Point & Shoot versus DSLR, image quality

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Styxie, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Styxie macrumors member

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    #1
    Dear forumers,

    I'm thinking of buying myself a DSLR. I currently own a 7MP 3x zoom standard point and shoot camera. However, yesterday I played with a EOS 400D of a friend. I was blown away by the quality of the images. However, I can't compare them next to eachother. Is there someone in here who has both a DSLR and a point and shoot, and is willing enough to take a picture of the same object, and post the results here. That way, I can see how much difference there is in quality.

    Thanks in advance

    - Styxie
     
  2. cube macrumors G5

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    #2
    You can't just take any random P&S and compare. Even at the same MP count, different digicams may have different sensor sizes, technology and processing.
     
  3. Styxie thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Well I'm thinking of buying the cheapest DSLR I can get (possibly EOS 1000D), and I just want to see how it compares to a point and shoot, where they both shoot the same picture
     
  4. cube macrumors G5

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    #4
    I can only show you a comparison of one of the best low-light P&S ever made with one of the best low-light DSLRs ever made:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf30/page14.asp

    I cannot stress enough what a rare camera the Fujifim F30 is. P&S land has been going downhill with the megapixel race since about 2005.
    Maybe there is a turnaround now with the new Fujifilm F200EXR.
     
  5. cube macrumors G5

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    #5
    If you browse the dpreview site, you will find other reviews where they shoot the same scene. You just have to look that it says at ISO 800, like the comparison I showed you. That will give you an idea of what is normal for a P&S.

    Note also that a comparison between D50 and F30 at ISO 1600, or with a dark scene, was not made in the test I showed you.
     
  6. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    There are commonly test pictures that review sites do. I suggest comparing some of those. Just find the reviews of both cameras and then the relevant pictures. Clearly the lighting is going to change for outdoor shots.
     
  7. Paddrino macrumors newbie

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    #7
    It really depends on what you are going to DO with the pictures you shoot. Examine your skill level at photography. Do you feel limited with the features and options of your point and shoot? If so then you might try one of the entry level DSLRs such as the Nikon D40.

    If all you see is a image quality difference, you might want to consider just getting a new point and shoot with some better image quality.

    If all you are going to do is to buy a DSLR and leave it in "auto" mode on the dial, then you are probably better off saving money and going with a good quality point and shoot.

    If you want more flexibility in your lens selection such as the ability to change out the glass for higher quality / low F stop lenses, then you will need a DSLR.

    If you are frustrated that you can't take images in low light or hate the on camera flash of your point and shoot, then you might want to consider a DSLR.

    If you want to get some serious nature shots with a high powered zoom lens, then you'll need a DSLR.

    Just because you buy / have a more expensive camera doesn't mean that your images will look better. I've seen professional photographers shoot better images with a point and shoot than amateur photographers have with very high end DSLRs.

    You also need to consider the size / weight factor in going with a DSLR camera as well. The larger the heaver the camera is the less likely you will take it out to shoot images simply because you don't want to lug "the camera" around all the time. If you take lots of pictures with your point and shoot, and like the ability to just pull it out and snap pictures, then you might want to consider just a better quality point and shoot.
     
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #8
    Click here to see an example I have posted elsewhere on this forum. That's a standard, current pns versus a consumer-level, current DSLR.

    Also included in that post is a diagram of sensor sizes, which explains a lot about why DSLR quality is so much better.

    [Edit: Just realized I have another one. Click here to see a comparison of a 2004-model Minolta pns at left and two DSLR shots next to it. The middle one is from a Canon XSi, and the one at the right is from a Pentax K100D.]
     
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #9
    in terms of resolution, the best of the point-and-shoots can't compete with the worst of the SLRs, except in ideal conditions. this is mostly from sensor size, but also from the lens. nothing current competes in terms of noise, either. the F30/F31 might keep up in noise, but it still won't have the resolution. it doesn't have RAW, either, but that's another matter...

    in ideal conditions, meaning daylight outdoors, the better point-and-shoots like the G10 can produce images comparable to an SLR...so long as you aren't viewing at 100% on-screen or printing a 16x20 (or any print larger than, say, 8x10).
     
  10. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #10
    Selective Focus

    Another example of the sort of thing no point-and-shoot camera is capable of doing:

    [​IMG]

    (Click to enlarge)

    It's fun to be able to have options like this. With a point-and-shoot camera, everything would be in focus (which is also possible with a DSLR, of course, but would be one of many options).
     
  11. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #11
    Yes, I have the same shots from a Panasonic P&S, my new Olympus E-420, and a used Canon 20D I just got - three different sensor sizes.

    I can't seem to find the original from the Panasonic, I can only find the one I resized for the web.

    Plus, they were all taken at ISO 100 - so they'll look pretty close as far as photos. You will have to take photos in higher ISO's or enlarge/crop the photos to start to tell the difference.

    The ones from the links above are very, very accurate as far as the difference.

    I can post mine if there are interests. You can tell the difference slightly as DSLR's tend to have larger sensors and better glass.

    Larger sensors and lower pixel density is the way to go...

    Interesting article:

    http://digital-photography-school.com/should-you-buy-a-dslr-or-point-and-shoot-digital-camera
     
  12. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Depends on what point and shoot it is. :p A PowerShot G9/G10 would probably be able to have a decent depth of field for something like that. Just depends on how far you zoom and how close you focus on a subject.

    Anyway, point and shoots aren't anywhere close to being as good as a DSLR in terms of image quality. Again, the PowerShot G series come pretty close, but still short. If you're demanding the best image quality, grab a DSLR. Then your point and shoot will be a carry all the time mini camera... ;)
     
  13. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    Show me a point-and-shoot that can do (in 35mm equivalent terms) 160mm at f/2, which is what I needed to get that kind of isolation/blurriness with each of those two shots. The most extreme you can get with a PowerShot G10 would be 140mm at f/4.5. Although it's true, there would be a touch of isolation/blurriness, it would be very subtle (that is, one head would be in focus, and the other would be nearly in focus).
     
  14. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #14
    Phrasikleia, could you please point me into the direction of a 160mm f/2 lens, as I've never encountered such. That would be really, really pricey, wouldn't it?

    Thanks in advance.


    And to the OP: I would at least recommend a Canon G9 or G10 if you go the P&S way, but a DSL would be better if you're serious with photography. I came from an analogue SLR to a Kodak P&S digital camera, just to buy a G9 shortly thereafter and having a good time with it. Now I've gone DSLR, and am more than happy to be back with a more creative tool/toy than a P&S can be, despite the exceptions of course.
     
  15. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #15
    Please note I said "in 35mm equivalent terms." The lens is a 100mm f/2 on a 1.6x crop sensor. Just like the lens on the Canon G10 is really 30.5mm at its long end, but the crop factor of the sensor makes it a 140mm equivalent.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #16
    You will find that you don't shoot the same subjects with the two kinds of cameras. Also the SLR can change lenses to match the subject so it is totally unfair to compare.

    Also when you are comparing lenses and DOF. you can't you "35mm equivalent". That's just pointless because ifyou do you will find that all cameras are the same. They all shoot like a 35mm film camera. The reason for the P&S' wide DOF is because the focal length is 10mm or so. All 10mm lenses have the same DOF even if you have one on you DSLR
     
  17. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Check image 14 from this gallery: http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/canong10_samples/

    Looks like the G10 has fairly decent bokeh for a point and shoot. Always depends on how you shoot. ;) Yes, the bokeh might not be as good as DSLRs, but it can come pretty close. Never going to be a 35mm equivalent...Now if the G10 had an aperture of a constant f2...Then it'd probably be bad ass! Never gonna happen though...
     
  18. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    That shot is taken of something right up close to the lens. You don't need a G10 to do that. When I had my last point-and-shoot camera (a PowerShot S3), I was frustrated that close-up/macro shots were the only ones where I could get some kind of blurriness in the background. The shot I posted above was of two life-sized heads, and I was not right up close to either one of them. Those kinds of shots are just not possible with any pns.
     
  19. cube macrumors G5

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    #19
    It would have to open more than f/2 to match an f/2 DSLR.
     
  20. bking1000 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    A DSLR ISO 1600 is pretty much equivalent to a G10 or LX ISO400 in terms of easily visibly "noise" -- so that's two full stops.

    You can also get DSLR lenses w/f1.8 pretty cheaply. So, you'd need a point and shoot lens with an f stop of better than 1.0 (!) to keep at ISO400 vs. what a DSLR is shooting at ISO1600. Add in the shutter lag on a point and shoot and you miss more shots. The add in the fact that, in crops, noise in shadows on point and shoots show up as low as ISO 200 (and sometimes 100). Then add in the very flat depth of field on a PNS (a point and shoot f/2.8 depth of field is the equivalent to around f/8 or f/11 on a DSLR!), and you can see the limitations.

    Point and shoots are great cameras and very important to photography. I have an a650 and SD800 (though thinking about a Fuji f200 to replace the SD800), and I use them all the time when I need something very portable, I'm shooting in good light, and I don't need depth of field (think landscapes, travel pics, etc.). But if I want quality and creative control, there is no match to a DSLR.

    The closest compact to a DSLR is the Sigma DP series with their APS-C sensors, but they are so limited in other ways (fixed focal length, fixed aperture, and difficult to use -- oh, and expensive!) that you'd need a very specific use case to own one.
     
  21. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #21
    OP - HERE YOU GO...

    I wanted to take my 20D I just got (used) out shooting more. I also had my A470 I use for work. I thought it would be good to leave out my Olympus equipment - different format anyways (Four-Thirds) plus I think the glass from the E-500 kit is better than the glass from the 20D kit (I think most Canon users would agree that the kit lens is just a "basic" Canon lens).

    First here's the specs from dpreview.com:

    P&S: Canon A470 ($80 from Amazon), 7.1 million effective pixels, sensor size 5.75 x 4.31 mm (0.24 cm²), 29 MP/cm² pixel density

    dSLR: Canon 20D (40D is latest and is $1,049 w/ lens from Amazon), 8.2 million effective pixels, sensor size 22.5 x 15 mm (3.37 cm²), 2.4 MP/cm² pixel density

    For comparison, the always discussed/recommended G10 ($410 from Amazon), 14.7 million effective pixels, sensor size 7.60 x 5.70 mm (0.43 cm²), 34 MP/cm² pixel density.

    I shot the 20D in RAW, photos were resized for web using iPhoto.

    So, on with the photos:

    First, photos shot in ISO 100 outside. I love Canon P&S and the quality really shines. The color difference is in the settings of the 20D, which I have yet to figure out:

    Canon 20D
    [​IMG]

    Canon A470
    [​IMG]

    Okay, now on to the avantages of a larger sensor with a lower pixel density, a pic in the shade at ISO 1600:

    Canon 20D
    [​IMG]

    Canon A470
    [​IMG]

    Clearly, the noise is more in the tiny/high density P&S sensor. Now for indoors ISO 1600:

    Canon 20D
    [​IMG]

    Canon A470
    [​IMG]

    The noise is even larger in darker settings. Just a note that with the larger F-stop available in the lens of the SLR, I was able to shoot the same scene at 1/40th at ISO 200 for reduced noise.

    Now for Macro. Canon P&S always do great, both at ISO 100, but I had trouble trying to frame it in the rear display with the sunlight, whereas in the SLR, I just looked through the viewfinder and had the luxury of DOF preview. Pics are small, but notice that the SLR has a smaller DOF which is part of Macro creativitiy:

    Canon 20D
    [​IMG]

    Canon A470
    [​IMG]

    I had a like-dSLR from Panasonic with Leica glass, unfortunately, Panasonics are very noisy over ISO 400:

    Panasonic DMC-FZ8, ISO 800 (tried ISO 1250 but was horrible)
    [​IMG]

    Chuck the Tech from Stargate Convention Chicago 2008.

    I sold the Panasonic and got the Olympus E-420. It's great and small and actually fits in the case I had for the Panasonic (with the small lens anyways). I'm glad I got it (web special $320 new body-only, US Warranty)

    The G10 is an in-between at $410. But you can get an Olympus E-410 (the earlier one) with a kit lens closeout/refurb for $299 now from Calumet Photo.

    I got blasted in another thread for liking the Olympus over the G10. But again, larger sensor, lower pixel density, lower noise in higher ISO.

    If you are unsure about noise in your photos, go for a dSLR. Try to find one used or on closeout. I did and love it.
     
  22. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Haha I know that already. :p Just trying to point out the "quality" of pictures.

    Anyway, it's obvious that any SLR camera beats the hell outta P&S cameras. The ability to use different lenses makes an SLR much more versatile, even though some P&S cameras have conversion kits. Glass quality + better sensors always equals best image quality.
     

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