Should you buy a DSLR or Compact / Superzoom camera

The section for anyone buying a new camera who's wondering which brand to go for. If you've already decided on a brand, please post in that manufacturer's section!

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Postby Blimundus » Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:26 pm

Thanks Bob. I did indeed read Gordon's article, which was very helpful. However, it does not go into detail about Compact vs. Superzoom, hence my question.

Either we both lack imagination, or there really is no disadvantage other than price and dimensions...
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Postby Bob Andersson » Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:32 pm

I suspect, but haven't checked, that the typical sensor size in a superzoom is larger than that in a typical compact. As a result it should produce cleaner images at the higher ISO settings. But such sweeping generalisations should be thrown away when it comes down to comparing particular models as the specifications and test results will tell you all you need to know.

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Postby mikek75 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:38 pm

Good evening all, first post here, liking what I see so far! I recently bought into the DSLR game with a EOS 450D, and still have a Konica Minolta Z3 and a Canon Ixus 860IS.

The way I see it is I can have my Ixus on my belt at all times, and for macro shots it is invaluable as I can get as close as 10mm with great results. For my 450D I have the standard kit 18-55 IS and 55-250 IS, neither of which can get as close as the Ixus. True, I could buy a macro lens, but why bother when the compact does a good job?!

Whilst I think the 450D is great I'm ashamed to admit that I couldn't resist pulling the trigger on a EOS 50D (had a rare windfall, lol!).
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Postby podgeorge » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:18 pm

mikek75 wrote:Good evening all, first post here, liking what I see so far! I recently bought into the DSLR game with a EOS 450D, and still have a Konica Minolta Z3 and a Canon Ixus 860IS.

The way I see it is I can have my Ixus on my belt at all times, and for macro shots it is invaluable as I can get as close as 10mm with great results. For my 450D I have the standard kit 18-55 IS and 55-250 IS, neither of which can get as close as the Ixus. True, I could buy a macro lens, but why bother when the compact does a good job?!

Whilst I think the 450D is great I'm ashamed to admit that I couldn't resist pulling the trigger on a EOS 50D (had a rare windfall, lol!).

A warm welcome to Camer Labs froum!

About the macro great big advantage of using a DSLR and a macro lens for macro compared to a Compact, is the ability to actually control the DOF and Bokeh more easily, this can offer huge advantages in your shots!

Although if you have just bought a 50D, i guess you haven't stuck to a rule alot enthusiasts use, which is 'glass before body' so in general circumstances it is usually a better idea to invest in some nice glass than in body's, it's the glass which will improve your photography the most not your body!
Just my opinion, and hoped it helped :wink:

Postby mikek75 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:25 pm

Well, yeah, I agree I probably should have gone for better lenses. I blame the internet to be honest. Was a bit the worse for wear and saw a great price on the 50D (great compared to everywhere else, though still not cheap!)....Before I knew it I'd bought it!

Still, the 450D will be up on ebay next week, hopefull the proceeds will be sufficient to get some quality glass! !!
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image quality how do you judge it?

Postby neilm16 » Thu May 28, 2009 12:17 pm

Hi all,

I wonder if anyone can assist in the old age issue of image quality.

I currently own an FZ28 and I am very happy with it. I have seen excellent reviews for the camera mentioning good colour etc etc. However when the camera is then reviewed, say on here the image quality gets a 17/20 when compared to other superzooms. Of course this is ok when I maybe interested in other superzoom models but not when I maybe interested in possibly moving up to a DSLR.

Of course like anyone I constantly hear the call that DSLR offer better image quality mainly due to the larger sensor and I am tempted by the G1 or moving over to the Canon 500d. I then often hear contradictions to that, with people saying well in good light results are very similar as compacts / bridge cameras have really closed the gap in terms of IQ.

In fact on occasions you hear that because of the glass / lenses provided with kit lenses the results are often worse than that you can get from say the FZ28 because although the sensor is smaller the glass quality is so good.

Also I went into Jessops yesterday and mentioned I had a FZ28 and said I had heard good things about the G1 and the Canon 500d and the assitant said to be fair you wouldnt notice much difference between the FZ28 and the G1 and certainly not £490 worth. Which I thought was good of him to be so honest. He did say you may notice a bigger difference though moving up to the Canon 500d.

I also saw one review for the G1 who said compacts users would really notice the improvement in IQ when taking landscape photos but then fails to provide an example showing why this is so. In what way would the image quality be better?

I wish more reviewers would place portrait and landscape images taken by say the FZ28 and similar higher end compacts and say the G1 or Canon 500d place them side by side and point out differences in the image clarity and detail as I assume this is what the DSLR IQ debate is about.

If for example you took a portrait image in good light and say the person had freckels etc. Would the DSLR capture more detail in the persons face showing more detail and extra freckles for example than say the FZ28. It maybe an odd example but I just wonder what impact the larger sensor actually has.

In summary do entry level DSLR's capture extra detail that is not possible from compacts such as FZ28? Or is it in essence over blown hype and in fact its not until you move up to the higher end of DSLR's that you would really notice much difference.

Ultimately it would be great to be able to test a DSLR and see what the differencies are bad sadly this isnt possible unless anyone knows different?

Many thanks for your help.

Postby sahitya » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:25 am

the article about which to buy a super zoom or a d-slr really doesn't help for its concentrated on the kind of shots one takes. however one would want to keep a camera that is suitable for most shots.
now i think that a mid range d-slr is definately far superior to a super zoom so CANON 500D will definately be a better camera than PANASONIC FZ28. but the confusion is which to chose a super-zoom or a entery level d-slr.
my confusion is between Panasonic FZ28 and Canon 1000d. they are similarly priced. i have a simple question, will i be able to take creative shots more with fz28 or canon 1000d. which camera has a superior range of shot takings.
i really like the fz28 for it also has movie recording and great lense. but does it give me the ability to take variety of shots or does it ristrict me. i mean, its got all the manual settings, aperture priority, shutter proiority etc but are they as effective as an entry level d-slr?

DSLR or Superzoom

Postby jumpsystems » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:27 am

It's all down to the image quality. A DSLR will have a larger sensor and will (generally) provide superior image quality. To get the Superzoom features, you need to add a longer zoom.

My film Pentax MEF still gives better results though...

Superzoom vs DSLR Buying Decision

Postby robwong1 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:00 pm

Although this most recent question regarding the FZ28 has focused primarily on IQ, the issue is somewhat broader than that. IQ for the FZ28 compared to a DSLR like the Canon 1000D is probably fairly close under ideal lighting conditions allowing the use of low ISOs. However, as we all acknowledge, lighting conditions are not always "ideal."

My wife was recently at a quilt show, taking pictures (Nikon D40x DSLR) indoors under flourescents. To capture a nice sharp image (even with VR) she used a fairly fast shutter speed, balanced by employing an ISO of 400. With superzooms (FZ28 included), shooting at these high ISOs significantly reduces IQ.

However, as I've suggested the decision process between a superzoom and a DSLR is somewhat more complex than just focusing on IQ. I closely looked at the Panasonic FZ50 superzoom two years ago but decided on a Nikon D80. Besides the IQ issue, I wanted an optical viewfinder (having had many Nikkormats in the past), wanted to employ fast prime lenses, wanted near instant start-up to shoot and near instantaneous shot-to-shot. Compactness, weight and an all-in-one package with a 12x zoom were lower priority issues. I had used Nikkormat SLRs for decades and had gotten used to the hefty bulge hanging around my neck (somewhat insane but it must be a corrallary to senility).

Summarizing, it comes down to what's most important to the individual ...

all-in-one superzoom package/auxiliary EVF/lower total cost/some limitations on IQ versus

heftier/perhaps more comfortable ergonomics/lens flexibility/faster operation/more flexible and accomodating to difficult lighting conditions.

Postby ambrose21 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:50 am

I love my DSLR. I can't get over the fact I can just snap as many pictures that I want. with film that wasn;t possible. I can take several pictures now and pick out the best ones. that ability right there is priceless. Plus all the new technology.

If you went back to the 70's and bought a film SLR you would spend alot more money then if you bought a DSLR these days. So I don't think DSLR's are more money. I think camera prices have actually gone down the last thirty years.

I figure if you are asking yourself should I get a dslr or a point and shoot then right there tells you that you should get a point and shoot. If youre not absolutly possitive then you shouldnt get one. You know or you dont.

DSLR lowlight is not great. A battle to say the least. Then if youre trying to photograph somthing moving is very difficult. So taking pictures of a baby, which I have been doing. Is very vry hard with a DSLR. If it was film I would have lost so much money in just film alone.

Postby speedy5044 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:18 am

To respond to Fred Chapman's comments, I have a bridge camera and in general am pleased with it. However, coming from a film SLR/TLR background, I do find it slow to respond and this would be my reason for moving to a DSLR.

As Fred says, the micro 4/3rds could be a solution for me. However, comments suggesting that this format has reached its maximum pixel density at 10Mp are holding me back from taking that route. The Canon 450D has a lot of things going for it; small size, light weight and affordable price. Perhaps that's my solution.

Which is better an SLR or a point and shoot?

Postby jpld » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:56 am

Hey everyone,

I am also in the market for a new camera. The camera I now have is an HP point and shoot. It's done its days. I have tried 3 point and shoots since Christmas. The first one is the Canon Powershot SX30IS. I really liked it for the zoom 35X and the fact that it does stamp on the picture (since I like to put my photos in albums - it's great to see when they were taken). The downfall I felt for this one was that it turned my girls jaundiced, my white shutters became orange-yellow and my cream tiles also became orange-yellow. I then moved on to the Panasonic Lumix FZ-100. I liked it but it didn't stamp the date on the picture automatically and I found that the pictures were quite soft. Then came the Nikon Coolpix P500. This one was a complete jiggle fest. Even when zooming in not very far everything jiggled.

The last camera that I have tried and I am still trying is the Canon Rebel T3i. I took the plunge to the SLR. I do like it but it bothers me that it doesn't zoom like the other 3 point and shoots (is that really important???) Also, the SLR won't stamp on the picture (is this also really important??) I am wondering if I am putting too much emphsis on trivial things and not on the things that matter. Yes, I do want crisp, clear photos especially during my girls' dance recitals. My HP just can't cut that.

I would appreciate any feedback that anyone could give me. I really don't have much time left to decide with regards to the Rebel. I really need to know if when considering my criteria, I should stick with point ande shoots (and then which one???) or choose the SLR.

Thanks everyone. Your time and patience to this matter is greatly appreciated.


Postby oldwarbler » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:33 am

Jpld - You're wanting things from two different ranges of cameras, in one camera, it seems. When you say good colour from low light with moving targets - your girls dancing - that says DSLR.

Then you want the long zoom of the SX30 and FZ100... Which you "can" get in a DSLR - but low-light long-zoom DSLR lenses are pretty expensive!

Sure - you could get a fairly adequate low-ish light std version Sigma 17-70mm which starts at f/2.8 - a bit better than most kit 18-55mm that start f/3.5, at fairly low cost... But that doesn't give much more "zoom" than the 18-55mm kit lenses...

Sigma does a not very expensive 70-300mm APO DG zoom - which also has a Macro function. While not the more expensive OS version - it's rated as a quite reasonable general-purpose lens. On your crop-sensor DSLR that functions as a 105-450mm equivalent - and while not a high-end DSLR lens - it will give better quality images at 450mm than any bridge-zoom P&S. Good enough that you could crop them to 600m bridge-zoom equivalent and still have as good or better images...

With the SX30, FZ100 and the P500 - yes - they "jiggle about" at long zoom... So does my Fuji HS10 30x. It's a habit of those long-zoom bridge cameras... At longer zoom settings - use a tripod, rest, bean-bag, etc. And/or - make your "carry and shoot-fast" mode Shutter Priority - allow for the light, and get the ISO up to get the shutter above 1/125th - 1/250th is better - get your breathing right - get used to finding things to brace shoulder or back against....

Or - and back to your girls indoor dancing - go right the other way for the low-light thing... Try a Canon S95 - they start at f/2 - and do have some zoom - 3.8x. The S95 has a larger sensor than most P&S and bridge-zooms - and is capable of very nice images. If you prefer a Viewfinder (the S95 doesn't have one) - the Canon G12 has one, uses the same sensor as the S95, has 5x zoom, and more adjustments. It also costs a bit more...

As for dates on images - Photoshop or Gimp will put date and text on any mage - don't do it to originals, as you might later want to do something different with them. Date and Comment copies that you want to display or send to friends.

Those using Linux with KDE - ensure that Kdialog is installed from your repo - and from then on, just Right-Click any image file > Actions > Treatment and Publication > Add Text Annotation. You have about 48-spaces for date and comment at default font.
Regards, Dave.

Depends on the type of photography your shooting

Postby » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:51 am

The first thing I would look at before you decide which category of digital camera to buy, is what kind of photography are you planning on shooting?

The second thing I would focus on is whether or not your going to need different types of lenses, for instance, if your looking to to close-up shots that are full of detail, your going to need a camera that has a superb macro lens. In relation to this, dslr cameras are going to give you more flexibility with your lens variation and they will give you larger sensors which often lead to better picture quality when dealing with particular types of photography (especially when your blowing up or expanding the frame), you will see less pixels being blurred.

Third, I would look at what your budget is. There is often a considerable different in prices between dslr and compact point and shoot and or ultra zoom lens. The flip side of the coin is that if your simply looking for a convenient travel camera that is light weight and occasionally would like to take a couple of portrait, landscape and or slower ISO required photos, your options are abundant. You will also be dealing with a lower price bracket of camera options in most cases versus the dslr category.

There are many other variables involved, but to get you started, check out a couple of cameras in each category and use some reliable resources.

A few cameras in each category that I would take a look at would be (depends on price obviously, but these are highly rated):

Compact Point & Shoot:

Canon S95
Canon G12

Compact Interchangeable Lens

Panasonic DMC GH2
Panasonic DMX GF1
Olympus Pen E-PL2

Ultra Zoom Lens

Panasonic DMC FZ100
Nikon CoolPix P100


Pentax K-x or K-r
Nikon 3100 or 5100
Sony a55

As I mentioned earlier, it really depends on what type of photography your looking to shoot and what features are the most important. Anyways, good luck and enjoy shooting lots of fabulous photos.

Postby Gordon Laing » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:57 pm

Hi lubnaa-3124, thanks for your comments - be careful with your other posts though as they look like spam and have been removed.
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