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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Image quality: P&S vs. SLR-like vs. SLR. In need of help!

    I'm confused, and unfortunately I'm going to have to risk looking a bit thick if I'm going to get any sort of answer!

    I've got a compact camera I'm very happy with indeed - the Fuji F30. As far as compacts go, this is one of the best as far as I'm concerned, especially at high ISO's.

    Having had a look at some of the frankly stunning images over at dpchallenge (though am aware of the large amount of PS editing involved in many), I'm really looking to step up my game and take the best possible quality photos. The photos there are pretty much all taken with dSLR's or at least SLR-style cameras. The practical advantages of an SLR are obvious even to a newbie like myself - interchangeable lenses, huge range of manual control, low noise at high ISO etc. etc. The mystifying thing for me is what makes a straightforward photo taken with an SLR better than an identical one taken with a good quality point-and-shoot? Somehow the image looks as though it has more depth and an inescapably better quality, provided it's well taken of course. But I don't know why!

    It it all down to sensor size? In which case would picking up something like a Sony DSC-F717 be a good halfway option between my F30 and an SLR (which as a student I'm not even close to being able to afford, even something like a D40) The Sony has a lower megapixel count and larger sensor but I notice that the lowest ISO images have more noise than my F30 ones. Or is it all down to PS editing? You see where I'm getting confused.

    Basically I'd like somebody to try and shed some light on the differences in standard photo quality between a good point-and-shoot, and SLR-style camera and a digital SLR. Would be much appreciated Thank you!


    edit: am aware how old the Sony is by the way, but I could pick one up fairly cheaply on ebay!

  2. #2
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    In the short form, dSLRS need more work from you to get the best out of them

    between sensor size and PS, really its more than that. dSLRs require more of you, what they offer is control, and the ability to change things like settings and lenses to get the best out of the situation, according to the composition in your minds eye.

    Sensor size and lens choices directly relates to depth of field (DoF) , the ability to blur the background behind a subject .. or not, but usually when you select a lens (moderate telephoto is best). Conversely wide angle lenses increase DoF so that more if not all of the image is in focus.

    http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

    PS generally improves images from the state the image was recorded. Often because the photographer has attempted more adveturous things some corrections are required and perhaps some indulgences are applied like sharpening etc. Its just another step in versatality.

    I wouldn't let the camera i have dissuade me from attempting better photography, there are journalists and art photographers who use compacts no better than yours to great effect. have a look at the Fuji section for a good demonstration of the art of the possible with F20/F30. They do some pretty nice things with F30 as you will see, and are pretty helpful to boot.

    http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24706
    Riley

    Pentax 110 auto SLR

  3. #3
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    Jun 2005
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    ....and have a quick squizzie at the current Panasonic FZ-50 photo thread as well.

    There are some pretty sharp images of a "lizard" with blurred background that would be pretty hard to improve on (though not impossible), with a DSLR.
    Canon 5D MKlll & Canon 50D
    Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro | Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 | Canon 430EX Flash | Lowepro Mini Trekker AW | Lowepro Toploader 65 AW | Lowepro Slingshot 200AW | Kata 3n1-10

    Panasonic Lumix FZ200
    Panasonic Lumix TZ7 (aka ZS3)
    Panasonic Lumix FT3 (aka TS3)

    Ali Baba.....the Thief of Bad Gags

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Thanks for the replies guys, some really useful stuff about DoF there. I've got a few photos myself in the Fuji thread. Gaza, I had a look at the Panny forum, liked the gekko shots but found the spider close-ups incredibly unpleasant!! But still, that's a very impressive macro mode.

    Do you think that in terms of image quality there's anything for me to gain in basic image quality by getting an SLR-style camera like the FZ50/Fuji S9100, or does it simply give me better manual control over the camera? To what extent does the size of the lens matter?

    Thanks again for your help, I've learnt a lot from the people here at dcr, and of course from the reviews themselves which I find to be the clearest and most informative on the net.
    Last edited by js797; 05-10-2007 at 11:44 AM.

  5. #5
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    generally there are improvements in every direction with a dSLR
    it never had to be that way, its just how it worked out

    with the F30 for instance, its good iso processing is let down by the lens
    its ok in most situations, but when you push for quality it just isnt there

    an interchangeable lens F30 would knock our socks off
    but Fuji know it would kill sales of its higher end cameras

    so yes control is what it comes down to
    as in manual control, choice of lens, and even lens quality
    Riley

    Pentax 110 auto SLR

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Crapville, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by js797 View Post
    Somehow the image looks as though it has more depth and an inescapably better quality, provided it's well taken of course. But I don't know why!
    One acronym: DoF.
    Christian Wright; Dip Phot
    EOS 5D Mark III | EOS 600D | EOS-1V HS
    L: 14/2.8 II | 24/1.4 II | 35/1.4 | 50/1.2 | 85/1.2 II | 135/2 | 180/3.5 Macro | 200/2.8 II | 400/2.8 IS | 16-35/2.8 II | 24-105/4 IS | 70-200/2.8 IS II | 100-400/4.5-5.6 IS
    580EX II | EF 12 II | EF 25 II

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by js797 View Post
    Do you think that in terms of image quality there's anything for me to gain in basic image quality by getting an SLR-style camera like the FZ50/Fuji S9100, or does it simply give me better manual control over the camera? To what extent does the size of the lens matter?
    A decision that many of us have had to ponder. "SLR-style" v "DSLR".

    As you can see from my signature, I have both the "SLR-style" Panasonic FZ-20, and a DSLR Canon 400D.

    I probably could have made better use of the FZ-20's manual functions before purchasing the DSLR, but never really took the time to learn.

    "SLR-style" Point & Shoot

    The in-built 430mm zoom lens makes it very versatile in terms of focal length and by it's very physical nature, allows you to take photos with incredibly large depths of field. To replicate this with a DSLR would require the use of very slow shutter speeds (because of the small apertures). Of course this can be overcome with the use of a tripod for the DSLR.

    The FZ-20 (and FZ-50 that you are considering), have Image Stabilisation built in which also gives you the ability for hand held shots that would be otherwise unachievable without IS.

    You can pre-view the photo scene via the LCD screen (something you cannot do with a DSLR)

    Pretty much "fixed cost" as there are very very few lenses that can be added (eg Tele-Converter)

    So as you can see, there are distinct advantages of using the "SLR-style" cameras you are referring to.


    DSLR

    If you are going to leave your camera in "Auto" mode, I would suggest you don't buy a DSLR.

    By learning the features of the DSLR camera, you can have greater control of depth of field (blurring background, or leaving background in focus). While this can be done on the FZ-50, it is not as definitive as with a DSLR.

    P&S cameras (like the FZ-xx), always have a slight shutter lag when you press the shutter button so are not as well suited to sports photography (or any form of motion), as a DSLR.

    Some DSLR Camera bodies have in-built Image Stabilisation which serves the same purpose as that found in the P&S FZ-xx series. Other makes/brands require IS to be built-in to the lens (read $$$).

    DSLR cameras are not a finite cost. Various lens brands and types give varying results....and often cost more than the camera body.



    If you decide to buy a DSLR, there are two schools of thought :
    • Pick a Brand and body type....then invest in some lenses
    • Pick the lenses you would most use.....then invest in a body


    either way, you are locked into a system (eg Canon, Nikon, Pentax etc).

    .....and to save some time for my fellow posters in this forum

    Canon is crap
    Nikon is crap
    Pentax is crap
    Sony is crap

    Have I forgot any ???????

    psssstt....Canon's not really crap
    Last edited by Honest Gaza; 05-11-2007 at 05:11 AM.
    Canon 5D MKlll & Canon 50D
    Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro | Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 | Canon 430EX Flash | Lowepro Mini Trekker AW | Lowepro Toploader 65 AW | Lowepro Slingshot 200AW | Kata 3n1-10

    Panasonic Lumix FZ200
    Panasonic Lumix TZ7 (aka ZS3)
    Panasonic Lumix FT3 (aka TS3)

    Ali Baba.....the Thief of Bad Gags

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    6,590
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Gaza View Post
    If you decide to buy a DSLR, there are two schools of thought :
    • Pick a Brand and body type....then invest in some lenses
    • Pick the lenses you would most use.....then invest in a body


    either way, you are locked into a system (eg Canon, Nikon, Pentax etc).

    .....and to save some time for my fellow posters in this forum

    Canon is crap
    Nikon is crap
    Pentax is crap
    Sony is crap

    Have I forgot any ???????

    psssstt....Canon's not really crap
    And then there is the "sensor output and lenses are more important than other features" school of thought.

    You forgot:

    Sigma is crap
    Olympus is crap
    Fuji is crap
    Panasonic is crap

    Now... have I forgotten any?

    Psssst.... Most are not really crap... it is just that some are better at certain things than others.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  9. #9
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
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    1,680
    Oh Crap
    Canon 5D MKlll & Canon 50D
    Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro | Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 | Canon 430EX Flash | Lowepro Mini Trekker AW | Lowepro Toploader 65 AW | Lowepro Slingshot 200AW | Kata 3n1-10

    Panasonic Lumix FZ200
    Panasonic Lumix TZ7 (aka ZS3)
    Panasonic Lumix FT3 (aka TS3)

    Ali Baba.....the Thief of Bad Gags

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    40

    I could've sworn I replied to this...

    My reply to Gaza's second post seems to have gone astray. I'm sure it was my fault...

    But thanks for the reply Gaza, it is extremely helpful stuff. If there's one thing I don't understand it's this:

    by it's very physical nature, allows you to take photos with incredibly large depths of field. To replicate this with a DSLR would require the use of very slow shutter speeds (because of the small apertures).
    I think you're saying that a photo with a larger aperture on the FZ20 would be equivalent to a smaller aperture setting on a digital SLR. Why is this? Is it due to the size of the lens?

    Rather than shelling out on a SLR-style camera that wouldn't offer many benefits above my F30, I was wondering about picking up an older dSLR on ebay, the 10D for example, that wouldn't set me back as much. Lens choice is important obviously and they're not cheap but I am really interested in expanding my options and exploring the sort of controls and options that an SLR can offer.

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