Why are DSLRs so huge ?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alfred Molon, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. I'm really surprised that not one person has given the main
    answer in this long thread. It's the computers and electronics.
    While all digital cameras have a computer, the point and shoots
    are slow because they use slower processors and those processors
    do multiple tasks. The DSLRs have dedicated circuits, like
    independent sensors plus electronics for the light metering and
    focusing. Many P&S cameras use the main chip, and main processor for
    focusing and light metering.
    DSLRS have dedicated signal processing electronics to process the
    image data fast and to do multiple things simultaneously.
    Look at the new canon 1DS II: it can image 8+ frames per second
    from an 8+ megapixel sensor, while changing focus between frames
    tracking a moving subject. That works out to over 100 megapixels
    per second processing (12-bit data), so over a gigabit per second.
    Most PCs can't do this. Most laptops can't do this. And the DSLR
    does in in a much smaller and lighter form factor that even a
    laptop (especially when you consider the optics takes up a large
    part of the camera system).

    To others in this thread who seem to think that DSLR's are a waste,
    or the sensors are too big, or the 35mm size is the "ultimate."
    Sorry, but you seem to not have a clue to what pros need, nor what
    image quality they need. In fact 35mm is grossly inadequate
    in many situations. That is why there are medium and large format
    cameras. Sensor size will always be the ultimate in image
    quality. The DSLR 35mm size will simply be a temporary stopping
    point in the digital evolution.

    If you think that DSLR's are overrated, try getting a job and
    competing in the sports photography arena, or wildlife photography
    (try "digiscoping" birds in flight with your P&S) or other action. Try
    competing in night photography or astronomical imaging.
    If you try, will get a real education, quickly.

    A DSLR is not for everyone. But neither is a P&S.

    Roger Clark
    Photos, digital info at:
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Apr 11, 2004
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  2. I typically carry two cameras, sometimes 3 (2 DSLRs or 35mm film) and
    one large format. Depending on the task, my day backpack within
    the last year has weighed between 30 and 75 pounds. The cameras
    are not the limiting factor, it's the lenses, and those telephotos
    are a real pain in the back (I use up to 500 mm f/4 on the DSLR/35mm,
    and 300 mm f/6.3 on the large format). I agree that any weight
    reduction is welcome. But, for example, my large format camera weighs
    only 3 pounds, but the 300mm f/6.3 weighs more.

    Pros tend to carry two cameras because they must have a backup in
    case one breaks. But since you have it, why not use it? Also,
    pros typically use prime lenses (for the image quality), so two
    cameras are often needed to handle the variety in situations
    when you need to respond fast to action.

    Maybe this country wouldn't be so overweight if everyone lugged
    around SLRS and a bunch of lenses! ;-)

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Apr 11, 2004
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  3. Alfred Molon

    Alan Browne Guest

    My SO's new Maxxum 5 is small. Far too small for my hands to use for
    more than a few minutes at a time. I have two larger SLR's and that is
    the way to go for me.
    Alan Browne, Apr 11, 2004
  4. Alfred Molon

    Alan Browne Guest

    A real photog uses the right tool for the job.
    Alan Browne, Apr 11, 2004
  5. in message []
    I didn't say that 35mm was enough - my whole point was that we now have a
    chance to evaluate what we do actually need. My own feeling is that there
    is room in the market for a half-frame sensor (provided the lenses are
    there), but also perhaps for something even larger than 35mm as you say.
    Other people seem blinkered in their thinking that 35mm is large enough.

    David J Taylor, Apr 11, 2004
  6. Alfred Molon

    Chris Brown Guest

    I'm sure they're lovely if you don't mind not having anything faster than
    about f/2.8, or reasonable creative control over DoF.
    Chris Brown, Apr 11, 2004
  7. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Ok, but not everybody is a pro and most people would be happy with a
    camera which can do perhaps max. 2 frames/second.
    PCs and laptops are general purpose machines suitable for a range of
    tasks, while digital cameras are in general optimised for a very small
    number of operations. The key lies in the signal processing chips. It
    should be possible to make compact DSLRs - perhaps not as performing as
    the 1DS, but more than adequate for a prosumer.
    But then DLSRs don't have in-built CD burners, a 2.5" HDD or a 14" LCD
    Alfred Molon, Apr 11, 2004
  8. Well, as my last SLR zoom was f/3.5-f/4.5, they do beat that (at a
    fraction of the weight). DoF is an interesting one - the larger sensor
    would give smaller DoF of course, but the larger DoF with the smaller
    sensor might result in fewer out-of-focus images. You pays your money,
    and takes your choice! If you want very small DoF, then perhaps you need
    something larger than 35mm.

    David J Taylor, Apr 11, 2004
  9. I didn't say they were. Also, the lower capability DSLRs are exactly
    why Canon came out with the digital rebel. It is smaller and lighter
    than the 1DS II but still much more capable than a P&S so has
    the e;ectronics that the P&S doesn't so will be larger.
    If you looked inside a DSLR you would see the layout of electronics
    is very compact and wraped around other components. And still smaller
    than the circuit boards in a laptop, even ignoring the LCD, HD and
    CD burners.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Apr 11, 2004
  10. I don't think anyone thinks 35mm is large enough. But in the past, it's
    been a tradeoff.
    Simon Gardner, Apr 11, 2004
  11. No, it's because the buyers of DSLRs often want a digital body that
    will use their existing lenses. The lens mount drives the size.
    Steven Scharf, Apr 11, 2004
  12. I Equated "holy grail" to "utlimate" (pretty similar).

    "obsolete" is your word that many, especially pros may argue with.
    Just because it's old doesn't mean its bad or needs changing.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Apr 11, 2004
  13. in message []
    The impression I get reading many posts here is that the full-frame 35mm
    sensor is seen as a "holy grail". "Obsolescent" is perhaps nearer what I
    meant - yes, you can buy it today but the writing may be on the wall.....I
    am delighted that a good discussion has been provoked, though!

    David J Taylor, Apr 11, 2004
  14. Alfred Molon

    Skip M Guest

    The zoom on my wife's Oly E-10 is an f2, IIRC. Faster than any of the zooms
    on my D30/1n/A2...
    Skip M, Apr 11, 2004
  15. I've seen pros carrying multiple SLR bodies around too, but it's because
    they have different film loaded in each body, not because of the lens. Next
    time you're at a wedding and see the photographer with multiple bodies
    (assuming you can still find one that doesn't use digital), ask him why.
    He'll tell you it's easy to swap a lens on a single dSLR, harder to switch
    film types from, say, Tri-X to Kodachrome.

    Howard McCollister, Apr 11, 2004
  16. I don't see how it can be accomplished since optics is optics and glass is
    glass and no it isn't welcomed. I found the 10D a bit too light for comfort
    (as well as too small for comfort) until I added the extra battery grip.
    Now it's heavy and large enough to facilitate ease of handling. The 300D -
    apart from being a silly colour - is too light also.

    I also go back to one of your weirdest claims - about losing the tripod. I
    use a tripod whatever the weight of the camera I am using. Indeed the
    weight or size of the camera makes no difference. I don't understand why
    you think it does.
    Simon Gardner, Apr 11, 2004
  17. But that is on a small sensor camera.

    Try to find a 2.0 3x zoom on a large sensor camera.

    Roland Karlsson, Apr 11, 2004
  18. That's odd. I bought the (new) lenses to fit the DSLR. I can't get a DSLR
    to fit my existing lenses.
    Simon Gardner, Apr 11, 2004
  19. Reported to your ISP for excessive spamming and ng abuse -- your
    "contributions" are all worthless.
    George Preddy, Apr 12, 2004
  20. Alfred Molon

    MarkH Guest

    Indeed the writing is on the wall. It is fairly obvious that a camera
    manufacturers increase the MPix on digital cameras, there is a huge
    advantage in larger sensors. Already Canon can make a 16MPix FF sensor
    with noise as low as the 10D has (By using the same sensor, but larger). In
    contrast the small sensor cameras are struggling to get pics at 8MPix that
    have acceptable noise levels.

    Will this change in the future? Not unless the properties of light change!
    Full Frame 35mm sensors will always have an advantage over smaller sensors
    because they gather more light. More signal helps increase the signal to
    noise ratio.

    Cameras like the Sony F828 and the Konica Minolta A2 are a joke when it
    comes to high ISO. They may shoot a nice landscape, but when you need a
    nice clean ISO 400 to shoot action they can’t do it.

    The writing is on the wall: Anyone that needs to shoot at higher ISO with
    low noise will have to forget the small sensor cameras.
    MarkH, Apr 12, 2004
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