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Surely A Large Human
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Canon or Nikon. Worst case, you have an excellent DSLR. Best case, you realize that you're both into this photography thing after all and won't be irritated at having plonked down a lot of money on a cheesy POS.
 

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Canon or Nikon. Worst case, you have an excellent DSLR. Best case, you realize that you're both into this photography thing after all and won't be irritated at having plonked down a lot of money on a cheesy POS.
My conclusion currently is that for many, a DSLR is putting the 'cart before the horse'. Modern compacts are so effective that you have to be way past the 'snapping' stage of photography to warrant the expense and inconvenience.
I would urge the maine_coons to borrow any old DSLR (I've got several friends/family who would accommodate me for instance) for a few weeks to see how lugging all the shit around works for them. If that proves to be a pleasure, go right ahead with a decent QBN recommendation. My daughter loves her Nikon, but hardly ever uses it, despite photography being integral to her degree course.
 

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Surely A Large Human
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^ I respectfully disagree - it's all in the glass. You simply do not get the characteristics of an SLR without the lenses that accompany them. Sensors on most decent digital cameras today are light years ahead of where they were 5 years ago, so image quality isn't really at issue. You can get genuine DSLR's that operate in what is effectively point and shoot mode, but the pictures are going to virtually always look better than a point-and-shoot camera because the lenses are better. And unlike point-and-shoot, you have versatility and flexibility to get a far broader variety of shots if you are so inclined.
 

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^ I respectfully disagree - it's all in the glass. You simply do not get the characteristics of an SLR without the lenses that accompany them. Sensors on most decent digital cameras today are light years ahead of where they were 5 years ago, so image quality isn't really at issue. You can get genuine DSLR's that operate in what is effectively point and shoot mode, but the pictures are going to virtually always look better than a point-and-shoot camera because the lenses are better. And unlike point-and-shoot, you have versatility and flexibility to get a far broader variety of shots if you are so inclined.
I agree with all of this, doesn't change my point though. Mostly depends on what you intend to photograph and what you want to do with the result. In most instances the product of a good compact hits the spot without the hassle.
 

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^ I respectfully disagree - it's all in the glass. You simply do not get the characteristics of an SLR without the lenses that accompany them. Sensors on most decent digital cameras today are light years ahead of where they were 5 years ago, so image quality isn't really at issue. You can get genuine DSLR's that operate in what is effectively point and shoot mode, but the pictures are going to virtually always look better than a point-and-shoot camera because the lenses are better. And unlike point-and-shoot, you have versatility and flexibility to get a far broader variety of shots if you are so inclined.
my turn to respectfully disagree.

glass in modern semi-pro point and shoots can be as good or better than in slrs, because it's easier to make a good glass to focus on a small sensor than on big one; witness panasonic lumix models with leica lenses, or zeiss lenses in some sony. to buy similar quality lens for full size dslr would cost as much as used mercedes.

the big sensor in dslr, on the other hand, has huge advantages over small one in point-and-shoots, especially in low light, or when you need narrow depth of field.

so it's all in a sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks to all for the input.

The sensors in MFT are about 4 times smaller than in the "real" DSLRs.
However, they are about 10 times larger than most P&S.

I've looked at Nikon D7000, Canon 7D and T2i.

By Price/performance GH1 will it be.

Panasonic has agreed to ship GH1+14-42mm lenses to me for $375.

I am fully aware of the pros and contras at this point.

However, I tend to believe the price is right. In fact it is fucking unbeatable.

Interchangeable lens. Electronic viewfinder.

EVIL camera.
 

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Surely A Large Human
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my turn to respectfully disagree.

glass in modern semi-pro point and shoots can be as good or better than in slrs, because it's easier to make a good glass to focus on a small sensor than on big one; witness panasonic lumix models with leica lenses, or zeiss lenses in some sony. to buy similar quality lens for full size dslr would cost as much as used mercedes.

the big sensor in dslr, on the other hand, has huge advantages over small one in point-and-shoots, especially in low light, or when you need narrow depth of field.

so it's all in a sensor.
I'm not talking about glass quality in terms of clarity, I'm talking about the size of the optics and their ability to A) capture light and B) focus accurately and quickly at a wide aperture with shallow depth of field. The latter in particular creates the bokeh effect you see in quality portraits & candids. You can't really do that effectively without a sizable lens, which requires a sizable sensor in a lot of instances. A 50mm f/1.8 is less than $200 in just about every case, and on just about any DSLR, the portraits you get from it and quality of image in low light without noise reduction trickery of some kind will surpass any P&S camera.
 

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Again it comes down to usage.
For quick shots and portability you cannot beat the small portables like the Canons or others. Their optics and quick abilities are awesome for close up (near macro and good out to ~ 50-100ft, with excellent quality.
You want to get into a more professional use, and do landscapes or need special lighting requirements, it;s time to move up into something clunkier and less easy to carry.

Even pro photographers are using the minis for close use. They carry them for their portability and simplicity, yet don't like to pull them out for the general public, since they no longer look professional in doing so.
 

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I'm not talking about glass quality in terms of clarity, I'm talking about the size of the optics and their ability to A) capture light and B) focus accurately and quickly
this is actually easier to achieve with small lens than with a big one.

wide aperture with shallow depth of field. The latter in particular creates the bokeh effect you see in quality portraits & candids. You can't really do that effectively without a sizable lens
this has nothing to do with the size of lens. the depth of field is a function of lens length, aperture, size of the negative (or sensor), and distance to the object. size of the lens appears nowhere:
Depth of field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

wide aperture with shallow depth of field. The latter in particular creates the bokeh effect you see in quality portraits & candids. You can't really do that effectively without a sizable lens, which requires a sizable sensor in a lot of instances. A 50mm f/1.8 is less than $200 in just about every case, and on just about any DSLR, the portraits you get from it and quality of image in low light without noise reduction trickery of some kind will surpass any P&S camera.
this p&s, for example, will easily compete with most dslr:
Sigma DP2s digital camera specifications: Digital Photography Review

it's all about the size of the sensor, not the size of the lens.
 

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Qubes, don't you understand that Zeiss and Leica are just ripoff brand names? The glass is the same thing you can get at Home Depot for $3.99 a square foot. :p :rolleyes:
 

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Surely A Large Human
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this is actually easier to achieve with small lens than with a big one.
Not really, but okay. You see, as you note below...



poul said:
this has nothing to do with the size of lens. the depth of field is a function of lens length, aperture, size of the negative (or sensor), and distance to the object. size of the lens appears nowhere:
Depth of field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
So it has nothing to do with the size of the lens, but it's a function of the length. Got it. This is an example of someone who has read something but doesn't understand it...at all. :rolleyes:



poul said:
this p&s, for example, will easily compete with most dslr:
Sigma DP2s digital camera specifications: Digital Photography Review

it's all about the size of the sensor, not the size of the lens.
Erm, no it isn't. One is useless without the other - they're made for each other in actual fact, but all things being equal, there's a reason larger SLR lenses take better pictures than point-and-shoot lenses.

I'll clarify that when I'm describing point-and-shoot cameras, I'm talking about the kind with very small (approx. 1") lens cap sizes that often collapse into the camera body when turned off. Not the quasi point-and-shoot cameras with what amounts to a full size lens & sensor in a non-interchangeable format.

Here's a test you can run. Set a point-and-shoot camera at wide-open aperture, using it's shortest lens length, and photograph an object 5 feet away in front of trees or some other object several hundred yards away. Now zoom in as much as possible, framing the object so that the background is still visible. Observe the blur of the objects in the background. You'll notice that the blur increases as the zoom (focal length) increases. That's how it works.

Mount up a 50mm f/1.8 lens on a Nikon or Canon DSLR, set the aperture wide-open, and shoot the same object from 5 feet away. Observe the blur of the objects in the background. You'll actually notice that the blur visibly begins in front of and behind the center of focus, within a matter of an inch or so.

Mount up a 70-200 f/2.8 lens on a Nikon or Canon DSLR, set the aperture to f/4.5, at 70mm, and shoot the same object from 5 feet away (which is basically the minimum focal distance on the Nikon version). Observe the blur in the background. Zoom in on the object as much as possible, again framing the object so that the background is visible. Observe the blur of the objects in the background. They become totally amorphous, a watery blend of color and light.

Compare that to a 70-300 f/3.4-5.6 lens (Nikon speak here). Set the aperture to the same f/4.5 setting, shoot at 70mm and 200mm from the same distance, same framing. Notice the difference in the blur of the background objects.

The difference between crisp, well balanced, well saturated, well exposed images, and things of beauty, is in the lens. Comparing the Zeiss lens on a point-and-shoot camera to a 200mm f/2.8 is like comparing a 1.2L motorcycle engine to a 1.5L Formula 1 engine. Sure it's nice in it's own respects, but it's not the same.
 

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So it has nothing to do with the size of the lens, but it's a function of the length. Got it. This is an example of someone who has read something but doesn't understand it...at all. :rolleyes:
focal length. FOCAL length. ::groan::

just read the friggin wikipedia article, would ya?

next thing we know, you'll clarify your definition of P&S even further down, to cameras below $300 or something. meantime, here's another experiment for you: take a medium format camera, like mamiya 645, with a lens about same size as canon or nikon - or even better, rolleyflex with a lens about 1/10th the size - and shoot the same subject with the same aperture. you will see much shallower depth of field. the lens was the same size or smaller, what changed? film size.
 

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Surely A Large Human
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This conversation has reached an impasse. Your understanding of the concepts isn't where it needs to be.
 
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