How To Explain SLR Advantage to Non-Photographer?

Fleetwood271

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Anyone have any advice, or maybe a link to a good site that would help me explain SLR vs P&S to a non-photographer? Here's what I mean:

A guy at work who doesn't know anything at all about photographer saw my camera a few weeks ago and said, "What's the zoom on that one?" I mean, it's like someone who doesn't know anything at all about lifting weights walking up to a bodybuilder and asking, "So, what do you bench?" That's all they know to ask.

Then today my Sigma 50-500 lens that I rented from Lensrental.com came in and he saw it on my camera. Again, he said "How far will that thing zoom in?" When I focused on a car's license plate across the parking lot, he said, "My camera will get closer than that." "Why would you want to carry around that big thing when my camera will do a better job?" He went on to say that his camera "...was just about the best you can buy..."

I started by trying to explain about the small sensor in his P&S as compared to an SLR, and why that mattered. But since he didn't know what a sensor was, his eyes kinda glazed over. I realized very quickly that we were not speaking the same language.

I want to be able to answer his question, but where do I start? I'd appreciate any advice you have.

Thanks!
 
I highly doubt his camera can do 10X optical zoom (thats what 50-500 is). It is probably 10X if you add digital zoom which is pretty much cropping your photo. You dont have to explain anything.. just show them the results.
 
There are P&S that feature 12x optical zooms (Panasonic comes to mind) and totally ridiculous digital zooms. As for the guy at work, you can't explain anything to a guy who already has all the answers (or at least all the answers he wants to hear). So, just nod knowingly, and say "If you say so...". Life's just too short to waste trying to educate clueless yahoos. If he changes his mind about this, then you've got a new scenario. But until then.....
 
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I agree with pgriz. If you must try to explain to him the difference, I would show him some of the nicer shots you have taken and ask to see some from his "best camera money can buy."
 
As stated. Don't even try. He's not saying that stuff because he's uneducated. He's saying because he probably thinks he's better. No matter how you explain it he will have something to throw back.
 
So, what does this guy bench? Squat? Clean and jerk? One-arm curl?
 
I highly doubt his camera can do 10X optical zoom (thats what 50-500 is). It is probably 10X if you add digital zoom which is pretty much cropping your photo. You dont have to explain anything.. just show them the results.

Not that it matters, but there are several P&S cameras that will do 20x+ optical zoom (not digital). I can't imagine very high quality, but to a layman, zoom and megapixels is all that matters, unfortunately.

Amazon.com: Canon Powershot SX10IS 10MP Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom: Camera & Photo

and

Amazon.com: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black): Camera & Photo (26x, even)

These two come to my mind immediately, but I'm sure there are more.
 
im not sure what the biggest is but the Fujifilm HS10 is 24-720mm
(30x) zoom. The major differences are sensor size (reason for needing larger glass for a larger image circle), and the faster/better processors. With a DSLR you can focus and take a picture almost instantly. With a P&S it can take forever to focus, especially for moving objects, and once you press the actual shutter button, another second to take the picture.

Ask him to take a picture in a house with low-lighting, with his highest ISO, then shoot your camera with the ISO that he used and compare the quality of the image. Its amazing how tiny P&S sensors are, like my finger nail.

If it doesn't know the difference, it doesn't matter what he thinks ;p

"Why would you want to carry around that big thing when my camera will do a better job?" He went on to say that his camera "...was just about the best you can buy..."

Tell him to put his money where his mouth is!!!
 
I still want one of those high optical zoom bridge cameras and yes sometime when I see them there with their camera body that cost about the same as mine (without the lens) there is a bit of envy that they can "zoom" more than me.

Heck the macro end of the scale is just as bad - if not worse - those small sensors plus a diopter or two and they can do things I can't do without focus stacking (smaller sensor = more depth of field).

Gah see I should have gone for a bridge camera body!

Course you could always use our one bonus (even though the fullframe lot will still lord over you) and show really creamy bokeh shots ;) :)
 
So just out of curiosity... how many here have attested to the fact (here or elsewhere) that your equipment doesn't make you take good photographs? :lmao:
 
Everyone on here gets the same thing, its people that either A) don't know about cameras or B) just trying to make conversation with you. Either way, why does that make them a bad person? Not everyone is a photographer. I used to think the same crap before I started photography or even looked into it.

All you need to tell him is that yours will take high quality pictures, that will blow up to a much higher quality as well. Ask him what looks better? A 32" 720P tv or a 60" 1080P? Think of your cameras sensor as the 60" and his cameras as a 32" ( Even though not exactly accurate, it atleast puts it in a way the average joe can sorta understand what you are saying ). Also, the thing I always use that usually shuts them up, is that mine will take 3 pictures a second ( when I used my Rebel ) which usually makes them go "oh, mine can't do that ". Now when I say 8 pics a second they sh*t a brick.

Or you can just say "go google it" and walk away.
 
I wouldn't waste my time.
 
Had the same conversation a few months back.

Started about the same, ended exactly the same.
In the end I told the guy (P&S guy I'll call him) that while he might have a much larger zoom than I, that I don't even require that kind of zoom as I do not intend to shoot weather ballons up close from the ground up or my neighbour from across town. He just looked confused that I would not compare (fight back) and justify my much larger and in his mind, "ancient" camera.

I met P&S guy several weeks later at a small seminar hosted by a friend, and when the Q&A session came he was the first to ask:

Is a compact camera not much much much better than this large DSLR?

Problem for him was, that most of the people in the room where / are professional photographers and they just looked at him in disbelief.

These people generally do not mean any harm with their questions. I found, that A) they really are uneducated in this field, B) want to actually start a conversation, maybe even really want to know the difference or C) just want to prove to themselves, that their investment is the better choice - and hey, if you are not too serious about photography, then by all means, the P&S would be the best option. If zoom and megapixel is all you care about, get a bridge camera.

Just my two cents on it, but generally when someone starts the statement with "why would you carry allll that around if something as small and handy as mine can do the same job" I start walking away. I know it cannot match performance to a DSLR, they obviously choose not to know (meaning, that either they do not know, or just want to "challenge" you...) and yes, life is too short for that sort of things.

A piece of advice in closing:
If you really want to show him the difference and make him understand, take him on an afternoon shoot. Wander around the area and take pictures, compare on a nice big screen and let him see the difference.
That is, if you really want to make him understand. No guarantee though, that he will...
 
So just out of curiosity... how many here have attested to the fact (here or elsewhere) that your equipment doesn't make you take good photographs? :lmao:
It doesn't "make" you take good photos, but it sure can help in certain circumstances if you know how to use it.
 

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