NYT SLR vs. Prosumer Review

Started Mar 25, 2004 | Discussions thread
walken Forum Member • Posts: 94
Re: NYT SLR vs. Prosumer Review

RoryR wrote:

One thing I did notice, was that he only talks about those cameras
in the $400 range, and makes no mention of the more expensive
higher end models. The question for me is, are most of his
comments equally applicable to the the high end models (e.g. The
Canon Pro 1, Minolta A1/A2, Nikon 8700, etc.) or not.

You're right in that he did gloss over this, which is something I didn't consider - there are really three levels of digicams (more if you want to break it down further, but three basic levels): consumer, prosumer and pro. He wrote this article as if prosumer didn't exist.

(Now let's see how many times I can use the suffix "sumer" in a paragraph.)

To answer your question, I would say about half of what he says about SLR's applies to prosumer cams, and half of what he says about consumer cams applies to prosumer cams. As suggested by their placement in between consumer and pro cams, prosumer cams are a compromise with some of the good of an SLR mixed with some of the bad of a consumer cam.

SLR"s have the obvious advantage of interchangeable lenses, and much of what he lists as a picture quality advantage for SLR's comes from that (he talks a lot about how SLR's can blur the background on a portrait... well, really any camera can as long as it's got the right lens. A consumer cam could if it had the lens for it, but most don't... nor do many prosumer cams except in the right light). This really cannot be overstated, IMO... most prosumer cams still have average lenses at best and they're jack of all trades, meaning they don't excel at any one thing. They don't do anything particularly well and are completely unsuited to almost any specialized task (some do have lens attachments to let them do things like a fisheye effect or longer telephoto, but these degrade the image that much further).

Most prosumer cams also have higher noise levels than SLR's, usually due to smaller sensors with more pixels squeezed onto them.

SLR AF and zoom is usually instantaneous. It's a joke trying to go back to a consumer cam, and while I'm sure some prosumer models do come close, none of the ones I've tried do (admittedly I have not tried many of the latest models). Again, this is a function of the lens, not the camera. When you use an SLR with a lens that has a good AF motor, going back to a consumer cam is like going back to the stone ages. The first time I bought a film SLR with AF back in college, I literally laughed the first time I used AF. I just couldn't believe I'd been living with this 3-4 second junk all my life to that point.

Keep in mind I'm saying this as an A70 owner. I don't own any DSLR, but I've owned several film SLR's in the past (sold them off a couple years ago for moving money; now I'm just waiting for the dust to settle a bit in the low-cost DSLR wars). I love the A70 but it is definitely a hard adjustment going back to it coming from an SLR world.

Personally I don't think any prosumer model camera is worth it when the 300D is available for $900. The reason being the camera body is almost meaningless; you'll buy new ones throughout your life as sensors improve, features are added, etc. But you will probably always have your lenses, since optics are not obsoleted very quickly (and sometimes never - some lenses are just never bettered).

Anyway, I think some people are being too hard on the author of this article. Your point was probably the biggest oversight he made. But as far as the "tone" of the article, I mean it's obviously written for people who know nothing about cameras. Given that, I don't think it's too bad. He's talking in laymen's terms.

And I agree with him that most consumer cams are Fisher Price toys, even my A70. Compared to any DSLR, that's what they are. They may take good pictures, but they're still basically cheap junk. But that obviously doesn't really matter in a lot of picture-taking situations.

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