digital noise question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mapgirl, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. mapgirl

    mapgirl TPF Noob!

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    I've been shooting with a PowerShot A70 for a little while. Years ago I used a fully manual Pentax SLR, but had been away from photography for years and wanted to ease in to the digital universe. I figured that my next move would be a DSLR, but haven't relished the price and having to mess with different lenses. So the newer, fancier compacts seemed the way to go (like the Canon S5 1S). HOWEVER I just stumbled across an article that explained that shooting above 200 will result in noticeable digital noise even in these more expensive Power Shot cameras. Drat! Is this true for all of them?
    If so, then that's reason enough to suck it up and get a DSLR. I try to shoot at 200 but sometimes I need to push to 400.
    So, another 2 questions: Can I be confident that most decent low-end DSLRs will have less of a problem with noise? And, different subject, do they all have through-the-lens focusing? I don't like using the LED for anything other than viewing the photo already taken, so I've had framing problems at times with my PowerShot.

    thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    The noise issue mostly comes down to the size of the sensor (the digital FILM, if you will). The smaller the sensor, the more prone to noise the camera will be. 99% of digicams (non SLR digital cameras) have very small sensors...even the high end ones. All the DSLR cameras (that I know of) have much larger sensors. Most of them are what we might call APS-C sized sensors...which is not quite as big as a frame of 35mm film. Some of them are actually the size of 35mm film but those are top end models and are very expensive. (I won't mention meduim format digital cameras, they cost more than the average car).

    So yes, even a low end DSLR will have much less noise than most or all digicams.

    Modern digicams are OK at the lowest ISO, and maybe usable at 400...but higher than that is getting pretty bad. A modern DSLR is still very good at 400 and still usable at 800 or even 1600.

    Yes, all the DSLR cameras that I know, are TTL focusing & viewing. In fact, most of them won't show you the view on the LCD until after the shot is taken (although this is a new feature on a select few cameras).

    There are other factors that make a DSLR much better. The shutter lag, for example.

    Yes, it is expensive...and lenses are an additional cost. But the investment is much more sound. Your A70 is a decent digicam...but does it have any resale value? It has probably been replaced and outdated 5 times since you bought it. A DSLR will get 'outdated' and loose some value but not as much. The lenses, on the other hand, will hold their value very very well...comparatively. Especially the higher end lenses.
     
  3. mapgirl

    mapgirl TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Big Mike. This is what I figured, but I kind of needed someone to talk me into it. Now I just have to decide on which type of DSLR I want/need/can afford.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I suggest going into a store and holding them & playing with them. All the entry level models are very capable cameras. The higher up models have a few more features and are 'tougher' cameras...but that may not be worth the extra cost to you personally. A very important factor will be the ergonomics...you will want to get one that is comfortable for you.
     

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