good websites for choosing between dslr and p&s?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Meghan Noecker, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Here's the deal.

    I recently upgraded my dslr, and my sister wants to buy my old one. I
    know that she'll want a deal, and she doesn't have any money anyway.
    So, selling the camera to her means waiting months and months for
    money when I can just go ahead and sell it. I went ahead and listed it
    on ebay and sold it, but I haven't told her yet.

    I also know from experience that she does not need a dslr. She has had
    a 35mm film camera for over 15 years, and she has never used more than
    the stanard zoom kit lens even though I bought her a nice prime lens
    for Christmas once. She also shoots in program mode all the time since
    she does not understand aperature, depth of field, etc. She has asked
    a few times, but always gets frazzled when I try to explain it.

    Since she will never change lenses and doesn't use any of the features
    of an SLR camera, a good point & shoot camera would meet her needs
    just fine. And she could get one with higher resoilution than my old
    dSLR for a lower price.

    I have mentioned this, but she doesn't seem interested. I am hoping to
    find a good website that will explain the pros and cons of the
    different types of cameras. Then she can see that she would do better
    with the point & shoot camera and give up wanting mine.

    My old camera was a 3.1 MP camera, and I'm sure she could find a used
    5MP camera for less than $150. I might even be willing to buy her one
    for Christmas if I can find a used one for less than $100. But I want
    her to be happy with the idea.

    Any suggestions? She is good creatively, but she will never be good at
    the technical aspects of a camera.
    Meghan Noecker, Oct 23, 2007
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  2. Apparently you know about as much about cameras as your sister. There are
    many reasons why someone would want a dSLR over a point and shoot, advanced
    controls, interchangable lenses, etc. aren't on the list. However, about
    better low light capability even in full auto mode, less noise, higher ISO
    with less noise. Better quality pictures overall since most dSLR's have
    better focusing and metering. The ability to get blurred backgrounds even in
    full auto mode making shots of flowers and such look nicer with little
    effort. RAW, better memory buffer for both RAW and JPG so you can shoot more
    shots in rapid fire mode. Actual optical viewfinder. Better response for
    fast moving subjects.

    As for your prime lens, not everyone wants to waste time changing lenses.
    The fact that you liked the prime lenses doesn't mean your sister does. As
    for selling yours out from under her, no biggy. If she really wants one she
    can get a good new one for about $600. What you should be telling her is she
    wants one of the entry level models. Instead of coming on here talking about
    her like she is an photographic idiot, when it is you that don't have a very
    good grip of the subject.

    The Spider
    The Spider Formally Seated Next To Little Miss Muf, Oct 23, 2007
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  3. Meghan Noecker

    friesian Guest

    No need to be insulting. I know more about cameras than you think. I
    also knowmy sister.

    There are
    Most decent p&s cameras have low noise. My parents use a 5 MP p&s, and
    they get very nice photos that enlarge nicely. I think it would work
    fine for my sister. Just because it is a p&s, doesn't make it junk.

    Better quality pictures overall since most dSLR's have
    To get a blurred background, you have to overide the camera. They are
    designed to stick with a medium aperature to get good sharp images all

    RAW, better memory buffer for both RAW and JPG so you can shoot more
    True, SLRs are typically better at this. But, honestly, does it make
    that much difference to the average person who isn't serious about
    photography? The people who are just looking for snapshots?

    Just last weekend, they loaned it to her to photograph our niece in
    for homecoming. She opted to use her film camera because she was
    afraid to use the digital camera. She ended up with dark photos
    because she insists on using slow film with her slow lens. Now she
    wants me to scan them and fix them. Had she changed the lens to the
    50mm f/1.4 lens that I bought for her, she would have some nice
    photos. But she insisted on using her slow f/5.6 lens in program

    The reason I bought that lens for her was that we went to an indoor
    horse show, and she insisted on shooting 100 speed film with her f/5.6
    lens for black horses. I tried to warn her. I offered her some of my
    film. She insisted she was fine since her camera gave her a green
    light. She did not realize that it was slowing down the shutter speed
    to get enough light. She ended up with a ton of blurry photos. I
    photographed the same event with 800 speed film and an f/1.2 lens.

    The problem I see is that she doesn't know what her camera's
    limitations are, so she doesn't know how to work within the limits or
    change the settings. Why spend $200 on an older 3.1 MP camera plus
    more for a lens that would honestly be no better than a 5 MP p&s when
    you compare the actual settings that she will use. She isn't going to
    use any of the various settings. It doesn't record video. The buffer
    is not large and takes awhile to clear.

    I upgraded because the buffer was too slow for action work, there were
    only 3 focusing points, and the files weren't high enough resolution
    to get a good 8x10 if I had to crop very much. After having the new
    camera, I am thrilled with the better features. I can take more photos
    before the buffer fills, and it clears much faster. I have not had to
    wait once for it to be ready since I got it. I also discovered that it
    has a shorter shutter delay than the older camera and focuses faster.


    She hasn't got $600. If she had $200, I would have sold her my camera
    already. What I am trying to do is help her find the best camera for
    her for less than $200.

    For the same amount of money, she can buy a low resolution dSLR with
    features she will never use. Or she can buy a higher resolution camera
    without those features.

    Feel free to go back to your insults. I am doing well in my
    photography business, so I guess my lack of a "good grip" on the
    subject isn't holding me back. I seem to be able to shoot in manual
    mode just fine. I supposed I could have gone down the list of all the
    features of each type of camera, but I didn't think that it was
    necessary to give a full scale review.
    friesian, Oct 23, 2007
  4. Spider gave some very good advice. There is a large difference
    in performance, even if used on program mode. Larger pixels
    collect more light. From small pixel cameras to large, the
    factor can be 16x or more in light gathering ability. So
    a small pixel camera at ISO 100 is like the large pixel camera
    at ISO 1600. This is what Spider was referring to.

    Blurred background is due to the physical aperture.
    On a DSLR, with a larger sensor and larger lenses, the aperture
    diameter of the lens is larger and allows for a more narrow
    depth of field. Many better cameras have a program shift
    so you can work in program mode but shift it to what you need.
    Perhaps your sister needs a good teacher, and take little steps
    at a time (like learning program shift rather than everything at once).
    And even at "medium" aperture, the small sensor camera will have
    a different depth of field than a larger sensor camera.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 23, 2007
  5. Meghan Noecker

    Alex Barnes Guest

    Just ignore its reply. This newsgroup is crawling to the rafters with doubtful
    DSLR owners that use every chance they can get to try to justify why they spent
    so much money on their own DSLRs. If they can convince everyone to follow them
    down that money pit for the same quality of image as good P&S cameras, then they
    can feel better about their own choices. Misery does indeed love company. If
    they can convince you that they made the right choice then THEY must have made
    the right choice. It's why they do it.

    Sorry that I can't help you with a P&S vs DSLR website, I never needed to find
    one. I compared the images from the main review sites, their resolution tests,
    etc. That was more than enough to convince me to use superzoom P&S cameras vs.
    interchangeable lens DSLRs.

    If low-light, high-ISO capability is important in a P&S for your sister, do
    check into the Fuji line of P&S cameras. They excel. It also sounds like her
    enjoying the convenience of using just one lens would lean toward any of the
    superzoom models. I've seen some images recently done by the new Panasonic FZ18
    that totally beat the resolution and quality of a Canon Mk II with
    near-equivalent prime lens L-glass. On the other hand, if she wants excellent
    video and audio recording included, then check into the Canon superzooms, like
    the S5 (but the S3 with the CHDK add-on even gives her motion-detection
    triggering fast enough to even capture lightning with it, and so much more
    including RAW). If she wants to get into IR photography, then the Sony H9
    superzoom. Those give some starting directions to narrow down choices on what
    you think will be the most important to her.
    Alex Barnes, Oct 23, 2007
  6. Meghan Noecker

    friesian Guest

    I figured I would get some replies from die-hard SLR people. I've seen
    a lot of that in this group over the years. There are always people
    who believe you have to have top of the line equipment to get a good

    I've had people tell me it is impossible to get good photos of action
    in a dark arena without flash. But I do it just fine. I simply went
    another route. Instead of a flash or fancy lighting in the rafters, I
    went with a super fast lens, fast film, and a good knowledge of depth
    of field. I was able to accept jobs that many photographers couldn't
    because flash wasn't allowed for some events. I saw a photographer
    having a horrible show because flash wasn't allowed during competition
    the first day. Then, the second day, she couldn't get her flash to
    fire. It was a new camera and flash, and she hadn't used it in that
    type of situation yet. The next year, they hired me instead.

    I also believe that there is a good reason for pro vs consumer
    equipment. Not everybody needs pro equipment. Yes, I want pro lenses.
    I love my L lenses. But my parents don't need them. My sister doesn't
    need them. Most of the population will be satisfied without them.

    When I helped my dad buy a new camera, I did not push him toward a
    dSLR. He looked at cameras that looked nice in the photo and had a
    price he liked. Then I looked up the reviews and told him no until he
    found one that looked good. I looked for features that would be good
    for my parents. AA batteries so that he could find batteries anywhere
    in a pinch. CF card so that they could borrow mine for trips. No need
    to download files during the trip. Good review on photo quality,
    buffer speed, fast focusing, etc. Good size screen on the back for
    them. Both have trouble with viewing smaller images.

    Different people have different needs and for family and travel
    photos, they don't need the highest quality available.
    friesian, Oct 23, 2007
  7. Meghan Noecker wrote:
    If the best low-light or action shot photography are not that important,
    the compact camera is likely to be a good choice. Taking pictures of
    children or pets, animals or sports, may benefit from the faster response
    of the DSLR.

    For a DSLR, I would look at the Nikon D40 or D40X. These work well up to
    ISO 800 or 1600, and don't cost the earth.

    For a compact camera something in the Panasonic range (although my
    choice - the TZ3 - costs more than US $150). They have excellent lenses
    beating others in a comparable price range, but the sensors produce their
    best image when used at low ISO settings.

    D R Review is a reasonable site to compare cameras, and Roger Clark's site
    has more of the physics background to comparing large-sensor (DSLR) and
    small-sensor (compact) cameras:

    David J Taylor, Oct 23, 2007
  8. Meghan Noecker

    Alex Barnes Guest

    Not just the general population either. Going the P&S route I've managed to
    capture photos that no DSLR toting person could have ever captured in their
    lifetimes. Just because the speed of not having to change lenses to compose a
    chance shot, or taking my camera places that I wouldn't dare take a more fragile
    and fussy DSLR system. Not to mention the silence they provide. Ah the silence,
    that alone is worth having and using one. All your subjects (human or animal)
    don't become alerted to and self-conscious of that overtly recognizable sound
    going on all the time.

    It's not the price of the equipment, it's the talent and intellect of the
    photographer that in the end will decide what that camera can and cannot do. I
    sold off all my DSLR equipment when I found ways to do the same things using the
    best quality P&S cameras, for 1/10th the cost and 10 times the convenience. You
    just have to rethink, relearn, reinvent, and unlearn old habits and conditioning
    for the last 4 decades. UNlearning, that's always the hard part. The advantages
    of having that skill are like going from a qwerty to dvorak keyboard, few can do
    it. But if you can you can type faster with fewer mistakes. The same thing I
    found with unlearning the (d)SLR methods that I grew up on and going to
    superzoom P&S's. Creativity applies to how the equipment is used too, not just
    the results between the borders of your viewfinder.

    So I agree with all you say. But try a challenge sometime. Try shooting with
    nothing but P&S cameras for one month. Force yourself into what you think would
    be a constricting discipline. See if you don't find ways to get the same image
    quality and effects for all the same things you've used DSLRs all these years.
    Under some circumstances, like macro photography especially, you'll get even
    better results than what you could ever get with a larger sensor system. It's a
    rewarding challenge. One that I'm glad I tried long long ago.

    I wish I could help with advice on that price-point that you are aiming for, but
    I buy P&S cameras on their quality and adaptability so I rarely look at models
    that might be that low in cost. I know the camera you are looking for is out
    there. Your sister doesn't seem interested in the more complex abilities that
    cameras can provide. Otherwise I would strongly suggest that Canon S3 with the
    free CHDK firmware enhancement. It's got to be the most adaptable and
    inexpensive deal on the planet right now. You can get a new one for well under
    $300, more like $200. I even saw them selling for $100 not long ago just after
    the S5 was released. Now they are in hot demand due to CHDK so prices went back
    up. It can do things that only the top of the line $8000 DSLR bodies can do
    today (not even as well as the S3). But due to the complexity of all that that
    combo can do (camera + CHDK), I doubt its something your sister would find
    useful, and eventually only frustrating. If you can find a used Fuji within that
    price range that might be your best bet of all. If she wants something with an
    exceptional lens with very good bokeh, then see if you can't find a used Sony
    F707 or F717. They might be available for that low of a price now. They also
    include the IR shooting capability. If she still wants something DSLR-like, then
    one of the earlier Panasonic FZ models might suffice. I have a friend that does
    pro nature photography in very challenging environments and is very happy with
    his FZ20. Lots of options in the used market for that price, I'm sure. Find one
    that looks like a DSLR and she'll never know. :)
    Alex Barnes, Oct 23, 2007
  9. I use a p&s at home for quick photos, like photographing something I
    want to sell on ebay or getting a quick photo of my cat doing
    something cute.

    But I would be extremely relunctant to use it for my professional
    work. My own p&s is much older. It is a 1.5 MP camera, but has some
    features that I really like. It has a great buffer and a really nice
    precapture feature eliminating shutter delay. I have used it at fun
    events if the lighting was good.

    My parents' p&s is higher resoloution, better than my old dSLR, but
    not nearly as good as my new dSLR. So, I would have a hard time going
    backwards, and I have no need for a newer p&s.

    Anyway, most of my professional work is studio style, and I need to
    bounce the flash. I also need to be able to use a better lens. I
    haven't seen any p&s cameras that come with f/2.8 lenses. Some of my
    clients prefer I don't use flash, so I have to be able to shoot both

    If it wasn't for sale, I would probably be satisfied with it. But I
    have to do my best when I am shooting for money. And that means using
    the best equipment that I have for the job.
    Meghan Noecker, Oct 23, 2007
  10. She is mostly into photographing people (friends and family at events)
    and landscape, flowers, etc. She does photograph her cats, but she has
    been using her cell phone for that. In the past 3 years, I know of
    only one time she has used her film camera, and that was a couple
    weeks ago for photographing our niece in her homecoming outfit. She
    has borrowed my p&s to photograph stuff she wants to sell. But
    otherwise, she isn't doing much these days.

    I've used dpreview many times, and I think it is great. And I think a
    nice used camera would be perfect for her. Just not a spendy one with
    a ton of features she will never use. I'll buy the camera for
    Christmas for her. I've seen several on craigslist that would be fine
    for her in the $100-150 range. I just want to get her happy with that
    idea so that she doesn't get mad at me for not waiting 6 months for
    her to buy my old camera or giving her that one for Christmas. That
    would cost me more in the longrun, and still wouldn't include a lens.
    And I'm not loaning her my lenses.
    Meghan Noecker, Oct 23, 2007
  11. Meghan Noecker wrote:
    I'm inclined to agree with you - a friend needed a relatively simple
    camera to replace a 35mm compact and got the Canon A630.

    He seems happy enough with it, and the swivel LCD eases his low-level
    shots of flowers for his wife. I belive that replaced the A610/A620:

    but those may be a little long in the tooth now!

    David J Taylor, Oct 23, 2007
  12. Meghan Noecker

    ChrisM Guest

    Please could you explain why the average person taking snapshots would give
    a monkey's about RAW or an optical view-finder or even more shots in
    rapid-fire mode in many cases. Most of the people I know (non-professionals)
    just aim the camera and press the button most of the time. They might
    occasionally tweak aperature or shutter speed but that is about it.

    I will give you the better response for fast moving stuff though, most
    people would benefit from that. :)

    In my opinion, your average 'snapper'(of which I'm one) is far better off
    with a nice little well specced P&S they can slip out of their pocket and
    take a few nice shots with, than an hulking great SLR that takes about 5
    minutes to unpack and set up every time you want to take a photo. Even if
    you might get slightly better shots with the SLR (not necesserally a given
    in the hands of non-professional).
    ChrisM, Oct 23, 2007
  13. Meghan Noecker

    Alex Barnes Guest

    The Sony F707, F717, F818, and other models all come standard with f/2.0-f/2.4
    throughout their zoom range. They even have a 1/1.8 or 2/3 sensor. I think that
    their Fxxx series was the "sweet spot" of their P&S line. With their titanium
    shell they are almost indestructible too. The swiveling body design allowed not
    only a swiveling LCD live-preview, but a swiveling EVF preview. Something that I
    dearly miss on the newer P&S models. (And yes, I find a good EVF to be better
    than any optical viewfinder ever made, no contest. I'd never go back to an
    optical viewfinder unless I had no other choice.)

    The Canon S1, S2, S3, S5 all come with a f/2.7-f/3.5 throughout their huge 12x
    (36mm-432mm) zoom range. (2.7-3.1 on the 10x of the S1).

    This is just 2 of the many lines of P&S cameras that are out there. Add in the
    Fuji (f/2.8-f/4.8) and Panasonic (f/2.8-f/3.7) superzoom lines and you get the
    same kinds of f/stop ranges.

    I don't know where all these DSLR people continually come up with this bizarre
    idea that P&S cameras can't have wide f/stops on their lenses. That's one of the
    advantages of having a smaller sensor. You can make long-zoom lenses that hold
    their large aperture throughout the zoom range with even better image quality in
    the lenses and less distortion. You can't even get those ranges and f/stop
    advantages on DSLR glass, at least not at any affordable price. And it takes 2
    or more lenses to accomplish it. I guess in their need to justify their DSLR
    purchases they create their own self-induced blind spots. Then I often see the
    same thing happening with the photography that they get out of their DSLRs,
    blind spots in composition and craftsmanship.

    Bounce flash? I use external flash with all my P&S cameras, my external flash
    units all have bounce-flash capability. I also use external flash for difficult
    night-time photography of rare or never-seen-before insects at greater than 1:1
    macro settings. (That's the only time I allow myself the use of flash, for
    nighttime macro photography. When the subject really is active at night.) Again,
    these hallucinatory flash-limitations of P&S cameras, another self-induced
    blind-spot created by just buying a DSLR. Some even claim that you can't use
    macro lenses on P&S cameras. Or extend their zoom range, or the wide angle of
    the lenses. Nothing but self-induced blindness on the part of DSLR advocates.

    Oh well, their loss.

    That's the problem with blind belief, they think it doesn't exist so they don't
    bother checking to see that they're wrong. Just like every DSLR person that
    posts to these newsgroups. Some claim you can't do IR with P&S cameras when in
    fact some of them are the very best suited for that purpose and it doesn't
    entail hacking your camera into parts and hoping you don't destroy it in the
    process. Others say you can't get shallow DOF out of a P&S camera and I've never
    found that a problem if you know how. Others say you can't get clean hi-ISO's
    out of P&S cameras, I guess they'd better not look at any of the Fuji P&S models
    that rival the very best DSLRs in that regard. Others claim shutter-lag when
    there's less than 0.05 seconds lag on my latest camera. Others claim you can't
    use external flash with a P&S camera. The nonsense, misinformation, and lies
    posted by DSLR owners and proponents just goes on and on and on and on. You
    could fill up several usenet newsgroups with it. Oh look, they did, and they
    keep doing it. Come to think of it, blind-faith errors are the same problem with
    people who worship a god. Only in this case "DSLR" is their god. They don't have
    to find out they are wrong, they just have to have blind faith that they know
    they are right. Ooops, they've been wrong. It's a terrible thing when
    blind-faith worshippers find out that their god has clay feet. They come undone.

    No doubt some will display that effect in response to this post. Watch ...
    Alex Barnes, Oct 23, 2007
  14. Alex Barnes wrote:
    Many, if not all, DSLR owners use compact cameras as well as DSLRs. They
    can choose the best tool for the job in hand.

    David J Taylor, Oct 23, 2007
  15. Not necessarily raw, but an optical viewfinder gives true
    live preview, and at higher resolution than an LCD
    That's a major factor for some, the other is low light response.
    Now you are trolling. In the time the typical P&S is pulled out
    of a pocket, turned on, wait for the camera to boot, wait for the
    zoom lens to move into ready position, the time for you to zoom the lens
    electrically (slow motors), the DSLR can be pulled from the case,
    turned on (instant on), pointed and 5+ shots taken before the
    P&S camera is even ready to take its first shot.

    Then add other features, like predictive autofocus that DSLRs have
    that tracks focus on moving subjects. This is important if you
    want action pictures (e.g. baby's first step, kids at play, pets at play,
    to serious wildlife photography).

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 23, 2007
  16. Meghan,

    This thread is being poisoned by the P&S troll, so be careful.
    The P&S troll is in the form of Alex Barnes but it changes its name
    often to make it look like more people support its position
    (check full headers and the troll's origin is easy to locate)
    and to prevent filters.

    P&S cameras can take great pictures and it is better in my opinion
    to have a small P&S camera than none at all (I've traveled most
    of this month with only a P&S). But there are real performance

    Major factors like low light performance is basic
    physics: the larger the sensitive area of each pixel, the more light
    it gathers. Small P&S cameras have pixels smaller than 2 microns,
    while some DSLRs are more than 8 microns. Area goes as the
    square, so the area ratio is like 8*8/2*2 = 16 times difference
    in sensitivity. That means that the small pixel P&S camera at
    ISO 100 collects the same amount of light (number of photons)
    as the large pixel camera at ISO 1600! Another way to look at it
    is the DSLR with an f/4 lens collects the same amount of light
    as the P&S camera with an f/1 lens (which does not exist).
    Its like putting a larger bucket out in a rainstorm: larger
    buckets collect more raindrops.
    Again, this is basic physics and there is no way around it,
    regardless of what the P&S troll says, nor marketing hype by camera

    So a low-end DSLR with a zoom lens produces great images under
    more light conditions, having faster response with higher dynamic
    range and better low light performance than P&S cameras. The
    low end DSLRs are similar in size to the better P&S superzooms,
    and costs are similar. But P&S cameras can be smaller and more
    convenient, take great pictures in good lighting conditions, as
    long as your willing to accept the lower performance in less than
    ideal situations.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 23, 2007
  17. Meghan Noecker

    ChrisM Guest

    I'd dispute that. The little Casio P&S that I have is ready to shoot within
    a second or so of powering up.
    Zoom lens is pretty fast too. (I might have been trolling a tiny bit with my
    5 minutes though I suppose...)

    But some of the better P&S cameras have tracking focus and other similar
    tricks as well.

    I think we are best to agree to disagree... Personally, for my requirements,
    I'd never bother with a DSLR - too big and bulky (not to mention expensive).
    I'm quite happy with the portability and convenience of my little pocket
    sized P&S, and the lower quality of the resulting pictures is not a worry to
    me at the size of prints I will normally be producing. In fact, a lot of the
    time, I'll only view/show my pictures on a computer/TV screen anyway.

    :) Chris.
    ChrisM, Oct 23, 2007
  18. Meghan Noecker

    Alex Barnes Guest

    Hey idiot, which part of Meghan's words:
    did you fail to understand?

    And yet you still push a DSLR on someone that clearly doesn't want nor need your
    idiotic advice. You're nothing but a DSLR TROLL, that's ALL you are and will
    ever be. Even when you are told in ADVANCE that someone doesn't want nor need a
    DSLR, there you are, chomping at the bit, relentlessly trying to shove your
    expensive and useless advice down someone's throat. Get a clue you idiot. Don't
    you for once in your life think that other people know better than you what they
    want and need for their photography? Not to mention, I've compared your images
    from your MkII and L-glass. An inexpensive $400 P&S camera can STILL beat your
    $12,000 photography setup. How blind can you get? How stupid can you get? Wait,
    I'm sure you'll show us more examples of that .... you're too stupid to learn.
    Alex Barnes, Oct 23, 2007
  19. That's totally good that you're happy with your gear. We all should be!
    It's only when folks start telling others that their
    way/gear/tone/pictures sucks that we have more noise than necessary.
    John McWilliams, Oct 23, 2007
  20. << Snipped bits out >>

    Just ignore those making sweeping statements to try to fan flames.
    John McWilliams, Oct 23, 2007
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