seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Started Sep 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,648
do NOT buy a DSLR!

(note: I own a DSLR with some good lenses, and a couple superzooms, of which one pocketable)

My advice is to NOT buy a DSLR

why? because a DSLR suffers from a few things:

  • bulky and heavy: so you won't always take it along with you, especially not places where you can't get to by car. If you have a bag of lenses things will be even worse

  • cannot film. I don't care what DSLR makers advertise - but DSLRs just cannot AF while filming, which makes them unsuitable for most family videos (camcorders of even an iPhone are better). Oh, and most DSLRs record only MONO sound... in 2012!

So what is my take here?

  • if you think you want a system camera ie interchangeable lenses, then you can go for one of the many mirrorless offerings out there. The body will be a good deal smaller, and you'll be able to film with AF and stereo sound. BUT, if you have a bag of lenses then the issue of complexity and bulk will come back to haunt you, as with a DSLR

  • you could also forget about a system camera and go for a superzoom. The ultimate image quality (IQ) will be less especially in lower light. But you'll be able to film with AF and motorized zoom. You never will have to worry about changing lenses and also never will have to worry about any dust entering the camera.

So how to decide?

  • if you want stunning shallow depth of field portraits then you'll need either a DSLR or a mirrorless with a f1.8 or even f1.4 lens. F1.8 is affordable, f1.4 tens to be much more expensive. A superzoom at the telephoto end can almost match this but not quite

  • if you want very good IQ in low light because you expect to do lots of low-light shooting then a DSLR or a mirrorless will be better. If this will be only occasional then a superzoom can do it too.

  • if you will FILM a lot, then a DSLR is a big no-no. A mirrorless system might work but you won't be able to zoom while filming (it's very difficult to operate a manual zoom w/o shaking the camera, or else you need a tripod which makes it much less convenient). So a superzoom will be much more useful.

  • if you want to photograph action rather than film it (I personally don't see the point, but each to his own) then a DSLR will generally prove more capable though some mirrorless cameras do OK and even some superzooms do OK

  • if you want very fast AF for whatever reason, it used to be that DSLRs had a big advantage but latest superzooms typically from Panasonic have AF times that are better than those of DSLRs except the very best high-end pro models

  • if you want very precise AF then remember that DSLRs use a system based on making two different optical paths match, which can cause errors and need user adjustment. Whereas the AF system used by mirrorless cameras or superzooms is much more precise and also lens-independent.

Hope this helps

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +5 more
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