Digital SLRs

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by razza1987, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. razza1987

    razza1987 Mouseketeer

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    Are digital SLR's easy to pick up and learn how to use or is it better to stick with a point and shoot if you've never used an SLR before?
     
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  3. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Nobody is born with a dslr in their hand.... every SLR owner had a "first time."

    SLRs have fully automatic modes, just like a point and shoot. In fully automatic, it will generally take better pictures than a point and shoot in fully automatic, in the hands of the same person. (Though a point and shoot in the hands of an expert will do better than a SLR in a total amateur).

    Generally speaking, a SLR has the potential for a lot more manual control and customization than a point and shoot. This does take time to learn and can be quite rewarding with vastly superior pictures.

    So if you ONLY want to shoot in auto and have no interest in learning more -- then you're getting a high quality point and shoot. But it is capable of more.
     
  4. reimero

    reimero DIS Veteran

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    What Havoc said.

    DSLRs are fairly easy to learn, but can take a lifetime to master. They won't magically improve the quality of your photos. That comes with time and practice. You can get absolutely stunning photos with a P&S, and you can get utterly horrid photos with a $3600 DSLR. 90%+ of the image is in the photographer.

    There are a few good reasons for the hobbyist to invest in a DSLR, though:
    When it comes to scalability, DSLRs are without peer. You can get lenses, filters, flashes, remote shutter releases, different mounting apparatuses, etc. Of course, all this costs.
    Lenses require more attention here: the photo comes through the lens, so it is arguably the most important part of your camera. Interchangeable lenses give you so much more flexibility and creative range. There are some smaller camera systems out there with interchangeable lenses which will do 90% of what most people need, but the best glass is with the DSLRs.
    Modern DSLRs are capable of doubling as HD camcorders, and they do a pretty darned good job of it. P&S cameras can also shoot video, but DSLRs are increasingly becoming high-quality video specialists. Some TV shows (such as House) are using higher-end DSLRs as video cameras because they're small, lightweight, take professional-quality video and offer features dedicated video cameras cannot (particularly regarding depth of field).
    DSLRs grant a much finer level of control over the nuances of a photo, although better P&S cameras can come close. By that, I mean that you can use manual focus with a DSLR, and it's easier for you to make decisions regarding depth of field or very high shutter speeds or what have you. But this takes time and practice.

    If you're simply trying to take better pictures, a good P&S and an understanding of photography will serve you well (the book "Understanding Exposure" comes highly recommended.) If there are specific features that DSLRs offer that other camera types do not, then they are absolutely good values and worth the investment. I would also suggest that if you are seriously looking into photography as a hobby you want to invest in, take the plunge. It's better to learn to use good equipment than it is to buy something you're going to replace in a year or 2, and then re-learn anyway.
     
  5. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Everything Reimero said is true. I'll just add that the scalability is both a pro and a con. The ability to grow your camera is a great advantage. But it does come at a considerable cost. It wouldn't be hard to spend thousands on lenses and accessories.
    Further, many SLR users never grow beyond the "kit lens." And the kit lens usually isn't all that great.

    Much of this advice is your typical mid-level point & shoot ($200-$300), in comparison to an entry level SLR. ($600-$800).

    Though I have used (and still own) a digital SLR, I mostly now shoot with a Point & Shoot. But it's the Sony RX100, which is not your typical point and shoot. For the most part, I can match and sometimes surpass the quality of an entry level SLR with a kit lens. Though it still goes back to camera education. On full auto, the RX100 produces better pictures than most P&S cameras. But to raise it to the next level, I sometimes need the ability to take a good amount of manual control and need the proper photography knowledge.

    Your photo results will be a combination of your technology and your photography knowledge.
    If the same person with the same photography knowledge took the same picture with a $200 point and shoot, and with a $800 SLR --- The SLR picture will probably come out better most of the time. But a total amateur isn't going to suddenly get professional looking pictures merely by upgrading to a better camera.

    If you are primarily looking for good pictures with exceptional ease of use, there are some bridge cameras that might be worth a look. I'm thinking of the Nikon J1 and V1. They combine high quality with ease of use. The technology lies between SLR and point & shoot. They don't have a whole lot of manual controls. It's kind of point and shoot ease, but with higher level results. (Has an amazingly fast and accurate autofocus system and has a sensor larger than found in most P&S cameras).

    If you are looking to really grow in your photography skills, with scalability of equipment, there is no substitute for a SLR or a really good mirrorless. If you want to grow in your photography skills, but without the thoughts of additional equipment and want to keep it compact, the Sony RX100 is a great camera.
     
  6. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

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    I would say no, not necessarily, depending on your background and comfort with technology.

    And no again, if you want to enjoy that skill and grow into photography as a hobby.

    Should you do it anyway? Of course you should - if you want to.

    There is nothing like the feeling of using a dSLR. Granted, it takes a while to get comfortable and good at it. But it's worth it when you do.
     
  7. BirdsOfPreyDave

    BirdsOfPreyDave Disney Lover, DVC Member, SSR Fanatic DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Some excellent advice so far. The only thing I'll add is to think about your intended use for the camera.

    In full auto mode, you can pick up a DSLR and use it as easily as you can a P&S. As others have said, though, that doesn't mean your photos will instantly take on a professional quality.

    If all you ever want out of your camera is to grab great snapshots and memories, you can pick up a DSLR and do that. You probably don't need to spend the money associated with a DSLR if this is all you want from a camera, though. There are some really excellent P&S currently available. They're less expensive, lighter and more compact to carry, and can give you really great photos.

    If you want to explore photography as a hobby or get even better snapshots and memories, a DSLR (or compact system/mirrorless camera) gives you a better tool to do so. It requires an effort on your part to learn the settings and options on your camera and the techniques and theories of photography in general. It also takes time and practice to hone these skills. If you're willing to put in the effort, the results can be the difference between photos that sit in an envelope in a drawer and photos you want to frame and hang in the house. (Check out the ** Picture Of the Day 2 ** thread for some inspiration.) There are many resources available in books, online training, or even formal classes offered at community colleges or local camera stores.

    I started pushing myself beyond full auto mode about a year ago with the purchase of a Canon EOS 60D for Dummies book, which I found to be very helpful. I'm also using an online training site called www.kelbytraining.com.
     
  8. Hockeyman

    Hockeyman It's not a purse, it's called a satchel. Indiana J

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    Once you move on from learning how to use an SLR then you get to move into post processing, which is a whole other ball game :rotfl:
     
  9. Hockeyman

    Hockeyman It's not a purse, it's called a satchel. Indiana J

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    All joking aside, I went from using a P&S and an Iphone for taking pictures to a DSLR about a year and a half ago now and it has been one the best most rewarding hobbies I have ever done. I had no idea what I was getting into but dove right in and experimented with my camera and learned what each setting did hands on. Not to mention following these boards and other sites to help me understand some things I just didnt know and they have been a priceless tool in my learning. Seeing the pictures others post and what setting they used is what helped guide me the most. If you can afford it than i say jump right in, have fun and learn your camera inside and out. Also read the cameras instruction manual, full of very useful info. :thumbsup2
     
  10. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

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    Totally agree with this statement. The camera is just a tool.

    I think the choice of which camera is right for a user comes down to what the user wants to accomplish and how they will use the camera.
     

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