what's a >$1000 DSLR good for?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by florin_andrei|1, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Been using point-and-shoot cameras for a number of years, recently upgraded to something better. I've played briefly with a couple cheap DSLRs (Canon XS, Sony A300) and also with a Sigma DP1 (very sexy camera, but so slow!), finally settled on a Panasonic G1 - not quite a DSLR (it's the first Micro Four Thirds camera actually) but for most purposes it's just like a cheap $600 DSLR, in terms of features and image quality, only smaller and more user-friendly. That's the camera I'm using currently.
    But I'm looking at the high end side of things, and I see a Canon 5D is over $2k, or an EOS-1Ds is over $7k. Same with the Nikon high end. That's a 10x increase over my current type of camera. It just begs the question - what can those cameras do that mine cannot?
    This is not just about features (a cheap DSLR has enough features for me now). One thing I currently struggle with is dynamic range and exposure issues. The G1 usually does a good job at finding the right exposure parameters but, when developing RAW, very often I have to fix the usual blown highlight, or the squished black, or whatnot. This is usually doable after twiddling the knobs for a while, but it's the main reason why I spend on average one hour for each album I develop. And it's not just the G1, I noticed all DSLRs in this price range are similar in this regard.
    Also, the noise. The G1 is not quite as clean as a Canon XS, but surprinsingly it's slightly better than the Sony A300. In other words, if I have to shoot at ISO 1600 or higher, then I definitely need to use a smart denoiser (Noise Ninja), otherwise the image is freckled. In practice, I never go above 1600, I configured the camera to stop there.
    Are those expensive cameras better in this regard? Can they "magically" do something to alleviate the burned highlights and that kind of stuff? What is the smart stuff those cameras have that the cheap ones have not?
    How about low light performance? I bought the G1 specifically because I was dismayed with the low light performance of the point-and-shoot (also the shutter lag was a big issue). With the kit lens, the G1 is adequate: when my kids are playing in the living room, I can take pictures without the flash, and they come out just fine, provided I tweak the ISO and shutter a little. Given a similar lens (1:3.5/14-45), how much better in this regard would an expensive DSLR be? Would it get to the point where I can just push the button and it takes great pictures indoors without the flash, no tweaking required? (and keep in mind, children are pretty dynamic subjects) I know I can put a faster lens on my G1, but that's probably not going to happen.
    So, to make a long story short: in terms of performance and image quality, why are people paying $2k - $7k for a high-end DSLR?
     
  2. Oh, it got moved here from the Beginners forum. Okay, just keep in mind, I'm still a newbie. :) Thanks!
     
  3. Better dynamic range, better color reproduction, better high ISO image quality, better ergonomics, e.g. faster and more versatile autofocus. But keep in mind that a $7k EOS-1Ds is not more than seven times as good as a 40D/50D; the higher you go, the more the returns dimnish.
     
  4. -- "why are people paying $2k - $7k for a high-end DSLR?"
    -- "Okay, just keep in mind, I'm still a newbie. :)"
    Put it this way ... if you would be a mechanic (and you would be profesionally working as one), where would you buy your tools ... at the "20% off auction" at your local hardware store chain, or at a hardwarestore that sells quality equipment?
    There might be 1000 reasons why people pay those prices ...
    ... simply because the can afford it.
    ... because they need a rocksolid reliable tool that they can rely on profesionally.
    ... because they love the looks and the attention such a camera draws.
    and what not.
    Are those cameras "better" than your G1? This certainly depends on your definition of better, but in most regards the answer is a very simple "yes" ... but not by the same ratio as the costs are compared to your G1 ... they are 10 times more expensive, but not 10 times better.
     
  5. Florin
    High end cameras tend to be made for 2 basic markets. The photojournalist / sports photographers where low light performance and camera speed (autofocus, frame rate, shutter lag) are improved over moderate prices cameras. Prime examples are the canon 1D mkIII and the Nikon D3.
    The other type is aimed at photographers who need the highest IQ for landscape, fine art and studio work. Here Dynamic Range, color depth and Resolution are what matter most. Here you will find Canon's IDs MkIII, the Nikon D3x and various Medium formats cameras. To get the best out of these cameras you need to also get top grade lenses.
    These cameras also have many more features, are build more robust and to last longer (more cycles). There are various models in between with some of the features or capabilities of the top end models.
    For any specific need these cameras may or may not be "better". I personally use a P&S for family pictures. Having it with me, is more important than any Image Quality thing.
    So yes you can get a bit more dynamic range (about 1, maybe 2 stops). You can get better low light performance maybe 2 or 3 stops. (4 or 5 total with the right lens). You can get much higher operation speed and more robustness. You can get 3 to 4 times the resolution. You can't get it all at once and it cost many many thousands of dollars. Is it worth it? Only you can be the judge. But just remember to get the maximum from these machines requires top notch technique. It may be better to hone your technique first.
    good luck
    Edmond
     
  6. Those are the answers I suspected.
    Hmmm... I guess I'll have to borrow a camera like that somehow, and see for myself just how much better is the "better dynamic range" - i.e., just how much further can it go before it keels over.
    EDIT: Oh, I see. Now I realize I'm looking for a faster camera which performs better in low light and fast motion. Shooting landscape photos is just a nice bonus, but snapping quick pictures in difficult conditions is what I'm looking for.
     
  7. Another difference is the build quality. A "low" end DSLR may have a shutter rated at maybe 30,000 cycles. The 20D and 30D were about 100,000 cylcles while the 1Ds series is more like 500,000+. I don't remember the exact number any more but these are close enough to put it into perpective. Also plastic body vs metal and with partial or full weather/dust sealing on higher end models.
    Feature set is major difference, although that seems to be less and less these days as they are packing low end cameras with what was high end features.
    I don't think the IQ is all that different from the bottom to the top, except for difference in High ISO and of course resolution. Keep in mind high resolution does not always equal high IQ.
    Jason
     
  8. Robert Capa crawled off the beach in Normandy with a camera body model that today would be valued at about $300. His whole kit, separated from his personal fame, would probably go for less than $500. If that's not good enough equipment, what is? All you need is a camera in basic working order.
    Pricetag chasing is for sissies. Use what you've got and make good pictures. After it falls apart, get a replacement.
     
  9. "Put it this way ... if you would be a mechanic (and you would be profesionally working as one), where would you buy your tools ... at the "20% off auction" at your local hardware store chain, or at a hardwarestore that sells quality equipment?"
    Good point, however the sad trueth is that I know many many mechanics (technicians) that bought much of the China made tools at the local flea market.
    When asked why I bought mine off the tool truck (MAC, Matco, and Snap-on) I tell them a bout the time I broke a wrench at 8:00am on morning and went to call the dealer right away because I needed that blasted wrench. Little less than two hours later he pulled up at the shop and walked up to me with replacement in hand and took the broken one with him.
    Another time with the same dealer, I bought a small tool cart. One of the drawers was sticking. I found it was out of square. I called the dealer and in two or three weeks he showed up with the area manager and a new box already fully assembled. They even moved all my tools from the old box to the new one while I watched. A shake of the hand they wheeled off the defective box (the box was fine, it was the drawer that was the problem).
    Jason
     
  10. "Robert Capa crawled off the beach in Normandy with a camera body model that today would be valued at about $300. His whole kit, separated from his personal fame, would probably go for less than $500. If that's not good enough equipment, what is? All you need is a camera in basic working order." -John
    True John, no one said the Op needed a high end camera. With film ( I know you know this John, I say it for the benifit of others) the camera had no effect on IQ. It was all lens and film loaded. With digital, the camera make as much a difference in IQ as the lens does. With that said, many (maybe not all) "low" end DSLR can and will do a very fine job.
    Jason
     
  11. Great info so far, thanks!
    1. I have no intention to replace the G1 in the near (or possibly medium) future. That's the level I'm at now, I need to squeeze out of it all the lessons. I also expected the law of diminishing returns.
    2. I do realize great pictures can be taken with a pinhole camera too. But in certain situations (living room, kids playing, don't want to ruin the original look of the scene by firing the flash) a cheap point-and-shooter just won't do; I tried hard and I kept missing irrepeatable moments. The G1 seems adequate, I was just wondering how much more than that is possible, seeing that I'm close to the limits.
    3. Where can I learn more about the two kinds of high-end cameras (for sports photogs, and for landscapers), which camera belongs to which category, etc.? Is this distinction applied only to the highest end cameras? How about the midrange ($1k - $2k), are they sort of "general purpose" or do they fall into one or the other category?
     
  12. Equipment tab. Read up on some reviews. There are some here at photo net and some other sites. If you want to try one out, there's always rentals. You see, though, that I am a new purchase discourager. I am a wet blanket for LBA.
    There are some structural merits to the more expensive cameras; but, I will almost always discourage more spending on camera equipment for beginners (beyond a basic kit). Spend on prints and framing and sharing. This is just my personal view; I feel there is too much pressure towards spending and a tendency to focus on the equipment.
    I am a wet blanket for LBA.
     
  13. For the "burned in highlights" in the OP, try a filter. A medium-strong neutral density filter (ND) or polarizer will help a little sometimes. It's like putting sunglasses on your camera. Could be covered by a modest investment, easily at about $50; maybe more or less. Those filters are useful, and they'll easily last a long time.
     
  14. "but snapping quick pictures in difficult conditions is what I'm looking for." A canon 40D or 50D, a Nikon D90 or D300 and you will have what you are looking for.
     
  15. Camera's are no different than any other consumer goods. You get what you pay for. For something like a camera which I consider a non essential item (hobby camera) you just look to your budget and shop accordingly. There would be no reason to purchase a top end camera unless you had a real need for one. CostCo sells Nikon D60 and D5000 and so on. Perfectly good camera's for the family or the enthusiast that wants a DSLR..
     
  16. For me the hgh price is justified if the camera has at least 20mp and a full frame sensor. Any of the endless other things it does are things I just don't use. Well, I did use autofocus for a self portrait, and made some videos. But high ISO, in camera retouching, or most of the other things on the menu are not only wasted on me but get in the way.
     
  17. Generally the better DSLRs will have better metering systems which will lower the chances of having blown out highlights. They generally have more dynamic range and better color accurancy as well as better builds. A Nikon D3 for instance is designed for a professional. Not only does it have the best sensor and AF system that Nikon offers, they are weather proof and can shoot more than 300,000 acuations. Are they worth 10x what the average camera costs? That really depends if you make your living with it. Most amatuers could get by very well with a D90, D5000, or 40D. The better DSLRs generally have better high ISO performance which really makes a difference in image quality. Going to a true DSLR you will gain the option of adding different lenses, better metering, better high ISO performance, more features, and generally a better build.
     
  18. The higher specs on image quality (no you might not print that big, allows wider latitude for cropping and retaining quality, so you can shoot wider). Weather sealing/resistance (I remember when in a continuous downpour in China in '97 my cheaper mid-range film Minolta SLR's display went nuts and looked like text from the console from a ship in Star Wars - similar downpour/humidity conditions in Rio during Carnaval and 1Ds kept shooting). 1Ds from 5D Mark II - near prescient autofocus on the 1Ds. That said, I would steer anyone to a 5D Mark II before the 1Ds - having waaaay too much fun with my (IR converted) 5D Mark II and HD movie mode. And the 5D is thankfully lighter.
    The high end cameras are geared towards pros with specific specs, who also can write off as business investments their equipment. There seems to be a healthy market for Hasselblad's medium format digital setups - again, for pros. These were people shooting primarily large format for things like product photography - 4x5 and 8x10. 35mm film was never adequate for many commercial markets.
    What may be interesting is that the highest end full frame digital SLRs may have taken out film medium format, while digital medium format has taken out film large format. The overall simplified workflow (since a lot of end result is digital production), the ability to know you got the shot (I wonder what % of shots - must be miniscule - of film develops were lost in pro lab development?).
    What's nice is that over a generation high end features (say high ISO performance) bump their way down to the prosumer line.
     
  19. While the above posts list most of the advantages of the DSLR, and higher end ones, I'd like to add that the viewfinder on a full frame DSLR is a big advantage to seeing what the camera sees and pre-visualizing the image. At least it is for me. There is a big difference between a Canon 5d and a digital rebel in this regard.
    Florin, it does sound like you now have a very good camera for your present purposes though. The only thing I can think of that might be an issue is if there is a delay when you press the shutter button before it takes the picture. DSLR's are quite fast with the auto focus/exposing the frame, but you won't need a $3000 camera to get this feature.
     
  20. Sounds like your G-1 is doing as much as you need for now. Maybe look at helpful and necessary convenient quality accessories. Flash. Tripod. Ballhead. There are some Best Buys out there which will give you more than you have for a little bit of money as a partner system to what you now have-don't sell it quite yet I mean. Those are called ' Pre owned cameras" Some good Canon D40s and NikonD 200s are looking for adoption... I am for Buying Used if you can. Especially to fill in your future lens kit-assuming you get serious about the photo life-- downstream. Good luck.
     
  21. If your shooting demands the features, and abilities of a professional grade piece of equipment, I would recommend you buy it. OTOH as a beginner, it's a waste of money. Buy the camera you can(/want to learn to) USE, not the camera you can AFFORD.
    If you don't use split second AF, variable metering, AEB, HSS flash, shutter speed 1/8000sec, a 150,000 exp rated shutter (and still have to replace it every year!), 6-10fps capability, interchangeable lenses, etc, etc. DON'T waste your money, because you'll never get a decent return on that. For those of us who DO use those features (and a myriad more) everyday, a lost shot because of a laggy shutter, or a slow lens is simply NOT acceptable.
    The bottom line, is you feel you have to ask this question, for you , the answer is no, there is no reason for such an item to even exist.
    I guess it's like someone asking "why do we have race / sports cars?" They are so ridiculously expensive... I can buy a KIA for $10k And it even comes w/ AC! It'll do 110mph! Not even that noisy inside!
     
  22. So, to make a long story short: in terms of performance and image quality, why are people paying $2k - $7k for a high-end DSLR?​
    I think that's a fair question. Why indeed? As someone who went straight from a digital point-and-shoot (Canon Elph) to a 5DmkII (yeah, that's quite a jump, I know), I can tell you why I dropped serious coin.
    1. Flexibility. You have interchangeable lenses, numerous types of shooting options, and the image quality to allow post-exposure decisions (e.g., cropping). End result? You have more keepers. You miss fewer shots.
    2. Control. This is similar to the above, but what I mean is that with every optical setting at your fingertips (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc.) you can have absolute control over the outcome of your shots, and therefore such a camera becomes a teaching tool as well.
    3. Superior optics. A 35mm dSLR has a sensor that is anywhere from 60% (APS-H) to 280% (Four Thirds) to 3356% (1/2.5") larger in imaging area. Larger sensor = more light collecting ability. It also means shallower depth of field is possible.
    4. Image quality. Better optics in the lenses and sensor means higher image quality, more accurate color, lower noise. The differences may be very minor between the flagship, $7k bodies versus the $3k bodies, but in the hands of a skilled photographer, the differences between the $3k bodies and the < $1k bodies can be quite apparent.
    Of course, it's easy to make these claims, but the proof is in the image. That's not to say that one can't take incredible pictures with an inexpensive camera. Many great images are taken with budget equipment. But with a skilled user, a high-end camera can do amazing things. And that's why I went from P&S to 5DmkII. I knew I was capable of so much more, and I also wanted a system that would teach me, challenge me, and grow with me. It'll be a while before I'll outgrow this camera body.
     
  23. One hard, measurable, objective difference between a $700 Panasonic G1 (12.1Mp) and a $7000 EOS1Ds (21.1Mp) is final print size.
    At some point (20x24, 30x40, . . .), the $700 camera’s image no longer provides acceptable print quality, but the $7000 camera will.
    Stitching images together is a work-around; if you’re good at it, and your images fit well, and you have the time, and . . . but time is money, and being late or failing to deliver are bad choices.
     
  24. Why are almost all DSLR's better than P&S's:
    Due to fact that DSLR's have interchangeable lenses. With a P&S you are stuck with whatever lens they give you. For the most part, its a POS. When you can put whatever lens you like on your camera, you choose the quality of the image that you want to hit the sensor. For this reason, camera makers provide the user with more quality in many different areas.
    Basically what I mean is that P&S cameras are made poorly, with poor sensors, poor specs etc because without quality glass in from of that sensor, there is no need.

    What can they do that yours cannot:
    You can toss a 400/2.8 on a DSLR and focus in tenths of a second, you look through the 100% viewfinder, dial in your shutter speed, or your aperture, or even both and choose your ISO (6400) in this case. You snap the once in a lifetime shot and can be sure that it is a keeper.
    I doubt that you woul get the same results from a P&S
     
  25. Well, to be fair, a P&S is really good at what it does. In fact, it is often better than a high-end camera when it comes to making photographic decisions. That might sound like it contradicts my previous post. But here's what I mean.
    A modern P&S camera is small. Small sensor, small lens. It has design compromises. So no f/1.4, no 500mm focal length. No bulb setting or 1/8000 shutter speed. No selective AF. What is it for? Taking family photos. Tourists. Your average layperson who doesn't know anything about camera optics and doesn't care to. They want reasonably sharp photos, and they don't think about composition, lighting, etc. So a P&S will have a small aperture range around f/4-8 (too low = shallow DOF = blurry photos, too high = diffraction). It will have shutter speeds from around 1/4 to 1/1000. ISO is maybe only up to 400 or 800. But within all these constraints, it focuses fast, reasonably accurately, and gets the metering in the ballpark--if not it pulls a Ron Popeil--set it and forget it--and flashes the crap out of the scene @ 1/60 s. Why? Because that layperson doesn't care that their subject is washed out--they care that the image is sharp. They don't care about bokeh. They need fast AF because they don't wait to press the shutter.
    So, given what a P&S is designed to do, it does it quite well. It's not going to take photos of a bird being eaten by a snake in a tree 500 meters away. It wasn't meant to. But it will take photos of people standing around in groups looking goofy. And for the rest of us, that's a good thing. Unfortunately, the sub-$1K dSLR market has brought to the unwashed masses (j/k) all the basic features that the pros have been using to get their great shots, and it's cutting into their business when Joe Sixpack goes African Safari with his wife and three kids, takes his Digital Rebel, slaps on a cheap 70-300 zoom and gets a shot of a gazelle racing across the savanna that could rival something in National Geographic.
    Again, kidding. Well, only sort of. :T
     
  26. if you shoot digital Florin, you have to live with blown hightlights. This is once of the areas where film reigns supreme. A camera/lens combo only needs to do two things to make a successful exposure; adjust the diagphram on the lens, and open the shutter for a given period of time. In camera metering, auto exposure, auto focus, auto iso et al, only serves to make it easier for the photographer to make decisions, or no decisions at all to make that successful expsoure into a successful image. They are by no means neccessary, although some that haven't gone without these luxuries may think they are. ISO 3200 is a luxury. Spend the bulk of your money on lenses, and get the cheapest smallest camera you can that meets your minimum requirements. buy fast prime lenses set your camera to iso400 and off you go.
     
  27. I wonder - if this is your hobby or profession ?
    If it is your hobby - then I seriously doubt the benefits that these high end camera will give you. Even low end DSLR is ok for all practical purposes.
    Sometimes it is really surprising even for professionals - when someone makes such big ticket purchases - specially when your employer or someone else is not footing the bill.
    Off-course go for it - if you can afford - it is great for impressing other newbies in town.
     
  28. Ahh, the joys of digital photography, where amateurs who don't shoot the image volume required to justify a super-rugged, high-end pro-spec body, not only give up the pro-level ruggedness when they compromise on camera price, but they also give up some in image quality.
    This is in contrast to film cameras where you can load pro-spec film into a low-end camera, mount a high quality lens and voila, you can produce images that match the pro-spec camera in image quality. There were even some cameras targeted to amateurs that were more popular with pro photographers than the pro-oriented cameras (eg Nikon FE2)
     
  29. If full-frame cameras are presently out of reach for you, you might want to consider the Canon 40D or the Nikon D90, which fall within the price range you indicated (but without the lenses). Check them out on dpreview.com (among other places) and see what you think. You can also search for them at B&H Photovideo and read the specs and user reviews--or check the prices at Adorama or Amazon.
    Do keep an eye on price. The Canon 40D, for example, is (at about $875) holding its value well, for example, because some persons thnk that the 50D has too high a pixel density to give the best image quality. There is thus a potential saving there in the 40D in not buying the latest in that particular line of Canon cameras. There are also differing opinions as to what features are necessary. Finally, look at some of the sample pictures (full-sized files in some cases) at depreview.com, and you can see just what kind of image quality you would be getting.
    If the cameras that I have cited are still too pricey, you will stil find a noticeable difference between point-and-shoot cameras and low-end DSLRS, such as the Canon XSi or the Nikon 5000.
    Most point-and-shoots do not do too well at high ISO and thus when shooting under low-light conditions. The Canon G10, for example, is great in bright light but not good at all in low ligtht (which requires good performance at high ISO, which it simply does not have). Even the low-end DSLRS will give better results at high ISO.
    Your bigger costs, however, are going to be the lenses if you buy any kind of DSLR. Camera body costs are just the beginning once one decides to move from point-and-shoot cameras to any DSLR. That said, even with the cheap kit lens (that you can get bundled with a DSLR) you will get better results than with point-and-shoot cameras, and you will also be able to learn more about photography if you have the options that DSLRS afford.
    In other words, you do not really even have to go over $1000 to see the very real benefits of shooting with a DSLR.
    --Lannie
     
  30. The D3 and D700 at least have very wide dynamic range, also at high ISO. I don't have any highlight saturation issues.
     
  31. For me the hgh price is justified if the camera has at least 20mp and a full frame sensor.​
    Why? The extra megapixels will only help when you're printing large posters. The rest of the time more pixels means each pixel is physically smaller. Smaller pixels means less photons strike it for a given exposure, and that translates to more noise. Up to 16x20 printing, you're getting better image quality from a 12 megapixel camera than a 24.
     
  32. For me the hgh price is justified if the camera has at least 20mp and a full frame sensor.​
    Why? The extra megapixels will only help when you're printing large posters. The rest of the time more pixels means each pixel is physically smaller. Smaller pixels means less photons strike it for a given exposure, and that translates to more noise. Up to 16x20 printing, you're getting better image quality from a 12 megapixel camera than a 24.
     
  33. it seems to me that this thread took a wrong turn in its responses. I understood the OP's question to be the difference between a cheaper DSLR and a more expensive DSLR. S/He was wondering what benefits were gained, having noted that except for some lag in his Panasonic, it met his needs very well. The responses seem to have been explaining the benefits of a DSLR versus a P & S. Thus interchangable lenses, and whatever these two bullet points are supposed to mean are irrelevant. but seriously, what do these posts mean? what's a 35mm dSLR with APS-H and what is it 60% larger than? APS-C? and what is four-thirds 280% larger than? and then the third number just comes out of left field.
    1. Superior optics. A 35mm dSLR has a sensor that is anywhere from 60% (APS-H) to 280% (Four Thirds) to 3356% (1/2.5") larger in imaging area. Larger sensor = more light collecting ability. It also means shallower depth of field is possible.
    2. Image quality. Better optics in the lenses and sensor means higher image quality, more accurate color, lower noise. The differences may be very minor between the flagship, $7k bodies versus the $3k bodies, but in the hands of a skilled photographer, the differences between the $3k bodies and the < $1k bodies can be quite apparent.
    but this second bullet point may accidentally touch on a response that teh OP was looking for: what's the difference between the very expensive and the not so expensive dSLR: "The differences may be very minor between the flagship, $7k bodies versus the $3k bodies". good advice spoken from someone who seems a little confused.
     
  34. And so we have a new system with a new lens mount and this, the G1; the world's first electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens camera. From the outside it looks for all the world like a conventional SLR. . . . --dpreview.com http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcg1/​
    I'm sorry that I dd not understand exactly what the Panasonic G1 was . I thought that it was either a traditional point-and-shoot or a compact with built in lens but somewhat larger sensor than the typical point-and-shoot.
    So it does have interchangeable lenses but is not technically a DSLR. . . .
    I'm blown away by the image quality of this camera, especially when shooting on RAW. At low to moderate ISOs, it blows away low-end DSLRs such as the Canon XSi, not to mention the Sony A 350, Olympus E 520, etc. With the crispness shown in the dpreview.com comparisons with RAW shooting, I can well see why you might ask what advantage there is in spending much more.
    If printing large files is not a requirement, if really high ISO shooting is not that important to you, and if you are satisfied with your available selection of lenses, then I cannot imagine why you would want to move up to the more expensive line(s) of cameras.
    Even with regard to ISO, it does pretty well at 1600, I think--based on the comparisons and samples that I just looked at. If this camera had been around when I bought my Olympus E-20 in early 2002, I doubt that I would ever have bought another digital camera. This is a fine camera at an incredibly low price.
    On top of everything else, you can get image stabilized lenses for it. I'm impressed. Panasonic's marketing skills are lagging behind its technical innovations, I fear.
    --Lannie
     
  35. "what can those cameras do that mine cannot?"
    Haven't read all the replies so this might have been mentioned already. Most performance (not "features"), say 90%, is available at every pricepoint. It's getting that last 10 percent that costs. Most people don't need that 10% (and may not even know it exists). If you do, you spend the big bucks.
    It would be a better question to ask why some buy a mid-range dslr rather than one from the low end. What performance has been gained for the price?
     
  36. it seems to me that this thread took a wrong turn in its responses. I understood the OP's question to be the difference between a cheaper DSLR and a more expensive DSLR.​
    Fair enough. I shouldn't have included P&S in my response, but I did so because I was trying to relate my own personal experience and the reasons why I went to a 35mm full frame dSLR instead of a cheaper dSLR, from a P&S. But I agree, I should have been clearer.
    but seriously, what do these posts mean? what's a 35mm dSLR with APS-H and what is it 60% larger than? APS-C? and what is four-thirds 280% larger than? and then the third number just comes out of left field.​
    These numbers are correct. A 35mm dSLR has an imaging area of 24x36mm. APS-H, APS-C, and Four Thirds are format sizes that are physically smaller in area than the 35mm format, and furthermore, each of these formats can be used in a single lens reflex design, so for example the Canon 1DmkIII is a dSLR even though it does not have a 35mm sensor. Canon uses APS-H, -C, Nikon uses APS-C, and Panasonic and Olympus use Four Thirds. The percentages are calculated as (Area of 35mm sensor)/(Area of other sensor) - 1. The reason for my pointing this out is that the lower-cost dSLRs have smaller sensors, whereas the high-end ones (> $3K) are almost universally 35mm.
    good advice spoken from someone who seems a little confused.​
    A $7K body may have quite a bit of features that a $3K body doesn't. Better weather sealing, more robust shutter, integrated vertical grip, superior AF, faster continuous shooting, etc. These things can be extremely important--critical, even--to a full-time professional who needs a workhorse camera that can take a beating and still perform. But when I say the differences may be minor, I speak of resultant image quality--it's because a $3K body, optically speaking, is virtually equivalent to a $7K body. But from < $1K to $3K, there are often very clear optical differences due to fundamental design differences (e.g., sensor size, as mentioned above).
    It seems that it is you who are confused.
     
  37. Why? The extra megapixels will only help when you're printing large posters.​
    To the contrary, the extra MP also gives me far, far more flexibility in terms of composition after the fact. That doesn't mean I'm lazy with composition, it just means that I have the flexibility to select the portion of my image I want without sacrificing too much in terms of sharpness or resolution. If I'm in a tight spot and the choice is between no shot versus capturing *something*, the likelihood of getting an acceptable image is greater. It also means that if I should choose to do so, I can scale down my image and get extremely sharp results corner-to-corner. I get more latitude to alter the image in post-processing, essentially.
     
  38. But I'm looking at the high end side of things, and I see a Canon 5D is over $2k, or an EOS-1Ds is over $7k.​
    Fortunately you haven't heard about the Hasselblad H3DII-50 or the Mamiya DL33...
     
  39. To the contrary, the extra MP also gives me far, far more flexibility in terms of composition after the fact.​
    I considered that when typing my post. I'll crop a little to clean up shots a bit, but I very rarely have to do a large cropping job to 'extract' the image I want. I can't really picture even pushing the shutter release knowing I'll need to crop away most of the image.
    I remember in the 35mm days printing the whole frame including the spockets so I could proudly show I wa prining my uncropped composition.
    With a cheap little P&S I think it's common to shoot first and crop later.
     
  40. Cameras are more similar to bicycles -- low end consumers bikes & mtn bikes versus the higher end stuff. The price range is from $400 to $7,500. You do get what you pay for -- build, performance, and joy of use.
    Cameras are less similar, however, than bottles of wine. Red wine generally is junk below the $10-12 price point (or for people who don't like wine or enjoy super entry level stuff) [as would a new, sub $400 DSLR be], but it markedly improves around the $20 point. You cannot say that a $400 bottle of wine is really all that much better than a $40 bottle. Wine is more about scarcity, origin, and label once it hits the $30 price. True. Not cameras.
     
  41. I can't really picture even pushing the shutter release knowing I'll need to crop away most of the image.
    I remember in the 35mm days printing the whole frame including the spockets so I could proudly show I wa prining my uncropped composition.​
    Indeed--I agree, it does seem to be a habit from the film days, because I did the same thing too. It was not so much about demonstrating attention to composition, but about feeling that, by dealing with a tangible, physical medium, shooting with deliberate intent to crop out later was tantamount to wasting film area. I know, it sounds pretty silly, but such are the crazy ideas you get in your head when you're a poor college student. Years passed, and digital changed that for me, although I still feel that ever-so-slight sense of having "lost" something by cropping. Old habits die hard! :)
     
  42. it seems to me that this thread took a wrong turn in its responses. I understood the OP's question to be the difference between a cheaper DSLR and a more expensive DSLR. S/He was wondering what benefits were gained​
    Exactly. And it's a "he". :)
    except for some lag in his Panasonic, it met his needs very well​
    There's no lag actually, the camera is very snappy (with very fast autofocus and interchangeable lenses, it can't be distinguished from a "real" DSLR unless you open it up and see there's no mirror).
    My concern was with the low light performance: shooting fast moving subjects (kids playing) in low light (living room at evening) without flash is doable but I need to put the camera on ISO 1600 and jog the shutter. Even then, sometimes I do capture a good chunk of blur.
    So, I guess, what I was really trying to find out is at which point on the price range will I get a big increase in low light performance, if I decide to get a more expensive camera. All the rest, features and whatnot, are rather just curiosity. Well, I wouldn't mind a camera more robust w.r.t. blown highlights either.
    I'm sorry that I dd not understand exactly what the Panasonic G1 was . I thought that it was either a traditional point-and-shoot or a compact with built in lens but somewhat larger sensor than the typical point-and-shoot.

    So it does have interchangeable lenses but is not technically a DSLR. . . .

    I'm blown away by the image quality of this camera, especially when shooting on RAW. At low to moderate ISOs, it blows away low-end DSLRs such as the Canon XSi, not to mention the Sony A 350, Olympus E 520, etc. With the crispness shown in the dpreview.com comparisons with RAW shooting, I can well see why you might ask what advantage there is in spending much more.​
    I'm not sure about the crispness (comparing the pictures I take with the G1 with those taken with a Rebel I don't see much of a difference - but then again I'm not a super-pro), but the low light performance is indeed surprisingly high for a sensor this small - on par with an average entry-level DSLR (Canon beats it, I would guess Nikon does too, but then the G1 beats Sony, according to the reviews). I would have avoided it due to the sensor size, were it not for the reviews. I agree it has less recognition than it deserves.
    In the end, I am concerned with what I feel is a corner-case; how many people, after all, take photos of their kids playing in the living room and avoid firing the flash? So maybe I am nitpicking.
    But this thread has gone way beyond where I expected. Great information, thank you all.
     
  43. Hmmm I can give an opinion of the G1 VS the Nikon D200 - I use a D200 primarily, and have used a G1. but it really isn't really a better/worse thing -
    Nikon D200
    a) I prefer the system of lenses and accessories available for Nikon
    b) Prefer the build quality, handling, menu system.
    c) SLR! EVF of the G1 is not really that good imo, but the manual focus mode is very solid.
    G1 -
    a) Face tracking AF is amazing, even indoors. Did I mention amazing?
    b) Super compact
    c) Not attention grabbing
    d) Easy to use
    f) LCD screen is great!
    If I was swimming in money, I'd take the G1 as a travel kit camera, and D200 as my crap wildlife pics workhorse. So take your pick, that's my reasons why I paid good $$$ for my Nikon - lenses and system.
    Alvin
    PS: I got my D200 body + grip for AUD850 one year ago ;-) Used equipment r0xx0r!
     
  44. Hmmm I can give an opinion of the G1 VS the Nikon D200 - I use a D200 primarily, and have used a G1. but it really isn't really a better/worse thing​
    How's the low light performance?
    Face tracking AF is amazing, even indoors. Did I mention amazing?​
    I'm not familiar with what the high-end cameras can do, but to me the processor on the G1 does seem pretty smart, for that kind of stuff.
     
  45. Hmmm I can give an opinion of the G1 VS the Nikon D200 - I use a D200 primarily, and have used a G1. but it really isn't really a better/worse thing
    How's the low light performance?
    The D200 has been replaced by the D300 for over a year now, and a D400 is rumored to appear by years end.
    For the D200, one should be able to get reasonably good images at ISO of 1600. For the D300, one should be able to get very good images at ISO of 3200. I don't have a D300 so my comments are based on the reviews that I read. I do have a D80, which is a pro-consumer model but it uses the same sensor as the D200. I can get very usable images at ISO 1600 but I do see noise, although the noise in these Nikon cameras are known to resemble the noise in using high ISO films so it is not "ugly." I wish my camera can have at least one stop better low light performance because that would allow me to shoot indoors without flash with very little noise.
    With the G1, which I assume has built-in image stabilization, one can shoot at lower shutter speed; thus the G1 may not need to perform better in the ISO area than the D80/D200 under the same light intensity. However if your subject moves, you need higher shutter speed to freeze the movement. Thus like many have said before, you should use the G1 to take as many pictures as you can and see in what areas you run into limitation. In this way one can better judge whether upgrading the camera can solve these specific problems.
     
  46. I shoot Canon, but the best low light camera out there right now is the D3 or D700--and, yes, I think that the extra money would be worth it, if you can swing it.
    --Lannie
     
  47. I've taken quite a few good pictures with my Nikon D40, which is definitely on the low end of dSLRs. However, I've always found that the only thing I want from a higher end camera is the ability to control some of my lenses that require autofocus and a better dynamic range for taking some of the pictures I do.
    Other than that, my $600 investment has served me quite well. Could it be better if it had more focus points? how about more ISO range? I do a lot of pictures indoors, so having higher ISO with less noise is always a good thing for me. More focus points would be great because the 3 that are available in the D40 aren't nearly enough for some of the pictures I take. But, it still does the job, and I can always use manual focus if necessary for some things.
    Basically, the only reason I can see justifying a higher priced camera than one that covers those few things I need is basically just because I want it. Not because there's a specific need, but just because it's something I think I could get a lot of use out of.
     
  48. "So, to make a long story short: in terms of performance and image quality, why are people paying $2k - $7k for a high-end DSLR?"
    My thoughts:
    - Low light performance is much better in these expensive cameras, which are capable of much higher ISO performance
    - Action photographers get higher frames per second
    - Faster, more intelligent autofocus
    - Superior metering
    - Overall image quality improves with price, though at a far lower pace than ISO performance and FPS
    - If you’re including expensive lenses in the mix, you also get better low-light performance, and enhanced control over depth of field
    - The more expensive cameras are much more ruggedly built
    - Camera software, functionality and customization capability is far superior as the price tag goes up
    Put simply, if you have great light and static subjects, most would be hard pressed to see the difference between a photo taken with a $1K DSLR and a $7K DSLR (given the same lens and photographer technique, skill and ability).
    If the scenario moves to challenging light and a higher-end lens, however, the story changes—especially if you want larger prints or the subject is moving.
    You mention taking photos of kids in the living room without a flash….sounds like you need excellent high ISO performance….decent FPS….solid autofocus….fast lens…. ;-)
     
  49. What about the other costs?
    I submit, the camera does not cost what its pricetag says. I think it costs between five and ten times as much. Maybe 20 or 30 times as much, if you count in costs like printing, publishing and advertising based on photos made with the camera. Now, of five photos made with the camera, and worked through to completion, how many will turn a profit? Are you prepared to absorb the costs created by unsold images?
    If you are an amateur, you'll still have those costs. They just won't be offset by monetary profit.
    How about unprinted images? I see, every so often, someone touting the billboard/poster ability of a given camera. Of the units sold, how many were used to build a billboard ad, how many times? If you were actually building a billboard ad, wouldn't renting equipment be a better option?
    Some people will not get their images off of a web page. Look at the size of the images in these web ads. Hold a postage stamp next to your monitor, and then check the ad photo size again. Tell me someone is not building the equivalent of a very expensive postage stamp.
    If you were painting, instead of uploading the latest digital image, that size of image would be considered miniature. Even in the larger views, we're still seeing an overwhelming majority of images, even commercial images, used in final presentation size that is small format.
    Now, how many megapixels does it take to have angels dance on a postage stamp?
    If you use the pricetag of the body to gauge the value of the camera, then you're already headed down the wrong path. And also, from a commercial cost viewpoint, the camera body price as an indicator is grossly incomplete. Printing, computer improvements, shipping in, shipping out, time editing, printing, printing, printing, web page coding, advertising, fuel, food, travel, your bar tab when you are in another city, and so on. That camera body price as a commercial indicator is buried way down the list.
    When you look at these obvious marketing models, and see the bracketing on the prices, and you move up from one level to the next; ask yourself, is there an adjacent cost increase in another support cost category that would go along with that move? Considering that part of this is chasing a megapixel count and the latest autofocus system, or getting weather sealing like that Pentax; some camera body costs will affect other costs.
    Those other costs affected; they're not hidden costs. They're part of the price. The full price of the camera.
    With that full price in mind, do those latest initials and model numbers on the nameplate really look so good?
    Use your current system until the thing falls apart, or is in danger of eminent collapse.
     
  50. "Ahh, the joys of digital photography, where amateurs who don't shoot the image volume required to justify a super-rugged, high-end pro-spec body, not only give up the pro-level ruggedness when they compromise on camera price, but they also give up some in image quality.
    This is in contrast to film cameras where you can load pro-spec film into a low-end camera, mount a high quality lens and voila, you can produce images that match the pro-spec camera in image quality. There were even some cameras targeted to amateurs that were more popular with pro photographers than the pro-oriented cameras (eg Nikon FE2)"

    What an odd observation but one that arguably seems accurate. I was pricing 700 dollar RZ67 kits today. It make 700 bucks spent on a G1 a total waste.
     
  51. Florin
    I purchased a D3 shortly after they came out, if I would have waited I would have bought the D700 and saved some money. I had been shooting nikon for a long time so I had what lens I needed.
    My choice in the camera was, it was my fisrt digital camera as I held out on going digital until I felt that the camera would surpass what I was doing with film, and I didn't want a cropped sensor, and this it surely has done for me. It was very exspensive for me, but it was a retirement present that I purchased for my self, which I intead to keep for many years. With the photos I have taken in the last fourteen months the D3 has payed for it's self in film saving and proccessing. My out put is still prints mostly 8X10 and 16X20. Yes with film I would not have taken near as many photo, but the freedom to take as many as I want has led to many more keepers and exceptional photos. I am even selling some prints which I never thought I would do. I don't feel that I could have accoplished my goals with the quality of prints I get with to much less of a camera, yes if I wanted a cropped sensor the Nikon D300 would have been plenty. So it really boils down to what you exspect to get out of your camera, how involved you want to get and yes how much you can afford to spend. You certainly don't need a top end camera to produce stunning photos, but it sure helps.
     
  52. I submit, the camera does not cost what its pricetag says. I think it costs between five and ten times as much. Maybe 20 or 30 times as much, if you count in costs like printing, publishing and advertising based on photos made with the camera.​
    I have a problem with your reasoning. First of all, if you were correct, nobody would be shooting medium format. Nobody would be using Phase One digital backs. Nobody would even think of using 4x5 film. If you were correct, we'd all be jumping on the Micro Four Thirds bandwagon, ditching 35mm SLR technology entirely. We didn't do it when APS came out, what makes you suddenly think that the APS format is now superior to 35mm just because we're using digital sensors instead of film?
    Most importantly, your reasoning is flawed because of one simple fact: Anyone can downsample their image to a lower resolution as the very first step in their workflow. And the images will have lower noise and better quality than a small sensor camera. So there goes your preposterous claims about being 20-30x more expensive. Now you have the same post-exposure cost--the time to downsample is negligible. You could batch run it while you're reading photo.net. And even if it weren't, there's a handy little dial that records the sensor data in a lower resolution....
    You have an incredibly narrow vision of what photography is for. It's not necessarily a revenue stream. Sometimes, it is about getting the best of what present technology and money can afford. You're more than welcome to think of your own work as being income, but don't presume to tell me, or anyone else, the purpose of the images we take. And for those photographers for whom their images are their source of income, whose livelihoods depend on getting that shot, they would probably be the first ones to tell you how ridiculous and meaningless your claims are. They'll happily drop $7K on a body if it means the difference between getting a fantastic shot and selling it for $10K, and missing a shot because their camera wasn't weather-sealed, or their AF was too slow, or light levels were too low, or there wasn't enough resolution to salvage. And they'll drop another $7K on a lens if that means they get that once-in-a-lifetime shot.
     
  53. A under $1000 digital camera is good for taking pics of:
    -the family
    -pets
    -anything you won't enlarge more than a 11x14
    -snapshots
    -stuff you selling on ebay
    Shoot with 35mm and scan, I've got beautiful 40x60's from 35mm.
    You can't beat film.
     
  54. Okay, Peter, it's like this: using a $200 camera body, $638 budget for film and darkroom supplies, my publication costs run over $6,000. Two hundred times 30 equals 6,000. Somebody has got to pay that 6,000. It's a cost.
    A camera body can easily incur or be associated with costs 20 to 30 times its individual unit price.
    Now, I'm sorry if you took what I had to say personally, but my point is not meant to be about you or anybody else. It's that I think the sticker price of the camera body is not necessarily an indicator of its merit.
     
  55. Even if I can afford it, the $$ cams are too big for me, because I like to travel with it and I do 2 days per place and move on .... There are pro's like the late Galen Rowell who have used $100 lenses on his Nikon cos he watned a light camera as he liked running and mountain climbing.
    I tend to think the $$ provides speeds and build, yes pixels but most cases I think the cheaper DSLRs are well catered for already. Most people don't need to print larger than 13x19. I have a 6MP in 2004 and it is fine.
    I do landscapes nad cityscapes so I use a tripod so the high ISO, faster speed, solid build, better water sealing is not an issue to me , nor the extra buttons and extra custom settings. And equally I like to get into film with medium and larger format with the cloth over the head cos the negative is 4x5" size, plus again I don't need the speed.
    I mean for the price, even if I am interested in portraiture and event and sport photography, there is no way I can afford such thing new, so I will buy used. The D300 at $1600 or abouts is not too bad for a mid upper speed camera.
    I do scapes photography subjects, for me it is easy, I have not upgraded and put my money to airfares to do my international landscapes / cityscapes. Right now in my country $500US provides a ticket to Asia, $500US provides a generous Asian day to day spending all inclusive (for a week), backpackers could get via $250US a week if they wanted to - dorms and cheap food.
     
  56. What I find generally happen is that the high end stuff get the state of the art sensors but overtime these stuff are trickered down to the chain to the cheaper cameras, they are also more refined and installed into the cheaper models. Then the upper end cameras after a few years puts out a newer model which entice pple to buy again for $5,000 or $8,000. But I cannot afford to upgrade so often. LOL. I rather travel with it and do other stuff.
    FWIW with a 6MP cam I can do my photog I am happy with and it prints 13x19 for my photography club. Most time its that not the technical qualities but I need to improve on my art qualities be it with the camera or with the photoshop. Even if I have a Nikon D3 or a D3x or a large format camera with a large 4x5 inch negative size, I don't think it would make a difference. I just enjoy using film because it is a more manual way and with slide film you just project it, no manipulation whatsoever offsite.
     
  57. Generally I would suggest people to buy a $1,500 cam if they do portraiture and want a bit of speed. I don't suggest pple to get a $8,000 cam for obvious reasons. I say it is up to them if they wanna spend $3,000 for full frame but does the same job.
    I suggest pple to get a sub $1,000 cam for newbies and hobbyist if they are not into action.
    I also suggest people to get 2nd hand if they want that.
     
  58. that for example....
    00TbZF-142407684.jpg
     
  59. Okay, Peter, it's like this: using a $200 camera body, $638 budget for film and darkroom supplies, my publication costs run over $6,000. Two hundred times 30 equals 6,000. Somebody has got to pay that 6,000. It's a cost.​
    And you are still missing my point: It's misleading to talk about "publication costs" when not everyone who buys a camera--even a "pro" body--has those costs. Just because that cost *MIGHT* be incurred by someone in particular doesn't say anything meaningful about its relationship to the original purchase of the equipment. Furthermore, "publication costs" are presumably offset by earnings, unless it's for personal use, in which case it's pointless to talk about money at all--what dollar value can you put on capturing an image for your own personal needs?
    A camera body can easily incur or be associated with costs 20 to 30 times its individual unit price.​
    FOR YOU, maybe. But obviously there's not a linear relationship. You could buy a $5 disposable camera, go to a pro lab and spend $10 on developing, $50 on scanning and $500 on making 20x30 prints. Alternatively, you could go to Wal-Mart and spend $4 and get some nice 4x6 prints in an envelope. What does any of that have to do with the $5 you spent on the camera? Similarly, you could buy an EOS 5DmkII for $3K, three L lenses for a total of $5K, and $1K on accessories for a total of $9K, and then end up spending almost nothing for digital display and projection. Or you can spend $1 to rip the HD video to a DVD. You think that over the lifetime of the body and lenses you're going to spend 30x = $270,000 in peripheral costs? Ludicrous.
    Now, I'm sorry if you took what I had to say personally, but my point is not meant to be about you or anybody else. It's that I think the sticker price of the camera body is not necessarily an indicator of its merit.​
    The sticker price isn't an indicator of a camera body's merit because "merit" is not measured the same way by everyone. So don't go around freaking people out and dissuading them from buying what they can afford by talking about 20x or 30x TCOs. That is what I have a problem with. You're putting out baseless figures to support a message that, while true, is lost amidst the fearmongering. If I were to believe what you said, I'd never spend $4K on a camera. I'd take a cheap $200 P&S and lie awake at night wondering if I could afford your claimed 20x lifetime cost of ownership on THAT.
    I spent $4K on a camera. And when I saw what I could do with it, I was immediately convinced that I had made the correct decision in terms of its lifetime value to me. I've taken shots that I could not have captured with anything less. And there's no way to put a dollar value on those images. So here's my message to prospective camera buyers: get the best you can afford, and learn to use it well. A camera is the closest thing to a time machine mankind has ever created. One the moment has passed, it will never come again.
     
  60. They're not baseless figures. I worked in a newspaper factory for five years. No money, and production stops. This could happen on a small or large scale, but it's going to happen.
    You want to call my position fearmongering; I disagree. It's the reality of expenditure; those projections are based on what I have observed. Five, ten, twenty or thirty times the value of the camera body, as I wrote above. If you factor in all of the different ways the camera can cost you, it's not any different than any other daily cost.
    When people sell cameras, review cameras, or advertise cameras in any way, do they tell others about the facts of all of these other associated costs? No, they'll associate "Professional" with expensive equipment, but not discuss all of the follow-on costs that go into generating profit or sustaining the system on a monthly budget of some kind. Isn't that profit important? [cf. "what you call income", above.]
    Isn't a sustainable budget important? What's wrong with addressing those ideas? Maybe someone should say something about it.
    What's a greater than $1000 DSLR good for? Well, it may not be good for much if the user can't carry on and spend on its future utility. Planning for future expenditures is an important part of making these kinds of decisions.
     
  61. they are more expensive and therefore must be better.
     
  62. After the purchase of a body and the first lens, a photographer is not obligated to spend any more than what they don't want to pay for. You are not addressing that simple fact nor the other facts I have stated in my previous replies, instead choosing to continue making assumptions that do not hold for a large number of photographers that DO purchase such bodies. And now you're backtracking and saying "5x, 10x, 20x, 30x," and saying "can cost," essentially rendering your original claims meaningless because there's a huge difference between 5x and 30x. When those extra costs can vary that much there is no point in bringing up 30x costs and attaching it to the purchase of the original body!
    By all means, a sustainable budget is important. I know perfectly well the point you are trying to make but you are not articulating it. You are trying to bring up this idea of the cost of being immersed in photography as being more than the cost of a body. Yeah, you could get "L disease" and start spending insane amounts of cash on glass. And some people do. But nobody is holding a gun to your head, and certainly the camera body you buy isn't sending off mind control waves saying *you really need that EF 400/2.8L IS*. When trying to consider the total cost of being a photographer, the attachment point is not the monetary value of the body. Nobody says you have to become a photojournalist, or go into wedding photography, or make 24x36 prints, or...whatever. Moreover, whether you buy a Rebel or a 1DsIII, you are still (largely) faced with the same choices with respect to supplemental equipment and subsequent usage and expression of your images. The more meaningful way to talk about those "lifetime costs" is not to relate it to the body but to relate it to the photographer's personal goals, their intended use of their work.
    Anything worthwhile in life has costs, whether it is time or money spent. I also happen to be a ceramic artist . My work has been published in an internationally recognized ceramics magazine. I've spent a lot of money on that, too. Some people like to fix up cars. That costs money too. My regular day job costs me 40 hours of my life every week, and although I get paid for it, is it enough to offset that time that I will never get back, that huge chunk of my adult life given to a company instead of doing what I really want?
    00Tc5p-142663584.jpg
     
  63. I wasn't backtracking. I was referring to my previous post because you quoted it, and then picked the highest factor I offered as part of making your point, which was that you thought mine was "preposterous." If you are going to hold me to what I said, it is only fair that what I wrote is taken in balance.
    Given the advertising pressure that people are under to purchase camera equipment, I have absolutely no problem with aggressively counseling for a sustained budget. The OP is about gauging equipment based on the cost of a DSLR body. What I wrote above is what I think about it.
     
  64. If you were painting, instead of uploading the latest digital image, that size of image would be considered miniature. Even in the larger views, we're still seeing an overwhelming majority of images, even commercial images, used in final presentation size that is small format.​
    Look any technically good 4x5" large format scan at 1020x760pix on your screen. If you come now to tell me that you can beat that with your p&s, we are here eager to see your 1000x jpegs? Further you should have a look for a lot of books, exhibitions and private galleries instead of making the the bold assumption that all you see at web is all there is published, even with the same pictures.
    Now, how many megapixels does it take to have angels dance on a postage stamp?​
    As for my clients' photo editors: good quality raw or uncropped full quality jpeg at minimum 8mpix resolution is a good starting point. As for stock agencies I would probably feel safe with technically good quality raw over 12mpix resolution.
    Please remember that even if the presentation is in small format, the requirements for print house certainly are not: I have been asked raw many times and uncropped highest level jpeg most of times. With my field of work (bird photography) the ultimate quality of heavily cropped picture really matters. Both in commercial and aesthetical ways. But your mileage may vary: please just remember we are talking general and global photography here, not only about your activities.
    If you use the pricetag of the body to gauge the value of the camera, then you're already headed down the wrong path. And also, from a commercial cost viewpoint, the camera body price as an indicator is grossly incomplete. Printing, computer improvements, shipping in, shipping out, time editing, printing, printing, printing, web page coding, advertising, fuel, food, travel, your bar tab when you are in another city, and so on. That camera body price as a commercial indicator is buried way down the list.​
    I cannot get exactly what you are talking here? First you gave us impression that high end Dslrs are in your opinion overkill for majority of applications. Now you claim that their price is very minor part of total cost of photography activities.
    Two user cases:
    A professional with decent turnover will pay back a $2.500 body (tax deducted) in no time. That is considering the other costs like studio rent, gasoline, lights, computers etc. There is no benefit to struggle with subpar camera, smaller viewfinder and more time at pp if your budget is anything more than pennies, right? At least that is the impression I have got with studios that are making ok: they have many times digital backs with ff dslrs as sidekick cameras.
    A semi-pro or hobbyist who travels a lot and sells a few pictures during year: The total cost of camera is fly dropping compared to flight costs, hotels, lenses, gasoline etc. Especially if you consider that camera can be deducted in taxes. Otoh again, scrambling with a lesser camera is pain in the back all of the year if you decided to skimp with those few bucks: smaller viewfinder, missed shots with less responsive af, allround pictures with lower quality. I have tried it both ways and know by experience. In my case I go to some distant country maybe once in my lifetime. Would I like to be there shooting my personal and/or selling bird portfolio with lesser camera than I can easily afford? My answer is: Certainly not. But again your mileage may wary.
     
  65. I do believe that high end DSLRs are overkill for a majority of applications. I'm not saying that they're worthless, or a bad choice in and of themselves. Yet, I strongly believe that they are a bad choice if their costs takes up a large part of a total operating budget for a photographer. I think that for most people they do make up a big part of that year's budget, and for the most part, are frequently a bad choice for that reason.
    For example, last year I spent over $10,000 on equipment and supplies. I purchased several camera bodies throughout the year, based on some careful choices. I assessed what I wanted to do, and looked at the overall costs of the effects I wanted to achieve before I made my purchases.
    My most frequently used camera bodies purchased last year came in at about 2% of the total operating budget.
    The results? Money available for spending on actual operation.
    Like those activities I listed, that were just quoted above, there's cost there. I really believe that the larger portion of the costs are with the activities. The using of the camera, more than its acquisition or possession, is going to involve greater expense.
    Everything costs. The whole day costs. It can cost us in our professional, or our personal finances. As long as we're alive, we're consuming, that consumption is going to have a pricetag.
    If users really want to get those great features put to use in top end equipment, then really, they need a budget to match. Hey, there are probably people who can buy an expensive camera body and still have it come in at under 10% of their costs for the year. No problem. More power to them.
    But, the greater the percentage of the total operating budget that goes into getting the camera, the less of a budget a user will have to operate it. It's the operation, the utility, of the equipment, that's going to bring the benefits. The bulk cost of some of the higher end equipment is so high, it can conceivably crush a user into inactivity. Who's most likely to be paralyzed by high costs? Those who get lured in by slick ads, unused features, and all these advertisements about how great expensive equipment is.
    Imagine you were the person who was selling the equipment. Would it be to your advantage to sell someone something that was too expensive for them to liberally operate? What's a >$1000 DSLR good for? Okay, in the hands of someone who has a large budget, then maybe they can operate it liberally, and not have to worry as much about its expense. Yet, I submit the high costs are by themselves something to be reckoned with. The >$1000 DSLR is not going to be good for much if the user cannot finance its frequent utility.
    I do believe that they are overkill; I don't think that photographers have to push the technological edge of their equipment in order to make great pictures. It might make it easier in some cases, but there are plenty of photos made that don't need the fastest shutter speed, or the widest aperture, or the fanciest of computer functions. Those maximum capabilities are some of the most frequently cited selling points of cameras; but, they're probably among the least frequently used; compare those maximums and their use to overall cost of the equipment. Do photographers really need to push it to the technological edge every moment of every day? No. There are plenty of photos made at ISO 100, 1/125, f/8.
    The enticing features can persuade someone right into purchasing equipment that's too expensive for them to operate liberally. People thinking about taking on camera bodies that cost thousands need to think it through, before they buy. Is that really so radical?
    What's the >$1000 camera body worth? Not much if they can't afford to use it. Even less if they paid a lot of money for capability extremes that they didn't need.
     
  66. John, I understand your point. In my individual case, I was talking about a particular situation: shooting fast moving subjects (kids playing), in a low light environment (living room), without using the flash. A camera such as the G1 (or XSi, D60, A300...) is just barely able to do it. I can snap usable photos in about 60% of cases if I aggressively jog the controls (ISO at the usable maximum, lens at the wide end, aperture max open, and then try and manually get the quickest shutter which works at that particular moment), and even then it's not exactly perfect.
    I do believe I know enough about photo technique to extract most of the performance out of this camera in this kind of situation, so the question naturally arises whether a further improvement can be obtained by upgrading the camera. Seeing as similarly priced cameras are about the same in this regard, I logically started to look at more expensive devices. But I have no experience with those, so that's why I'm asking these questions.
    By the way, I'm an amateur, so body + lens is my only expense. OK, I bought a tripod and a wired remote for a grand total of $25 :) But that's it. I made the decision to not spend any more money on hardware. I am going to use the kit lens (unless somebody gives me a fast lens as a present, which is unlikely). But then, if I want more performance in low light, what do I do?
    Come to think of it, that might be a way to get better performance without spending too much money: just get the F1.4/25 and use that one in the living room. That should give me a performance boost over the F3.5/14-45 kit lens, huh? I just hope 25mm is not too narrow, I usually shoot at the wide end indoors.
    http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/lens/index.html
    Of course, I can always use the flash, and then the whole discussion is irrelevant, since the G1 works great in any other situation I tried it.
     
  67. Do they have a pop up flash?
    jeje
     
  68. Well, you may want to look at flash. I guess it would be common to be hesitant about it. I know I was. Back when I got my first flash, the only way I could use it was either on hot shoe, or on a shorter PC cord. This flash had no bounce hinge; it was pretty much direct, on camera flash or nothing. It wasn't very powerful, either. So, as a beginner, I used it less and less.
    If you get into using pop-up flash, I recommend the use of an index card rubber banded to the base of the lens assembly; bend the card upward to block the directness of the flash, and bounce it upwards or rearwards. I was pleasantly surprised at the back-bouncing technique mentioned in another thread. I had just never thought of it. Works great in smaller and average sized rooms indoors.
    That simple blocking card/bounce technique is so effective for the pop-up flash indoors, I'm surprised that it's so infrequently mentioned. Photo below made with that technique. Just a snapshot made from a few feet away, but notice that there are many objects that would be casting harsh shadows in direct on-camera pop-up flash that have softer shadows using this method. Brings out a good color in wood (wet paint on oily wood pallet in photo); another snapshot in a mirror just to show it working.
    "Projected sustainment budget?" One rubber band and a piece of junk mail. Pro version: fresh index card and rubber band.
    00Tekf-144255584.jpg
     
  69. Let's say this, a four thirds camera is good enough for daily "professional" photography, once you step into a world of commerce and advertisements, you will need something that can print ads on billboards and fill up the windows of the empire state building where your model's pores are visible from ground level and it cannot have any noise at all.
     
  70. The O p has a G1. That's no slouch. For a casual shooter shooting pictures of family it's perfect. My advice to the OP:

    First, pro grade bodies are expensive because pros spend all day shooting. They sometimes find themselves in rough
    conditions or in situations where very high speed operation is needed. The 1DS is for sports and photojournalism etc,
    where you need extremely high end build quality. The 5D is for landscapes and weddings and other areas where you
    can take a medium build quality but require the most image quality you can get. The G1 is for when you want
    something that's not huge to take photos of your kids. I know pros who own cameras like that and use them when
    they're not working.

    Second, don't buy any more cameras. The camera companies and the magazines that are actually very long ads will
    have filled you with the desire for more equipment, which is how they make money, but it's important to resist that
    desire. Your current camera is excellent.

    Third, work on technique. Better low light and DR is gained by nailing the exposure and doing a good job on raw file
    processing. (If you happen to own a Mac with 10.6 and don't already have a favorite raw processing and photo sorting
    program, invest in a copy of Aperture which is only $80 through the App Store.)

    Fourth, once you've got in some work on that, if you still want more equipment, a decent flash and/or a prime lens
    might be nice. There's a very nice 20mm prime for m4/3 for example. These are good for indoor and low light use
    because they let more light through than zooms.
     
  71. In case it hadn't already been mentioned above, the difference between entry level DSLR's and professional DSLR's costing over $1,000 is closing. As the entry level DSLR feature sets keep improving, these cameras can definitely keep up with the pro DSLR's especially if they use the same sensor. I use a D300 which currently runs about $1,400 and a Sony A580 for $800. The A580 actually has higher resolution, continuously focuses at 5.5 frames per second (burst mode is 7 FPS), and begins focusing when the viewfinder senses and your eye nearing the viewfinder. This is great for flying bird photography. The D300 is several years older. It's amazing that the new entry level DSLR's have such advanced feature sets compared to pro bodies only a few years old. It is actually the lenses that will make the biggest difference in equipment. A professional grade lens will work just as well on either camera body.
     

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