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Digital SLR vs Compact

spartacus 18 31
20 Apr 2003 3:56PM
I'm a film SLR user on both 35mm and 645 formats and have been happily snapping away for the past few years.

I like using SLRs because of the freedom to change aperture, shutter speed, and not have to deal with paralax errors.

But with Digital cameras the LCD is "through the lens" and there are the controls for shutter speed and aperture on many models. So why are people paying over a grand for digital SLRs when I can see no difference in the creative control.

Also there is an issue with the lenses where the compacts have there built in lens over a wide range of focal lengths. And the SLR lenses suffer 1.6 magnification rendering a lot of your old lenses useless.
mad-dogs 19 2.2k England
20 Apr 2003 4:50PM
The compacts have the same size chip as the SLR's in most cases. Software and interpolation is better with SLR's. An 18 mm lens is equivalent to 27 whereas a compact is about 35.
The range on a compact is generally from about 35 to 210. An SLR will accept fisheye to long toms ( extreme telephoto ).

The creative control of SLR's is much greater as it has dedicated software available for processing the RAW files on powerful computers rather than internal interpolation.
GoodbyeAll 18 348 1
22 Apr 2003 10:11AM
Beg to differ but my Canon G2 has RAW and it's not an SLR. Compact digital cameras are wonderful bits of kit compared to their film cousins BECAUSE you can view through the lcd screen, just like an SLR, no parallax error.
26 Apr 2003 8:35PM
Perhaps people are paying that much for D-SLR's due to the fact that they use interchangleable lens for a start. Additionally having very recently started using a digital compact (because I think DSLR's are way too expensive) I don't really like composing with the LCD, especially since you can't see it very easily when the sun is to your back. I'd much rather look through an optical viewfinder to compose and see properly what's going on through the lens. If DSLR's dropped in price I'd swap in a flash.
Hawker 18 8
30 Apr 2003 12:31AM
I think it is a matter of personal choice, I have an SLR, a compact digital and have just purchased a digital SLR. For me, I like using the viewfinder rather than the screen, it is how I have always composed my shots, it is however, very useful to review the shot afterwards. If you are shooting a protrait for example, and the sitter manages to blink, then you can see this immediately, wipe it and start again, with film, you know not what you have captured until the film is developed. I also am delighted to be able to use my lenses, yes, you have loss at the wide angle end, but for close up and wildlife stuff, you get that added extra! I am sure that digital technology will progress further and things will get better, but bfore too long, they will then outclass most peoples home PC equipment and printers - and though they will come downn in price, will we all be having to buy new PCs and printers to keep up with the technology? I am happy that what I have now will be adequate for my needs for the foreseeable future, and has certainly rekindled my love of photography!
Pav 18 41 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2003 12:00PM
I have been using Fuji S1 Pro digital SLR for a year and a half now. I have used compacts too but to be honest you cannot compare quality of small digital cameras and SLRs side by side. Even 5 Megapixel cameras do not deliver enough detail in comparison with my S1 which is 6 Megapixels interpolated. If you shoot a lot of birthdays and family pics I cannot see anything wrong with compacts but when you do up to 500 images a week and need very high qulity images and prints digital SLR and its lens changing facility and feel of traditional camera is irreplaceable.
Pav 18 41 United Kingdom
4 Aug 2003 2:16PM
''And the SLR lenses suffer 1.6 magnification rendering a lot of your old lenses useless.''

I have been using 25 year old wide angle lens on my S1 pro with no problems, there was no autofocus and I had to set aparture on the lens but pictures of the interiours I have taken didn't show any odd artifacts. All vertical and horizontals were as they should be.....
Carabosse 18 41.6k 270 England
4 Aug 2003 2:55PM
One of the downsides to digital SLRs - apart from their huge current prices - is the annoying 'dust on sensor' problem which has been referred to several times on the forum. It is something which comes as part of the package unfortunately. Obviously it is not something that has ever affected traditional film SLRs. And it does not affect digital compacts.

The LCD viewer is fine for most shots and gives a good indication of the effect of changing exposure etc - something a viewfinder - even on an SLR - cannot normally do.

A good quality compact digital camera will be fine for all but specialist phtography, e.g. that involving extreme telephoto or wide angle or special lenses (like tilt/shift).

I may get a digital SLR when the prices come down to roughly the price of the equivalent film camera but even if I do, I guess I will be mainly using the LCD screen rather than the viewfinder.
BOB S 19 2.6k
4 Aug 2003 8:23PM
Carabosse, If you buy a DSLR to use the LCD screen rather than the viewfinder you will be sadly dissapointed my friend - the image is not available to the LCD until AFTER the shot is taken - the viewfinder is there so you can see what you are taking - just like a film SLR.
I have a Nikon D100 DSLR - yes it was expensive but worth it for the image quality and of course I can use my lenses from my Film Nikon SLR.
I have had no issues with dust on the sensor, I just give it a puff with a blower with the brush removed now and again - bingo no dust !
To answer an earlier point the DSLR is a natural progression from a compact - there are good film compacts but nobody questions the virtues of a film SLR.

Carabosse 18 41.6k 270 England
4 Aug 2003 8:49PM
Good point Bob. Pretty obvious when one thinks about it. lol!! So the LCD screen on an SLR is of less use than on a compact. Pity!! It is useful to be able to see the effect of exposure settings.

To be honest I think these distinctions are getting blurred now with high quality compacts - which are effectively SLRs because of the LCD screen.

One could contend there is no such thing as a non-SLR digital camera!!

Discuss!! :O)
BOB S 19 2.6k
4 Aug 2003 9:10PM
Carabosse, I also have a compact digital and to be honest the quality is really good, its a Fuji at 3.2 Mp and takes good SNAPS. However it is totally useless for fast moving subjects or quick reflex shots where you need to capture the moment, the delay (a common compact digital camera issue) from pressing the shutter to actually capturing the image is in real photography terms a veritable lifetime. This is where the DSLR really comes into its own, to all intents and purposes it is instant, press the shutter and there is the image, just what you saw through the viewfinder ! that along with the lens changing capability is the reason DSLR's will take over amateur photography the way they have with the Pro's.
To my mind the LCD screen is only a means to check what you have actually taken, how accurately they visualise the effects of settings before the image is taken is debatable, certainly my little Fuji, when in aperture priority gives a good LCD image whatever the settings chosen for the picture exposure.
And if you think the LCD screen on a compact (or the little LCD viewfinder) can ever replace the viewfinder of an SLR, digital or not, hey just go back to your SLR and peep through the viewfinder !!

Carabosse 18 41.6k 270 England
4 Aug 2003 9:26PM
Sorry Bob I sold my SLR once I got my digital compact - I knew I'd never use it again!! I used SLRs for more years than a donkey, so I think I know what it's like to look through the viewfinder of one!

I have already said, earlier in this thread, that digital compacts are fine for most - but not all - photography. There is no intrinsic reason why a compact cannot be as quick-reacting as an SLR is there?

After all, for fast photojournalistic-type work many photographers would prefer something like a Leica M or Konica Hexar to a bulky SLR or even something more modest. It was interesting a few years ago seeing, on TV, some paparazzi descending upon a celebrity outside a function. Every one of them was using an autofocus compact (non-digital at the time). A bulky SLR just doesn't cut it sometimes!

For the non-pro, the cost of a digital SLR (many times the price of a decent zoom compact) has to be weighed against the occasional shot you might miss because it is not an SLR. But there are, conversely, shots you might miss because your camera is an SLR!

And as I say, there is less distinction between a digital SLR and compact than there is between 35mm SLR and compact because on the digital compact you do have the facility to see exactly what the lens is seeing - right down to the exposure setting if need be!

"You pays your money and you takes your choice". However, in the case of a digital SLR it is an awful lot of money - for a non-pro anyway - to justify.
BOB S 19 2.6k
4 Aug 2003 10:54PM
"Leica M or Konica Hexar" Yes, I agree, fine cameras, compacts ? well debatable !
I dont think that there is a digital compact that bears comparison to either of them, especially in a photojournalistic way and certainly not in terms of lens quality and speed of use.
You say "There is no intrinsic reason why a compact cannot be as quick-reacting as an SLR is there?" well no not if you are talking film cameras, but digital, yes there is, they just dont work like a film compact does. When did you last see say a motor racing or cricket pro snapper using a digital compact for capturing action - It just don't happen !
Read almost any good review of digital compacts and the same old thorny issue of shutter delay comes up.

Carabosse 18 41.6k 270 England
4 Aug 2003 11:18PM
Bob, I think you are practically making my point for me here! And the Leica M and Konica Hexar are - arguably - less SLR-like than a digital compact!!

Not too many of us on the forum are professional sports photographers! So the momentary delay may not matter too much? I think most of the delay is autofocusing anyway and writing to the memory card.

Ever tried using a manual focus SLR? For grab shots I'll bet a digital compact is better! And before you start talking about situations where you can pre-focus the better compacts let you do that too!! Smile
BOB S 19 2.6k
5 Aug 2003 6:03PM
Having been for many years a luddite where technology is concerned my ONLY camera was a Nikon FM, fully manual everything SLR. This camera is still today much faster for grab shots than my Fuji digital compact !! and here I talk from experience.
Many of the members of the forum are sports photographers, maybe not professionally I'll grant you, but look through the galleries and see how many action shots there are.
None of the delay in taking the picture is taken up with writing to the memory card, maybe some is the autofocus but this is my point with a DSLR there is NO delay in real terms its true wysiwyg.
Why do you suppose that the film SLR camera has become the standard photographers tool for the last 30 years - I'll tell you why because it is better to use than a compact and gives better results.
The main reason why the camera manufacturers are throwing so many features at the compact digital camera market is not to capture "photographers" but to capture the snappers who must have the latest thing ! Its called MARKETING !


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