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What Do You Want From A Digital Camera?


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#1 Bee Jay

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 09:24 AM

In the last decade photography has had dramatic changes, digital cameras have made new things possible, and priced so that most people can now own a camera that takes high quality images. Not only that, but many are pocketable too.

DSLRs are now common place in the street, or on the beach and whichever one you go for, you'll be getting good low light performance, manual modes & great image quality.

CSCs started out as being the new SLR, only smaller; but more recently many have become more focused on the pixel chase & dusting off an extra few millimetres, rather than on making them a true rival to the mid-range SLRs, which they could now be.

Compacts seem to be one long line of too many pixels on small sensors, endless, useless, filters, modes & huge zooms let down by dodgy image stabilization.

It makes me wonder, what are the things most important to you when looking at a camera?

Is GPS more useful than aperture priority? Would you rather a CSC had an instant mode dial or be 20g lighter?

I'd be really interested to know how you feel. Cheers.

#2 BOBWED

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 05:37 AM

QUOTE (Bee Jay @ Aug 25 2011, 02:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In the last decade photography has had dramatic changes, digital cameras have made new things possible, and priced so that most people can now own a camera that takes high quality images. Not only that, but many are pocketable too.

DSLRs are now common place in the street, or on the beach and whichever one you go for, you'll be getting good low light performance, manual modes & great image quality.

CSCs started out as being the new SLR, only smaller; but more recently many have become more focused on the pixel chase & dusting off an extra few millimetres, rather than on making them a true rival to the mid-range SLRs, which they could now be.

Compacts seem to be one long line of too many pixels on small sensors, endless, useless, filters, modes & huge zooms let down by dodgy image stabilization.

It makes me wonder, what are the things most important to you when looking at a camera?

Is GPS more useful than aperture priority? Would you rather a CSC had an instant mode dial or be 20g lighter?

I'd be really interested to know how you feel. Cheers.

This is a wonderful topic you've posted Bee Jay. And, it is perfectly timely to me. I think others who've been at digital photography a while will agree that this question could be answered many times differently as they progressed through their experience in digital photography. Seems to me that one's answer depends on where he is at as a photographer.

I struggled for two months trying to understand what was important in digital photography by reading articles and camera reviews on the Web before buying my first camera. Unfortunately, I learned too late that most of the industry writing about new cameras confuse more than inform. The megapixel race as it pertains to point and shoots is a good example. Not so much in dslr's. But, the camera I chose failed to have one thing no one had mentioned - live view. It is tough to learn photography without it. When right in front of you you can see the affects of your camera adjustments. Such a great teacher, and my camera did not have it. So, I bought another that had it. Yes, the second did not have the mega-zoom, nor bracketing, nor the latest movie mode. But, it had live view. And, becoming a better photographer instead of getting that distant shot or doing hdr was the most important thing to me with respect to my first camera. I had learned that. My first camera had taught me that lesson. And, this was my first important lesson as a newbie - defining what I wanted. To get the perfect shot right out of the box or learn how to become a photographer. Define that and choose to learn to be a good photographer sets up what choices you are going to make about a camera and its features.

With live view I could see the immediate affects when adjusting white balance, exposure compensation, saturation, contrast, sharpening, etc. And, as I learned about aperture and shutter settings I realized my little point and shoot did not actually talk in these terms, but had the ability to adjust to these affects. But, because I wanted to control the affects in these terms I began to wish for a manual mode. So, I bought another camera. A p&s with a manual mode. There I learned manual mode through the demanding experience of shooting only in SOOC. Good by to Picasa. And, by this Bee Jay here was an incredible lesson learned - whatever features your camera may have or not have, whatever its ability or shortcomings they can all be overcome in an editor. You see, Bee Jay shooting in manual mode doing SOOC taught me a great deal. As much about photography as about how to make a photograph.

You remarked about the frustration of the pixel chase, and other marketing fluff. I understand. I was a victim of it. But, there is so much other progress that is important. For example, more and more point and shoot cameras are coming out that are RAW capable. So capturing in RAW is no longer the sole kingdom belonging to dslr's. You can now carry a very pocketable camera and capture in RAW. And, of course that means Photoshop becomes a very real tool for even a p&s user. Also, many p&s cameras now use CMOS sensors. Here, high pixel count is not as damaging as it is on simple CCD's. So, the pixel count race has a basis in truth when speaking about a p&s with a CMOS sensor. With respect to the CSC cameras. Yes, they have a shortcoming. I believe there are two such shortcomings: first the limited lens stable. However, all csc manufacturers use the same lens mount (unlike dslr manufacturers) so you can chose among all of the lenses produced. (Remember, Nikon and Canon announced last month that they will each produce a CSC line of cameras, soon.) And, secondly, the need to compose with only an LCD. Unless you choose the SLT by Sony. But, this is progress. Not perfect at first. But, getting better.

So, yes Bee Jay, there is much to be distracted and confused by out there. But, dig a little deeper and you'd be surprised what you will find. My best, BobWed

#3 Joekyut

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:06 PM


I think I've been swallowed up in the amount pixels on the photo. I believe the quality of the output still depends on it and it therefore can't be downplayed



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