DSLR v Consumer Image quality

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by oink, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. oink

    oink Guest

    I am in the category of having changed from film slr to consumer
    digital for the last 3 years. I am dithering over purchasing a dslr,
    because image quality is my thing. However, I have been pretty pleased
    with Nikon and Panasonic Lumix FZ consumer cameras, especially the
    latter.
    Considering only image quality, up to A4 prints. DSLR users talk about
    their superior image quality, but when I go to say, Steves Digicams,
    and compare on-screen a 200% enlargement of the same image, far greater
    than real life, I see very little difference in quality between a D70
    and a FZ20.
    Giving up the portability of a consumer camera for a far more expensive
    DSLR system (my film lenses are Olympus and I'm not impressed with the
    E300).......is the image quality worth the difference? Or better to
    wait a year or two yet?
    DonB
     
    oink, Feb 22, 2005
    #1
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  2. oink

    Boch Guest

    Its got me wondering...What the replacement will be from Sony..In regards to
    the-F828....If they can harness the noise...Should be a great camera...So
    I'd wait...And the Canon-350...Could be a winner...

    --
    _________________-
    BOCH
    ________________
    A+TECH
    _________
     
    Boch, Feb 22, 2005
    #2
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  3. oink

    rafeb Guest


    IMO, the main thing that distinguishes
    digicams these days (both point 'n shoot and
    DSLRs) is the sensor size. Not surprisingly,
    manufacturers go out of their way to hide and
    obfuscate that particular statistic. Given
    good optics, the sensor size will be the main
    determinant of image quality.

    There are certainly good things to be said
    for the portability and compactness of non-SLR
    cameras (both film and digital.)

    If I were taking photos mostly of people and
    wanting mostly "candid" photos (as opposed to
    formal portraits) I'd work with a nice light
    point and shoot camera.

    I particularly like the tilt/swivel LCDs on
    some of the consumer digicams (eg. my Canon
    G2.) It lets me get some interesting angles
    and perspectives that I can't capture from a
    conventional viewfinder.

    When I'm hiking deep in the backcountry (where
    weight counts) I take my Canon G2.

    If image quality is the main thing, you want
    the largest possible sensor size, and these are
    mostly found in DSLRs. Taken a couple of steps
    farther, if image quality were the MAIN thing,
    you'd shoot MF or LF film...


    rafe b.
    http://www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    rafeb, Feb 22, 2005
    #3
  4. oink

    dylan Guest

    If you can't see the difference, or consider it not worthwhile, then I would
    keep waiting....
    For me DSLR offers more than just the quality difference there's also the
    flexibility of the system, just like SLR's in the film world, but if you
    don't need it then save your money etc...
     
    dylan, Feb 22, 2005
    #4
  5. oink

    Owamanga Guest

    You've answered your own question about image quality. If you can't
    tell the difference, then what's the issue?

    I disagree with you on quality, even at ISO-80 that thing is much more
    noisy than a DSLR.

    See the noise in the blue sky:
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/fz20/samples/p1010069.jpg

    Compare to a Canon DSLR, the 10D at ISO-100:
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/10d/samples/IMG_0082.JPG

    The other big difference between the DLSR and FZ20 is interchangeable
    lenses, so ask yourself, are you going to ever need this? I love my
    300 on the D70 (it becomes a 450mm) which isn't much further than the
    FZ20's 35mm eq. effective 432mm. On the other end, you'll be limited
    to effective 36mm. Problem for some, not for others.
     
    Owamanga, Feb 22, 2005
    #5
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    Ben Thomas Guest

    I don't know if it's a similar comparison to yours, but 8x10s from my 4MP Kodak
    DX6490 are significantly inferior to the 7.5x10 prints from my 6MP Nikon D70.
    The prints from the Nikon are better in every way: detail, colour, contrast,
    jpeg artifacts, depth of field, etc.

    The Nikon does retail for double the original retail price of the Kodak so it
    should produce significantly better prints.


    --
    --
    Ben Thomas - Software Engineer - Melbourne, Australia

    My Digital World:
    Kodak DX6490, Canon i9950, Pioneer A05;
    Hitachi 37" HD plasma display, DGTEC 2000A,
    Denon 2800, H/K AVR4500, Whatmough Encore;
    Sony Ericsson K700i, Palm Tungsten T.

    Disclaimer:
    Opinions, conclusions, and other information in this message that do not
    relate to the official business of my employer shall be understood as neither
    given nor endorsed by it.
     
    Ben Thomas, Feb 22, 2005
    #6
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    Scott W Guest

    Under most conditions you would have a hard time telling an 8 x 10
    print from one form the other. How ever there is much more to it then
    just that, there are lighting conditions that just drive the F828 nuts
    and it is hard to get a really great photos, I have not had this
    problem with the 20D. But then you have to think about what kind of
    photos you are going to be taking and when. If you need a long lens
    then you need a DSLR, if you are going to be shooting in low light then
    you need a DSLR.

    The 20D produces a lot more detail then the F828 and both are 8 MP, so
    I can make larger prints from the 20D before they will start to look
    soft.

    Finally there is the fun factor, it is a lot more fun to take photos
    with a camera that shoots with no delay, just push the button and you
    have the photos.


    Scott
     
    Scott W, Feb 22, 2005
    #7
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    Sheldon Guest

    There's something to be said for this. While I'm still learning the ins and
    outs of my D70, I'm thrilled with the lack of shutter delay. It feels and
    acts just like my 35mm cameras. With my point and shoot digital I could go
    out and have lunch while it focused and "finally" tripped the shutter.
     
    Sheldon, Feb 22, 2005
    #8
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    Larry Guest

    Taking a GOOD picture with the 828 REQUIRES several factors to fall into
    place all at the same time.

    NO STRONG BACKLIGHT!
    NO SHARP CONTRAST EXTREMES!

    Very carefull adjustment of flash level if flash is used.
    Avoid sparkling jewelry on subjects.

    SHOOT IN MANUAL
    CROSS YOU FINGERS

    (and wave a chicken over your head while chanting "I hate Sony for this" over
    and over again")

    OR... Just use the F-717 to get the picture if you gotta use a Sony use their
    best one..

    I'm STILL glad I didn't sell the 717 when I bought the 828.. (I sold the V-1
    instead).
     
    Larry, Feb 22, 2005
    #9
  10. oink

    Jeremy Guest

    is the image quality worth the difference?

    Ken Rockwell, on his website, has an informative article about this. He
    maintains that the non-interchangeable-lens cameras are essentially ported
    over from the manufacturers' video lineup, and that if one were to spend an
    equal amount on a consumer digicam vs. a DSLR, the DSLR would give better
    performance.

    He writes, "Even the most expensive and exotic camera that is not a true SLR
    is going to be slow and a pain to use. Many expensive digital cameras are
    still just very complex point-and-shoot cameras that take way too long to do
    anything."

    I personally use a consumer digicam and it meets my needs. I still use 35mm
    and MF when I require focal length lenses that are outside of my digicam's
    zoom range, or when I want the higher resolution of film.

    Here is the URL for the full article:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/2dig.htm
     
    Jeremy, Feb 22, 2005
    #10
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    Scott W Guest

    Gee Larry why do you feel the need to SHOUT so much?
    I have now shot close to 20,000 photos on the F828 and for the most
    part it works very well. The 8 x 10 prints looks great, last year I
    photographed our canoe clubs team in the Molokai Hoe long distance
    canoe race and gave each of the team members a CD with all the photos
    on it, they where blown away by the quality of the photos.

    Having said all that, the 20D produces photos with much more detail and
    it a lot more fun to use. There is in fact enough detail from the 20D
    that it will not all be visible on an 8 x 10 print.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Feb 22, 2005
    #11
  12. oink

    bob Guest


    When I go to DP review and download the images from a D70, and a Coolpix
    8400, I can easily see differences in noise in solid fills. I can also
    easily see differences in resolution in detailed areas.

    I can see the differences on the screen, but they are much more obvious
    in prints.

    Bob
     
    bob, Feb 22, 2005
    #12
  13. oink

    MarkH Guest

    wrote in @l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com:
    If you are happy with what you get from what you have then I fail to see
    how spending money is necessary!

    However on quality of image try taking photos in less than ideal
    conditions.

    Try in low light where you need ISO 1600 to get the shot, my Canon 10D can
    do that with noise that would be acceptable for most uses (I also have a
    lens with f1.8 and another lens with IS). Isn't the FZ20 limited to a max
    of ISO 400? I think my 10D has lower noise at ISO 1600 than the FZ has at
    ISO 400.

    Try sports photos where you need very fast AF and low shutter lag. These
    photos were taken with a cheap lens (only f5.6 and 2nd rate focusing motor)
    and using AF: http://www.gigatech.co.nz/Superboats2005.htm

    Try photos of birds in flight or planes in flight at an airshow. How much
    telephoto can you get on the lens on your compact digicam?


    In summary: There are advantages to using a D-SLR, if you don't need the
    features then you don't need to buy a D-SLR.
     
    MarkH, Feb 22, 2005
    #13
  14. oink

    oink Guest

    Thankyou all for your valued comments.
    The thing holding me back from going to dslr is probably because I have
    become used to pulling out a consumer model and just taking a shot,
    which is excellent 90% of the time. I sort of cringe at going back to
    an array of lenses, clutter , finding a safe place to put one down
    while changing, etc etc. Probably got lazy! But also my wife's Lumix is
    pretty capable, so I'll wait it out a little because technology moves
    so quickly.
    DonB
    I
     
    oink, Feb 23, 2005
    #14
  15. oink

    Larry Guest

    The CAPs are for emphasis, not volume!

    I'de use italics if they worked....

    I do get frustrated about the camera the 828 should have been, as opposed to
    the camera it is...

    Im around 20,000 exposures myself, so I shouldn't complain.. But I do break
    out the 717 if the backlight situation getss bad (which it does every day of
    a horseshow at around 2 PM at the venue we use most).

    The arena is completely open at one end,(essentially it is a building with
    only 3 walls, with a 40 skylighted ceiling and a 150x250 foot floor) and
    first thing in the morning, and again late in the PM the sun comes in that
    open end full blast, giving me the strongest backlight in the solar system
    for a couple of hours a day.

    So I cant use the 828 (or at least cant use it in that direction) for a good
    chunk of the day.



    Like I said, FRUSTRATING!
     
    Larry, Feb 23, 2005
    #15
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    C J Campbell Guest

    If image quality is your thing, you will find that at size A4 a cheap 3 MP
    point and shoot is not much different than a Canon 1Ds Mk II or a 4x5 view
    camera on film. All of them look just about the same with a small print.

    The only time it makes any difference is when you start to enlarge the
    picture for any reason. You can enlarge a 4x5 piece of film a lot more than
    any digital before you start losing image quality.

    A larger of number of pixels on the sensor is not necessarily an indicator
    of better image quality, nor is sensor size, despite the claims of those who
    have bought into the "bigger is better" bilge spewed out by camera
    manufacturers' marketing departments. Consider the "sensor size" of the eye
    of an eagle, or even a human eye, and the relative quality of that sensor
    vs. any camera or film. (I suppose a human eye could be defined as a 150 MP
    sensor, but only about 16 MP are used for color vision -- the rest simply
    give a rough outline of light and dark. One may note, too, that small
    children, whose eyes are not fully developed, may still "see" something like
    digital noise, which disappears at about age 5 or so. The physical size of a
    human eye is not all that large; the eye of an eagle is much smaller yet
    sharper with better color vision.) I wonder how much the image recorded by
    the eye could be enlarged before you began to see significant degradation,
    but I digress.

    Anyway, I suspect that we are far from the limit in what can be crammed onto
    an imaging chip.
     
    C J Campbell, Feb 23, 2005
    #16
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    Ron Guest

    I just spent a long weekend traveling around and photographing a lot of
    different environments in the dead of a cold New England winter --
    seaside villages and dunes, forest trails, railroad scenes, etc. --
    with my Oly 5060. For much of the time I had a couple of conversion
    lenses tucked into my jacket and a spare battery in my pocket. That's
    it. Not even a camera bag. The results were really fine, even in low
    light (a lot of noise talk is pretty exaggerated I think) . What wasn't
    fine I could fix up quickly with Photoshop. My sense is that it is all
    cost-benefit analysis at a time when new dslr products are still pretty
    pricey and many have a lot of bugs to be worked out as the megapixel
    parade calms down. Sure, if you have a very specific need that can
    only be met by a dslr go for it. Or some old lenses looking or a new
    home. Otherwise, the high end prosumers offer portability, no dust on
    sensors, not much to fiddle with and some stunning images. I'd wait a
    year or two and in the meantime really get a good sense of what you
    really need. This is not to say that you cannot get real added value
    with a dslr, but don't leap until you no longer have to try to figture
    it out. Most of us have yet to fully exploit or appreciate the features
    on our cameras. When they are exhaused and we know what more we need
    it's time to move on.
     
    Ron, Feb 23, 2005
    #17
  18. oink

    rafe bustin Guest


    In what way is a bigger sensor *not* better for
    image quality?

    In the presence of noise, more signal is always
    desirable. It certainly works that way for film,
    and in fact for any other physical measurement
    that I know of.

    Your argument is curious, because sensor size is
    one thing that the "marketing departments" have
    taken pains to obscure -- at least for their
    point & shoot / consumer models.

    For a number of reasons, that sort of obfuscation
    doesn't work in the DSLR market.

    Now, it's possible that not all 15.0 x 22.7 mm
    sensors are equally efficient at creating
    images... but I haven't seen any hard data at
    all on that topic.



    rafe b.
    http://www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    rafe bustin, Feb 23, 2005
    #18
  19. oink

    oink Guest

    12x with image stabilization
    DonB
     
    oink, Feb 23, 2005
    #19
  20. oink

    oink Guest

    Well said, thanks Ron
    DonB
     
    oink, Feb 23, 2005
    #20
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