a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras

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Sandy70
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a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
4 months ago

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages. We are not talking about professionals who print. He felt the difference in IQ was not worth the pain carrying the gears around when on a holiday. He hasn't used his DSLR for sometime now. There were others too who agreed with him. There would be people who would not admit this since they already own a DSLR. Wanted honest opinions.

Am I craving wrongly for something that's going to be short lived?.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

ARShutterbug
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Experience more important than type of camera
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

The first problem is that you're not defining which dSLR and which compact camera you're talking about.  A cheap pocketable camera is not the same thing as a Leica M9, and a cheap dSLR is not the same as a Canon 5D Mark III.  Likewise, any dSLR with a cheap or inappropriate lens is not the same as a Mirrorless camera or a Leica M9 with an appropriate lens.  Buying a dSLR doesn't instantly mean better image quality.

Yes, when you have no requirements, and your only purpose is snapshots of holidays for yourself, you can use any camera and lens that you want.

The requirements of digital photo distributions that may be spread across huge displays, monitors that are viewed at less than a 2 m distance, are much higher than those of paper prints that are viewed as normal viewing distances.

The second problem is that any camera will require that you know what you're doing with the specific camera kit that you choose.  Do you know what you're doing, such that you can look at a scene and instantly know which exposure parameters and which JPEG processing parameters to tell the camera to use?  Are you prepared to apply that experience to a new camera's control layout?  If not, you can't expect to get good results from those "out of the box" photographs.  You need to know your camera, and be experienced enough such that you don't need to think about the photography basics, so that you can quickly concentrate on the overall compositions while not leaving your holiday.

I am much more comfortable using a dSLR than a pocketable camera, because all of the controls that define the composition are where I need them to be, and usually in one hand.  I also use a pocketable camera, but it has some significant negative compromises that can cause frustration and an increase bad results when total concentration and both hands are not available.  I only use the pocketable camera when I haven't brought a dSLR kit because I didn't expect to be taking photographs.

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WryCuda
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Sandy70 wrote:

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

A decent DSLR gives you flexibility. Short zooms for holidays; Long zooms for chasing birds; Prime lenses for special stuff. -Also plenty of controls to get the picture you want.

Non-DSLR covers a multitude of compromises. Chief among them is an unsatisfactory viewfinder. Many of the better "mirrorless" cameras are darn near as bulky as DSLRs. At the cheap end, $50 cameras are usable in good conditions. There is a $3000 compact from Sony that isn't too bad.

Some of us enjoy the process of getting the gear ready for a holiday. I take a camera bag with a small DSLR and a couple of lenses; doesn't cause a problem.

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D Cox
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to WryCuda, 4 months ago

WryCuda wrote:

Sandy70 wrote:

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

A decent DSLR gives you flexibility. Short zooms for holidays; Long zooms for chasing birds; Prime lenses for special stuff. -Also plenty of controls to get the picture you want.

This applies to almost any camera with changeable lenses. The "SLR" part defines only the type of viewfinder.

I think changeable lenses are the main thing the OP needs for experimenting . So long as you can change lenses and have some kind of viewfinder (even if it's just a ground glass or an LCD) that shows you what the lens is seeing, you can experiment with optics and lighting. And if you are truly original, you might take some interesting photos, as Moholy-Nagy did, for example.

Non-DSLR covers a multitude of compromises. Chief among them is an unsatisfactory viewfinder. Many of the better "mirrorless" cameras are darn near as bulky as DSLRs. At the cheap end, $50 cameras are usable in good conditions. There is a $3000 compact from Sony that isn't too bad.

Some of us enjoy the process of getting the gear ready for a holiday. I take a camera bag with a small DSLR and a couple of lenses; doesn't cause a problem.

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WryCuda
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to D Cox, 4 months ago

D Cox wrote:

I think changeable lenses are the main thing the OP needs for experimenting . So long as you can change lenses and have some kind of viewfinder (even if it's just a ground glass or an LCD) that shows you what the lens is seeing, you can experiment with optics and lighting.

And if you are truly original, you might take some interesting photos, as Moholy-Nagy did, for example.

Ah, good old Laszlo...

Judged by academic standards, his photographs were outrageously bad. Inevitably, the normal subject of the picture was half lost in a maze of apparently accidental forms, distorted by unfamiliar perspectives, and framed as though the photographer had not finally decided what his subject really was.

-Sounds like some C&C that I received from the sages at DPR for my UWA work.

BTW, I still think you need a DSLR so that you can see properly. Even the $3000 Sony is a bit dodgy when it comes to VF.

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crashpc
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

If you go for out of box snapshots, you will be very happy with some advanced pro compact cam, and you mostly won´t be able to tell the difference between compact and big sensor cam up to full screen image size. There is so little difference these days in results. Ultill you step into very difficult scene with poor light, when some superior properties of that cam (DSLR or any big sensor cam) really kick in, you won´t see much difference. Sometimes It feels even worse for beginner, as he for example LOOSES sharpness across the whole scene, because bigger sensor makes depth of (in-focus) field so thin, that you will have for example one person in focus, and another person step away blurred, out of focus. So until you really want to step in the photography, you stay with better compact cams.

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TTMartin
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Sandy70 wrote:

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages. We are not talking about professionals who print. He felt the difference in IQ was not worth the pain carrying the gears around when on a holiday. He hasn't used his DSLR for sometime now. There were others too who agreed with him. There would be people who would not admit this since they already own a DSLR. Wanted honest opinions.

Am I craving wrongly for something that's going to be short lived?.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

Even a camera phone or cheap point and shoot camera can have excellent image quality in the right conditions. Same is true of compact cameras. As conditions become more challenging like lower light or sports and birds in flight that's when you need a more capable camera.

Large sensor mirrorless cameras do fine in low light. Focus tracking of moving subjects remains the biggest weakness of compact cameras. If you don't plan on photographing moving subjects then a compact camera can be a good choice.

If you want a dSLR and want to future proof your purchase. Look at the Canon EOS system. Lenses and accessories you buy for your dSLR will be fully functional on their future mirrorless cameras. The flash I purchased for my CAnon EOS M serves double duty with my Canon EOS 6D. Canon also has the lead in on sensor auto focus with their Dual Pixel AF system.

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Dave Stott
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Sandy70 wrote:

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages. We are not talking about professionals who print. He felt the difference in IQ was not worth the pain carrying the gears around when on a holiday. He hasn't used his DSLR for sometime now. There were others too who agreed with him. There would be people who would not admit this since they already own a DSLR. Wanted honest opinions.

Am I craving wrongly for something that's going to be short lived?.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

If I were starting out now in your position I would go mirrorless, probably micro 4/3 for the range of lenses available and two competing manufacturers. I would be confident that in a couple of years they will match any current crop frame dslr's.  If you wish you can set it up as a very high quality point and shoot and enjoy the holiday, but they are massively configurable and give you lots of room to grow.

The poster who said such a system is not much less bulky than a dslr and equivalent lens is simply talking nonsense.

Dave

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Doug Aiien
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

This site can be very confusing and very enlightening. Most here are enthusiasts with great knowledge of the technical aspects of photography and the strengths and weaknesses of every kind and make of camera. There's a very challenging learning curve to even understand the subtle arguments of many of the forums. If you want to take good pictures on holiday, you don't need to understand much about cameras or photography. Almost any camera you can buy at Walmart or Target is better than what Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter used. It's hard to go wrong! So unless the technical and hobby aspects of photography are your main interest, just buy a camera, first learn to use it in automatic mode, and then learn to use it in other modes. If you have specialized interests such as fast action sports photography, wildlife photography, or night photography- then you need more information, and it's all available online here, but seldom required to take good pictures on holiday. My preference for an all- round camera is one of the small sensor, long telephoto "bridge" cameras which can do almost everything pretty well, but are not outstanding in any area. If I could take only one camera with me on holiday, it would be my Canon SX-40.

Doug Allen

Canon SX-40

Olympus OMD EM5 and 300mm

older SLRs

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yardcoyote
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to WryCuda, 4 months ago

Or prime lenses for everyday shooting ... large sensor pocketable cameras without zooms are rare beasts and available only in a few focal lengths.   Flexibility is the hallmark of the DSLR- a change of lenses makes it into a different camera every time.  Plus there's no substitute for the optical viewfinder, at least in my book.

There are times when carrying it is too much of a hassle, though. Then I tens to depend on a decent little 8 megapixel small sensor camera with a prime lens that I always have with me-- the one in my  phone.

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jrtrent
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Sandy70 wrote:

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages. We are not talking about professionals who print. He felt the difference in IQ was not worth the pain carrying the gears around when on a holiday. He hasn't used his DSLR for sometime now. There were others too who agreed with him. There would be people who would not admit this since they already own a DSLR. Wanted honest opinions.

Am I craving wrongly for something that's going to be short lived?.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

It really depends on you. My favorite way of carrying and using a camera is to have it ready-to-hand, hanging from a neckstrap. I've never found this to be in any way tiresome or onerous, whether years ago with a Zeiss twin lens reflex, a succession of film SLR's from Pentax, Praktica, and Contax, or today with my Samsung DSLR. I don't carry multiple lenses or accessories, just the camera around my neck with a lens attached, either a reasonably fast, normal lens (for my 1.5X crop-factor DSLR, that would be a 35mm lens of f/2 or better speed) or the typical 18-55 kit zoom.

Some people would prefer a small camera that slips into a shirt pocket, and I've used this kind of camera, too. I have no problem with the image quality from a compact digital camera, but I find a DSLR easier to hold, easier to control, more fun to use, and, most importantly, easier to see through and compose pictures with. Compacts are convenient, but too many times I've had to put one away and get no pictures at all simply because I couldn't see the image well enough on the rear LCD screen. With a DSLR's optical, through the lens finder, I'm always able to compose my pictures rather than guess at what I'm getting.

It can take some time to set up a camera to give pleasing results with out-of-camera JPEG's. The best advice I got for setting up my camera was from a poster named GaryDem. He put the following into several of his posts:

"there are 4 functions that may be adjusted. the color mode(or whatever it is called) saturation contrast and sharpening. i assume you are using a calibrated monitor. simply select a scene immediately outside your house. hopefully it has lights darks and colors. all settings in the camera are at zero or default. adjust color mode first then check the shot on the monitor, decide if ok, if not adjust reshoot and recheck. go on to each of the other adjustment settings. the object is to get the monitor scene as close a possible to the real scene outside. do not be concerned if the finished monitor scene has enough color for your tastes; the amount of color can be adjusted in pp. you are going for accuracy between the 2 scenes. the real and the one on your monitor; when done the 2 scenes should look identical or as close as possible. do not hurry. the adjustment process could take several hours. but once done leave the settings alone. at this point you know that the camera will accurately make the best most accurate pics possible of the scene. after i set my dslr up 3+ yrs ago about, i have not ever moved the settings. It took me 2-3 hours to setup my dslr."

That post was from 2008. Today's cameras have a few more options to play with, such as highlight priority, shadow lift, and other forms of dynamic range expansion, but I've gotten good results from just the four parameters mentioned in the GaryDem quote above. As an example, on my GX-1S (older Samsung DSLR), I use the default bright color mode, with saturation and contrast both at -2, and sharpening at +2. I do not change these according to varying conditions. When out taking pictures, I don't adjust anything other than focal length (well, 99% of the time it's at 35mm), focus point, aperture, and shutter speed, and I've happily depended on auto white balance to adjust for most light conditions (on rare occasion, under certain types of artificial or mixed lighting, I might make use of a custom white balance setting). People who print may need to further optimize the files for their needs, but for viewing on monitors or using the card readers in a plasma television, I find my out-of-camera results to be fine just as they are.

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Nikonparrothead
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Sandy70 wrote:

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages. We are not talking about professionals who print. He felt the difference in IQ was not worth the pain carrying the gears around when on a holiday. He hasn't used his DSLR for sometime now. There were others too who agreed with him. There would be people who would not admit this since they already own a DSLR. Wanted honest opinions.

Am I craving wrongly for something that's going to be short lived?.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

OK looking at your other posts, you already own a 12mp Sony compact camera and you're going on a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday. There are a couple of questions that you need to answer:

1. Are you happy with the photos produced by your current camera for however you currently use it (web, small prints, etc.)?

2. What doesn't your current camera do now that you need another camera to do? Better low-light photos? Better color? Longer zoom? Wider aspect? Faster reaction time (ie less shutter lag)?

3. Are you anticipating a different use that your current camera doesn't allow, perhaps making coffee table size photo books, or intermittently shooting video clips?

4. How much do you want photography to dominate your once-in-a-lifetime family holiday? Are you planning early mornings for "perfect light" landscapes? Do you plan to document the inside of churches/museums more than a quick picture postcard purchase will accomplish? Do you want to change lenses?

Everyone here can tell you what works for them. Heck I've done once-in-a-lifetime trips both ways, obsessed with carrying lots of gear (especially back in the film days), a pocket point-and-shoot and even went through a phase (again in film days) when I just opted for a couple disposable point-and-shoots.

If you can already create every type of image you want with your current camera -- and you have enough spare batteries and a good charger or two -- you may not need to buy another camera.

If you decide you do need another camera, truth is -- unless you're planning something exotic -- just about anything on the market will be fine -- as long as it satisfies all of your needs.

Though as a passing thought. While you're recording that one-in-a-lifetime trip, don't forget other basics like a notebook or recorder (ideally with removable media) and jot down (or record) what you thought was cool about  the day/place. That will help give your images context in the decades to come.

Safe travels and good luck with your gear choice.

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happysnapper64
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Dave Stott, 4 months ago

My first trip with a DSLR [lake Garda 2yrs ago] made me go for a smaller system just for the portability. I got an Oly E-PL5. 14-42 & 40-150. Fits into a bag less than half the size of the DSLR + lenses.

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Glen Barrington
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Sandy70 wrote:

I would love to take out of the box photographs. I was considering buying a DSLR.

I read some articles on opinions page on this web site. Some senior photographers mentioned that compact cameras Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages. We are not talking about professionals who print. He felt the difference in IQ was not worth the pain carrying the gears around when on a holiday. He hasn't used his DSLR for sometime now. There were others too who agreed with him. There would be people who would not admit this since they already own a DSLR. Wanted honest opinions.

Am I craving wrongly for something that's going to be short lived?.

Would it mean concentrating on camera more than the holiday?

DSLRs are NOT going away. On the other hand though, they will become less important to the amateur photographer over time, I think. Even 'serious' amateurs, I suspect. I also suspect that DSLRs will become a niche product aimed at professional photographers and a few well heeled amateurs.

I have sold one of my 2 DSLR bodies, I am keeping my DSLR lenses for use on my m4/3s camera (via use of adapters) and to keep my remaining DSLR functional. My new gear purchases will be for m4/3s only. I feel my OMD E-M10 fully replaces my Olympus E30 DSLR, and offers additional image quality enhancements and gives me considerable advantages in size and weight.

I don't think a person buying a DSLR today is wasting his or her money, but I also think that, over time, he or she will find themselves drifting towards a mirrorless camera system of some sort anyway.

you might find an article I wrote interesting.

http://glenbarrington.blogspot.com/2014/04/hey-canon-you-might-not-be-future-of.html

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BobSC
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Sandy70 wrote:

Image quality is as good as those of a DSLR, especially in an era where most digital photos will land up being seen on web pages. We are not talking about professionals who print. He felt the

This seems to be a key consideration in your question. If you are only taking photos in good light and you're only using "standard" focal lengths and you're only putting them on web pages, then you can get equal quality from compact cameras. And they are certainly easier to carry.

This is from a Canon a1000, which you can buy on ebay for $10:

And the light isn't really all that good.

And this one is from a Canon s95:

Probably neither of those would be significantly better if I had had a dSLR with me.

But probably no compact camera would have let me get this shot:

When we went to some National Parks last summer I took two dSLRs (so I could have two lenses and not change them in the desert). No regrets about carrying the extra weight on that trip, because the resulting images are great, and stand up to large prints. But we just went to a music festival and a Sony Nex3n with only a single 16mm lens did great, and in that case it was worth it not to have the extra gear to carry around.

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jrtrent
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Glen Barrington, 4 months ago

Glen Barrington wrote:

you might find an article I wrote interesting.

http://glenbarrington.blogspot.com/2014/04/hey-canon-you-might-not-be-future-of.html

Interesting article, especially the title, which reads in part, "Samsung may be the future!"

For me, Samsung represents past and present, seeing as how I bought and still use their first DSLR, but perhaps not the future--since they no longer make DSLR's, they no longer have anything of interest to sell me.  DSLR's, and SLR's before that, are my choice of camera type mainly because I have yet to look through a viewfinder that makes it easier for me to see and compose pictures with.  With good local shops, I'm able to take the latest and greatest EVF cameras outside the shop and make some comparisons, yet even my humble, crop-sensor Samsung GX-1S has, to my eyes, a better viewfinder.  Maybe things will be different in years to come.

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crashpc
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to Glen Barrington, 4 months ago

Yes, of course, one day. But it looks that Samsung does not creep into pros and gearheads market too much. Anyway people thinking serious will propably smoothly transfer to the similar or the same body size of Canon and Nikon advanced mirrorless cams with hybrid VF and so on. For those who always need better, for those who don´t say "now the technology is so far that it´s enaugh for me", there will always be some pretty wide choice, and from what can we see (market share), those people make big chunk of market. Majority of any advanced cam market to say.

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Why does he do it?

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Glen Barrington
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Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras
In reply to crashpc, 4 months ago

crashpc wrote:

Yes, of course, one day. But it looks that Samsung does not creep into pros and gearheads market too much. Anyway people thinking serious will propably smoothly transfer to the similar or the same body size of Canon and Nikon advanced mirrorless cams with hybrid VF and so on. For those who always need better, for those who don´t say "now the technology is so far that it´s enaugh for me", there will always be some pretty wide choice, and from what can we see (market share), those people make big chunk of market. Majority of any advanced cam market to say.

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Why does he do it?

Well, you are talking about the present, my article talks about the future.  I agree with your analysis of the present and the near past.

What I'm trying to say in that article is, that we are in an important pivot point in photographic history.  I'm trying to say that Samsung not only doesn't see itself as fitting into that model that you describe in your post, but that it thinks that model is nearing the end of its useful economic life.  I'm trying to say that I think that the ubiquity of the smartphone is changing how we perceive photography, and that I've not seen much recognition from Canon and Nikon that they understand that situation.

I care about photography, I DON'T really care about Samsung, Nikon, Canon, or Olympus.  If they survive, great!  If they don't, too bad.  However, I personally think Samsung, and to a lesser extent, the m4/3s crew are trying to develop a model more in line with how I think the future of photography is going to look.

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jackdan
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Question for everyone about JPEG image quality
In reply to Sandy70, 4 months ago

Assuming the OP does not process her photos, should the quality of the OOC JPEGs be a main consideration? I would have thought that since manufacturers know most users of P&S cameras are unlikely to PP that the OOC JPEGs would be better from P&S cameras. My wife primarily uses a Canon s110, but the OOC JPEGs need to be PP. On the other hand I can get a pretty good OOC JPEG from my Pentax K30 by careful selection of the camera settings.

I am not saying DSLRs produce better OOC JPEGs. What does produce the best OOC JPEGs? Would a cheaper P&S be more likely to produce OOC JPEGs that do not need to be processed, since a cheaper camera would not be intended for an enthusiast?

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TTMartin
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Re: Question for everyone about JPEG image quality
In reply to jackdan, 4 months ago

jackdan wrote:

Assuming the OP does not process her photos, should the quality of the OOC JPEGs be a main consideration? I would have thought that since manufacturers know most users of P&S cameras are unlikely to PP that the OOC JPEGs would be better from P&S cameras. My wife primarily uses a Canon s110, but the OOC JPEGs need to be PP. On the other hand I can get a pretty good OOC JPEG from my Pentax K30 by careful selection of the camera settings.

Whether the out of camera JPGs require post processing or not has more to do with the photographer than the camera.

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