My regression from dSLR to P&S - Help Me (and a warning to buyers)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by FleurDuMal, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town
    Hey guys,

    I've come to a rather depressing realisation - one that has made me realise I've thrown a few £100 down the drain: I don't want my dSLR kit (D70s w/17-200mm VR lense). For the type of photos I enjoy taking, it is simply impracticle.

    Firstly, I don't have whole days to dedicate to photography. This means most of my photography would be done when I'm walking around London to and from work/university, or when I'm out with friends and see something interesting. For this, a D70s with a big zoom lense (and even the kit lense) is too large. I can't whip it out of my pocket, or a pocket of my bag, and start shooting. I would have to carry around my camera bag, which is too much to just bring around with me on a daily basis.

    Secondly, the type of photography I do does not lend itself well to large dSLR cameras. Although it can be fun taking photos of landscapes or plants and animals, the photography that grips me is naturalistic urban and people photography. For this, the subject is quite often intimidated by the size of the camera. But worse, the photographer (me) is intimidated and feels uncomfortable! If the photographer feels unnatural to its surroundings, how are they to capture the nature of such surroundings?!? As a result, I find myself skipping on shots that I would otherwise love to take.

    I hope I've explained myself well, and that it serves as a warning to other assuming dSLR is the way to go. It's not for everyone, and I feel stupid for unthinkingly making the jump from mobile phone camera to dSLR! Perhaps one day, if I get into landscapes more, but at the moment it just doesnt interest me.

    Anyway, this is where you guys come in. I need a P&S which will suit my needs (based on the above). Of course I need go and look and hold the cameras myself, something which I shouldve done more of last time. It doesn't have to be super micro tiny weeny (my dad recently got such a type of camera, and its awful), but it can't be so big as to make me stand out as a photographer, if that makes sense.



    EDIT: I should add I'm selling my D70s and 17-200mm VR, so if you're interested just PM me :)
  2. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    Henri Cartier-Bresson did a lot of his street photography with a Leica rangefinder camera: small, unobtrusive, almost silent. I'm not sure what the digital equivilent might be, but it sounds like you want something equally discreet. I'm not sure because I use a DSLR... and would be mortified to use most of the P & S cameras and their 'program' modes.

    There's a trade-off between convenience and quality. If you want to take snaps, then there are great little cameras from Nikon, Canon, etc. I guess I'm wondering why you went the DSLR route in the first place. I do people shots... but don't try to intimidate them. I talk about what I'm doing... so i get 'candids with permission'. But if YOU feel uncomfortable, then I wonder whether a P & S will make any difference. To a degree you're still spying...
  3. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    We've been happy with our Canon A610--it's not too big, but allows some degree of control over exposure. Since we bought it they've introduced several upgraded models (A640 or 650 now), but I think they're basically the same.
  4. FleurDuMal thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town
    Of course I'm not expecting a P&S to come up trumps against a dSLR (although according to some reviews, they aren't that far behind the low-end SLRs). But, having spent the last few weeks frustrated at my own photography, and also studying and thinking over one of my favourite photography books ("New York Moments" by Obermann), I've come to realise that for the sort of photography I do doesn't require top opticals. For example in the book I mentioned above, most of the photos suffer from significant noise, but it doesn't detract from the enjoyability of the photo. In fact, I think it adds to it in some strange way. I think my approach to photography is more human and 'worn' than arty or abstract.

    At the end of the day, I'm only doing it for fun. I'm not spending hours on CS3 tweaking and editing images alone in a dark room. I don't have the time anymore. I suppose I am taking 'snaps' - capturing a moment rather than creating an intensely worked piece of art (though capturing a moment in itself takes intense focus, imho).

    Anyways...what do people think of the Fuji F31fd? It seems to allow for a bit more than idiotproof auto features, and works remarkably well in low light. On the downside, it's MP count isn't massive, and most worrying is the lack of zoom (something like 36-110mm 35mm equivalent). Thoughts? Any better suggestions?

  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Those little Fujis are cracking. Their ISO range is pretty impressive. The MP count shouldn't be a deal killer - better a lower MP with better camera than high MP with lots of purple fringing and noise.

    I've got the now fairly elderly F10 and I've loved it. Fuji have improved on it year on year.

    It's a similar dilemma to one that I've had. I'd love a DSLR but I know that I'd barely use it.
  6. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    OttawaGuy beat me to it. Can't rave enough about the Canon S3IS. Very detailed review here and the newer model is the S5IS, full review here.

    The S3IS I actually owned for a bit (sold it to fund a MB :D). Why did I love it? Image stabilization. Amazing optical zoom. Not too tiny, not too bulky. Superb video capabilities (to the point that folks seem to be of the opinion that if Canon were to improve the video any more, it would antagonize their video camera sales :p). And what else I love about the S3IS? Is that it takes four AA batteries; get some decent, high capacity, rechargeable batteries and you're set. Traveling? Batteries die? You won't have to search for long to find much more affordable replacements as opposed to other types of batteries.
  7. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    a 3rd for the S3IS. i absolutely loved mine until i sold it to a buddy (bought a Pentax K100 kit). everything in the post above is right on the money. the 12x optical zoom is fantastic too. it will help you with zoom if you feel the need.

    good luck,

    PS. i'm told the main diff b/c the S3 and the S5 (besides a hundred quid or more) is that the S5 is 10 megapixels which doesn't matter unless you are really blowing the pics up. a few other diffs as well, but nothing major.
  8. jwt macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2007
    I think you ought to go to Circuit City or Best Buy and pick up and use every camera they have until you find one or more that you like. Then google the cameras you've selected and read some reviews. Then, if any questions remain, or new ones emerge, come back to the board and ask for advice.

    Personally, I took my own advice; and when I left the camera store, there was only one camera I liked using. Case closed.

    Hope I helped. Good luck.
  9. FleurDuMal thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town
    Anyone had any experience of the Ricoh GX 100?
  10. fuzzynavo macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2004
    I also have a F10 and compared to the Canons and Sonys I've used, it's been my favorite P&S by far. I'm always impressed by the sharpness and quality of the pictures that come out of it. As others have said, its low light performance is wonderful. To top it off, its fairly inexpensive for its capabilities. The only thing I've noticed is that to get the best pictures, you'll need to fiddle around with the settings a bit. Full Auto mode isn't that smart for some situations.
  11. crap freakboy macrumors 6502a

    crap freakboy

    Jul 17, 2002
    nar in Gainsborough, me duck
    Had several Canons over the years, but the last one is a disappointment (Ixus 750). Really noisy past 100iso, hit and miss AF, low battery life plus a few smaller things. Er-indoors bought it after the Ixus II died suddenley thinking I'd like the same, nice thought but I find it a disappointment to use. If I had the choice I'd go Fuji.
  12. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    I'd back that up. I have an F30 (basically an F31fd without the fd). It's fantastic for what it is. Unless you need to do lots of cropping or massive prints it's got more than enough pixels.

    I would say that in low light, as good as the Fuji is, an DSLR with a fast lens blows it out of the water.
  13. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    I had an S2IS, the precursor to the S3 and S5is that people are talking about above.
    I sold it for the same reasons you are getting rid of your d70, I never used it because it was too big (yes it's the same size as the S3 and S5). It wouldn't go in a pocket, so I never took it anywhere.
    I ended up selling it and getting a Casio EX1050. Very compacy 10mp. It might not be the best but it gets more use than the S2.
  14. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    a 4th for the S3 IS. I reckon it's the next best thing to a dSLR.

    It's the kind of camera which can be pulled out of the pocket for a quick shot, or which you can very easily mount on a tripod and take some awesome panoramic shots. It has 0cm Macro, which allows you to focus on objects millimeters from the lens, and up to 15 seconds of shutter speed, which lets you take awesome time lapse photos.

    When I get a dSLR, I'll keep my S3 IS. It's sensor isn't as good as a dSLR, but its range of function far exceeds any dSLR kit i'll have in the next few years.

    Have a look at my deviantART site (link in sig) for some shots taken with it. You can download full-size pics as well.
  15. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Best point and shoot? Leica D-Lux 3.

    If you want to see what it can do, see Jim's galleries.

    The D-Lux 3 has fantastic glass (best in class), fits in your pocket, shoots in RAW and gives you all the control you want, from full manual right on up. Also, it will shoot in 16x9 down to 4x3 and has a great wide angle lens.

    Only caveat...a bit noisy in low light (ISO 800 and up), but this is true for all P&S cameras (Fuji makes an exception here).

    NB: You can also look at the Lumix DMC-LX3, the sister camera from Panasonic. Same lens and sensor, shorter warranty, no PS Elements (if that matters) and overly aggressive compression software if you choose to shoot JPEGS instead of RAW. Still, you can get it for a couple of hundred less.
  16. kusanagi macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2007
    I've got an S5IS and I love it! I'm still new the whole digital photography scene, and by that I mean like actually knowing what you are doing and knowing how to get the shots you like, and this camera has made the learning curve really easy. I now only ever shoot in manual mode and within a few seconds at most can set my manual settings and get exactly the shot I want.

    The only other camera, and I was originally was going for one of these is a Canon G7. The nifty thing with this camera, besides the 10mp images is that the lens retracts flush with the body has has its own built in lens protector. Plus it looks awesome wiht the old retro look.
  17. filmamigo macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    Sigma DP1
    Advantage: Sigma's famous Foveon full APS-C size sensor.
    Disadvantage: 28mm (equivalent) lens -- although if I only had one lens, this would be it.

    Kodak P880
    Advantage: Relatively large imager (bigger than 1/2"), Kodak IQ is very good IMHO. RAW support. 8mp.
  18. maccompaq macrumors 65816


    Mar 6, 2007
  19. ozontheroad macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2006
    the reef
    wow... that is a seriously nice camera... well actually what you have done with it. Thanks for sharing.

    You wouldn't happen to know how it performs underwater ? :)
    I'm looking for a camera that will produce decent quality images, (lighting might be an issue)... how does the flash perform, is macro decent ?

    It needs to be as small as possible since it wouldn't be practical to carry a big camera while guiding dives.

  20. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    I have been refusing to buy a digital compact for years until something like this came.

    I think I will get it next time I go in some trip. Unless something better has come up by then.

    On DSLR I'm still holding for Nikon full-frame.
  21. FleurDuMal thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town
    Hmmm...I think I've decided on the Fuji F31fd. It works remarkably well in low light and, now that the F40fd has come out, is going incredibly cheaply (despite, according to many reviews, the F40fd not matching its predecessors performance). It seems to have a decent set of manual features for a P&S.

    Later on I'd like to go for a Ricoh GX100, but at £360 I am gonna start with the Fuji given its less than half the price. Eventually I hope to end up with both as the two appear to compliment each other quite well.
  22. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    Have you thought about waiting a couple months for the Fuji F50fd? On the plus side, it adds optical image stabilization (via CCD shift), but on the downside, it increases resolution to 12 megapixels. Looks like a good camera so far, but if you need a camera now, the F31fd will suit your purposes well.

    By the way, the F40fd is not the replacement for the F31fd, it actually is the upgrade to the F20fd, which loses much of the manual features.
    F20fd --> F40fd --> F47fd
    F30 --> F31fd --> F50fd
  23. Zer0 macrumors regular

    May 22, 2007
    well my dilemma is exactly the opposite. I'm not much of a photographer, but I do like to take good pictures. Most of my pics are taken when I'm out with friends or family just like you. I bought a sony dsc h5 (comparable to canon s3 IS) a year ago and it has served me well. But the dslr's seem to have that X factor which makes me crave for them everytime i see one!!! But I cant make up my mind as I'm not really sure if I can justify the cost! Your post gives me hope :)
  24. simp macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2006
    I came to the same conclusion as FleurDuMal. I was going to be doing a lot of travelling in Central America, and you need a discreet camera which isn't going to attact men with guns ;-)

    So I bought the Panasonic LX-2 - amazing lens - great build quality - good manual features and interface. Shame about the aggressive jpeg compression, but it's not so bad unless you're making enlargements and is dealable with by using Noise Ninja. So I highly recommend it.

    I was buying a present for my girlfriend, and I got her a Fuji F31fd. I had heard about the great low-light performance and thought it would be perfect for her. And it does perform well, up to a point, but the lens on the LX-2 is streets ahead. It is disappointing, comparatively speaking.

    The sub-SLR space is crying out for a decent camera - and the LX-2 is almost it - so I would go for that.

    (Mind you - the Canon G7 has its admirers too, and seems to take a good photo - but it's a little heftier and the lens is quite plasticky...)

    Finally - if you want to see what each camera is capable of - check out the Flickr camera search -

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