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Digital Camera Questions...Point and Shoot LONG ZOOM or DSLR??

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Nalapombu, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Nalapombu

    Nalapombu Millennium Member

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    Hey all,

    My little niece is a camera nut. She's got a new camera in her hands every other month it seems. I USED to be a camera nut, but that was back in the Nikon F3HP with Motor Drive days, what a machine that was. I might get me one again to play around with.

    Anyway, I have never had much dealing with the new Digital cameras other than just the basic point and shoot stuff. A friend let me fool around with his Nikon several years ago and it was one of the HIGH DOLLAR models and he had a few lenses to go with it. I admit that is was one sweet setup.

    Now the prices have came way down on the DSLR cameras and my 13 year old niece has one now, a Nikon D3100 with 18x55 lens.

    Well I have been curious about these other category of digital cameras, the point and shoot that have the REALLY LONG zoom lenses in them. I have fooled with them a bit and they seem pretty darn nice. I just looked at some of the specs and both the Nikon and Canon have models in this category that are priced at about $450 or so and have a zoom of 36X or even 40X. That's quite a bit of zoom in that small of a package.

    What I am curious about is how the quality of the image compares on these 40X zoom cameras to the lower end DSLR cameras like the Nikon D3100 with a 300mm zoom lens on it. I am just guessing that the 300mm zoom would be similar to the 40X zoom lenses that are on these long zoom point and shoot cameras.

    For those that are out there that have experience with these types of cameras and systems, how do the long zoom cameras compare with the DSLR cameras with a comparable zoom lens? I am guessing that the DSLR cameras have a lot of extra features that amateurs wouldn't need or use right off the bat but would grow into those features upon learning more about photography. If you had both set on equal zoom, say 210mm on the DSLR and the equivalent on the point and shoot, and the same mega-pixel setting, and say AUTO program setting, which one would produce the best image? I am talking about a beginner DSLR body. Would it be a noticeable difference when looking at it or would it be close in image quality?

    I am guessing that the lenses in the DSLR are made much better and with much better glass quality, if the point and shoot camera lenses are made with glass at all.

    I have no doubt that in the long run the DSLR would be the best choice for someone that was going to get into taking pics. The advantage that the point and shoot has is the portability and that you wouldn't have to haul a gear bag with you everywhere.

    Would you all mind talking about your opinions and thoughts on the DSLR and long zoom Point and Shoot cameras? I'd like to hear what you really experienced photogs think of them and whether you'd use one of the point and shoot cameras.

    One last question, I have seen several of the point and shoot cameras that are as expensive as some of the DSLR bodies are. These smaller point and shoot may have a zoom of 8X or so, not much zoom at all. Do these smaller point and shoot cameras produce images with as much quality as the basic DSLR cameras? If they do, is it because of the lenses being made much better?

    Any other info you want to share or comment on, feel free. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

    Thank you for your time and help. Sorry I went on and on for so long.

    Nalajr
     
  2. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    Can't help you with the really long zoom, but I have been extremely happy with the Panasonic Lumix 16X camera I use. My ZS10 takes excellent quality photographs. The long zoom makes framing shots very easy. The shooting modes are useful and I get great results in lots of different situations. The big claim to fame for the Lumix is that they use Leica lenses. I don't know if these lens are actually Leica quality (Panasonic owns Leica so if nothing else they are probably at least Leica designed), but I do know they take great pictures. I know several happy owners of Lumix cameras.

    I noticed there is a newer version of my camera (ZS20) with a 20X lens. The Lumix ZS20 is about half the price you mentioned for the Canon.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Sensitivity-Digital-Camera-Optical/dp/B00728ZBA2"]Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix ZS20 14.1 MP High Sensitivity MOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom (Black): Camera & Photo@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/315uyYoL3CL.@@AMEPARAM@@315uyYoL3CL[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012

  3. jbutenhoff

    jbutenhoff

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    For image quality there really is absolutely NO comparison between a DSLR and a long zoom point and shoot.

    The sensor in a DSLR is many many many times larger. That means that even if they are the same megapixles (meaningless measurement FYI for quality) that the individual pixels on the DSLR are much much bigger. This means much less noise, plus much better low light capability.

    Then you get to the lenses, the DSLR lens in 300MM will have a drastically lower F stop so it will work in much less light. This also means you will be able to get the beautiful blurred backgrounds when you combine a large sensor with the low F stop.

    That being said, the price for a good lens and basic DSLR will be 3-4 times more than a mega zoom point and shoot. It will also weigh 3-4 times as much and require a tripod most of the time unless you get a lens with stabilization at a higher price.

    On the zoom question, you divide the lens MM by the camera's focal length, so for a traditional 35MM a 300MM lens isnt even a 10X zoom. For the common DSLRs they use a sensor a bit smaller than 35MM film was, so you can multiply it by 1.6, so the lens would have around a 14X zoom.
     
  4. Halojumper

    Halojumper

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    Keep in mind that the zoom on the point and shoot cameras is often two parts, optical zoom and digital zoom. Digital zoom is essentially the same as what you would do by cropping a photo so it's a meaningless feature IMHO.
     
  5. Cubdriver

    Cubdriver

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    One thing to check on the P&Ss with the mega-zooms - how much of it is optical and how much is 'digital'. At the longer end I've seen many that are 'zooming' electronically - in other words, cropping in camera - something that you could do yourself later on the computer, and also something that reduces the resolution of the image because you wind up using even less of the already small sensor.

    -Pat
     
  6. Halojumper

    Halojumper

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    Good point! :)
     
  7. Cubdriver

    Cubdriver

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    :supergrin: I was typing as you were posting. Ya beat me to it! :tongueout:

    -Pat
     
  8. wjv

    wjv

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    I have a new Panasonic Lumix with a nice 10x optical zoom. They even make one with a 20x optical zoom! Takes very nice pictures. My wife has a Nikon D3100. . Guess which one we take on vacation (hint: not the Nikon). Guess which one we have with us more often (hint: not the Nikon).

    Nothing wrong with the Nikon. Nice camera but you will tend to leave it at home a lot. Kinda like the ".22 in your pocket beats the .44 magnum sitting in your dresser at home" concept.

    My Panasonic will also do HD movies, 3D photos (yes real 3D photos) and panoramic photos.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  9. Happypuppy

    Happypuppy

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    The Lumix series is really nice, the lens are from Lecia. I have it in the car or my motorcycle tank bag they are easy to carry. My tip would be just turn off the digital zoom only use optical. Digital is in reality just cropping.

    The debate goes on forever about point and shoot , camera phones and DSLR. Almost anything takes really good pics if you are close enough and have decent light.
    It is possible to take great pictures with a 5k setup...but you have to have it with you to do it. I have taken some excellent pics with my camera phone that are as good as my expensive DSLR that is often left behind.
    I found it really helps to go out with a really good photographer. They have local photo walks in most areas and they help a lot.


    Sent via Mental Power
     
  10. 686Owner

    686Owner NRA Life Member

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    Actually, cameras don't have a focal length. The 35mm was the film size, and most DSLRs don't have a 35mm sensor (the ones that do are called full frame and usually cost $3000 or more new).

    The zoom factor on the point & shoots simply divide it's longest focal length by the shortest focal length. So a lens that goes from 3mm to 9mm would be 3x, and so would one that went from 6mm to 18mm, but they would have a completely different field of view. The focal lengths on point & shoots do not compare to the focal lengths on DSLRs partly because of the sensor size, so you have to look at the 35mm equivalent of each to get a comparison (or the field of view, but they usually give you a 35mm equivalent still).

    On a DSLR, you might have an 800mm prime lens. Prime means ot doesn't zoom, so it would really be 1x by P&S standards, but it will beat the pants off of a 17-55mm lens for getting up close.

    I have both a DSLR and a super zoom (it is 12x, but it was the longest available at the time). If you need to get close, or take snapshots it's fine, but it does not compare to my DSLR.
     
  11. moeman

    moeman

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    Get the real scoop here:

    dpreview.com before you go ANY further learn about sensor sizes from that site--bottom line is a current large sensor beats a small sensor every time regardless of the brand.

    If she WILL take along a the 3100 and not leave it at home because it wont fit in her purse then get a lens like a Tamron 18-270 (in 35mm its really 28-405mm) and the combo will blow away ANY utlra-zoom all in one. This lens is a great all-in one using the current camera she has.

    If she won't bring a camera like this along then an all in one will serve well see the above site. Worst thing is a camera sitting in the closet.

    BTW: don't get too impressed by the maximum zoom number 300 v. 400mm isn't that great of a difference.

    Photographers many times prize the wide angle more once they learn... the difference between 24 v. 28mm is significant (the lower the better).
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  12. Viper16

    Viper16

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    The DSLR's typically use a much better image sensors that are much lighter that help with details and light control on the larger lenses. If you have the coin then DSLR with a professional lenses would be much better than a point and shoot or the hybrid cross between the DSLR and the P&S. Digital Zoom blows, I always limit my digital zoom as it is software based and looks like crap! Don't confuse true manual zoom to digital zoom that is software controlled. A decent mechanical zoom will stomp a digital zoom 9/10.
     
  13. 686Owner

    686Owner NRA Life Member

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    Many people keep bringing up optical vs digital zoom, which is good advice, but the fact is, there are cameras with 35x optical zoom, like the CanonSX 40 HS

    I assume these are the types of cameras you are looking at. As I said before, they are fine cameras, but a DSLR is capable of a whole lot more if you spend the time to learn to use it correctly.
     
  14. Hummer

    Hummer Big Member

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    Nala, you should look seriously at two cameras I think highly of, the Panasonic FZ150, and the Panasonic GH2. They are similar in function yet different in price and end results. Both are highly regarded and will probably give you more bang for the buck than an entry level DSLR from Canon and Nikon. The FZ150 is a point an shoot with a cmos sensor and 24x OIS zoom for ~$440. The simplicity, sophistication and handling of this camera are phenomenal.

    The GH2 is an exchangeable lens camera in the new, smaller micro four thirds mirrorless format (made by Olympus and Panasonic) which has a larger 18mp mos sensor and HD video capability that outperforms any DSLR on the market for video. Coupled with the Pana Lumix 100-300 OIS tele lens (equivalent to 200-600m in 35m format) it is unequaled in portability in rivals the best DSLR quality. Of course, buying good lenses for this and any DSLR dramatically increases costs over a point and shoot.

    Both models will be upgraded with new features and new model numbers soon but the changes will probably be minor and you'll pay more. If you want a superzoom camera that's easy to use but also has sophisticated capabilities, I think you'd be very impressed with the FZ150.

    Here's the FZ150
    [​IMG]

    And the similar GH2 compared to a Canon DSLR
    [​IMG]

    I have the GH2 with the Lumix 14-140, the Leica 45 macro, and the Lumix 100-300 lenses (double the numbers for 35mm equivalents, the 100-300 is like a 200-600 zoom). It's an awesome combination for about $3G.
     
  15. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

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    As said by others, above, there is really no substitute for the larger sensor of a DSLR. However, like most Americans, convenience weighs heavily in my day-to-day activities, and years ago I decided I'd sacrifice high-end picture quality for the convenience of having a long-zoom point-n-shoot. In late 2008, I picked up a Nikon Coolpix P80 (18X optical zoom), and I've been using it ever since; last weekend I upgraded to the newest Nikon superzoom model, the P510. I've only snapped about 100 shots so far, and I'm still getting used to the minor differences, but so far, I like it a lot. The main selling points for me: same batteries, menu system, and feel as the P80, but it adds HD video and the top end of the optical zoom is now 42x (I never use digital zoom). Here are a few test shots I snapped literally on the way home from the store, using the charged battery from my P80 (reduced to 72 DPI in Photoshop to make them smaller, but otherwise uncropped full-frame photos). Right-click to open in a new window/tab and see full-size:

    Young hawk on a pole:
    [​IMG]

    Same hawk, full optical zoom:
    [​IMG]




    A couple of nights later (middle of last week?), the moon, 42x zoom:
    [​IMG]


    All these shots were hand-held, elbows braced on objects or my knees.

    The spare batteries I ordered online arrived on Friday, so I plan on giving it a good workout this weekend. It's a bit larger/heavier than my old P80, but still a lot smaller and lighter than any DSLR and even two basic lenses. $399.99 at Walmart (if you can find one in-stock), about the same or a little more online, depending on shipping.

    More info:
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-coolpix-p510

    Nikon Coolpix P510 basic specs:

    - 42X zoom (24-1000mm)
    - 16.1MP CMOS sensor
    - 3in, tiltable (BUT NOT FLIPPABLE) 921k-dot LCD
    - 1920 x 1280 video mode
    - Built-in GPS with logging function (can be turned off)
    - Weight (with battery and SD card) 555 g (1.22 lb / 19.58 oz)
    - Dimensions 120 x 83 x 102 mm (4.72 x 3.27 x 4.02 inches)

    Also has Aperture and Shutter priority modes, Manual mode, Programmable mode, a User-defined mode, a programmable function button on the camera body to put any certain function/mode at your fingertips, and single-button HD video recording.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  16. AWGD8

    AWGD8 Sr. Glocker29SF

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    I used to be a camera nut too! First of all, do not invest in a larger DSLR . I have seen newbie who bought expensive camera gears and lost the desire to go further.
    The problem with big DSLR, is the pain to carry and protect it from bumps, drop or scratches.

    I bought and sold expensive camera gears from Canon Low end model to full frame bodies.
    My most expensive glass or lens cost $1800. After shooting for 3 years, I decided to sell all my gears and bought me a mirrorless camera. It is a Sony NEX5n. It has the same sensor size as the big crop DSLR body and yet small enough to carry everywhere I go.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonynex5n



    There are good low light Point and shoot camera with manual controls

    Such as:

    Canon s95 or s100 or the G12
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  17. Halojumper

    Halojumper

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    LOL, that happens sometimes. :)
     
  18. MtBaldy

    MtBaldy Obie Wan, RIP

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    I have a Canon S3 IS. It's a great camera and has served me well but it's 6 megapixels. I'm thinking of replacing it soon and thinking I'm going to replace it with this:

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Digital-Stabilized-2-7-Inch-Vari-Angle/dp/B005MTMFHU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344702947&sr=8-1&keywords=canon+PowerShot+SX40+HS"]Amazon.com: Canon SX40 HS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 35x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch Vari-Angle Wide LCD: Camera & Photo@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41GMx54oESL.@@AMEPARAM@@41GMx54oESL[/ame]

    I had film SLRs and big bags full of lenses. Not anymore, with a 35mm equivalent range of 24 to 840mm zoom this camera has all the lens I'm likely to need built in. Granted it's not very fast and probably not as sharp but that's a lot of lens to have available all the time. And the SX-40 HS has a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor with up to 3200 ASA film speed equivalent (for that slower lens). My main concern is my Sanyo NiMh rechargeables and charger will be useless. Still, I think it's going to be my Christmas present to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  19. Happypuppy

    Happypuppy

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  20. platform

    platform

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    There are several categories (and F3HP is a great camera that you buy off e bay (if you still support them), and use your old lenses on it or on new DSLRs)


    C1) Point and shoot
    C2) Point and shoot bridge cameras
    C3) Mirror-less, interchangeable lenses
    C4) DSLR -- APSC size sensor
    C5) DSLR - Full frame size sensor

    All cameras after 70$ have glass lenses. Probably all lenses on all cameras also special coated to improve color/reduce bad reflections.


    For an inspiring young photographer C2 or C3 would probably be my recommendation.

    C2 bridge cameras means that they do not have interchangeable lenses. The Censor size varies (but almost never as large as even cameras in C3 category)


    The best camera in C2 categories is soon to be released
    Panasonic Fz200 (the new update to fz-150 that others have referenced)

    http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/46413/panasonic-dmc-fz200-first-look-review

    I am going to make analogies with your F3HP -- because most of the characteristics apply.Lenses are lenses, and Film is the digital Censor...

    C1 category -- regular P&S
    --------------
    Imagine that you would have F3HP with a light small lens built in with f-stop 5.6 to 8 (means lens can take only little light, unlike lenses with smaller f-stop like 2.8)
    and your film can only be be no-brand name ISO 100 film
    Sure there will sunny days and slow moving objects -- take nice pictures. But the range of shooting conditions, as you can see, is very limited.


    C2 category -- bridge cameras
    --------------------
    Better lens than in C1, but also heavier, and film can be switch to another no-brand name -- so you have two choices ISO 100, 200
    (of course you can shoot it at night without flash -- but pics will be grainy, and at night the camera will be slow to auto focus).

    Best camera there, I think, that will also shoot dark-lit far-away sporting events is dmc-fz200. It has an excellent low-light capable lens and its big zoom that you can still hold in one hand (this is only possible because focusing circle for this lens can be very small due to small sensor size in the camera)

    There is a particular bridge camera that has interchangeable lenses: Nikon J1, and now J2.



    C3 -- mirrorless
    ---------------------
    your lenses can now be changed (many choices)
    the camera is lighter and slimmer than C4 categories
    the camera is lighter to hold for child hands
    Your film is now brand name and can go between
    100 to 800.
    E.g. Sony NEX, Olympus or Panasonic m43, Samsung NX,new canon mirrorless

    I personally just bought Samsung NX 100, with ASPC size sensor, interchangeable short-range lens and flash for 329$. Now they dropped to $309. The price is lower because samsung has newer models.
    Upgraded its firmware from samsungs website to latest -- and it is absolutely amazing in pic quality including night shots without flash.
    It allows manual controls and creative controls (like panorama and other). Very good quality built-in screen in the camera.
    http://www.adorama.com/ISGNX100ZBLW.html
    More expensive cameras in this category also have viewfinder (when it is hard to look at the screen due to sun brighness, or you do not want to illuminate others in a dark room :) )

    Adding a zoom lens to this setup will cost over 200 though (may be even more than 400 .... )

    Basically any tele-zoom lens in C3, C4, C5 category will be over 250 or even more (most are over 300$ ) price range


    c4 -- DSLR with ASPC sensor (1.5 less than full frame).the same as mirroless,
    -----------------------------
    Image quality similar to C3, but faster autofocus, heavier camera, always come with viewfinder, and even more lens choices. If you use your old nikon lenses on Nikon APSC-size DSLR camera, their focus length will increase by 1.5. So 50mm lens will be 80mm


    c5 -- full frame.
    ------------------------
    Starts after 2,5K price range (but watch out for september announcement of nikon d600)
    same as c4, only can use even older lenses of nikon (if nikon) and film there is perfect top of the line
    that can go with Iso 50 to ISo 3200
    Telephoto Lenses are as big/heavy as they would be for your F3HP.
    Nikon, Sony and Canon have offers in this category.


     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012