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Thread: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

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    DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    I have been using a Canon A95 for several years but it is old and out-dated. I was looking at the Canon XS30IS or Nikon P100. No real reason that I picked these other than I am comfortable with these brands and if I start reading too much, my head starts to spin. Now I'm thinking of DSLR, Canon T1i in particular since it fits more into my budget. You can spend several small fortunes on equipment and I just need to draw the line some where. I was wondering how to compare the zoom on a point and shoot to a DSLR, eg. 35x for the sx30is and a EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS. I have no idea what any of that means. Haven't gotten all the terminology down yet. Also, is the DSLR a good entry level camera that will be usefull for some time to come. Thanks.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Briefly put, point-and-shoot is for snapshots, not serious photography. The Canon Tii is very good and a great value too. You should think carefully of what lens you choose. The 55-250 is a good lens, but it is not wide enough for example to take indoor pictures of the dog or kids. But it is long enough to shoot birds if not too far away. So my advice would be to think about the kind of pictures you would take, and then choose the lens or lenses.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    I'm going to dare to differ with Barry. I think the SX301 is heir to my first camera, the S2, a very high-end "point and shoot." I didn't take snapshots with that camera -- I shot on manual, learned all the functions, and was ready to move up to a DSLR when I had spent enough time with it. I had a show of my work and sold quite a few of my prints, and 90% of them were taken with that point-and-shoot. I took a class in which all the other students had DSLRs, and when we got to the point of showing and critiquing our work, the teacher called everyone over to look at my pics, saying "See what you can accomplish with a point-and-shoot?"

    If I sound a little cranky, well, I guess I am. There's a lot of snobbery in the field of photography, and much of it has to do with equipment. (I was completely snubbed once by someone with a tripod and big lens at a lighthouse, when I said "Hi," point-and-shoot in hand . . . a lighthouse that I had taken literally thousands of pictures of, sold some, been published in a calendar, etc. etc.) I think that a good P&S can be an excellent vehicle for a first-timer to learn on, because it's easy to get very frustrated with all the balls you have to keep in the air with a DSLR. You can find out whether you're really interested, really serious, before you step up to the money pit that yawns open the minute you buy that Rebel XT.

    Will you be limited with a SX301? Sure, but it will take a while to figure out what the limitations are. Would you take "better" pictures with a DSLR? Sure, in time. You'll also be limited with a Rebel, eventually, and want to move up that ladder too. I suggest you check out the camera finder on flickr -- the SX301 isn't on there yet, but the S5 is (which I think it's replaced), and you can see the pictures taken with that camera and see if you can live with them. Look at the pictures from the Rebel, too, and see what you think of those.

    I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever you wind up with. There's so much to learn and so much fun in the process.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    I'm going to dare to differ with Barry. I think the SX301 is heir to my first camera, the S2, a very high-end "point and shoot." I didn't take snapshots with that camera -- I shot on manual, learned all the functions, and was ready to move up to a DSLR when I had spent enough time with it. I had a show of my work and sold quite a few of my prints, and 90% of them were taken with that point-and-shoot. I took a class in which all the other students had DSLRs, and when we got to the point of showing and critiquing our work, the teacher called everyone over to look at my pics, saying "See what you can accomplish with a point-and-shoot?"

    If I sound a little cranky, well, I guess I am. There's a lot of snobbery in the field of photography, and much of it has to do with equipment. (I was completely snubbed once by someone with a tripod and big lens at a lighthouse, when I said "Hi," point-and-shoot in hand . . . a lighthouse that I had taken literally thousands of pictures of, sold some, been published in a calendar, etc. etc.) I think that a good P&S can be an excellent vehicle for a first-timer to learn on, because it's easy to get very frustrated with all the balls you have to keep in the air with a DSLR. You can find out whether you're really interested, really serious, before you step up to the money pit that yawns open the minute you buy that Rebel XT.

    Will you be limited with a SX301? Sure, but it will take a while to figure out what the limitations are. Would you take "better" pictures with a DSLR? Sure, in time. You'll also be limited with a Rebel, eventually, and want to move up that ladder too. I suggest you check out the camera finder on flickr -- the SX301 isn't on there yet, but the S5 is (which I think it's replaced), and you can see the pictures taken with that camera and see if you can live with them. Look at the pictures from the Rebel, too, and see what you think of those.

    I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever you wind up with. There's so much to learn and so much fun in the process.
    The one other function missing from your S2 is aperture control. Although there are ways to utilize the limited aperture controls of a point and shoot you won't get the full impact that a DSLR will give you. I would suggest she look into a bridge camera which will get her both the ease of a point and shoot and the necessary functions that will help her prepare herself for upgrading equipment. There are other additional aspects to look for in a point and shoot/bridge camera that would be beneficial to an amateur photographer, such as the ability to store images in RAW format and acceptable levels of ISO and image stabilization, that will help them in the long run. And don't forget the use of a tripod which would be beneficial even with the S2 with its 15sec shutter speed.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Denyse

    I honestly wouldn't get caught up in the point you made about comparing zoom ranges. Hopefully you've got a good pair of feet that you can use as your zoom mechanism (it's called walking backwards and forwards!).

    I think the thing you have to consider is whether you are at the point of wanting to start on the pathway to building a system. Because that what buying a DSLR is really about. You'd be buying a box onto which you can stick lots and lots of things as finances (and dreams) allow. If you started your system with the Rebel then that, in time, could be built-upon by higher level bodies.

    But Elise's post is oh so right. And that echo's Pops' post here, which as I've said in that thread is just a gem of a statement. It should be printed across the viewfinder of every camera that's manufactured.

    So, the DSLR is going to open up more opportunities for development of your equipment down the road. It can be fitted it with accessories that can help you capture scenes that might not be possible with the point and shoot. But is it going to make you a better artist? - NO!

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Thanks for all your answers. The camera also comes with an EF-S 18-55f3.5-5.6 lens so I think that workd for the closer shots. Alot of my pictures are of sporting events where feet just don't work as a zoom. For instance, a regatta where the boats are on the other side of the river. Hence my question about comparing 35x to 55-250mm.
    I have wanted to get a DSLR and learn more than the very basics of photography for a long time. Maybe it's time to take a deep breath and jump in. Any thoughts on similar cameras to the Canon T1i?

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Denyse

    That extra information helps. If you're getting the 18-55 as well that certainly makes a difference. BUT - is it the 18-55 IS? Check this out. I do not have either lens. However apart from the huge benefit that Image Stablisation (IS) brings (it means you can shoot at much lower shutter speeds and stil get a blur-free image), I understand that the quality from the IS version is much better than from the non-IS version.

    As for make of camera - the thing to do is go into a camera store, ask to hold the Rebel and then ask them to show you the Nikon equivalent and possibly others; e.g. Sony. Handle them. Take your time. Play about with the buttons and dials. See what feels most comfortable to you.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    The lenses do have image stabilization. probably need a tripod anyway. I still would like to know how the zoom compares to the 35x optical zoom of the sx30is since that is what I am more familiar with. I found an ad saying it is 4.3 -150.5 so I'm guessing 55-250 is more telephoto? See, I said I have no idea I love the idea of the DSLR but I'm afraid I will just keep it on auto and therefore spend more than I need to. I'm so confused.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Denyse

    I don't know the answer to your question about the comparative zoom range. Hopefully, one of the mroe technically capable folks on here will come in with the answer.

    As for the 'Will I just just keep it on auto?'. Not if you stick around as a member on here. We won't let you. And we'll offer all the help and support you want to start turning the dial onto one the more creative modes.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    I agree that your later comments add to the consideration -- if you've really been thinking about moving up to a DSLR for a long time, well then, go for it. It sounded to me as if you were just getting into photography, which is a different kind of thing.

    As to John's comment, I think the camera you're looking at is considered a bridge camera. And I'm not sure what he means about not having aperture control, because my old S2 (which is not made any more) certainly had that, as does the camera you're considering.

    Is there a way you can compare them in a store, as far as the zoom is concerned? Get someone to let you take them outside and look at something in the distance, the way you would if you were at a sporting event?

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    Ultimate use...

    Yes, many of us are snobs when it comes to equipment...

    Yes, some of us recommend equipment that may be beyond the needs of certain people...

    And, YES, a "GOOD" P&S camera can fit the needs of many of those people...

    IMO, if all you want from your images is to email pictures of the kids and your dog to the grandparents.
    AND if all the printing you ever do is at your local discount store.
    AND if you don't really want to spend time post processing your images.
    A "GOOD" P&S will probably suit you quite well...

    OR if you are like my daughter who shot an entire two week trip to Europe with a $12.95 (USD) digital camera that she purchased at a supermarket checkout stand and who was perfectly happy with the awful images she brought home...

    AND if you are like my daughter who now will not even carry that camera now but shoots everything with her cell phone...

    You don't need a more sophisticated camera...

    On the other hand, my daughter would never be reading this forum so, I am guessing that most of us consider the extra cost and extra weight (I normally carry two cameras) of DSLR equipment well worth the expense and effort...

    However, for some folks; the "bridge" camera might be a good choice between the basic P&S and the full-fledged DSLR system.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 1st December 2010 at 04:17 PM.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Umm, what is a "bridge" camera?

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Denyse

    A 'bridge' is really what it says on the tin. It's a bridge between P & S and DSLR - a sort of halfway house. There are very good quality bridge cameras out there that are very capable tools. Lots of places to read about them, but this will give you a brief introduction.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Thanks all. I'm still stuck on my decision but I plan to visit a local camera store in the next few days. I think either camera will suit me now but the DSLR has more room to grow. I've checked out a few peoples posts and I wish to be able to take pictures like those. I don't think any thing I've ever taken can compare! If any one would like to add there two cents, I'm all ears

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Denyse View Post
    I've checked out a few peoples posts and I wish to be able to take pictures like those. I don't think any thing I've ever taken can compare!
    But just keep remembering that, whilst the equipment they had may have contributed something to that, it was the knowledge, skill and experience of those behind the camera that made the image. And you can do that too! It's all about learning.

    Going to the store and checking things out is by far the best starting point so far as what you buy is concerned. Keep us informed of what you do..

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Denyse View Post
    The lenses do have image stabilization. probably need a tripod anyway. I still would like to know how the zoom compares to the 35x optical zoom of the sx30is since that is what I am more familiar with. I found an ad saying it is 4.3 -150.5 so I'm guessing 55-250 is more telephoto? See, I said I have no idea I love the idea of the DSLR but I'm afraid I will just keep it on auto and therefore spend more than I need to. I'm so confused.
    You won't keep it on AUTO for long. There comes a time when AUTO just won't do it for you and when that time comes you will know it and want to do something about it.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Ok so I went to look at the cameras and, you will all probably groan, but I am leaning toward the canon sx30is simply because of the zoom. As I mentioned previously, I take alot of shots far away. After doing more research, it seems the 55-250mm lens is equivelent to approximately 14x. A longer zoom lens is simply not in the budget an 14x won't cut it. So if I get the point and shoot now, experiment with it more on the manual settings and save up for the DSLR, I'll have the best of both worlds. I'm going to look once more before I decide. Any thoughts, advice, criticism, etc. would be appreciated!

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Denyse View Post
    Ok so I went to look at the cameras and, you will all probably groan,
    No way. In fact what's to celebrate is the fact that you've made (or are very close to making) an informed decision. You've done the research. You've asked the questions. You've been to see the products. And then you've decided. So, instead of a groan what you get from me is congratulations. You know what you're getting and why. I don't think everyone does it that way.

    And if in the future you want to build up to a system based on a DSLR body, then fine. You're still going to have a good sx30is to carry around with you.

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Denyse View Post
    Ok so I went to look at the cameras and, you will all probably groan, but I am leaning toward the canon sx30is simply because of the zoom. As I mentioned previously, I take alot of shots far away. After doing more research, it seems the 55-250mm lens is equivelent to approximately 14x. A longer zoom lens is simply not in the budget an 14x won't cut it. So if I get the point and shoot now, experiment with it more on the manual settings and save up for the DSLR, I'll have the best of both worlds. I'm going to look once more before I decide. Any thoughts, advice, criticism, etc. would be appreciated!
    Hi Denyse,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me.

    Okaaaay, I just had a look at the specs for the SX30 IS and heck, even I almost want one

    I would say the SX30IS is a Bridge camera.

    Let's talk Zoom ranges:
    The SX30 is (equiv. to) 24 - 840mm, here's how they work it out; 840/24 = the 35x quoted, so 250/55 = 4.5x puny by comparison. (it isn't 14x)

    Thus for boats on 'the far side of a river', you are going to be a lot better off with the SX30, BUT, it is not without limitations.

    I started 'serious' digital with a camera similar to this (2007-2009), so I speak from experience - the 'big' ones that may/will limit you are;
    No RAW file (only jpg for stills) - you might not appreciate it yet, but this will drastically limit your ability to post produce good quality images.
    Small sensor meaning limited ability to get a narrow depth of focus when needed (to isolate subject from background)
    The electronic delay of the sensor to the 'peer through' viewfinder - this will make timing of critical action shots very difficult compared to a true optical viewfinder of a DSLR.

    One other thing, if the photography bug does bite, and you decide to move up to a DSLR, unless you're (very) rich, you won't be able to afford to replace the 840mm end of that zoom range

    For what you want, I would recommend a camera that sacrifices a bit of that zoom range (anything over 15x or 20x is ample) make sure it starts at 28mm or less, but get one that does shoot "RAW" as well as "jpg".

    If you want to shoot action, you really should consider a DSLR now, but get one with either a single 18-200mm lens (11x), or possibly better still, a 70-300mm in addition to the kit lens. Due to crop factor, the 300mm becomes 450mm (on a Nikon, a bit less on a Canon), so that's half way to the 840mm of the SX30.

    Hope that helps,

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    Re: DSLR or ultrazoom point and shoot?

    Denyse, Hi.

    I'm one of those strange people who went from DSLR's to 'Bridge' cameras. I own several, but the latest is the Fujifilm HS-10. If set up correctly, it can deliver very good images. It's focal range is 24 mm to 720 mm, has a manual zoom ring and can shoot both Jpeg and Raw.

    Have a look at my blog and do a search for HS10 (top right of page), or just do a scroll through the posts. There are many images there, and also tips on how to set it.

    http://eyemindsoul.blogspot.com

    Cheers.

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