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Author Topic: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?  (Read 5507 times)

Marsu42

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What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« on: December 13, 2012, 06:10:26 AM »
This question has been bothering me for some time, esp. after procrastinating in forums while trying to decide what expensive gear is eventually "worth it" to me :-) ... please not I'm not trolling and applaud everyone who puts his/her money into expensive gear to get shots just for the sake of remembering his/her kids or such.

So here it goes: When looking at a lot of sample shots, I'm wondering "would have that gear been necessary", and the inverse question "What shots can *only* be taken with this kind of equipment" and why is an expensive dlsr necessary at all?.

My guess is that a good part of the dslr market segment is populated by 30-40+ year old males who made their first photographic good experiences with analog dslrs (me, too). They just stick to the good ol' ways while the companies know these customers are rather well off by now and will respond to "quality" and "feature" upselling, so they exploit these suckers pushing the next $3500 camera or $2000 lens to customers who feel secure when having expensive gear.

I think I'm not alone with this question, and the difficulty often results in pro photogs either recommending "just get a [enter latest model name here], you'll never regret it" or the exact opposite "no need for the latest equipment". So here is my list that a dslr with proper equipment is good at, i.e. as a pro shooter you are well advised to take it into consideration or you'll end up being asked "My grandma could have shot that with her p&s"...

  • lighting: multiple off-camera flashes that are reliably triggered with fast x-sync or hss give a distinct "non-p&s" impression
  • thin depth of field and/or strong bokeh: can only be done with expensive lenses with large glass elements, and esp. fast primes
  • shooting reliability, i.e. more "keepers": while you can take good shots with nearly every equipment, it is seldom or never known how many shots or opportunities were lost. This concerns button layout, af precision, ...
  • shooting moving objects: pro dslrs are faster, at least at the moment. That concerns af speed/tracking, shutter release time and fps - the latter being better on mirrorless.
  • shooting in extreme natural conditions: pro dlsr equipment is sealed and sturdy, but for many usages throw-away equiment might make more sense and outodoor/underwater p&s will be there sooner or later.
  • shooting in difficult lighing conditions: the best sensors will always be the most expensive and eventually end up in dlsr equipment, meaning more dynamic range (well, with Nikon :-)) and higher iso capability for faster shutter speeds or low light shooting
  • (super)tele shots: longer focal lenght with decent quality is and will be a domain of expensive equipment
  • sharpness for large prints: while the next iPhone will probably have more mp than the current Canon crop cameras, attaching a $1000+ lens will still make a difference.
  • composition: a large ff viewfinder enables you to concentrate on the shot, at least as long as there are no dencent electronic viewfinders for p&s around

... added, though imho only slightly valid because a eos-m takes ef lenses, too:

  • macro capability: true 1:1 (or higher), not just 'close focusing' as 'macro' has come to mean in the P&S world
  • tilt-shift lenses: ability to correct for perspective distortion, and manipulate the DoF/plane of focus in a way other that a uniform linear distance from the camera

Let me know if anything else comes to your mind what's the sense of buying a dlsr system.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 05:50:39 PM by Marsu42 »

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What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« on: December 13, 2012, 06:10:26 AM »

Don Haines

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2012, 07:03:16 AM »
How about portability?  As an outdoor enthusiast this is a huge concern. Even if someone gave me a 1D-? And a $10,000 prime lens or two, I can't take them with me half the time.... I have to settle for what I can carry. I tend to carry a crop body and several lenses, but a 400/5.6 is as big as I can go. Almost all of my friends go far lighter.

How about indestructability? As much as I hate p/s cameras, when canoeing I carry a waterproof p/s as a second camera, and those GoPro cameras are very popular with the whitewater crowd. And yes, these cameras work underwater....

I know your list is what the dslr is good at, but for balance we need the downside as well.
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Marsu42

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2012, 07:41:53 AM »
I know your list is what the dslr is good at, but for balance we need the downside as well.

I didn't write the downsides because there are so much of them even if not considering the price - the list is purely meant to determine why dlsrs are necessary at all and what elevates them above p&s, i.e. which shots you can sell as a pro because your grandma cannot take them. I'll make this clearer in the op.


Dark Reality

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2012, 08:10:33 AM »
I think you pretty much answered your question.

For me, low light without flash.
using several flashes, or studio lights.
Optical tele, not digital zoom like most.
Depth of field to isolate the subject.
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Don Haines

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2012, 08:26:24 AM »
As a plus.... GLASS!!!!!

even the cheapest of the APS-C lenses are better than anything on a p/s.
L-Glass  is something that no p/s can touch.... no matter what the focal length is used....


Another plus is focusing....DSLR's focus better, faster, and in a wider range of conditions.

shutter lag. press the shutter on a DSLR and you instantly hear "click". On a p/s you get a quarter second or more delay before the "click". This is particularly annoying when you are taking pictures of a kitten jumping in and out of a paper bag..... would you like to see my 20 or so pictures of a paper bag with no kitten visible :)
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Marsu42

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2012, 08:42:52 AM »
even the cheapest of the APS-C lenses are better than anything on a p/s.

Are they? I haven't researched that, but there are bound to be Leica or such p&s that have better iq than aps-c kits. And you can screw any L lens on an eos m, that's why I didn't include it - good glass is no inherent advantage of a dlsr system anymore.

Dylan777

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 08:54:16 AM »
@ Marsu - It sounds like you are talking to yourself into 6D and some "L" lenses for 2012 ;D
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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 08:54:16 AM »

Nishi Drew

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2012, 08:58:00 AM »
How about with the OM-D? If we just compare against P&S then DSLRs don't seem so capable, there's mirrorless now.
Small, lenses weight nothing, it's fast, has quick and accurate AF, good IQ and DR.
The body is well built, it's weather sealed, and has a nice tilt screen.

A DSLR is then good in comparison only when you've got a full size sensor, and naturally the ISO noise advantage
and possible DR boost is there too. For plenty of people, like me, that full size sensor is what makes the diff.
Having that depth control at wider perspectives, and a good sized comfortable grip to carry around a 70-200 all day.
And yeah, if it weren't for AF and other auto features, the new Leica looks capable enough too

LostArk

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2012, 09:06:23 AM »
No format or camera is universally best, and this will always be true. For people people p&s makes the most sense. For some, mirror less. For others, SLRs, medium format, large format, and so on. You can make a list of pros and cons for each format, or make lists of why x format is better/worse the y etc.

The SLR is the sweet spot in terms of performance, versatility, and portability. At the end of the day, its limitations are minor compared to what you'd give up to use a different format. For example, if I wanted to gain a little portability by using a mirrorless, I'd be giving up on tilt-shift, optical viewfinder, AF performance, subject isolation, and image quality. I can think of many reasons why this trade off would be worth it, any many reasons why it wouldn't. In another example, if I chose medium format, I'd be giving up on AF performance, portability, and low light performance, but I'd be gaining image quality and n flash sync.

The DSLR is the jack of all trades, throw a pancake on it and call it a p&s, anything-you-can-do-it-can-do almost as good or better.

Maybe in ten years mirrorless will advance to the point where it can obsolesce the DSLR as the jack of all trades, but like the TLR or the rangefinder, the SLR will always have niche applications and enthusiasts.

Zv

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2012, 09:10:11 AM »
I know some p&s let u shoot RAW now but you really need the hi res files from the DSLR when post processing. I'm sure someone will tell me otherwise!

Shooting long exposures for star trails etc would be another DSLR advantage.

Exposure bracketing for HDR is preferable with DSLR but could be done with p&s I guess.

Ergonomics - I can change exposure settings much faster on a DSLR.

Better video.

Filters. Cpl, grad nds etc for landscape. Guess you could do that with a p&s but you'd look a bit silly!

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neuroanatomist

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 09:18:45 AM »
Let me know if anything else comes to your mind what's the sense of buying a dlsr system.

  • macro capability: true 1:1 (or higher), not just 'close focusing' as 'macro' has come to mean in the P&S world
  • tilt-shift lenses: ability to correct for perspective distortion, and manipulate the DoF/plane of focus in a way other that a uniform linear distance from the camera

I know your list is what the dslr is good at, but for balance we need the downside as well.

Well, the whole point of the list is things dSLRs are good at.  But they're not all upsides.

  • bank account depletion: a dSLR system is really good at reducing your available cash reserves and/or increasing your credit balance
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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 10:08:04 AM »
My main reason for getting in to DSLR photography was because I was really enjoying using my little Sony p&s with some manual settings and I decided that since I was traveling for a year, I might as well get a good camera for good pictures(550D and kit lens.)
One of the main differentiators of the DSLR for me was the low light capabilities and general image quality. Now that i've been in to the DSLR scene for a few years I realize that I also want a DSLR for bokeh, quick AF, and everything else that makes low light and pictures in general look better.
However, in reading this, I realize that I don't want a DSLR at all, I just want the things that the Full Frame DSLR offers. I would love to throw out the DSLR form and switch to something smaller(with a FF  sensor,) but so far only Leica and the RX1 are the only things available. When I can buy a used RX1 for around $1800 or a FF NEX for around $3000ish, I will be on it. I live in an interesting place and would like to have a super high quality camera with me at all times, and I travel a lot so I would GREATLY prefer something smaller and lighter with similar image quality. 
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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 10:17:26 AM »
Hi there,

I am new to Canonrumors Forum but I have been following it for the last year or so and regularly read the posts.

Marsu 42, I am only 24 and I have grown up with P&S cameras and yet I have spent vast amounts of my savings on DSLRs and big glass. There is one huge advantage for me, not just quality over the traditional point and shoot (the new mirrorless might one day take over but in my mind in an SLR form) but one of the key things is the ergonomics.

When I shoot with my 7D and my 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM, yes it gives me fantastic results with great bokeh but it just feels so right in my hands. I could not photograph a lion coming towards me and know I was focussing on the eye if I was using a point and shoot, or the EOS-M. I need to have the ultimate control and I need to be able to adjust everything with one hand. On a P&S this is simply not possible, there isn't that level of control or comfort that a DSLR provides. I can change all the settings I need without once taking my eye away from the viewfinder ensuring I don't miss the shot!

I do think that mirrorless will take over, but big glass will stay for the forseeable future and the bodies of these new mirrorless cameras will resemble a DSLR. For me it is all about balance and that is exactly what my "heavy" gear provides me with, yes it is a pain in the butt to carry my camera bag when it is full but I know when I set gear up on my tripod, it won't wobble and it is built like a tank, that for me is exactly what I need. A reliable, well built, well designed and comfortable piece of kit that will get the job done!

I hope that helps and don't get me wrong, some of the P&S and the new mirrorless cameras are superb and I would happily have one if I thought I needed one, but in my line of photography that is not currently an option.  ; :D

Cheers,

Bret

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 10:17:26 AM »

RLPhoto

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2012, 10:56:05 AM »
Freaking Everything.

Nazareth

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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2012, 11:49:29 AM »
[[What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?]]

The major advantage is the cost- it's very expensive, and will drain you financially- Everytime you turn aroudn in photography it's costing more andm ore money- memory cards, lens cleanign kits, filter, lenscaps, tripods, macro units, cases,backpacks,shoulder bags, printing,framing, matting, shipping, sneding camera otu to be cleaned, cleanign kits if you opt to do it yourself, insurance, on and on it goes. The advantage of photographyu is that it helps to rid you of hte burden of carryign around lots of heavy money, frees up your bank account asnd brings it back to a clean slate zero sum amount- and releives you of the worry of havign money- I can't tell you how many ulcers I've developped worrying about my money- but now thanks to digital photography, I don't have that worry anymore- I'm free as a bird knowing that the bills will just have to wait because there's no money to pay them- cvreditors will have to wait- etc etc. Nothin from nothin = nothin.


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Re: What's the advantage of shooting with dslr equipment?
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2012, 11:49:29 AM »