Comparing an SLR lens to P&S

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by padrepaul77, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. padrepaul77

    padrepaul77 TPF Noob!

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    Maybe this would be better for the "beginners" forum, but I had a question on comparing lenses.

    On the SLR kit I'm eying, it would feature a 70-300mm lens. I currently shoot a Canon Powershot sx10is, which is 5.0-100mm f/2.8-5.7 (35mm film equivalent: 28-560mm). The Olympus says it is 140-600mm equivalent.

    Bottom line is it looks like a nice zoom, which I'd like for shooting animals, wildlife, etc. I love the mega-zoom on my canon; and this looks like a nice zoom lens, but how will the zoom compare in terms of how close it will take me?

    Thanks!
    Paul
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You are actually talking apples and oranges here. One thing that plays into those point and shoot lenses is the fact that the sensors are so much smaller with less sensitivity due to their size. One of the reason their poor low light high iso performance.

    Lenses designed for a point and shoot are very different than those made for a DSLR. The small sensor on a point and shoot will not show the flaws in a lens as dramatically as a a DSLR will. Also the size of a point and shoot and the way it is made does not require as expensive of materials in the design. If a lens quits focusing in a $200 P&S people don't get them fixed, they throw it away and purchase a new camera.

    DSLR lenses, especially top quality lenses are heavily engineered items that use top quality materials and construction. The polishing of some DSLR lenses can take as much as 72 hours to accomplish for one lens. DSLR lenses also incorporate more glass than a P&S lens, making them more expensive.

    As for the nature of lenses themselves. The sharpest glass is still a prime lens or lens with a fixed focal length. Top quality zoom lenses, while very good, still do not rival the quality of a good medium to top quality prime lens for sharpness. If you look at top quality zoom lenses, their zoom range is in a limited general set of ranges. One of Canon's biggest ranges in their top quality glass is the 100-400mm. It is an L quality lens. While there are many people that have and love that lens, I have yet to find a single person that will claim that it is as sharp at 400mm as my 400mm f2.8L prime.

    When you make zoom lenses you have to have compromise in what all that lens can do. The wider the range, the greater the compromise. Usually sharpness is one of the things that is compromised.

    Is it possible to make super zoom DSLR lenses like you suggest. Yes, if you are willing to spend as much as you would pay for a small house. They would be prohibitively expensive to engineer and to produce. That is one of the areas that DSLR's outshine a P&S, with the ability to change lenses to fit your needs and do so with quality glass.

    As for how close it will take you, 300mm is a bit short for the wildlife range. Wildlife range lenses generally start in the 400mm + range. I use my 400mm f2.8 for wildlife coupled to a Canon 1.4 TC to give me 580mm. Part of it depends on your definition of wildlife. If you are talking Zoo "wildlife" or backyard birds etc. then it should do the trick in most cases. If you are talking about bears, raptors, elk and cougars in the Rockies, then it will come up short.
     
  3. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    The kit he's been eyeing is an Olympus, so it'd have a 4/3 sensor and thus 2.0x crop factor. The 300mm would be equivalent to 600mm on a 35mm sensor. So, it'd be good enough in terms of reach, but with that much reach something's gotta give of course; my bet is that it's sharpness on the long end.
     
  4. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    The 70-300mm is nice but I would like to have a little more zoom out of it. Even for wildlife I find myself using the last 100mm of the lens the majority of the time. I would love to have the 100-400mm L lens but it's crazy expensive.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The trouble is 400mm's still not quite enough.

    For daytime wildlife or sports I use the Sigma 150-500 mm f/5-6.3 APO OS HSM. If I was going to shoot wildlife as a living, the Sigma wouldn't do.

    Serious wildlife photographers swear by their 600mm primes.
     
  6. FrankLamont

    FrankLamont TPF Noob!

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    No, the 70-300mm is enough, because he's talking about Olympus. Four-Thirds sensor, 2x focal length multiplication factor... thus the 140-600mm. Only downside is that it's a tad slow, but that's fine for day.
     
  7. padrepaul77

    padrepaul77 TPF Noob!

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  8. FrankLamont

    FrankLamont TPF Noob!

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    You don't compare the lenses; outright, the Olympus would be and is better made than the in-built lens on a P&S.

    Besides, a DSLR has way more advantages than a P&S anyway.
     
  9. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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  10. padrepaul77

    padrepaul77 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the feedback...I think I'm actually going to get it.
     

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