" should not only take
    comparatively better pictures than the one it is replacing. It should
    be able to stand up to the abuse of being handled by many people who are
    most likely not going to treat it as tenderly as they would treat their
    own personal property.
     
    , Jan 21, 2005
    #16
  17. Glen S

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    > I've been given the task of purchasing a "better" quality digital camera
    > for our dept. "Better" is a relative term, but our current model is an
    > older Epson 850Z if that helps.


    Even with a P&S camera of equivalent resolution, once you see the
    high-quality, low-noise images produced from dSLRs (which have much larger
    sensors), it'll be tough to go back to using a P&S.

    steve
     
    Steve Wolfe, Jan 21, 2005
    #17
  18. Glen S

    paul Guest

    Glen S wrote:
    > I've been given the task of purchasing a "better" quality digital camera
    > for our dept.



    What are the photography needs for this department? Documenting
    construction sites, macros of detailed machinery, interior architectural
    documenting? Promotional material? You might need more wide angle for
    some of those, you might need a lot of detail or not at all & no need
    for the huge files. DSLR's force you to buy a different lens for each
    application so a high end digicam is probably more suitable for office
    use but some really lack wide angle range.
     
    paul, Jan 21, 2005
    #18
  19. Glen S wrote:
    > I've been given the task of purchasing a "better" quality digital
    > camera for our dept. "Better" is a relative term, but our current
    > model is an older Epson 850Z if that helps.
    >
    > The models I am considering so far are the Nikon D100 or D70, the
    > coolpix 8800, the Pentax *istDS, or the Sony DSCF828.


    I would suggest adding the equivalent Canon dSLR's to your mix. I don't
    suggest they are better, but they are as good, with slightly different
    features here and there.

    Personally I'm
    > leaning towards one of the SLR's, and since I already own a slew of
    > Pentax SLR's I have a bias that direction. Having said that from what
    > I have read so far the Nikon models are looking pretty good, and I
    > have to keep in mind that others besides myself will be using this
    > camera as well so I was thinking the simplicity of a point & shoot
    > may be the best solution. However, like my MZ-7 pentax in full auto
    > mode, I'm sure the digital SLR offerings are similar and they are
    > more or less point & shoot's in any case, but since I am the de-facto
    > photog of the group I want a lot of control over the camera for
    > things like depth of field, exposure etc.. without having to jump
    > through a dozen hoops.
    > I am still not 100% comfortable in the digital realm here, and I am
    > trying out a Minolta Dimage 7i to get a feel for it. After reading the
    > manual and seeing how you set exposures, DOF, etc. on this unit I was
    > in a fog (it was late however:) I like controlling these things by
    > just picking a shutter speed on a dial and adjusting the exposure
    > accordingly, without having to press button x while holding button y
    > down and turning dial z to the right etc..
    >
    > Talking to the others in the group, the most common single feature
    > they want is that the camera takes the picture when the shutter is
    > pressed, not 1-2 or 3 seconds later when the camera desides the time
    > is right. This is important to me as well as I like to take a lot of
    > sports pic's and to date have found the digital P&S's far from
    > adequate, although I have heard that the higher end ones are better
    > in this regard.


    Canon 20D = 1/5 second delay from turn on. I believe the new Nikon
    dSLR's are also good in this department.

    >
    > So, to all those with a lot more experience than I in this area, for
    > the best quality shots and easiest manual controls, and still have the
    > ability to be a good "dumbed down" point & shoot, and the least
    > "shutter to picture" lag should I go SLR or high end P&S?
    >
    > tia


    I agree with those who have indicated that you have not really provided
    enough information about the actual needs for us to be much more specific.
    I might also suggest that two cameras may be in order.

    --
    Joseph Meehan

    26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
     
    Joseph Meehan, Jan 21, 2005
    #19
  20. Glen S

    bob Guest

    Glen S <whoknows@no_spam.com> wrote in news:zgbId.13216$Qb.12861@edtnps89:

    > In a nutshell we need a camera that will suffice for taking *good*
    > pictures at work related events etc...


    That makes a difference. Based on your user base, it sounds like you might
    need built in flash.

    Bob
     
    bob, Jan 21, 2005
    #20
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