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Old Wednesday 8th December 2010, 19:42   #1
Nature__lover
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SLRs and normal digital cameras

what are the advantages of owning DSLRs rather than normal digital cameras?
will they improve picture quality (decrease a grainy and pixely look?)

am thinking of buying a Samsung GX-1S.
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Old Wednesday 8th December 2010, 21:08   #2
neil brown
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i started off with a normal point and shoot digital camera but then my wife bought me a fugi finepix bridge camera (halfway between what i had and dslr) it was fantastic and a huge improvement but it just left me wanting more and about a year later i bought my first dslr and havent looked back. Having a dslr will vastly improve your pictures and its very satisfying learning to use one properly (something i havent done as yet)
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Old Wednesday 8th December 2010, 22:00   #3
wrogers
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the advantage of a DSLR is the sensor inside is bigger... which improves image quality
in general you get less grainy/noisy pictures that are sharper

but you need a good lens to go with it...
Canon are well known for their mid range lenses, at about 800 to 1200, so they are worth a look if you are thinking of upgrading later...

another advantage is they have wider apertures
(the F number is a smaller number eg F/2.8)
the smaller aperture lets in more light, and helps to blur the background, making you subject stand out

they also have better autofocus, to help get sharper shots.
but for me the biggest advantages are:

they are bigger and bulkier, which means you are less likely to drop them
they are faster to take picture (no delay between pressing shutter and taking picture)
better Image quality
they are modular (upgrade lens, yet keep the body)

if you decide to take the leap, consider a major brand ie Nikon, Canon or Sony
get the kit with standard lens, as they are always useful
get a longer lens ie 70-300 or 100-400 etc.
for wildlife a 200-400mm range is best (when using an APS-C camera which is basically any under 1500)

I hope this helps...

Will

P.S.

I will point out that lenses made by the same company that makes the body tend to work better eg Canon with Canon
however a Sigma lens is better value for money
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 10:00   #4
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thanks ever so much for your replies.
The model I'm considering is the Samsung GX-1S. It is selling cheap on Ebay (already checked- there is no damage to the camera) but it has been previously been used a little (which I don't mind).

I'm not looking for the best DSLR around... just one that is good to start off with.
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 12:15   #5
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Advantages of SLRs:
- less noise in images, where all else is equal
- faster autofocus
- more controls, especially focus ring
- clearer viewfinder, finding the bird is much easier, again where all else is equal
- faster frame rate

Disadvantages:
- cost
- size
- weight
- all the above over again when you go to buy a lens
- smaller depth of field

Many might regard the last one as a big advantage so you can have blurry backgrounds. I'm just thankful to get focused shots, so it's a disadvantage to me. Depends on your style of photography - I want good shots for id, so there isn't always time to fiddle around.

I had a Canon S3, with a 1.7x teleconverter, giving equivalent focal length over 700mm. It wasn't too bad, but I found I needed manual focus a lot, and the viewfinder wasn't clear enough for that, and the operation of manual focusing was clumsy.

Cost being a major factor, I tried a Panasonic FZ30, found it to be garbage in comparison, despite the focus ring, then settled on an Olympus E-520, and a second hand manual focus Sigma 400mm/f5.6 lens. Olympus have in-body stabilisation, so any lens will do in that regard, and the sensor to lens distance is smaller than most, so adapters are available for just about anything. If you're ok with manual focus (and aperture!), you have a wide choice of old lenses in unpopular and therefore cheap mounts.

I also fitted an AF confirmation chip to the lens, and a 1.36x viewfinder magnifier to the camera. Those, plus a lot of practice, allow me to get focused shots on stationary or slow moving birds. Total cost was about $600, similar to upgrading the S3 to the next model, and that wasn't so great focusing on moving birds anyway, so overall I'm much better off.

People generally quote noise as the main advantage of SLRs. It is better, but it's often forgotten that smaller cameras often have quite fast lenses in comparison to any SLR lens they can afford. My S3 was giving me an effective 732mm at f3.5. Still not as good as my 400mm f5.6 (800mm equivalent on an Olympus), but the extra speed lets you drop the ISO a little, so the noise advantage isn't as great as it would otherwise be.

My take on SLRs is that they kill smaller cameras in marginal conditions (low light, manual focusing through vegetation), if the lens is up to it, but otherwise I wouldn't have bothered with one. It depends on what you want out of your photographs, and what you're prepared to pay for and lug around. For certain levels of perfection, you have no choice. If you're prepared to trade sharpness and versatility for cost and portability, compact cameras can do a good job.

I'd like to have a try of the new Canon SX30IS. 840mm at f5.8 sounds quite useful. I found with the S3 that putting the teleconverter on made a world of difference. Noise isn't as noticeable when you don't have to crop so hard, and no speed is lost with end of lens teleconverters. I don't know if you can put one on the SX30IS, but a 1.4x could really give it a lot of reach.

Regarding the Samsung, at least it takes Pentax lenses, but have you checked what's available for it? And don't forget it has no in body stabilisation, so if you get a lens without IS you're at a big disadvantage when hand holdng, which for most people is a lot, if not all, the time. Think carefully before cutting yourself off from the Canon and Nikon range of lenses. I regard my choice of Olympus as an immediate means to an end. Not many affordable long lenses are available for them that are suitable for bird photography, that might change, or it might not.

Only 6MP on that Samsung model, too. And I regard the fact that there's still no review of it on dpreview after 4 years as a bad sign.
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 12:35   #6
pshute
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrogers View Post
another advantage is they have wider apertures
(the F number is a smaller number eg F/2.8)
the smaller aperture lets in more light, and helps to blur the background, making you subject stand out
Oops, just read this prior posting contradicting mine. I wasn't specifically aiming my comments at this one, but I do disagree. My take on background blurring is that it's a good thing, but not if it means I'm likely to blur the subject by accident too. I seem to manage to avoid that most of the time with my Olympus, so maybe not such a concern.

I disagree about the wider apertures, in a practical sense. Yes, you can get bigger ones than are available on compact cameras, but I'll never be able to afford one.
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 13:52   #7
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Thank you for you reply.

So do you think a
Canon EOS40D would be a better choice?
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 13:53   #8
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it is 10.1 megapixels - so far better than the 6 megapixels on the samsung.
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 14:00   #9
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also found someone selling a Sony Alpha DSLR-A100K 10.2 Megapixel. They are including two lenses (18-70mm and 75-300mm) and providing I won the bid... it'd only cost aroun 20.00.

Of course, I don't think I'd ever be that lucky!
*fingers crossed*
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 19:50   #10
pshute
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Originally Posted by Nature__lover View Post
Thank you for you reply.

So do you think a
Canon EOS40D would be a better choice?
I'm not a brand snob, the Samsung is likely to work ok, but you're also likely to have to prove that for yourself by trying it. Note that there's no Samsung forum here. Look at the Olympus forum - it's active, and you can get answers, but the number of postings indicates small number of users. I'd imagine Samsung is far less popoular, so you'd be stuck working out every problem for yourself.

I might be wrong, they might be lurking in the Pentax forum. But I suspect it would be a dead end for you. That's not to say you still shouldn't get it if it's dirt cheap. I wouldn't spend any more on it and lenses than you're prepared to throw away, because there's a good chance you'll eventually move to Canon or Nikon. I'm all in favour of trying cheap solutions first.

Personally, I think you need at least a 600mm equivalent lens for bird photography, so at least 400 real mm for most cameras. Sure you can get good photos with shorter lenses if you stalk to get closer, but it's very limiting. For any camera you look at, work out your options for lenses first.

How much do they want for the Samsung, and are there any lenses for it? As I said, it does take (some?) Pentax lenses, so you do have some options with it, but get some prices first, they go for higher prices on eBay than some, because there are DSLRs that they fit.
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Old Thursday 9th December 2010, 20:55   #11
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The canon 40D would be better than the Samsung...
however the lenses are where photo's are made or lost...

the lens will either have auto-focus or manual (most allow both)
it will be the lens that means the picture is sharp or not (in most cases)
the lens provides most of the colour and contrast, the camera just boosts it

a canon 40D body only with the 70-300 IS or 55-250 IS would get you going
alternatively the Sigma 120-400 OS (the 40D has good autofocus and handles low light ok)

or the Samsung with a sigma 120-400 OS would be ok, probably cheaper, but not quite as good...

it depends on how serious you want to make your photography...
with a hide, you can take good pictures with a DSLR + 250/300mm lens (you may have to crop some pictures) as a 300mm lens becomes a 480mm, which may not be long enough all the time

Personally if I were to start again on a budget, I would get a Nikon DSLR, with the new 55-300 VR.... the lens is 269 brand new, and a D3000 body costs 279 brand new... I would then buy a wildlife hide (or make my own)

If you want to see a good set-up for brids, try this website

a hide, a branch for a perch, some bird food and a big bush for a background

Last edited by wrogers : Thursday 9th December 2010 at 21:07.
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Old Friday 10th December 2010, 12:00   #12
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Again, thank you everyone for your replies.

After considering what you've said, I'm deciding against the samsung. Somebody is selling an unused CANON EOS REBELT2i /550D on ebay and it looks fantastic. Also Canon obviously is a very well-known camera make.

since I'll be getting a new camera i'll definitely set up somewhere where I can make the shots. I have a birdfeeder station but I much prefer If I capture the birds when they are not actually on the feeder (I like to take them when they are just perching around it)

so i'll check out the website you posted
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Old Friday 10th December 2010, 15:09   #13
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Just to chime in - I tend to agree as well that you might want to stickwith considering the 4 or 5 major brands at this point - not that there is anything 'wrong' with the Samsung. But picking from amongst Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Olympus will tend to give you more support, more users willing to help you in learning your way around, more lens availability, and the most likely upgrade paths. Any of these brands will likely do you just fine...all can be masterfully controlled by a great photographer, and all can be paired with a good assortment of fine lenses.

With Canon, they have the largest lens availability overall, Nikon not too far off, though do be aware that their entry-level bodies only work with Nikon lenses that have inbuilt focus motors, Sony has compatibility with their own lenses as well as a large backlog of all Minolta AF lenses, and Pentax has backwards compatibility with their older film lenses.

You can't really go wrong with any of them.
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