Digital SLR vs Digital with fixed lens

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by robinkay6573, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. robinkay6573

    robinkay6573 TPF Noob!

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    I have been an amateur photographer since I was 8 years old when I got my first P&S. I used that little camera for about 15 years and got great photos. My mom had a 35 MM Canon EOS that I used occasionally. When I moved from Vermont to Michigan it was time for me to buy my own camera. It isn't a fancy camera but I have taken some really great photos with my Minolta 330si. I have a 70-400 (I think?) zoom lens for it which I used almost exclusively now. I don't know much about cameras but I feel like I have a good eye. I got a Kodak P&S in 2004 and I love it. My little camera is always in my bag. One thing I don't like is the camera has a 3 x optical zoom on it. I use my cameras for vacation and minor league baseball (I am a season ticket holder). Taking my little digital camera to baseball games is pretty much pointless unless the guys are right on top of me or I am taking a "landscape" photo of the field. When I want to get good photos of action on the field I take the Film SLR with my zoom lens. I can’t snap quick photos with my SLR camera and it is HUGE so getting action photos is almost impossible.

    I am ready to purchase a new camera. What are the differences between a fixed lens digital camera with a zoom and a DSLR with zoom? I am thinking of biting the bullet and getting a DSLR but they seem clunky and heavy and I am trying to stay away from having to lug that huge camera with me to the games and on vacation (that is why I am looking at fixed lens cameras).

    As long as the sun is out I can take great photos with the zoom on my SLR and no tri pod. I don't want to buy a new camera and still have to take the "old" SLR because I get grainy photos when using the zoom.


    Here is a photo from last year taken with my SLR early during a night game

    [​IMG]
     
  2. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    If your looking for quality photos there is no comparison between a P&S fixed lens digital and a DSLR. A DSLR will blow away any photos from a PS. Get a decent zoom,something in the 300mm range and you will get crystal clear images. Look into a Nikon D40, I hear they are decent cameras and are at the low end of the DSLR price scale. I used a D50 for a couple years and felt it took fantastic photos that I have enlarged to 36"x13". It would be a good choice as well. If you have a larger budget go with a D80 or D200.. This is just my Nikon biased advice though, canons are great as well but a bit more expenseive compared to a D50 or D40.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Point & shoot film cameras are similar to SLR film cameras in that they (usually) use the same film, 35mm for the most part. The SLR will usually have a better quality lens but because the film is the same, the results can be fairly similar.

    In the digital world, there is a very big difference between point & shoot (or just about every non-SLR) and true Digital SLR cameras. This difference is the size of the sensor. The smaller cameras have a sensor that is very small, while a digital SLR has a sensor that is much closer to the size of 35mm film. There are even a few DSLR cameras that do have sensors as large as 35mm film, but they are top end cameras and rather expensive.

    Having a larger sensor is a huge advantage. It means better image quality, especially at higher ISO settings. Most P&S digital cameras are not very useful at ISO 400 or above. Most DSLR cameras are very usable at ISO 800 or 1600. This would be rather important when shooting sports.

    Also, DSLR cameras have actual shutters and have a much faster response time. You must have noticed that your small digital camera doesn't snap the shot right when you press the button, like your film camera does. Well, DSLR cameras are pretty fast, which is also good for shooting sports.

    Then there is the issue of lenses. As you have noticed, if you only have a 3X zoom...that's all you can use. Even if you get a 12X zoom on a digi-cam, that's all you will ever be able to use. With an SLR, you can get and use a lens that is more appropriate for what you are shooting.

    Then there is the investment value. A digi-cam will be obsolete practically when you buy it. It's still usable, probably for years, but if you had to sell it, you wouldn't get much for it. A DSLR, on the other hand, will hold it's value for a longer period of time...and will probably always be sell-able. They do drop in value though, as new models come out. The lenses however, are great investments...especially the top end lenses. You could spend $1000 on a lens, use it for a few years, then sell it for $800-$900.
     
  4. robinkay6573

    robinkay6573 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the quick replies you guys are GREAT!!

    My mom said she would give me her EOS (she has 3 lenses for it). She has not used it in a year or so. Are Canon EOS DSLR a good camera?? I can use her "old" lenses on a DSLR Canon body, right??
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Well, since you want a long lens and "compactness" for the type of shooting a DSLR would probably be on the large size and get you kicked out of some venues as a pro.

    I would consider the Leica V-Lux with a fixed lens: the 35mm equivalent of a 35mm to 450mm zoom. The quality of your images will be equal or better than many entry level DSLRs. The Canadian price is not in the stratosphere either, so I would assume that the US price would not be either.

    skieur
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    Some (maybe most) people would say that they are the best. Certainly the best digital SLR cameras made are the top end Canon models.

    Absolutely.

    Note: If you use any of the 'entry level' or mid-level DSLR cameras, the sensors are slightly smaller than 35mm film...which will mean that when you do use these lenses, they will be slightly cropped. The result of this 'crop factor' is that they will feel 1.6 times longer on the digital than they did on the film camera.
     
  7. robinkay6573

    robinkay6573 TPF Noob!

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    I am not too worried about that! I actually take photos FOR the players. They don't make a heck of alot of money and they appreciate photos they can share with their families. I would NEVER sell the photos...that is not why I am taking them.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I tend to go with fitting the camera set-up to the shooting situation. An adjustable pocket camera is great for places where photos are not allowed, where you are not sure whether you will be taking photos or not, or in areas where you might get mugged for your camera. A superzoom or compact camera is great for fast work in a journalistic style where large blow-ups will seldom be necessary. A DSLR is great for studio work, magazine material, formal corporate head shots and wedding group shots as well as scenics and sports photography. Film SLRs are great for jungle work (rich, vibrant colours) and where you want lots of detail in both the highlight and dark areas.

    skieur
     
  9. photogincollege

    photogincollege TPF Noob!

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    I have to put my vote for the DSLR as well. Not just because of the better picture quality factor but because theres so much more versatility. Plus you can get a day bag and easily carry it with you.
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I have to agree with the recommendations for a dSLR. If you want something with a decent telephoto, a fixed-lens model won't be all that compact anyway. With a dSLR if you want it to be relatively light and unobtrusive then you can simply use a shorter lens, maybe even a pancake... but you still have the option of sticking a very long and fast lens on it if necessary.
     
  11. I usually don't automatically recommend a dSLR, but in your case I do. Sports photography requires that the shot is taken when the shutter button is pushed. You need to get the shot. A dSLR will take the picture - not first go through a series of processes and THEN finally make an exposure... up to three seconds later. That's effectively useless for action photography.

    Canon makes great equipment. Some feel strongly about one brand over another, but Canon and Nikon are the current market leaders, and have products that range from beginner to full-on pro. Habing some lenses that fit Canon's EOS mount should effectively make this decision for you.
     
  12. Oh, one more thing: consider the D30 over the XTi - frames-per-second are of relevance to you, and I believe the D30 can fire off more shots than the XTi.
     

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