Normal Digi camera vs Digi SLR help

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Hi

I have had very basic digital cameras for years. One like my current Sony 5MP camera W-51 model.

But seeing this thread here:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=504102
along with wanting a better camera for sometime, has got me thinking

The Canon EOS 400D, being an SLR how does it compare to a standard digi camera. I see it is 10MP so it must take a good picture. Are the digi SLR cameras easy to use? I take it you just take a shot and review it like you would with a normal digi camera?

What are the main points that the SLR has over a standard digi camera. Apologies if these are obvious questions but I have never been into photography before so know nothing about it. I don't even know what SLR stands for. :rotfl:

Thanks
Greg
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Hi

I have had very basic digital cameras for years. One like my current Sony 5MP camera W-51 model.

But seeing this thread here:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=504102
along with wanting a better camera for sometime, has got me thinking

The Canon EOS 400D, being an SLR how does it compare to a standard digi camera.
I see it is 10MP so it must take a good picture. Are the digi SLR cameras easy to use? I take it you just take a shot and review it like you would with a normal digi camera?

What are the main points that the SLR has over a standard digi camera. Apologies if these are obvious questions but I have never been into photography before so know nothing about it. I don't even know what SLR stands for. :rotfl:

Thanks
Greg


Im sure lots of learned guys ( and girls )here will fill in the gaps but Ill try

SLR stands for single lens reflex. Cameras designed this way allow you to see and frame for shooting exactly what the ( film or sensor in a DSLR) "sees" .
This means framing is virtually 100% accurate. It also means you view through the viewfinder as the image through the lens is projected there via a mirror or prism

As such DSLRs don't use an LCD for framing before the shot is taken . however you can see the shot image in the LCD after the shot is taken : this feature is common to all digital cameras
In a non SLR camera there is an approximated view in a viewfinder or LCD.

The SLRs tend to have bigger image sensors, better image processing hardware and fitted in many cases with better lenses. they also tend to be much faster in operation and shutter lag ( that little gap between pressing shutter and actually capturing image is almost a non issue ) compared with non DSLRs. Thier auto focus mechanisms also tend to be much faster and more accurate.
Thier pictures ( taken) in lower light conditions tend to be "cleaner" (less noise)
In the above ways they may take a better picture on Auto setting but have more.

You have much more control over white balance, shutter speed , aperture, ISO and other setting as you can change them to get a better picture if the auto setting is not getting it right or a creative effect is desired.
Finally you are not limited to the lens on the camera as they are designed to take various lenses . The advantage is that different lenses cover the ranges far better than an all in one. the disadvantage is cost ( sometimes lenses cost more than the body) and Bulk ( you need a bigger bag). Also the ability to change lenses also means the sensor is potentially exposed to dust each time you change a lens. DSLRs now have smaller models but are usually bigger than standard digicams

The 400Ds 10Mp works for it but it doenst take better ( more detailed) pictures than its 8Mp 350D younger brother or the 30D ( its bigger brother)
More pixels on a similar sized sensor means the pixels (photosites) have to be more light sensitive and this makes Digital noise more of a problem)
Similarly the 6Mp Nikons D /40/50/70/ and canon 300D will give you far superior images to many non DSLRs with more pixels.

DSLRs can be used as point and shoot , as such can be easy to use. Using them in a more advanced way ( for creative photography and more control over the outcome) can come with time as they are much more capable in this way
However being more capable has a few disadvantages

1)The results of "out of box "default settings may initially be underwhelming compare to a standard digicam

2) It takes time to learn the cameras to get the much better results (but IMO it is time well spent)

There are so called "bridge cameras" which have some DSLR features but have fixed lenses which cover a fairly useful range.Low cost DLSRs are now so low cost that the bridge cameras are needing to fight hard to justify their existence by beign better VFM and fitting lenses much better than the kit lenses that come with DSLRs

HTH... for now:D
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
:smashin: Wow!

Excellent reply. Many thanks for that. :thumbsup:

Looks like this may be on my list of things to get.

Getting something like the EOS400D, would it be something that would normally last someone many years. Upgrading with different lens etc?? Rather than a standard digi camera which don't seem to last very long.
 

senu

Distinguished Member
With any luck the 400D should last you maybe 3- 4 years. They haven't really been around long enough to say how robust they are.
Some older 300Ds, 10Ds are still around though so I think they are generally sturdy
I have a Canon 350D and 30D. The 350D has recently developed a fault after almost 2 years of fairly intensive use . It is on its way to Canon to be fixed .
The 30D does however feel as if ( baring bad luck) it will prove a lot more robust.
Its shutter life is rated at 100,000 shots ( im not sure how they came about that) but it does seem built to last. Saying that, you may be ready to move on or get the "latest " by the time the 400D start showing its age.:)
The lenses certainly seem to outlast bodies and get transferred from body to body.
Unless you aspire to get a full frame ( 35mm sized sensor such as the 5D ) all the EF and EF-S lenses will move from body to body
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Thanks again!

The lenses certainly seem to outlast bodies and get transferred from body to body.
Unless you aspire to get a full frame ( 35mm sized sensor such as the 5D ) all the EF and EF-S lenses will move from body to body

This was something I hadn't even considered. So to confirm any lenses that I buy to go with the 400D, if a newer/better body comes out I can just buy the body and use the old lenses with the new body?
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Yes . ( it has to be a Canon of course)
Only the full frame cameras don't take the EF-S lenses. EF lenses are compatible across the range
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Excellent. :thumbsup:

Now I have to decide whether to get this now or save my money for a PS3 in a few months time.
 

Mics49

Active Member
maybe worth mentioning (partly obvious), the most significant differences between an SLR and a "normal" digital cam:
with an SLR
- you always have to use the "loophole" (wifey slang :) ) when framing a shot, there is no live pre-view on the LCD (and no histogram either for that matter; pros, pls. correct me if I'm wrong),
- the body regularly being opened (changing lens e.g.) invites dust to settle on the sensor which even attracts it because of static charge, the various in-build cleaning systems (e.g. 400D, Alpha100) are not yet fully sufficient,
- due to the bigger sensor size (APS-C: 400D, D80, D200 or full size 5D) higher ISO work much better (less noise).

it's up to personal choice what you prefer (obviously, again).
one more personal observation, before committing to the Canon, have a go in a store and make sure to check the D80 as well. the Nikon's viewfinder ("loophole") is larger (magnification 0.94 vs 0.8 400D) and also much clearer/brighter (pentaprism vs. cheaper pentamirror 400D) IMPO. :)
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
If I buy one of these, it looks obvious I will need to do some reading on how to use it properly.

I have no idea what ISO is, or what the histogram shows. :D
 

senu

Distinguished Member
If I buy one of these, it looks obvious I will need to do some reading on how to use it properly.

I have no idea what ISO is, or what the histogram shows. :D

There are Books, DVDs online sites and these Forums ( of course ):thumbsup:

Taking Good photographs you will be happy with has the technical aspect and creative aspect to it both of which you can develop in parallel depending on interest and amount of time you give it

Even if you used a "Bridge" camera, knowing how to maximise the potential from it is a worth while pursuit (IMO)

The jist of Mic49s post was contained in my original post in explaining what an SLR was and disadvantage of being able to change lenses in them

ISO comes from the International Standards Organisation ( It is one of the standards with a no ( too boring to remember)
You may know that we use the term ISO loosely to talk about data computer "images" from CDs ect but in relation to photography it is a measure of sensitivity to light by film. ( used to be ASA)

The higher nos mean more sensitivity and lower one less. So a film with ISO of 50 is said to be slow, ( less sensitivity to light) and one with ISO 1600 very fast ( very sensitive to light)
The slow films are best used in very well lit scenes but give very clean pictures. The fast ones will get pictures in poorer lighting but will have "grain" : visible dots.
This terminology has been transferred from film to the digital domain. The apparent sensitivity of the sensor can be adjusted by selecting different ISO settings
Any increases in light sensitivity are countered by increase in "digital noise". The better cameras are able to give you more light sensitivity ( higher ISO) with minimal "noise": An advantage when taking pictures in challenging lighting situations

The histogram is a graphical representation of light distribution from the image showing highlights on one end and shadows on the other. It is a quick way of knowing how well ( or badly ) exposed the image was rather more accurately than the LCD view.
Being digital, It may help decide if you want to retake the shot with different settings or would be happy with it.

My post was specific to terminology and references to the Canon 400D as you asked . I will avoid going into a Canon Vs Nikon :which Model no?? discussion until you are keen on that ( if....) :)

I agree that while the Nikon D80 is better made ( and featured) than the Canon 400D ,the cost difference (Up to £200) is reflective of that but bear in mind that as the Image quality is virtually identical, some would say 400D is better VFM
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Thanks again Senu. Loads of interesting info there. I could do with a new hobbie and getting into photography could be it. But spending anymore than £350 to start with would make it not possible. This fantastic price at the mo for the Canon puts it firmly into consideration, so with regards to the Canon vs Nikon debate, the only reason I am interested is due to the low price of the canon.
 

denno75uk

Well-known Member
Concerning yourself with the Canon v Nikon debate is probably not worth it unless you have a good idea where you want to be with your new hobby in the future and can make a purchase with those considerations in mind.

One of the most important considerations is how comfortable and convenient the camera and its controls feel in your hand (some find the 400D a bit small but others would call it conveniently compact). For this reason I went for the 30D, but had also been 'doing' photography for a few years and knew the extra investment was worth it for me.

If money is tight, or difficult to justify, then going for the cheapest DSLR will still give you all the benefits that senu has talked about.

Good luck with your choices/purchase and keep us 'posted' (see what I did there).:rotfl:
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
If people have said the 400D is a bit small for them, then it sounds just the thing for me. I have always had small standard digi cameras so a step up to a DSLR that is not huge would be welcome.

I haven't fully decided yet. Mulling it over this weekend. :thumbsup:
 

tapzilla2k

Distinguished Member
I have the 400D and i've found it very easy to use. You can either use the preprogrammed modes (automatic, landscape etc) to take pictures or you can go fully manual and muck around with the settings yourself.
The 400D is on the small side, but you can get the battery grip for it, which increases it's size and allows you to shove another battery in or AA batterys if i remember correctly. I'm learning the ropes so to speak with SLR's and i've found this to be a good book explaining the functions of the EOS 400D and photographic terms in general:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-Digit...6533526?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175939683&sr=8-7
They also do a range of books covering Nikon DSLR's as well.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Just today ordered a 4GB CF memory card, for this camera that I do not have yet.

I asked this question in the Tesco camera thread, but don't want to take it far off topic just for my personal questions, so thought I would ask in here instead.

Basically I missed out on the Tesco offer, so now am most likely to buy from Jessops with the £20 discount they are offering makes it only £350 with the cashback, but I still need to find a lens.

The 18-55 kit lens is pretty cheap on Ebay, but I was after recommendations for something a tad better. But on the other thread there were recommendations for all sorts going up to £300 for just the lens.

As a beginner I don't want to pay that sort of money yet, so what would you guys recommend for a lens just slightly better than the 18-55?

Highlander1 recommended this one for £115.
http://www.onestop-digital.com/catal...roducts_id=275

Is that a good replacement for the Kit 18-55 lens?

Don't forget I am a complete beginner here. :lease:
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Broken link but if it is the Sigma 17-70 , it is justifiably popular
It however seems to be The 70- 300 which is a Zoom and doest so much as replace the kit but is another budget lens covering a different range of focal length
 

stevegreen

Distinguished Member
That lens wouldn't be a replacement for the kit lens Greg as it covers a completely different focal length. However, if you are looking for a zoom lens which gives good results and is cheap then that is the one to get.

The kit lens is much maligned in my opinion. OK it's not massively fast and it can appear soft wide open (ie at its largest aperture) but it's a great little lens to get you started and can provide some stunning results in the right conditions.

My advice to anyone starting on the DSLR route is to use the kit lens for a while, see where you are missing focal length and then upgrade accordingly. The one lens that you should consider is the 50mm f/1.8 which is cheap at about £70 and is a great tool for learning how aperture affects depth of field. It's also great for low light and pin sharp to boot!
 

senu

Distinguished Member
That lens wouldn't be a replacement for the kit lens Greg as it covers a completely different focal length. However, if you are looking for a zoom lens which gives good results and is cheap then that is the one to get.

As hinted above, I had initially thought it was the 17-70 but ..yes the 70-300 is no good as kit lens replacement

The kit lens is much maligned in my opinion. OK it's not massively fast and it can appear soft wide open (ie at its largest aperture) but it's a great little lens to get you started and can provide some stunning results in the right conditions.
This I absolutely agree with. It is a good learning lens and does allow one to save up for more than a little step up. I often point out that one or 2 of our recent comp entries were shot with it:D (you know who you are LOL)

My advice to anyone starting on the DSLR route is to use the kit lens for a while, see where you are missing focal length and then upgrade accordingly. The one lens that you should consider is the 50mm f/1.8 which is cheap at about £70 and is a great tool for learning how aperture affects depth of field. It's also great for low light and pin sharp to boot!

Ditto
I used my kit lens for 6-8 months and was aware the camera could do better but as it was "almost free" I used it happily. Even though the 1.8 has now been replaced by the 1.4, (still have it though) The 1.8 remains one of the most VFM lenses available to Canon users

It is also worth saying that there is no "perfect" lens , even with an unlimited budget:rolleyes:
The 17-40L and 17-55 f2.8 which are significantly better ( and costlier) than the kit lens are not free of barrel or chromatic abberation ..:devil:

Certainly one of the "tricks of the trade" ( IMHO) is to know the (camera and lens) and avoid pushing it to its limits in known areas of weakness.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Excellent. You Photography guys are very helpful! :thumbsup:

I will try and get the kit lens cheap somewhere then as a starter. Maybe down the line I can upgrade once I have some idea of what I am doing.

Cheers for all the help guys.

Thanks
Greg
 

denno75uk

Well-known Member
Excellent. You Photography guys are very helpful! :thumbsup:

I will try and get the kit lens cheap somewhere then as a starter. Maybe down the line I can upgrade once I have some idea of what I am doing.

Cheers for all the help guys.

Thanks
Greg

The bonus of your plan is that there should be alot of kit lenses for sale second hand as people try to get rid when upgrading.
On the auction site, for example, I've just seen two at under £30. still a day or so torun but you get my point.
 

Brammers

Banned
Have you decided on a Canon? The reason that I ask is that for only £50 more you can get a more capable Sony A100.

Better viewfinder.
Image stabilisation built in (trust me, in 2 weeks you're going to be looking for a 70-300 lens and weighing up the decision as to whether to go for the Sigma 70-300 or Canon 70-300IS. Go with Sony and get a Sigma 70-300 IS. Price saving? £200, and that's your first lens!)
Better anti-dust system
Built in wireless flash system
Unlimited burst with jpgs (just keep shooting until the card is full, no waiting. Useful when shooting to 'catch the moment')
Better battery (which hopefully won't explode :p )
Dynamic range optimiser (search for HDR. The Sony can do this in camera)


2 cons (other than it being a Sony) There's currently (compared to Canon and Nikon) limited availability of acessories (you can't, for example, get a 600mm lens new for Sony. These are readily available for Canon and Nikon, at £6,379 and £6,599 respectively. You'd have to buy this second hand, where they're quite rare.

It also suffers from higher noise than the Canons and Nikons at ISO 1600 (when shooting in dark conditions the image quality will suffer a little)

I would reccomend the Nikon D50 (not the D40 - I see no screw drive motor as a crippling limitation) which could be had very cheaply now, but you've already bought a CF card, and the Nikon takes SD cards!
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
That A-100 looks a nice camera and seems to be similar in price to the Canon at most places. Being a camera noob either one will probably do me, but I have found warehouse express.com who have great prices and also offering 12months interest free credit on anything which would be great.

So what do I go for, the Sony or the Canon? :lease:
 

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