DSLR vs point and shoot digital

krikitOctober 15, 2010

I've had an Olympus Camedia C-740 w/3.2 megapixel camera for about 7 years and it seems to have given out on me. Just sort of locked up like the batteries were dead - replaced batteries and it worked a couple times then the same thing so I'm thinking it's done for. Anyway .... I've started looking at cameras and trying to decide what would best suit my needs. Looked at entry level DSLR's - Canon EOS Rebel XS 10.2 mp & Nikon D3000 10.? mp. If I go with a DSLR I'm thinking it will be between these two. The salesman also showed me a Nikon Coolpix (maybe 7000) can't remember for sure but I think it had 15 mpix.

It seems that if I go with the DSLR I'm going to be spending about $350 more than the point and shoot. I've always loved taking photos but and having recently retired am hoping to travel around a bit and take some nice photos that could be enlarged at least to 8 x 10 size. My other concern is shutter lag which although the old olympus took great pics, the shutter lag was incredibly annoying.

So, I guess my question is .... can a point and shoot priced in the $300 - $350 range overcome the shutter lag and give images worthy of enlarging to 8 x 10. If so, what would be your reccomendation?

Thanks in adavance for your opinions/experience/advice.


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I think that if you want to get more into photography, especially travel photography, you want to get to a place where you can take flashless photos. It's especially critical when traveling and taking photos indoors where a flash may not be allowed, or may not be appropriate.

It's quite easy to take photos without anyone ever knowing if you don't have to use a flash. Use a flash and you're telling everyone. Restaurants, churches, taking candids while traveling, etc.

To go flashless, you'll be looking for a camera with a high-ISO capability, in the 3200 to 6400 range, and also one where you can use fast glass, or a fast lens. While 4.5 lenses with a 3200 or 6400 ISO can get you flashless, a faster F2.8 lens will give you very nice results.

I do a lot of flashless theater photography with a D90 body and a couple of F2.8 lenses.

As to printing 8 by 10s, yes, both point and shoots and dSLRs have more than enough MPs to get you into that range.

If you go for the Nikon d3000, consider pairing it with the 18-200 lens. It's a very versatile camera-lens combination to start off with. Later on you can get a 50mm prime 1.4 or 1.8 lens. Very fast glass, and you'll get excellent indoor photos in relatively dark rooms with no flash.

Just a few ideas...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 6:48PM
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You wont be disappointed with a canon rebel, these have a inbuilt
flash and come very handy at times...and have high ISO settings
for when you don't want to use flash. I was reading the D3000 doesn't have a auto focus motor, so some lenses will have no auto focus? Also camera doesn't have Live View...this can get handy on the Rebel.. no lag time.
Hm...looks like you can tell I'm a Canon lover....


    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 9:54PM
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thanks for all the info - definitely lots to think about - looking at some of the additional lenses and WOW they sure can get pricey! - I guess what I've got to decide is whether the pics I want to take will be worth that much. I can see I've got a lot to learn!!!

thanks again,

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 10:20PM
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I've got a Canon Power Shot S2 IS. Its a great point an shoot camera, but with a few gripes.

The good stuff:

1. Fast boot up. Ready to go 1 second after turn on.

2. Quick auto-focus. If the auto-focus is turned off for general viewing and composing, it will focus when the shutter button is pressed to the first detent and immediately fire the shutter when the button is pressed all the way down. You press to the first detent, wait for focus, then shoot. Focusing in good light takes nore more than a second or so. Focus lag can be eliminated if the auto-focus is set to full time, but uses more battery power. Usually, by the time you compose the picture it is waiting for you.

3. Auto-focus continues while shooting a video.

4. Great lens

12 X Zoom, 6.0 - 72.0 mm; f/2.7 - f/3.5. There aren't many lenses out there (in this price range) that will have an arperature of f/3.5 at 12 X zoom.

5. The S2 model has 5.0 MP. This has been plenty for what I do. Later models have more.

6. Battery life is average with the Hybrid NiMH rechargeable cells. Regular NiMH cells are disappointing. These do not hold charge very well. The Hybrid NiMH cells leak rate is acceptable and superior to the regular NiMH cells.

7. The view finder brightens in low light to aid composition. The amount of brightening is amazing. When the shutter button is pressed to the first detent, a small green led light beam turns on to aid focusing and turns off for the shot.

8. Raising the flash lamp activates it. It needs a few seconds to charge.

9. Lens distortion is low.

  1. Swing-out and swivel rear screen.

The agravating:

1. The sensor does not seem to have as much dynmaic range as a Nikon or Kodak.

2. Default settings causes burn out of highlighted items. This can be remedied by switiching to the "P" (program) mode and adjusting exposure down by 1/3 F stop.

3. Although the lens has 12X zoom, I would sacrifice a litte zoom on the long end to get wider at the low end. The low end is not wide enough for close-in group shots.

4. The worst failing for the S2 model. Viewfinder is too dim in bright light and the rear screen is hard to see (and increases battery drain).

5. There is no optical view finder; it is electronic. It is a little short of pixels to make good judgements about fine focus and there is a lag as one adjustes the focus. However, since the viewfinder is using signal from the main sensor, it accurately frames the scene.

These comments apply to the S2 model. Improvements have been made in later models. It will be difficult to beat the performace of this camera in this price range.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 12:08AM
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