a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras

Started Apr 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 4,550
Re: a bit confused: practicality of DSLR vs non DSLR cameras

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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