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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Making the Decision - Which to Buy - DSLR or Compact Digital Camera?


So you're up for a new camera and you can't decide whether to buy a DSLR or a 'point and shoot'/compact camera. Please read on and maybe you will be able to make a well informed decision about the choice you make.
Firstly we need to define these two camera types:
DSLR - Digital Single Lens Reflex- a larger heavier camera which you can accessorise with many interchangeable lenses (your budget is the limit here). You can collect a large assortment of lenses to fit your camera which can be used for different shots in different conditions. With the SLR its all about the way the light enters the camera and the shutter speed that controls how much light gets in. The Digital SLR has a large image sensor that is responsible for producing those high quality shots. Another feature is that it has virtually no 'lag' time, so that when you push the shutter button, the image will be quickly captured - which makes this type of camera perfect for action shots eg. sports.
Point and shoot or compact camera- These cameras are very popular (most people will have one of these). The name says it all - its compact enough to fit in your pocket/handbag/backpack, and all you have to do is line up your shot and press the button - no manual focusing, or shutter speeds to be set. There are no external devices to use with it, the flash is built in - its compact!
Cost comparisons with most popular sellers (sourced from Amazon)
Compact Digital -
Canon G12 - $300-$400USD
Canon PowerShot ELPH300 - $200-300USD
Panasonic DMC - FH25K - $100-$200USD
DSLR - Nikon 5100 - $600-$700USD
Canon EOS Rebel T3i - $500-$600USD
Canon EOS Rebel T3 - $450-$550USD
Of course the price doesn't end there for the DSLR, once you have purchased the camera, you can begin to think about what kind of lenses you'll need. You have to first ask yourself the question "what will I use this camera for?" An 18-55mm lens is a mid-range wide-angle zoom lens that is light weight and an easy use option for everyday photography, it will take care of most shots you want to take. The next lens you might want to invest in is a telephoto lens which is ideal for action sports shots, and photos taken at a distance such as wildlife etc. The cost for these 2 lenses together will be somewhere in the ballpark of $500-$600USD. The is a further assortment of lenses on the market that will help with various other scenes/effects.
Some quick pros and cons for each:
Point and shoot/compact camera:
  • Pros: These cameras are light weight, and small enough to fit in your pocket and within the price range of most people.
  • Cons:- the image quality is not as good as the DSLR, taking good quality photos in low light/at night is almost impossible and you can't effectively photograph something moving at speed - these cameras are not for action shots
  • Pros: Better image quality - you can see the shot you're about to take because you're looking through the lens, you have control over focus and shutter speeds and its a sturdy camera - a good investment and proven to not lose too much money if you need to sell it, compared the a compact camera.
  • Cons: The camera is heavy and cumbersome if you have to lug around the camera as well as a few lenses, the price of the camera itself is quite expensive and then add the cost of lenses and lastly shutter noise can be annoying.
When trying to decide which camera is best for you, take into account the points above, and outside of that - it really comes down to what best suits your photography requirements and the bottom line - what you can afford!
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