Can a point and shoot replace an SLR?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by hopper, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. hopper

    hopper TPF Noob!

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    I'm a photojournalist in Skegness UK and I'm seriously considering whether I really need the Canon D10 SLR camera and additional zoom lenses that I use for my job.
    I've just bought a Canon A430 point and shoot camera. I originally bought it so that I would always have a camera with me. I'm now trying to work out what it can't do that the SLR can do.
    The only practical thing I can think of is that the zoom lens won't be as good, ie. as versatile, as the zoom lenses that I have for the SLR. But I can't prove this..
    There might be a problem with shutter lag, ie. the processor might be slower to react than the processor on the SLR. It should be slower, because the point and shoot cost a lot less than the SLR.
    But the SLR is about two years old now. Two years is a long time in digital photography. Processors will have got faster in that time. For all I know, the processor on the point and shoot might be as fast as the processor on the SLR.
    The other thing that springs to mind is that it might cause an image problem. Not a photographic image problem but a public relations image problem. It will look pretty bad if show up for a photo shoot with a point and shoot instead of a professional SLR!
    I'll probably take the point and shoot everywhere I go, as planned, and take the SLR to photo shoots.
    But I'm pretty sure that I'll resent having to carry the extra weight around with me.
     
  2. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I could see a photojournalist using a high end P&S like the Canon G7 with a 580EX speedlight. Small and compact for the person on the go... A bit more stealthy for the street photographer. Features and functionality approaching that of a full digital SLR. There is a significant difference between G7 and the A430.

    * Since this is your job/career, consider durability and reliability.
    * Consider the quality of the final print. Newspaper, magazine, high quality photobook. The subtile differences between high end and low end glass will not matter much if the final print is newspaper quality.
    * Zoom wise... its hard to beat a good quality telephoto on an SLR. Is it really necessary for your work?

    Another question probably to consider: "Does the current DSLR limit you in your work?" Need more megapixels so you can crop more (canon 5D or 1DS MII)? Need more speed like a sports photographer ( 1D MII )? Do you need something more compact (stick with the 10D)? Don't upgrade just for the sake of upgrading... Equip yourself for the task at hand. The 10D SLR was consider a very good DSLR and still is by todays standards.

    Its tough to lead you in the right direction without a specific camera(s) you had in mind. I personally would find the A430 pretty limiting but thats just me. I still love my G1 (3.3 mp 1st generation Canon G series)... the fact that I can use a real flash is a big factor.
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    The two things that would most concern me about the smaller cameras would be shutter lag and lack of DOF control. For photojournalism, I think only shutter lag would be an issue, and not all of the smaller cameras have it. A lot will depend on the specific cameras you will be looking at. I don't think there is anything inherent in a DSLR that will automatically make it better for what you want.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Do you ever use/need higher ISO levels? One area where DSLR cameras really outshine 'point & shoot' cameras is at high ISO levels. P&S cameras, 99.9% of them anyway, have very small sensors. At higher ISO settings the signal has to be amplified...this amplification causes digital noise...especially when there are so many pixels crammed into such small sensors. The newer cameras (G7 for example) are getter better...but still not as good as the average DSLR.
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I also think one very important thing would be speed, meaning speed of foucusing speed of processing pics. If you show up at a situation where you are trying to capture whatever for the most part situations are not going to wait for you to focus your camera or slow down while your camera processes each shot. I think the best test of your question would be if you try and get a job if the person you are trying to get the job from finds what you have acceptable then you are good to go. I personally lost a job many years ago that I held at a weekly for several years because I did not have at least a 70-200 2.8 lens for my nikon.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Only you and your clients can determine if the image quality is good enough. If the photos are going to be printed in newspapers, I'd think it would definately be good enough.

    There are at least a couple of international photojournalists out there using digital point-n-shoots. I've read articles about them.

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-6468-7844

    I can't wait until I can get an APS-C or larger sensor in PNS camera. Sigma is supposedly introducing one soon.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sony DSC-R1
    It's pretty much the size of a small DSLR...but it's not a DSLR and it's got an APS-C sensor.

    Leica M8
     
  8. A friend of mine is an image broker and photographer manager (read: he coordinates paparazzi) here in Los Angeles. He and one of his guys use exclusively high-quality P&S cameras to use inside the restaurants - you can't break out the big gear at the good places, obviously. He quite likes the Canon SD 600, but suggests not using the digital zoom - just the mechanical part. You get better results cropping and enlarging later.

    Not sure if any P&S cameras can shoot raw....
     
  9. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    most P&S cameras aren't compatible with filters. Some can use them but they're expensive.

    If i was making a living from photography I'd definitely go with the SLR over the P&S even for journalism.
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Iron, assuming by p&s we mean compact digitals in general, there are a few that shoot RAW. The Canon S70, Panasonic FZ series and Ricoh GR for example. I think manufacturers are starting to realise that RAW is one of the main features people look for in a higher-end camera, so it's becoming more standard in the more expensive or so-called "prosumer" (I hate myself for using that word) compact models.
     
  11. That's good to know. I looked at a Canon recently (S3 maybe?) that struck me as pretty good, but the absence of raw stopped me. I have found that I want a camera with me a lot of times, but my 5D is pretty darn big, even with a 50mm on.
     

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