S100 for a beginner?

Started Dec 24, 2011 | Discussions thread
Alastair Norcross Veteran Member • Posts: 6,417
Re: S100 for a beginner?

skisagooner wrote:

Alastair Norcross wrote:

skisagooner wrote:

P.S: Marry Christmas!

I do love Christmas, but my wife might object if I marry it.

Oh dear I knew something was wrong with that, but was too lazy to figure out what! As a grammar nut I'm embarrassed.

Alastair Norcross wrote:

It's no DSLR, though. For $400, you could get a second-hand Rebel and kit lens. In some situations, that would be better than the S100, in others it would be worse.

What can I learn from the DSLR that the S100 couldn't provide? I can think of using the viewfinder, and maybe it's more fun to learn from a DSLR. But if someone could elaborate on this I think it'd give me a much clearer picture of my options.

One of the big differences between the S100 and a DSLR is in depth of field control. Because the sensor on the S100 is much smaller than a DSLR sensor (though larger than most other compacts), the focal lengths of the lens are much shorter than of the lenses that would give you an equivalent field of view on a DSLR. The S100 lens is 5.2mm to 26mm. A roughly equivalent lens on a Canon Rebel, or other APS-C DSLR, is 15mm to 85mm. At, say, 10mm, which is in the middle of the S100 range, you get enormous depth of field, making it very difficult to blur the background. A 50mm lens on a DSLR allows you to get great background blur, isolating the subject. Of course, the flip side of this is that a compact will give you initially sharper-looking images, because of the enormous depth of field. Many people who upgrade from a compact to a DSLR are confused when their pictures don't seem to be as sharp.

Another thing you will get from a DSLR is better high ISO performance. The much larger sensor allows you to shoot at higher sensitivities with lower noise. The S100 is a wonderful high ISO performer for a compact, but my 7D is at least two stops better.

Yet another advantage of a DSLR is in shooting speed. A DSLR, even a Rebel, will focus and shoot a lot faster than a compact. That's why you'd never see a sports photographer with a compact. There's practically no noticeable shutter lag with a DSLR. With a compact, even a very good one like the S100, you really notice the lag between pressing the shutter button and taking the picture.

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