What am I missing in the DSLR world?


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Apr 24, 2009
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Hi, I've been shooting with a Sony Cybershot DSC-H5 for years. It's a point and shoot camera with 12x optical zoom. I've been very happy with the photos, but lately I've wondered if I could take better photos with a DSLR. I know that "serious" photographers use DSLRs. I just take photos to amuse myself, family, and friends and record memories. Of course, the photos are all on Flickr for everyone to see.

I know that good photos depend as much on the photographer's eye as the camera, but what am I missing in the DSLR world? If I wouldn't switch lenses much, is there any point to investing in a DSLR?
Welcome to the forum.

There are several differences between DSLR cameras and 'the rest'. The main one, to me anyway, is the size of the sensor. DSLR cameras have much larger image sensors than 99.9% of typical digital cameras.
A larger sensor can give you better image quality, especially at higher ISO levels. How do your photos look when you turn the ISO up to 800? The newer DSLR cameras look great at ISO 800, even 1600 and some are usable at ISO 3200 or higher.
Also, a larger sensor can give you a shallower DOF (depth of field).
It's good that you are satisfied with your 12x lens. For many of us, any lens with that much range will have too many compromises to the image quality. Sure it's convienent, but when you are more concerned about image quality, than convenience, then you really want to be able to switch the lenses and use the highest quality you can afford...and they do get expensive.
Another issue is shutter lag. Newer digi-cams are getting better...but most of these cameras tend to take too long to snap the photo after you have presses the button. Just about every DSLR snaps the photo right after you press the button.

You mention 'investing' in a DSLR...and that's more true than with a digi-cam. For example, how much could you sell your Sony for...after several years? Probably not much at all. Yet a 4 year old DSLR may still sell for 50% of it's sale price...give or take. The lenses, on the other hand, hold their value very well. A top quality lens might cost over $1000, but you could use it for 5 years and sell it for 75-90% of what you paid for it.

When it comes down to it, yes, it's the photographer that makes the difference, not the gear. But there are plenty of reasons why the best photographers use the gear they do.
I also just converted to DSLR hmmm... less than a month ago. Before I was using pns Canon 80IS, which I think is not bad for family, holiday, day to day picture taking :) But then one thing that bothered me so much was the shutter lag. I always missed the things I wanted to capture, either they finished doing what they were doing or the the image wasn't sharp due to the movement.

Another thing I noticed is the depth of field, it's cool to have that blurish background thing going on haha. What else? Oh, it also made me to think a lot before shooting and try to be creative... I am not sure if that's because of the dslr, haha... maybe just some psychology thing going on... but I myself feel I take better (to me) picture with dslr than with pnp.

But at the end I guess it depends on how happy you are with your camera, if it works fine, you have nothing to whine about, I guess you are not missing anything :)

PS: I am so noob in photography and dslr, so please note this is noobish point of view I was talking!
shutter lag
Things can become very technical when comparing specs with a point n shoot and a DSLR. A DSLR trumps a p&s in every aspect besides the convenience of use. That's why I consider a DSLR as a specialized tool.

More on the technicals of a DSLR over a P&S:
- Faster frames per second
- Quicker/Accurate focusing
- 12-14bit images (greater tones and dynamic range in pictures, makes for lenient editing)
- Plethera of Telephoto, Primes and Wide Angle lenses
- ISO performance makes for clean pictures under low lighting
- Faster shutter speeds
- Higher Megapixels up to 25mp
- Some do video, 5D MKII = 1080pi, Nikon D90 = 720pi

etc....just get a DSLR ;)
There are a lot of technical differences between the P&S and the DSLR as stated above.

If you are into photography, you should invest some money and time on the DSLR area. For me, after I had my 1st DSLR for few months (I need to learn the basic first) I wish that I started it earlier.

I had some 7.xM photos taken with a P&S and printed on a large print that looks bad (I am not talking about the composition here) but when I print a poster size photo with the XTi, that LOOKS way better. I know this is 10Mp vs 7mp here. But the quality different in large print is just so much better with the DSLR.

I am very confident that the 6mp photo taken with the Nikon D40 will look better than the photo taken with the 10mp P&S in large print.
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You all have given me a lot to think about. I think if my funds weren't limited at the moment, I'd go for it. But with the economy like it is, I'm going to wait a while, save some money, and make sure I don't get laid off before buying a DSLR.

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