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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default Cameras....help!!!!

    After our last trip, I told my husband that our 6 megapixel camera should be replaced somehow. It's a Nikon CoolPix, which is our 2nd CoolPix. The first one was a goner when the battery compartment door would only stay shut if you taped it. The second one is starting to have the same issue, and it runs through batteries pretty quickly (even brand new and charged up!).

    We are debating between another brand point-and-shoot, and upgrading to a digital SLR. What holds us back from upgrading right now is the price: It's one thing to upgrade a $100 point-and-shoot when the megapixel range jumps. It's quite another to buy an $800 SLR with 12 megapixels and then watch cameras with better features come out.

    Can the digital SLR's have their megapixel capability upgraded? Other than a much better lens, what are other good reasons to shell out $800 for a digital SLR? (Bear in mind that we have two Canon SLR film cameras put away right now.)


    Donna

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Slr

    I've been shooting exclusively with SLRs for over 40 years now, starting with an old East German Exakta and moving on through Konicas and Nikons. My current camera is a Nikon D60 with which I've taken all the pictures that I have posted with my RoadTrip reports. To be perfectly honest, I can't imagine ever being happy again with a point-and-shoot, and when I take photos for/of others at tourist locations with such cameras it's hard for me to imagine that they get great pix. After a certain point, certainly over 8 Mpix, the number of pixels ceases to matter and the quality of the lens completely dominates the quality of the picture. And those small aperture point-and-shoots simply don't have it where it counts. And the beauty of an SLR is that you can physically change the lens to get additional capabilities that simply can't be built into the typical "all things to all men" point-and-shoot lens. Then there's the framing issue. The beauty of an SLR is that you see exactly what the picture will be, because you are literally looking through the same lens that will capture the picture as you are setting it up. With a point-and-shoot that may or may not be the case, and in any event looking at some display on the back of the camera is not the same as looking at the subject through the camera. And another thing is the delay and/or recycle rate. I've seen point-and-shoots where the picture may not actually get taken until several seconds after you press the shutter - simply unacceptable - or it takes 5 or more seconds before you can take a second picture - again, unacceptable.

    I can't name or judge specific models, I just don't know enough about them all, but my wife swears by this guy's recommendations.

    Oh - and advantages of a digital SLR? The memory cards hold up to 800 images (depending on certain settings), you can change out a card in about 3 seconds, all metering is automatic, there are usually several choices of settings, and all automatic functions can be overridden.


    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    I have to agree with the above post by AZBuck! We also have a Nikon D60, and it is the best camera we have ever owned. My husband bought it a couple of years ago (it came with 2 lenses and a camera bag) for about $800. You are correct, new models have come out since, but that doesn't make it obsolete. If you take good care of your DSLR, it should serve you well for many years. I keep a point and shoot (even has more mega pixels than the D60) with me for quick shots, but the images never compare in quality. The lenses of the DSLRs really make all the difference. Also, you can get some really great shots, using a shallow depth-of-field, for those nice blurry backgrounds that make your subject stand out!

    I also agree that the website referenced in AZBuck's post above has a wealth of information about DSLRs, lighting, lenses, etc.

    A DSLR is definately an investment, but I don't think that you will ever be sorry that you purchased one!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A bit of both worlds.

    Donna,

    I don't know much about cameras, and probably even less about photography. But I know a good photo when I see one. So here's my tuppence worth!

    Most of the things Buck states about the (cheap) point and shoots are of course, spot on. And I cannot comment on SLR. For one thing, I am not able to focus through a view finder, so point and shoot have been a God-send to me. In between the Box Brownie, and the point and shoot, photography was denied me, as all cameras needed the ability to focus through a view finder.

    However, not all point and shoots are $100. You get what you pay for. Last Christmas, when my point and shoot died, I set out to buy a new one. I had been very happy with the pictures from my $500 Casio Exilim. (I have heard it recommended as the best point and shoot on talk radio shows in the US.) It served me well for more than half a decade. It never took seconds to take a photo, and always showed me exactly what ended up being the picture. (I know exactly what Buck is talking about, I have seen them too.)

    I now have another Casio Exilim, which does not take seconds to take the picture, which takes exactly what I see. It actually has an SLR function built in... though I do not know how it works. I just point and shoot! Depending on the settings and the card, I am told it will hold over 1000 photos. A couple of hundred is all I ever take in one day, before I download, so it is neither here nor there for me.

    And yes, it was not cheap either. The first one I saw was $600. I managed to get it for $399. (I, of course, have no idea how much they are in the US.) The large variety of settings still has me bamboozled, but I'm learning. It has a setting for everything and every occasion. Check out the Casio H20G, and see what you think of it. It may be just what you are looking for.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'm very partial to Canon. A DSLR cannot be upgraded, other than getting different lenses. I'm using a cheap Kodak point and shoot right now, along with the camera in my phone. However, I still have a Canon A-1 35mm SLR film camera.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Bridging the gap.

    Somewhere between what you have and the DSLR's are the aptly named 'Bridge camera'. They give you point and shoot capabilities that will generally give better results than a compact and shots that you can set up yourself in a variety of modes, all the way to total manual control. They won't give you quite the same results of a DSLR, but good enough for all but the keenest/Semi Pro/ Pro photographers.

    The advantages are Price compared to DSLR. The ability to point and shoot when 'on the run,' or take complete manual control of the shot [with Lot's of options in between.] No extra lenses required. [Some have up to 30x zoom capability] Usually lighter to carry around. [Definitely if carrying extra lenses.] Good quality video capability.

    Disadvantages. Not quite the same results as a DSLR. Bigger to carry around then a compact.

    Some of the 'well thought of' cameras in this range are the Canon Powershot, Panasonic Lumix and Fujifilm Finepix. Here in the UK 'Canon' is highly rated, but generally the costliest option. The Canon Powershot is almost 'Compact' size, but I have no experience with it. The 'Lumix' is smaller and lighter than the 'Finepix' and probably just edges the 'Point and shoot' mode results for definition. The 'Finepix' has many functions and it takes a while to get used to using all the options, but when you do the results can be very rewarding. I actually enjoy taking a shot in Auto mode and then playing with the settings to compare results.

    I have had a Fuji Finepix for a few years now and have generally been happy with it, in fact I bought it to upgrade for our Grand canyon trip in 2007. Being quite a keen photographer the only niggle is, it ain't a DSLR ! I am considering what to do next myself as I plan to get a new camera, having dropped mine, breaking the catch that holds the battery compartment closed. [Held closed by the top of the Tripod fitting bolted to the bottom of the camera at the moment lol] As much as I would like a DSLR, at this moment I can't warrant the expense and will most likely opt for something like the new Fujifilm Finepix HS10/HS20. Some of the new features include the ability to take a panoramic shot that is processed in the camera !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default That's like mine.

    Everything Dave describes, is what my camera is.... just that, since he knows what he is talking about, is able to put it so much more eloquently. I keep having to refer to the manual.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Yikes !

    just that, since he knows what he is talking about, is able to put it so much more eloquently.
    I can't ever remember being 'accused' of that before !! lol

    I think your camera is a high end 'Compact' camera, whereas a 'Bridge camera' is much more like a DSLR to handle. I'm not going to attempt to explain, so a Copy and paste later .......................

    Bridge are higher-end digital cameras that physically and ergonomically resemble DSLRs and share with them some advanced features, but share with compacts the use of a fixed lens and a small sensor. Like compacts, most use live preview to frame the image. Their autofocus uses the same contrast-detect mechanism, but many bridge cameras have a manual focus mode, in some cases using a separate focus ring, for greater control. They originally "bridged" the gap between affordable point-and-shoot cameras and the then unaffordable earlier digital SLRs.

    Due to the combination of big physical size but a small sensor, many of these cameras have very highly specified lenses with large zoom range and fast aperture, partially compensating for the inability to change lenses. On some, the lens qualifies as superzoom. To compensate for the lesser sensitivity of their small sensors, these cameras almost always include an image stabilization system to enable longer handheld exposures.

    These cameras are sometimes marketed as and confused with digital SLR cameras since the appearance is similar. Bridge cameras lack the reflex viewing system of DSLRs, are usually fitted with fixed (non-interchangeable) lenses (although some have a lens thread to attach accessory wide-angle or telephoto converters), and can usually take movies with sound. The scene is composed by viewing either the liquid crystal display or the electronic viewfinder (EVF). Most have a longer shutter lag than a true dSLR, but they are capable of good image quality (with sufficient light) while being more compact and lighter than DSLRs. High-end models of this type have comparable resolutions to low and mid-range DSLRs. Many of these cameras can store images in a Raw image format, or processed and JPEG compressed, or both. The majority have a built-in flash similar to those found in DSLRs.

    In bright sun, the quality difference between a good compact camera and a digital SLR is minimal but bridgecams are more portable, cost less and have a similar zoom ability to dSLR. Thus a Bridge camera may better suit outdoor daytime activities, except when seeking professional-quality photos.[5]

    In low light conditions and/or at ISO equivalents above 800, most bridge cameras (or megazooms) lack in image quality when compared to even entry level DSLRs. However, they do have one major advantage: their much larger depth of field due to the small sensor as compared to a DSLR, allowing larger apertures with shorter exposure times.
    A main advantage I enjoy with mine is ability to use the manual zoom and focus rings.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A Point and Shoot worth considering

    My everyday camera is an aging Nikon Coolpix 8700, but Megan uses a Canon G12 (point and shoot) that is nothing short of incredible. We use it as the primary camera on the road -- especially good for low-light and road shots. ~ $500 and 10 Mp.

    Mark

  10. Default

    I've been using a Canon 500D for the past few years, and I'm pretty well pleased with it. Like what the others mentioned here, DSLRs allows you to play around with things like depth of field to make your pictures really great. By playing around with the settings, you can even take pictures without having to use the flash. It can really help you take those really cool shots especially at night with those streaky lights. You can also opt to set it to multiple shots so if you're taking a pictures of something moving, like an elk, all you need to do is to hold down the shutter button and the camera will continue taking pictures until you let it go.

    At the same time, I also use a Canon G12, which is a point and shoot camera that has functions similar to a DSLR. Of course, it doesn't replace it, but it's a good in-between for everyday use, especially if you don't like the idea of bringing a bulky DSLR.

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