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12-19-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
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Compact vs digital slr?

Hi guys.

I'm a bit puzzled with those compact digital cameras.I really want to buy a dslr as my first digital camera and get a good one to start with.I've been asked on other forums about why I want a dslr as opposed to a compact digital.

I dont want a compact but I do want a dslr thats a little better than a beginners camera.I'm going to spend the money to get a camera that will see me through a few year and longer without having to upgrade then sell that camera.

Whats the advantages over compacts compared to dslr's?

And,just something to think about,this is the best forum with the friendliest people.Thanks guys,for making this forum the best and a success.

Regards Chris from Adelaide.

12-19-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
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With a DSLR you can have more than one lens. You will have no idea how good LBA feels until you actually have an DSLR!
12-19-2012, 02:47 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Hi Chris -

Please understand that there is so much information that you must review if you really want to understand the different classes of cameras.

Standard compact cameras

Standard compact cameras such as the Sony Cybershot series, Pentax Optio series, Canon Powershot series, etc are small cameras that usually have small sensors - and are marketed at the general public as all-in-one cameras. These cameras usually lack a lot of manual features, are small enough to pocket, have one lens that zooms, and range from $80-$300 bucks.

Compact mirrorless cameras

Compact mirrorless cameras are usually also called micro-4/3 cameras - these are cameras that have a significantly larger sensor than standard compact cameras and also include interchangeable lenses. These combine the best of both worlds for a lot of people - small camera body and lens, with great image quality. Prices range from $300-$1000+

Not-as-compact Mirrorless

The larger mirrorless cameras like the Pentax k-01, Canon EOS-M, Sony NEX series have DSLR sized sensors and lenses, but smaller bodies. These are very very popular at this time, as they provide the best mirrorless image quality with a smaller body. Prices range from $400-$1000+ (The Pentax k-01 is currently considered the best deal of anything right now, at $415 with a lens).

Entry level DSLR

Entry level DSLRs like the Canon T4/T4i, Nikon D3200/D5200, Pentax k-30, etc are smaller sized dslrs that have very good features for beginners (especially the k-30). These are generally what people get to go into DSLRs. Prices range from $600-$900

Enthusiast level DSLR

Enthusiast level DSLRs are larger, have much more features, and are generally the next step for DSLR entry users. These cameras generally have much better build quality and sensors, as well as advance AF systems and metering systems. Prices range from $700-$1200.

Anything above

These are the big boys, and probably what you aren't even considering to look at. These are more for professional uses, but a lot of hobbyists and enthusiasts get these as well - due to the quality of sensor, build, and AF systems. Prices range from $2000-$4000.

Based on the above information, please let us know what exactly you are looking at. Model information would be good, as we can definitely give tips and advice.
12-19-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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Compacts are compact! DSLRs are great but you have to be really dedicated to take one on a date or to work or grocery shopping. A lot of cool photos don't require the highest image quality, just having any camera will do.

Camera makers have some ideas about cameras in between but you have to sort out the compromises they have.

12-19-2012, 03:03 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Denv12 Quote
Hi guys.

I'm a bit puzzled with those compact digital cameras.I really want to buy a dslr as my first digital camera and get a good one to start with.I've been asked on other forums about why I want a dslr as opposed to a compact digital.

I dont want a compact but I do want a dslr thats a little better than a beginners camera.I'm going to spend the money to get a camera that will see me through a few year and longer without having to upgrade then sell that camera.

Whats the advantages over compacts compared to dslr's?

And,just something to think about,this is the best forum with the friendliest people.Thanks guys,for making this forum the best and a success.

Regards Chris from Adelaide.
If you understand the basics of photography (shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, sensitivity, exposure) and can use them to your advantage, then a DSLR would be right for you, as it gives you more control when shooting.

Word of caution, though: the more advanced a DSLR, the higher the required still level. For example, a beginner might get better pictures with a Pentax K-r than a Pentax K-5, because the K-r has a smart scene-based auto-mode, while the K-5 will limit itself to adjusting only certain shooting parameters while leaving the rest up to you.

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12-19-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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Once you go DSLR you will never be satisfied with the IQ of a compact!

Compacts are ust that, a compact camera with a small sensor. They will do okay in bright light, but when it gets a bit dimmer you will notice things start to look grainy. Also, you will notice they aren't as sharp as a DSLR.

A DSLR will have a much bigger sensor and will have much sharper pictures with far more detail than a compact, even with the standard kit lens. When you move into better lenses you get more sharpness and detail, and with a DSLR such as a Kx, Kr, K30, K5, K5II, and K5IIs you will get much better low light capabilities.
12-19-2012, 03:07 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Denv12 Quote
Whats the advantages over compacts compared to dslr's?
Hello Chris, Welcome to the Forum!
Having used several compact (Point + Shoot) cameras over the years, as well as many film SLR's and digital SLR's, all I can say in reply is, there is no comparison, except that they both take photographs.
The sensor, which functions like the film negative on film format, is tiny on compacts. So, once you try enlarging the final image, things go downhill quickly. 10mp on a compact is NOT the same as 10mp on a DSLR.
As LeDave points out, you have the luxury of interchangeable lenses, but that's merely the tip of the iceberg. Not only different lenses, but lenses that are more suited to the job. Faster speeds for low-light conditions. Extreme wide-angle lenses for tight spaces or horizon-to-horizon vistas. Long telephotos for sports, wildlife and unapproachable areas. True Macro lenses with 1:1 reproduction capability.
With a DSLR, you can set the aperture, controlling the depth-of-field. You can set the shutter speed, to "Freeze" fast action or use a slow shutter speed to add an artistic blur to waterfalls and other moving objects.
You can set/change the ISO for effects or conditions. You can shoot in Jpeg and RAW, for more control over the image during post-processing. You can add polarizers and neutral-density filters for effects and clarity in extreme conditions. You have the option of using a powerful shoe-mount flash, with bounce and tilt, diffusion or even multiple flashes for studio work.
Cable released or remote shutter realease. Timed (Bulb) shutter release. Auto-Bracketing. HDR, Battery grips for extended shooting (double the shooting time), auto, catch-in-focus and manual focus options. Too many more gadgets to mention!
Oh, sure, not everyone uses all these options, but they're available when you want them.
A compact is a camera.
A DSLR is a system. Even if you have only one lens, it has the capability of a system.
My suggestion for a DSLR would be either a K-5 or K-30. Both will take you light-years past where a compact can go.
12-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #8
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Compact digital cameras generate really poor images compared to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

I bought my wife a nice new compact last year because she wanted something to carry around that was smaller than my K10d. That lasted for a few weeks before she decided that taking pics with the compact wasn't worth it.

We now have the K-01 which is a bit smaller than the K10d, but it is capable of taking better pictures than the K-5.

12-19-2012, 04:16 PM   #9
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OK, I have to say-depending on what you want to do, a compact may well outperform a DSLR. Besides being able to carry your camera with you everywhere, many decent compacts will focus almost as fast, and often more accurately, than many SLRs.

Nothing does real macro like a good compact.

Prints of shots of people, fairly close up, will be pretty much as good with compact or SLR.
12-19-2012, 04:25 PM   #10

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In addition to the previous points, I'll just add a few:

1. Some compact cameras offer pretty decent manual controls, but generally, DSLRs give you more control. If you really like photography, a DSLR will work with you, and will grow with you.

2. DSLRs also perform faster than compacts, almost without exception. Point a DSLR at your pet dog or a football game or whatever, and you get what you want. Point a compact camera at a moving object, and you might get a picture of an empty space.

3. I find the shooting experience with a DSLR to be much more fulfilling. Try to borrow one, or even rent one, and give it a try! Then you can quickly decide if you like it or not.

4. DLSRs generally have a longer overall useful lifetime than compact cameras. Partially because you can expand the system with more lenses, but also for the reasons above. You can find people shooting with older DSLRs, but older compacts are almost disposable.

5. You don't have to buy a lot of lenses. You can take very, very good pictures with a kit lens, for a very long time. But you can always buy more lenses if you want to, which will help expand your horizons.
12-19-2012, 05:38 PM   #11
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Jumping straight to DSLR is OK, however there is a chance you may be disappointed at first due to the shots you take not be as good as you hoped for, assuming this is the first time you really own/handle a camera. As you explore the camera and lenses the shots you take will increase in quality overtime.

It is better I think, to have an advanced compact first (a compact with full manual control), even better If you can get something with bigger sensor-the 1/1.7" or bigger, and learn the basics with it until you are confident enough that you need a DSLR. I'm sure there are many cheap ones available, even more if you are willing to buy used. I have a Panasonic FX-500/520, a compact with full manual control using the touch screen, and 80% of the time I'm sure I couldn't get better picture if I use the K-x. It is also very cheap (less than $150 new - old stock), small and light, a great complement to my K-x.

Just my 2 cents.
12-20-2012, 01:07 AM   #12
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Replying to all these replies.

Thank you to each of you for your feedback.Its amazing the response has been.You've made my choice easier today.

Firstly,to anyone who suggested secondhand,sorry,I dont buy secondhand cameras.Brand new.As for compacts,I dont like the look of them,They look weird.

The enthusiast photgraphers dslr are the go.Its worth spending up to $1000 and be done with it.As an example,I'm a piano player.I wanted to upgrade in 2004.I bought the top of the range stage piano.Its been in my home since.I spent around $5000 plus.Its travelled about 1km since I moved in 2008 and thats it.The point I make is I dont have a problem buying something thats going to see me for a few years..

I'm convinced that a decent dslr is now the choice.Its narrowing down which one.Obviously,its gonna be a pentax.

I've got a few books I bought recently on digital cameras and dslr's so I'll keep reading and learning.I've got to sell some of my belongings to finance the purchase.(not into ebay).

I will be buying within Australia for warranty,etc.I need that security and to deal with locals not overseas.

Thanks again for all the advice today.

12-20-2012, 07:09 AM   #13
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I would personally go K5 classic, K5II, or if you really want that detail, K5IIs.
12-20-2012, 07:37 AM   #14
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Ill add my $0.02 here also

in the description of cameras by JinDesu, there is one missing, called a "bridge" camera between compact and interchangeable lens cameras.

Here's the point with respect to cameras.

depending on what you wish to achieve, a compact or bridge camera may give you all you need.

I am by all accounts a serious amateur, I have shot film and digital for more than 30 years, have 3 SLRs and 4 DSLRs plus a digital bridge camera.

While there is some logic behind the notion that bigger sensors are better, especially in the past with respect to noise and high ISO, bigger sensors are not the be all and end all of photography.

There are many who use a camera for vacations etc, where they want ease of use, a wide range of focal lengths available, compact overall design, the ability to control both manually and in full auto mode, etc... A good bridge camera can fit all these requirements.

In fact, many bridge camera users get disappointed with their first DSLR, because they are accustomed to,
- excellent depth of field, (the small sensors and relitively short focal lengths of the bridge camera have everything in focus
- relatively fast lenses. (my Kodak DX7590 has 36-360mm (full frame equivelent) F2.8-3.5 lens. Where can you get an F3.5 360mm lens anywhere that does not weigh 2-3 kilos.
- i can add front of the lens attachments like close up lenses, and polarizing filters
true, the sensor does exhibit noise at high ISO but when on vacation many times, you are outside and it is not an issue, indoors the built in flash works well, it has an external sync cable also.

The real issue I find with a bridge camera is the limited Wide angle, with respect to travel, the 36mm equivalent on my old kodak is not wide enough, and many of today's bridge cameras, while they go to 24mm FF equivalent are still not wide enough. but they are similar in all respects to getting a DSLR and then sticking something like an 18-250mm super zoom on it. In fact, if that is all you are going to do, a bridge camera may be the best.

if you want more, and especially really high end optics, low light performance, reduced shutter lag, etc..... then you need a DSLR, or maybe one of the mirrorless ILCs. I like a DSLR over a mirrorless because from a technique point of view a mirrorless promotes bad holding technique.

so before deciding on a DSLR look back at what you wish to do
12-20-2012, 10:34 AM   #15
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Unlike panios digital sensor technology changes rapidly. My K-r is a much better camera in almost all ways then the D200 I also use which was a higher level camera than the highest Pentax at the time the K10D, which is the camera my wife still uses. If you do want to buy a high quality camera that lasts for years and years buy a good film camera Do not get caught up in the term beginner camera with the less expensive Pentax models, I have been shooting SLRs since 1973 and bought the K-r due to it suited my purpose at the time. For the price difference between the K-r and the K5 at the time I bought my camera I could buy a K5 now and have two cameras. In two years what ever is on the market will be better than what is on the market now.

There may be features of the K5 or K5II that you want over the K30 but if not until you know what you need the K30 would be a sound purchase. Lenses are more important then the body in the long run. The K30 is beginner camera like the BMW 5 series is a beginner car for those wanting the 7 series. Ignore the labels and go for the features you need or think you will need in the medium run.

I only use the smart modes on my K-r when I have accidently moved the mode dial because it is in the same place as the shutter dial on my film Pentax. Otherwise the less expensive cameras work well in manual or aperature prioity.

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