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View Full Version : Difference between DSLR, point and shoot, and any other types? Best for WDW?


WL Lover
05-31-2011, 08:56 AM
Hi, so my family and I will be leaving soon for WDW, and really need a new camera. I am wondering what is the difference between DSLRs and point and shoots and any other types? And which of these is best to use at WDW, dark areas, and motion? Your help is greatly appreciated! Thank you!:goodvibes

Pea-n-Me
05-31-2011, 09:10 AM
Most of us here could probably write pages and pages in response to your question. There really isn't a simple answer. A lot depends on you and your habits and preferences, past experiences, whether you want to learn and to what degree, etc. Can you narrow it down a little for us?

Just one other thing to add - dark areas and motion are notoriously difficult, even for dSLR users without really good skills and specialized lenses and other equipment. Without those, it's probably best to simply sit back and enjoy the ride. Flash is not an option since it's prohibited for most rides and shows.

photo_chick
05-31-2011, 09:13 AM
DSLR- digital single lens reflex. They use a mirror so when you look through the view finder you are looking through the lens. They tend to have larger sensors than other cameras and while that used to make a whole lot of difference, it's not as much as it used to be though it is still an advantage. They have interchangeable lenses that help make the camera more specific to the user's needs.

point and shoots- small and compact. They have a fixed lens. They can be low end and cheap with no features, or high end with full manual control.

EVIL- electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens. These are the cameras that have features like a DLSR, but they don't use a mirror for the viewfinder. It's electronic. They're smaller than a DSLR with many of the things people consider benefits of a DSLR... except for through the lens viewing. Some EVIL cameras have the same sized sensor as some DSLR's.


Which one is best really depends on you and what you need from a camera.

ChiSoxKeith
05-31-2011, 09:26 AM
The two main differences ( :) ) between a DSLR and a point in shoot:

1) You can change the lenses on a DSLR to suit your needs.
2) DSLRs are more expensive.

This really isn't that easy of a question to asnwer - but I'm sure you are going to get some great responses here on the board.

There is no "best" camera for WDW, because it all depends on you. There are people who go into the parks with their DSLRs, several lenses, tripods, gels, flashes and there are people who wouldn't dream of carrying around that much gear. Do you want to shoot video? If you walked into Best Buy (or some other big box store) and bought ANY DSLR you would have a camera capable of taking amazing shots at WDW.

To get dark ride photography (or low light) you need faster glass (lower apeture) or longer exposures. But with longer exposures the camera needs to be steady (like on a tripod which you can't use on a ride).

I own Canon, so I can only speak to that brand.

Let's say you go buy an entry level Canon DSLR. You can buy the T1i, which is a couple of years old at this point, but it's relatively cheap at $589. That will come with a 18-55mm lens. Which will be great for most of the park. You won't be able to zoom too much on the stage shows, but it will cover the bases. But to get your dark ride shots, you'll need to buy a faster lens. The 50mm F/1.8 is a bargain at $120. There is a 50mm f/1.4 ($425) or a 50mm f/1.2 (>$1000) too, but the 1.8 will get you in the ballpark.

If you want more of a zoom the 55-250mm zoom lens is nice and will run you another $200.

The real problem is buying a camera right before a trip is the worst time to buy one. You need time to learn what you just bought.

WL Lover
05-31-2011, 09:46 AM
Thank you so much for all of your help, sorry that my question wasn't that easy to answer.

To better explain, we have a Nikon coolpix, I guess a point&shoot. It doesn't do good with lots of lights, darkness, motion, or really anything. It takes way to long to take a picture, so we always end up losing the moment.

My daughter is very involved in sports, so we need one that does well in gyms, she also plays golf so we need a good motion one.

Whenever we are at WDW we love to take pictures of the castle or good picture areas that are usually shaded, and our camera never works for the shade, fireworks, lights, or parades.

We just really need a camera that can take wonderful pictures, works quick, zooms wonderfully, and has not much of a problem with lighting. Not the best of the best, but the cheapest one that will do the job for those must have picture moments. We just need a camera that does all of the above with about 3 1/2- 4 stars out of 5.

Thank you, and please help, your advice is greatly needed and appreciated!:goodvibes

Pea-n-Me
05-31-2011, 10:06 AM
Some EVIL cameras have the same sized sensor as some DSLR's.
I believe that all of them have the same sensors as their dSLR cousins (which is their strong suit - coupled with small size).

The micro 4/3 EVILs (Olympus PENs, Panasonic) have the same 4/3 sensors as 4/3 dSLRs. (Note: it is not a micro 4/3 sensor; there is no such thing.)

The Sony NEX and Samsung have the APS-C sensor as is found in many dSLRs.

There is talk of other manufacturers coming into the EVIL market and they will also more than likely have the APS-C sensor as their dSLR cousins do as well.

As with any other camera, there is no right EVIL for everybody. Buyers need to look at the pros and cons to each and make a decision of which will be right for them.

zackiedawg
05-31-2011, 10:11 AM
A big-sensor camera (DSLR, or mirrorless) will do MUCH better than your current camera or any P&S. That said, it's still possible to get bad photos out of them...some camera knowledge and a little bit of photography skill will drastically improve your results even with a junky camera, but overall, the larger sensor cameras are just much more capable, even when set to 'auto' and used by someone with no photography knowledge. You might consider looking at one of these.

DSLRs are larger, a bit heavier, and often get paired with more than one lens to get the most out of them, but even with just one lens and used on 'auto' mode you'll do much better than your Coolpix. The smaller ones available would be the Sony A33 or A55 (the A55 has the better sensor of the two) which are very lightweight compact bodies with a fixed-mirror hybrid design, the Pentax KX or KR which are lighter, smaller DSLRs, the Nikon D3100 or 5100, or the Canon T3, which are both the smaller and lighter bodies they offer. Another choice would be to look at the 'mirrorless interchangeable lens' cameras - two primary types exist: micro 4:3 and APS-C. Micro 4:3 versions are Olympus and Panasonic - with a slightly smaller sensor than DSLRs, but still far more capable than P&S cameras. They can be much lighter and smaller than DSLRs, even with some small lens options too. APS-C are made by Sony and Samsung - the Sony NEX system is the smallest APS-C sensor camera made - APS-C is the same sized sensor used on DSLRs, and these are the best overall in low light. They have only a few lens choices so far (3) with more coming, and would be pretty much equally capable as a DSLR in a lighter, smaller package. ALL of these mirrorless cameras are not really 'pocketable' unless you pair them with a small, basic fixed lens - such a lens is available for both Sony and Olympus models that could render them pocketable, but you'd have no zoom range. Paired with a more reasonable short zoom, they are light and small but not pocketable.

Theosus
05-31-2011, 10:19 AM
"we need a camera that takes wonderful pictures", is like saying, "I need a word processor that writes wonderful books". It's somewhat about what you have, and a lot about how you know how to use it. I have a t1i, and have had it for a few years. It's a great camera, but you cannot treat it like a point and shoot. If you're used to the simplicity of a point and shoot, don't buy a DSLR right before your trip. You'll do what every other momtographer does, and leave the thing in "auto" mode and wonder why this expensive camera doesn't take pictures any better than your old point and shoot.

The ability to take night shots means you need a lens that can gather a lot of light. It needs a low "f" number. Someone else mentioned the 50mm f1.8. A good lens, but it doesn't zoom. A zoom lens, by construction, is not going to gather as much light. They typically start at f3.5 and higher.
You can fake it. On a DSLR, you can boost the iso (the sensors light sensitivity), which will let you take pictures in lower light, at the cost of some "graininess" in your photos. Your lens may also come with motion stabilizing features, which will let you take pictures in lower light, with slower shutter speeds, without the camera shake blur. The old rule of thumb used to be - don't shoot at a lower shutter speed than your lens length (I.e. Don't shoot slower than 1/100second with a 100mm lens). With motion stabilizing you could use 1/25second... Maybe. Lay off the coffee and cigarettes and breathe slow.
Some people carry tripods or monopods in the park. I would never drag all that crap with me, use a good stance, lean against a pole, etc. I have a great picture of main street looking towards the castle, I took at twilight, right before the parade. I took it with my f5 55mm zoom lens, and at 8x10 you can't see any blur.

If your vacation is less than six months away, I'd stay away from the dslr, unless you plan to dedicate a lot of time to learning it. Get a book on it (there are books for your model, I'm sure, the canon t1i has a great one by Jeff revell), and learn how to use something other than Auto! I'm not saying you have to go full manual, but at least get used to using shutter and aperture priorty. Know what a shutter speed is, what an aperture is, how f stop affects depth of field (you want that picture of your kid and snow white, but want all the other tourists in the background blurry? Know what depth of field is). At least learn how to turn off the darn flash.
I've have people with very nice cameras ask me to take their picture, because "you look like you know what you're doing". I wonder why they spent the money on that Nikon d90, and have it set on "auto" when they hand it to me. They might as well just bring something they can stick in their pocket.
Don't get stuck on megapixels. It's the biggest advertising trick in the industry. Sensor size and lens quality will make a much bigger difference in your results. Anything over 4 megapixels is Plenty, until you start cropping and zooming in and enlarging. Take two SLR cameras, one 8mp, one 12. With the same lens the pictures will come out the same, given the same settings, etc. You will just be able to crop and zoom the 12mp picture a lot bigger. But because of the larger sensor inherent to SLRs, even the 8mp camera is going to outperform a 14mp pocket camera.
So why do they push megapixels? It sells cameras. When cameras jumped from a few hundred thousand pixels to 2mp.... It made a big difference. The tradition has kept going.

ChiSoxKeith
05-31-2011, 10:37 AM
Thank you so much for all of your help, sorry that my question wasn't that easy to answer.

To better explain, we have a Nikon coolpix, I guess a point&shoot. It doesn't do good with lots of lights, darkness, motion, or really anything. It takes way to long to take a picture, so we always end up losing the moment.

My daughter is very involved in sports, so we need one that does well in gyms, she also plays golf so we need a good motion one.

Whenever we are at WDW we love to take pictures of the castle or good picture areas that are usually shaded, and our camera never works for the shade, fireworks, lights, or parades.

We just really need a camera that can take wonderful pictures, works quick, zooms wonderfully, and has not much of a problem with lighting. Not the best of the best, but the cheapest one that will do the job for those must have picture moments. We just need a camera that does all of the above with about 3 1/2- 4 stars out of 5.

Thank you, and please help, your advice is greatly needed and appreciated!:goodvibes


If your daughter is getting involved in sports then I recommend getting into a DSLR. Any of the brands will do you just fine. Just realize that the lenses are going to be expensive and you can wind up spending more money on the lens than you do on the camera body itself. The nice thing about lenses though that you can upgrade the camera body (when newer features come out over time) and the lenses will still work just fine.

Pea-n-Me
05-31-2011, 10:45 AM
If your daughter is getting involved in sports then I recommend getting into a DSLR. Any of the brands will do you just fine. Just realize that the lenses are going to be expensive and you can wind up spending more money on the lens than you do on the camera body itself. The nice thing about lenses though that you can upgrade the camera body (when newer features come out over time) and the lenses will still work just fine.
I agree this will work best for sports and low light, etc. But I'd just really explore whether you'll be happy carrying it around and learning to use it and such. It's not like a simple point and shoot you can throw in your purse. An EVIL is a compromise but may not be able to do *as well* in movement and low light situations, but with learning, it could come close, and you'd still have a relatively small and simple set up. Lots for you to research and think about.

disneyboy2003
05-31-2011, 09:42 PM
To better explain, we have a Nikon coolpix, I guess a point&shoot. It doesn't do good with lots of lights, darkness, motion, or really anything. It takes way to long to take a picture, so we always end up losing the moment.

My daughter is very involved in sports, so we need one that does well in gyms, she also plays golf so we need a good motion one.

Whenever we are at WDW we love to take pictures of the castle or good picture areas that are usually shaded, and our camera never works for the shade, fireworks, lights, or parades.

We just really need a camera that can take wonderful pictures, works quick, zooms wonderfully, and has not much of a problem with lighting. Not the best of the best, but the cheapest one that will do the job for those must have picture moments. We just need a camera that does all of the above with about 3 1/2- 4 stars out of 5.

Thank you, and please help, your advice is greatly needed and appreciated!:goodvibes

As previous replies have mentioned, these are the types of pictures that a dSLR + a good fundamental knowledge of photography (ie. shutter speed, aperture, ISO) can easily capture. Although you can capture these pictures with a point-and-shoot or a bridge camera, a dSLR makes these photos lots easier to capture. I'll address the points in the order that you mentioned them.

In general, point-and-shoot cameras have noticeable shutter lag and cycle times. Shutter lag is the time from the press of the button to when the camera takes the picture. The shot-to-shot cycle time is the time it takes the camera to take 2 successive photos, 1 right after the other. As you have noticed, many people are often frustrated at the long shutter lag and the cycle times of point-and-shoot cameras.

This is where dSLR cameras excel. dSLR cameras have almost instantaneous shutter lag (ie. once you press the button, the camera immediately takes the picture). dSLR cameras also have very short shot-to-shot cycle times, so your camera is always ready to take the next shot.

You mentioned that your daughter is in sports. For sports, you'll probably want a camera that has a fast continuous burst mode. Consumer-grade dSLR cameras have burst modes that range from 3 to 8 frames per second, which is sufficiently fast enough to capture most sporting events.

In addition, for sports and especially for indoor sports, you'll likely need a lens with a large aperture (small f-number). Large apertures allow more light into the camera. Because you've got more light coming into your camera, this allows you to use faster shutter speeds to capture fast-action sports. For indoor sports, you'll want to increase the ISO on your camera, which allows the camera sensor to be more sensitive to light. The relationship between aperture & shutter speed & ISO is what you'll learn about in any Intro to Photography class or book.

For pictures in shaded areas, you might consider using flash. This is where your foreground subject is located in the shade, and the background is brightly lit by the sun. The reason why these shaded pictures appear very dark is because the camera "thinks" that it "sees" a lot of light from the sunny background. The camera does not know that your subject is actually in the shade. In situations like this, using flash is called "fill flash." You can use either the pop-up flash that is built into the camera, or you can use a more powerful external flash.

For fireworks, ideally, you'd want to use a tripod because you'll be using very slow shutter speeds (like, 2 to 10 seconds) to catch the fireworks trails. There's no way you can steadily hand-hold a camera for that long and still get a sharp picture. Actually, you can place your point-and-shoot camera on a tripod and capture good fireworks photos.

On another thread earlier today, you mentioned that you wanted to know what the best of the best camera was. However, in this thread, it sounds like you're no longer interested in the best of the best camera anymore, but rather "the cheapest one that will do the job for those must have picture moments." I guess I'm a little confused. :confused:

If you're interested in going the dSLR route, then the "cheapest one that'll do the job" will be any of the entry-level dSLR cameras. Canon's T3 and T3i cameras, for example, are entry-level dSLR cameras. You should also consider entry-level dSLR cameras from Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc. Any of these dSLR cameras will make it "easier" to capture the pictures you mentioned above, regardless of brand.

Even though I've raved about dSLR cameras, owning a dSLR camera does NOT automatically make your pictures better. Instead, I would suggest learning the basics of photography (ie. shutter speed, aperture, ISO). There are literally dozens of "Intro to Photography" books available in the bookstore and the library. You can watch photography YouTube videos. You can find "Intro to Photography" Web sites. You can take "Intro to Photography" classes.

No matter what camera you end up buying, the basics of photography are still the same. These are what will make your pictures better.

photo_chick
06-01-2011, 11:14 AM
I agree this will work best for sports and low light, etc. But I'd just really explore whether you'll be happy carrying it around and learning to use it and such. It's not like a simple point and shoot you can throw in your purse. An EVIL is a compromise but may not be able to do *as well* in movement and low light situations, but with learning, it could come close, and you'd still have a relatively small and simple set up. Lots for you to research and think about.

An EVIL with an APS-C sensor would have no problems getting the same shots a DSLR with an APS-C sensor can. And likewise for comparable 4/3 sensor EVIL and DSLR's. The only thing that really different is the view finder. And I don't know about all the EVIL cameras, but I was looing at the Sony NEX and one model has a speed priority mode that gives you 7 FPS. That pretty much out does most of the entry level and pro-sumer DSLR's.

On another note with sensors and non-DSLr's, Fuji has the X100 which is an APS-C rangefinder style with analog controls. It's not a DSLR but can certianly hang up there with the DSLR's. But it runs $1200.

Pea-n-Me
06-01-2011, 11:26 AM
An EVIL with an APS-C sensor would have no problems getting the same shots a DSLR with an APS-C sensor can. And likewise for comparable 4/3 sensor EVIL and DSLR's.
I haven't used one yet (am planning to pick up a PEN) but that's not what most reviewers say. Personally, I'm curious about it and am interested in finding out for myself.

zackiedawg
06-01-2011, 08:01 PM
I haven't used one yet (am planning to pick up a PEN) but that's not what most reviewers say. Personally, I'm curious about it and am interested in finding out for myself.

I can only speak for the NEX with the APS-C sensor in this regard...but compared to DSLRs...

Image quality - can be identical
Low light ability - can be identical
Focus speed in good light - close enough to not really be much of a factor
Focus speed in low light - definitely slower
Tracking focus ability - nope...that's where none of the mirrorless can match the DSLRs, and where they fall down when it comes to action sports involving panning and tracking. The 7fps mode is excellent, but only when dealing with something staying at roughly the same focal distance to you (golfing, tennis, volleyball, etc). A DSLR will still be able to track focus better and faster.

I love my NEX, and love my DSLR, and consider the two complimentary, with little overlap. They both have strengths.