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Why do I need a DSLR? (Caution--added large photos in thread)

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  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: NW Washington
Why do I need a DSLR? (Caution--added large photos in thread)
Posted by dirkpitt77 on Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:12 PM

So, last week Target had a pretty good sale on Canon DSLRs. I picked one up, along with a 75-300mm telephoto lens. Previously I'd been using a Canon Powershot 510HS. This has a 30x zoom.

Main reason I bought the DSLR was to step up from the 12mp camera I'd been using. The new DSLR has 18mp. It seems pretty capable, although lacks some of the custom photo features of the Powershot, like fisheye, monochrome, and other effects. Obviously on a DSLR you're going to have to buy a separate lens for some of the specialized stuff.

Anywho, mainly I shoot landscapes, like when I'm offroading, and aviation such as airshows and airports. A little bit of macro for the occasional model picture or artsy fartsy shots. If it wasn't for the upgrade in megapixels, I'd probably return this. It's just too clunky. And if I have to buy another lens, or filters, or any other accessories, which for a DSLR are already spendy, my wife's going to pitch a fit. I'm right at my budget contraints with this right now.

So, why do I need it? Is there some great advantage to a DSLR that sets it apart from slightly lower end but more user friendly units? I'm not sold on it.  Anybody got a DSLR and want to convince me?

Chris

    "Some say the alien didn't die in the crash.  It survived and drank whiskey and played poker with the locals 'til the Texas Rangers caught wind of it and shot it dead."

  • Member since
    May, 2015
Posted by DrePool on Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:47 PM

nm

  • Member since
    April, 2009
  • From: Lowell City, Mars
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Thursday, July 23, 2015 9:38 PM

.

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 24, 2015 8:30 AM

If you want to get closeups with a macro lens (and getting close with model photography makes the shot more realistic) focusing is difficult.  Computer in camera is not smart enough to pick part of model to focus on, so it is much better to use manual focus.  But electronic viewfinders nor LCD screens have adequate resolution for good focus.  Also, you must use high f/#, which requires a camera with at least aperture priority.  Many compact point & shoots are automatic only.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February, 2015
Posted by Bick on Friday, July 24, 2015 6:22 PM

dirkpitt77

So, last week Target had a pretty good sale on Canon DSLRs. I picked one up, along with a 75-300mm telephoto lens. Previously I'd been using a Canon Powershot 510HS. This has a 30x zoom.

<big snip>

So, why do I need it? Is there some great advantage to a DSLR that sets it apart from slightly lower end but more user friendly units? I'm not sold on it.  Anybody got a DSLR and want to convince me?

Chris

Hi Chris,

Why do you need it? If all you're interested in is snapshots then - you don't need it. But if you'd like high quality photos you'll really appreciate it. Take a photo with your old Powershot at 30X and the same with your 75-300 at 300 - enlarge on your computer and compare. It's more than just megapixels, it's accutance, resolution (sharpeness) and flexibility. Even on 'auto' your off road pics will improve.  And, yes, you'll probably want another lens but do some research on what you want to photograph. A 24-80mm would give you 24-300 with your equipment and only two lenses. Are you sure your new Canon doesn't have monochrome and other effects - most DSLR's do. Anyway, I think you have to have a modicum of interest in photography to see/understand the difference but its there. Enjoy the new Canon.

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Mike F6F on Sunday, July 26, 2015 3:14 PM

Chris,

All the above suggestions are good ones.  I used to tote 2-3 high end Nikon DSLRs around in my pro shooting days.  I had to.  I was being paid to get high end photos the could be enlarged 30X.  I was being paid not for IF I got the shot, but WHEN I got the shot.

I believe you may have answered your own question.  You called the camera, "clunky."  Do you see yourself toting it around off road are during an air show.  Do you see yourself investing in the extra lenses and hauling it all around when you are out with family and friends?  Do you ever foresee needing to enlarge an image 30X?  If you do, then invest in the DSLR gear.

Pros need all that stuff.  And often they don't have to pay for it.  If you believe you'll be doing some strictly photo outings and want to advance your hobby with all the gear you'll have to buy, then a DSLR is a wise investment.  From your post though, I don't think you really want to go that route, nor does your wife!

I've known many an individual who bought some fancy-dancy DSLR and it stayed at home in his hall closet because he never wanted to lug the thing around.

If you want to go with a more advanced camera, but decide against keeping the DSLR, consider one of the more advanced versions similar to your Powershot 510HS.  I believe you may find that you'll use that camera more often.  I do recommend something with an eye level viewfinder.  Longish zoom photos taken with outstretched arms really don't work.  Personally, I've never owned or used any general photography lens with a maximum aperture smaller than 2.8 because as a former photojournalist I shot lots of available light stuff. Habits stick with a guy.

Since I've retired and no longer need all that high end stuff, I use cameras like those I've just described above.  

It is your call.  Enjoy it.

Mike

 

"Grumman on a Navy Airplane is like Sterling on Silver."

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, July 27, 2015 8:49 AM

Model photography takes high f/# for depth of field, so exposures are very slow.  So, you need a tripod.  Thus clunkiness of camera is irrelevant, as tripod is even clunkier.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by Scarecrow Joe on Monday, July 27, 2015 9:41 AM

Unless you have a sincere interest in photography as a long standing hobby, are committed to invest in it ( the body is just one part of it, and its not the most important...quality glass is) you should consider going back to a much more simpler camera.  BTW, that lens you got (75-300) is one of the worst, if not the worst lenses in the Canon lineup). Good quality lenses cost more than what you paid for the body alone.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: NW Washington
Posted by dirkpitt77 on Thursday, July 30, 2015 11:02 PM

Welp, my mood has tempered on it somewhat. I've gotten some good landscape and portrait shots this week. And the much wider array of f-stops is nice for depth of field. Haven't a lot of macro yet (models) but maybe tomorrow.

So far I've compared moon shots from the new camera and the old, and they are a pretty tight tie. The DSLR has just slightly better resolution, but I still see fuzziness around the edge of the moon. From what I'm reading on the web, though, they're saying 600mm or longer is pretty much what you need, so I'll have to make do here. Maybe in a few years I can pick up a better telephoto lens.

I kept the boxes and have until mid-August to return it. Should give me another week or two to decide for sure.

Thanks for the comments so far.

    "Some say the alien didn't die in the crash.  It survived and drank whiskey and played poker with the locals 'til the Texas Rangers caught wind of it and shot it dead."

  • Member since
    May, 2015
Posted by DrePool on Friday, July 31, 2015 1:11 PM

nm

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by Scarecrow Joe on Friday, July 31, 2015 5:34 PM

Why stopping at f/8?  Get a tripod and stop down to f/22 if you want.  I suggest the lowest ISO possible too. Get a remote shutter controler or set the shutter timer to 2 or 10 secs.  Shooting the moon is not so hard, IMO of course.

  • Member since
    February, 2015
Posted by Bick on Saturday, August 01, 2015 7:55 AM

The moon is a sunlit object - just as any sunlit object on earth. The old sunny 16 rule (set the shutter to the reciprocal of the ISO at f16) is a good starting place i.e at ISO 100, 1/100 sec at f16. At these high f stops diffraction limits may come into play dependent upon lens. A tripod and remote shutter release is a great help.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, August 01, 2015 10:14 AM

The thing about diffraction blur is that the spot profile is different than out of focus.  It just creates a bit of overall fog. The old rule of thumb compared blur diameters of OOF vs diffraction, but the definitions used are misleading.  Since the shape is so different, it is hard to come up with a definition of blur circle diameter that is equivalent.

Experiment with high f/#s.  They used to say film was cheap, but storage space is even cheaper, especially when you just erase anything you don't like.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: NW Washington
Posted by dirkpitt77 on Saturday, August 01, 2015 5:03 PM

Oh yeah, I've shot plenty of moon pics on tripod and self-timer with aperture at all kinds of settings, depending on ambient lighting conditions. My old camera (the Canon SX510HS Powershot) maxed out at f/8. This is part of the reason I went ahead and got the DSLR. THe old camera had a max zoom of 129mm. New camera will go to 300mm, but the lens is not that great from what folks are telling me. The whole idea was to be able to zoom closer on the moon and on aircraft shots.

This morning I went out early and did some shooting with both cameras, using identical aperture, ISO and shutter settings, and zoom settings as close to each other as possible. I set both at 130mm focal length, and here the old camera made much clearer shots. I'm wondering how much the pixel size has to do with it. Old camera=4000X3000 pixels. New camera is 5300X3200 pixels or so.

Still playing, so I'll keep shooting. Maybe I'll try to post up some pics shortly.

    "Some say the alien didn't die in the crash.  It survived and drank whiskey and played poker with the locals 'til the Texas Rangers caught wind of it and shot it dead."

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: NW Washington
Posted by dirkpitt77 on Saturday, August 01, 2015 5:20 PM

Okay, these are all from the new camera:

 IMG_0022 by theirishavenger, on Flickr

 IMG_0297 by theirishavenger, on Flickr

 IMG_0233 by theirishavenger, on Flickr

 IMG_0249 by theirishavenger, on Flickr

 IMG_0273 by theirishavenger, on Flickr

You can tell depth of field is a bit too narrow on this one:

 IMG_0319 by theirishavenger, on Flickr

    "Some say the alien didn't die in the crash.  It survived and drank whiskey and played poker with the locals 'til the Texas Rangers caught wind of it and shot it dead."

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by Scarecrow Joe on Saturday, August 01, 2015 5:30 PM

Your moon shots came out very nice considering your lens and first try!  With a good tripod and remote shutter release you will see a world of difference.  You can lower your ISO for a much cleaner image and will eliminate any motion artifacts from hand holding the camera.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: NW Washington
Posted by dirkpitt77 on Saturday, August 01, 2015 5:33 PM

For comparison, here's a  moon shot I took with the old camera. Just pulled this off my Flickr page, so not sure what the settings were:

 . by theirishavenger, on Flickr

    "Some say the alien didn't die in the crash.  It survived and drank whiskey and played poker with the locals 'til the Texas Rangers caught wind of it and shot it dead."

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: NW Washington
Posted by dirkpitt77 on Saturday, August 01, 2015 5:37 PM

Thanks, Joe!

    "Some say the alien didn't die in the crash.  It survived and drank whiskey and played poker with the locals 'til the Texas Rangers caught wind of it and shot it dead."

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, August 02, 2015 5:01 AM

Nice pictures, Dirk!

I recently bought a "super-zoom point-and-shoot bridge camera," a Nikon P-520 ($400), to add to my big, clumsy DSLR (a Pentax K-10). In the past couple of days I've gotten some good, graphic demonstrations of why I want both.

A couple of days ago I was walking out of the house, with my little Nikon over my shoulder, when I chanced to notice a beautiful, perfectly symmetrical spider web on the porch railing. The sun was hitting it just right. So I thought, "Aha, I'll take some pictures of it!" Failure. Due to the autofocus feature, the point-and-shoot refused to focus on the spider web, and focused instead on the plants several feet behind it. When I checked the monitor screen, the spider web (despite the enormous depth of field) was invisible. So I switched to manual focus. Due to the electronic viewfinder, I couldn't see the spider web well enough to focus on it.

Yesterday was my stepdaughter's wedding. I didn't want to get in the way of the professional wedding photographer, but my wife wanted me to take some candid shots before and after the ceremony. So I took the little Nikon with me again. It got some good pictures. It also got some blurry ones, some badly-composed ones, and some shots of people's butts and backs. Reason? The shutter lag of a second or so between the time you push the shutter button and the time the picture is shot. People kept moving around, and walking/dancing in front of me at the crucial instant.

If I'd had my DSLR on those occasions, I would have gotten some better pictures. The DSLR, of course, has an optical viewfinder and a manual focus override, and when you push the shutter button the shutter fires, with no discernible delay. I also would have been lugging around more than two pounds of camera, rather than a few ounces.

Both types have their ideal uses and not-so-ideal ones. I'm mighty glad to have both.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: NW Washington
Posted by dirkpitt77 on Sunday, August 02, 2015 9:33 AM

Thank you, sir. You are exactly right. I had a Fuji with terrible shutter lag. Another reminder for why I bought this new one.

And, 'bridge camera'! I was wondering what they were called!That's basically what  my old Canon is.

    "Some say the alien didn't die in the crash.  It survived and drank whiskey and played poker with the locals 'til the Texas Rangers caught wind of it and shot it dead."

  • Member since
    April, 2014
Posted by Sandbox on Friday, December 18, 2015 11:29 AM

We've had a Fuji point & shoot camera for years.  But it had only enough memory for 30 to 40 pictures.  Also I got tired of clicking the button and getting a picture that is slightly delayed.  Recently I was able to afford a DSLR with 32g of memory, a better battery than 4 AA batteries and very quick image capture time.  The last feature would have been very handy this weekend when I was walking my dogs through some under brush.  My Springer flushed some wild turkeys and they started taking off straight towards me.  I would never have had a chance at a good shot of them with the old camera.

I will keep using our Fuji when size/bulk is an issue but not likely to have any action photos.  Plus I will haul out my old Pentax ME film camera every once in a while too.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, December 18, 2015 4:31 PM

I've got a grand old Pentax ME-Super too, and I love it. It's more than thirty years old now, but so far as I can tell it still works perfectly. It's hard to find film for it nowadays, though. Even our excellent local camera store only has a handful of 35mm rolls in stock at a time.

That camera and I have been lots of interesting places together, though. I'll hang onto it.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

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