View Full Version : DSLR or advanced P&S

06-05-2007, 10:22 PM
Here is my situation. I have shot Minolta film for many years. I got into digital with a Minolta A1. Some times it works ok, but I HATE the shutter lag, bad grain at > 200 ISO, it always seems like it is focusing at the wrong place, so I have to reset it and I miss the shot, etc. I thought I was ready for a DSLR. Now I am wondering if I should just go with one of the best point and shoot cameras. I still have my Maxxum lenses so I was looking at the Alpha. I have heard mixed reviews about low light, how well the non digital only lenses work etc. Then I looked at the XTi, and I just don't like the feel of it. It seems very plasticy and I don't like the 18-55 kit lens. Then I looked at the D80 with the 18-135. I like it best but I have now heard from two camera shops that they do a lot more repairs on Nikons that Canon's (especially the D40, D50 and D70. Then the cost of lenses, flash etc. I am getting into some serious bracket creep. I am really considering an advanced p&s, if I don't like it my wife will use it, and maybe I can make up my mind on a DSLR some day.


* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.
$1200 for the D80 for now, obviously something less for a p&s.

* What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?
Not an issue. The biggest p&s will be far smaller than what I am used to.


How many megapixels will suffice for you?
The more the better.

* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify)
I like the sound of the Olympus SP550 18X. Don't know about performance though.

* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)

Do you care for manual controls?

General Usage
A lot of pics of my 3 yr old. Some action sports. Some Macro.
* What will you generally use the camera for?
Chasing a very active 3 yr old around.

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
8X10's mainly. A few 11X14 and an occasional 20x30

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
yes. Good high ISO performance is important

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
Not a lot, but I don't want to limited when I want to do it.

Looking for minimal shutter lag, fast accurate focusing, and low grain.

Are there particular brands you like or hate?
Looking at Canon, Olympus and Nikon. If I don't find a good solution, then I am just going to get the D80 and start over.

Are there particular models you already have in mind?
Oly SP550 UZ, but would like a few more MP. Any recomendations would be greatly appreciated.

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

Not necessary, but would hope most would be on a very advanced p&s

Many thanks for any suggestions. I am past the point of having fun shopping, and just want to have fun taking pics.

Bryan Elrichs

Phill D
06-05-2007, 11:13 PM
Have a look at Jeff's review of the Oly SP550 UZ he has covered pretty much everything & also provides a link to all the competing cams at the end.

06-06-2007, 03:03 AM
A DSLR will give you a lot faster response, and better ISO performance, than any ultrazoom P&S, as well as the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, external flash, and other accessories. However, it will cost more, especially by the time you have a good collection of lenses.

I don't think there are serious reliability problems with Nikon DSLRs - I know several people with them, and nobody's said anything about reliabilty issues. It's important that you get a camera that feels comfortable in your hands though.

If you don't want to go for a DSLR just yet, and good ISO performance is important, you might want to look at the Fuji ultrazooms. They generally have better ISO performance than any other makes, especially the S6000/S6500. They don't have image stabilisation, but the high ISO can enable use of faster shutter speeds, which will help deal with motion blur of a moving subject (such as an active 3-year old!) as well as camera shake. If you pre-focus (half press the shutter button) the shutter lag isn't too bad either.

06-06-2007, 12:03 PM
Well, for the moment the close out pricing on the Olympus E-500 2 lens kits is a great deal. The high ISO performance is probably it's only big weakness compared to the similar priced competition. However, at ~$600 for the kit right now which gives you a 28-300mm equivalent range I don't believe there is competition at that price point. Be aware that high ISO quality and prints up to 20x30 pretty much say DSLR. Even the Olympus E series with the small by DSLR standards sensor is clearly a better high ISO performer than almost any P&S. That said, I just upgraded to the E-510 on Monday and the high ISO up to 800 is very good. Of course, that runs the price up to $1000 for the 2 lens kit.

As for reliability, I doubt that any of the current DSLR's have serious repair issues if you treat them decently. Things like don't drop it or put it down in the sand/mud at the beach, etc. I have had zero issues with any of the Olympus digital cameras (D220L, D450Z, C2020Z, C5050Z, E500) I have owned over the past 10 years or so. Our two Panasonic P&S's have been humming along for 2-3 years as has our Nikon 4300. The only camera that I have had fail was my Minolta DimageX after 4 years.

Phill D
06-06-2007, 12:50 PM
kgosden I'd be interested in your experiences with the Oly 510 when you've got to grips with it. That twin lens kit price you quoted is pretty attractive, shame it will probably be almost twice that price here in the UK.:(

06-06-2007, 05:03 PM
I think I was in similar shoes for a while and almost went with the e-500 with double kit lens cause it was on sale to make way for the newer 510. However, I really didn't want to carry two lenses with me to get a 28-300 range so I bought the Fuji S6500FD (s6000fd in the US) for far less than the e-500 kit.

FYI, my first digicam is a Fuji DX-10 with only .8megapixels and it's still going strong till today after about 8 years (1999). Only the battery cover's broken cause the plastic became brittle.

Why not pop over to the Fuji s6000fd picture thread and check out the pictures yourself?

My only concern is that it's made in China and my brother's Oly e300 which is also made in china has all of its body lettering start to come off! Functionally it's still sound but it looks funny with missing letters. I think if you want something closest to an slr or slr like cam, the Fuji 6000/6500fd should be high on your list but do remember that it doesn't have IS and I have found myself wishing it did on a few occasions at full zoom.

06-06-2007, 05:21 PM
.. ..........

My only concern is that it's made in China and my brother's Oly e300 which is also made in china has all of its body lettering start to come off! ....

My brother Nikon D70s was made in Thailand.

06-07-2007, 04:53 PM
Thanks for the info.

The reviews helped a lot. It convinced me that I am not going to be happy with a P&S, and am going to get a D80. Now I just have to decide on the 18-70, and another lens vs 18-135 vs 18-200 Tamron.

Thanks again for pushing me back over to the SLR's.