Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Digi compact v DSLR

bruce295 12 28 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2007 9:41AM
Would really appreciate any advice on whether to buy a compact or DSLR. I have a Lumix FZ20 prosumer which is OK but heavy and cumbersome and can't decide whether a compact, the Canon Powershot G9 which has a good reviews, would be a better buy or go for a DSLR, EOS 350D, Olympus E400, Nikon D40 or Pentax K100D are all in my price range, 300 ish.
The reason I ask is that with the G9 I would be able to carry around with me at all times and obviously take a lot more pics instead of taking all the equipment out once a week on a specific photo trip. I usually take landscape, urban shots and would like to take more macro shots which again the G9 seems to produce decent shots.
The question I ask really is will I soon regret not starting a DSLR system or get frustrated with a compact.

Any advice would be gratefully received before I go completely barmy trying to decide.

Many thanks


Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2007 10:09AM
Geoff you have picked a very difficult topic. Technically speaking I think an SLR is the best solution, but it is big heavy and can be expensive. Now if that puts you off it spoils the purpose of upgrading. In poor light conditions the SLR will be a lot better, and if you want to get to the extremes of performance such as very wide or long focal lengths the dSLR is the best.

But portability and weight is an issue for you and if you think the Panasonic is heavy, an SLR is heavier.

Re compacts how about the richo is it GX100? That has a very wide angle lens that could be handy for landscapes.

I myself am sold on the dSLR route, but I can see me picking up a compact in time to have the best of all worlds.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
12 Oct 2007 11:17AM
John makes some very good points Geoff. Having taken a look at your PF, a key consideration were this me asking the question would be 'What do I want from my photography in terms of output?' If it's a case of just contributing here on EPZ (with excellent images such as this ) then - perhaps - a compact is the way forward.

However, if you want to start being commercial with your output then a dSLR has to come into the mix - certainly from a final output quality perspective and the flexibility that a dSLR system brings with it.

As John quite rightly identifies -

Quote:you have picked a very difficult topic

miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2007 12:05PM
Some very valid comments, and the "holy grail" of question and answer. I shall assume that you want better quality shots, and the ability to grow with your photography and use the camera more creatively. For that reason, I suggest you "bite the bullet" and go for an entry level dSLR. Your list seems fine. It will be slightly more cumbersome than your prosumer but not that muct different.

I originally bought a Canon Powershot S2, prosumer, and recently upgraded to a Nikon D200. The D200 is just in a different league, but I cannot carry it with me always; just nor portable, or the sort of thing you can hide in your exec. briefcase. Howver evert time I the S2 now, I hate the quality, and I am not that far away from not taking it with me.

Hope it helps.

ahollowa 14 1.1k England
12 Oct 2007 12:41PM
With a 300 budget you are at' the bottom of the DSLR pile. If this is all the money you want to spend for the forseable future I would go compact. For this' price the DSLR will not have a great lens (certainly no better than the compact). It will be heavier. With these in mind I would say without a bigger outlay on extra equipment the DSLR will not produce much better pictures. If you do decide to spend more money in the future (as with all electronics) you will get a lot more for the same amount of money.


chensuriashi Plus
11 277 17 England
12 Oct 2007 12:56PM
Hi all I am in the same boat at the moment and have looked at the canon G9 and saw on a review that CS2 does not recognise the RAW feature, that drew me to the camera, in my price bracket too, so what do we do there to get round that problem... but I can afford the K10D, and if I wait... perhaps go for the D80 from Nikon.
But space in my pocket is also important, so I say save for two...
The Panasonic FX100 could be a possible for you, and it can be bought for 219 from ukdigital.co.uk... the cheapest D80 I have found was 530 in Currys with an 18 to 55 lens on it, it was their very last one at that price and it is still there too... I was so tempted there, but cannot make up my mind either, but there are not that many to choose from, and we all want 10 million or more pixels...
I hope that the thread here grows as want to get a new camera very soon, they say the Pentax 100DS is the better of the two and people are already moaning about the dust reduction on both of the Pentax cameras, do they work, I do not know, but if you are careful when changing lens, then you wont have a problem...I think... thanks for the thread.

SteveCharles 15 2.3k 18 England
12 Oct 2007 1:02PM
If you want to change because your current camera is cumbersome, that is not an issue a DSLR will resolve.

The main advantage of an slr system is the ability to add lenses appropriate to different types of photography, but for general outings it's more stuff to carry. Do you go out specifically to do photography, or do you take pictures when you are out doing something else? If it's the latter, and you don't want the bulk to carry, then a decent pocketable compact is probably the way to go. As Al says, 300 can either buy you the smallest, cheapest dslr you can find, or a very nice compact.

Most people assume that to develop a more serious interest in photography they have to buy an slr, but for many situations they can actually be more of a hindrance.

riprap007 13 1.6k 37 England
12 Oct 2007 2:35PM
the image quality produced from say a D40 to a D200 is really fairly marginal, the biggest differnece is the lens quality to producing images. Having gone through a series of SLR like compacts before taking the DSLR plunge well I've become poorer, enjoy the DSLR challenges more, but, judging only by the evidence of HC's and RC's on here, my images have not improved, in fact quite the reverse! So, whichever route is taken I would judge by the lens quality first, handling second.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2007 2:51PM
I think you need to look at your style. For example

I have a friend who bought a Sony R1, he loves people photographs, urban views and abstracts. In his view he wants a camera that is all in one piece, he loves the LCD as he can use it as a waist level viewfinder, a bit less obvious he is taking a picture. Changing lenses not for him, nor the struggle with a tripod.

Image quality wise it is great. OK the lens range is limited and he confesses a bit of time is required in photoshop, but I have seen A3 images that are very good. It cannot do everything, but he does not want to. For him sports/wildlife, getting up before 8am are not things he cares for, so he is happy.

But my thoughts return to your existing camera. For what you are doing, will the Canon help? I would write down you loves and hates of your existing camera.

Where does it frustrate you or let you down? Also look at photo's you have taken and enjoy. Where has your existing camera performed well and think why?

Then write down to each of those items what you expect the new canon to do. It may help you make up your own mind.
elowes 13 2.8k United Kingdom
12 Oct 2007 3:57PM
For DSLR - Quality, speed of use, flexibility
For compact - Limited lens range, limited dynamic range, limited quality, slow to respond, no use for landscapes oops sorry got that wrong should have said against compacts.

Lets do it right - For compacts as opposed to DSLR - cheaper, no lenses to change, good for snaps, easier to carry about.

Joking aside, ha ha, it really is down to what you want to do with it. If you really want to get into things like landscapes then a DSLR. If you are just interested in holiday snaps then a compact. In between there is a huge range of things a good compact will do and a few things it will not be good for.

A DSLR has two limitation and that is there is more of it to carry about and it will cost you more and more as you go along.
Hanners Plus
12 875 10 Ireland
12 Oct 2007 4:16PM
Funny really as just at the moment I'm abandoning the Canon 1 Ds II and starting to shoot with a point and shoot.

It's really a no brainer if you want image quality and flexibilty the DSLR wins every time, but I'm also enjoying the challenge that the Point & Shoot is giving me as it's slowing me down and making me think more about composition. There was another 'tog in the wood were I've been shooting and he had a 5D and looked at me a strangely seeing me with a compct on a tripod...

Anyway, I also have the Canon 350D and it's a good DSLR and I'd go with that...
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2007 5:01PM

Quote:..the Point & Shoot is giving me as it's slowing me down and making me think more about composition.

How interesting. Wouldn't have thought it would make a differnence, and intrigued as to why.

Hanners Plus
12 875 10 Ireland
12 Oct 2007 5:22PM

Quote:How interesting. Wouldn't have thought it would make a differnence, and intrigued as to why.

Well the widest angle is about 37mm and I'm used to 17mm full frame, you don't get nearly as much in the shot - hence you have to think about what you want in it a bit more, you cant use filters with it either. You don't have the same range in shutter-speeds or apertures or the control over these, it's a totaly different experience when your so used to the DSLR. Try it Smile
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2007 5:54PM

Quote:..it's a totaly different experience..

Thanks Tony. Its useful to apprecaite the logic. I have gone from prosumer to dslr, but now understand excatly what you mean.

Marx 11 5
12 Oct 2007 5:55PM
I have a coolpix 995 & a D40.
I find speed the real decider between the 2. Take a picture of a moving object with the 995 & then wait for what seems an age before being able to take the next shot. The D40, press the shutter release & it takes a string of shots. Then home & you can pick the best one.
OK, I can see that a really good photographer only needs one shot, but for us normal people multiple shots are very helpful!
By the way, I do realise that some "compacts" may be faster these days, but I have no experience of them, so do check before buying.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.