Will I see a noticable improvement in quality if I upgrade to Canon Rebel from Powershot?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by gardangels, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. I am not happy with my new Canon Powershot SD1400. I want to upgrade to something that will give me sharper, truer images. I've tried adjusting all the modes with my Powershot and it doesn't help. My pictures are mostly of children indoors (low light).
    I'm thinking of investing about $300-$500 on a used Canon Rebel.
    I have taken one photography class and have LOVED my Minolta Film Camera. It's always worked great for me in simple Auto mode and the Powershot was my first attempt at digital.
    So, my question is:
    1) will I really see a noticable difference in quality if I purchase a Rebel, even if it's an old one, say from 2003? or is digital just that way unless I spend alot more money and I just have to accept it?
    2) can someone direct me to an overview of the Rebel models and dates, etc..so I can tell whether an Xti or 300D is newer or older, etc..
    3) Is Rebel the best way for someone like me, or should I be looking at other models too?
    Thanks. Really looking for some advice what to do here.
     
  2. Yes the rebel will give huge improvement. For model names see bottom of the following page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Canon_EOS_Digital_Cameras
     
  3. The keys to those indoor pictures of children in poor light are: using a higher ISO setting, using a faster lens, and (when possible, and the results suit the purpose), bouncing a flash off of the ceiling/walls in order to bring more light to the scene. A DSLR will help a lot (especially with shutter lag time!), but it won't help as much as you might hope if you don't use a lens gathers enough light in those dim situations.
     
  4. 1. As Arie says, there will be an improvement. Canon Rebels' imaging sensors are several times larger than those in Powershot cameras. In imaging chips, real estate matters. All other things being equal, the camera with the biggest chip wins.
    2. I would not buy an eight year-old DSLR. Save your money and get a new Rebel or at least a recent model used Rebel.
    Imaging sensors and camera firmware have improved incredibly over the last eight years. The new the Rebel you buy, the more dramatic improvement you'll see over your Powershot.
     
  5. My pictures are mostly of children indoors (low light).​
    Yes. A Rebel will give much higher quality pictures for these circumstances. Looking for any of the Rebel models from the XT forward.
    The other component that affects image quality greatly is the lens. The bundled kit zooms don't admit much light. The cameras can compensate to an extent but the trade off is grainier, noisier pictures. A good alternative/additional lens purchase is the 35mm f2. It doesn't zoom, but most importantly lets in two to four times more light than the probable default kit lens.
    The 50mm f1.8 is less expensive than the 35mm f2. It gives a mild telephoto field of view on the Rebel so it may be less generally usable in small indoor spaces.
     
  6. OK thank you. All good advice. From the table Arie posted, I see that I will need at least a T1i if I want to take video.
    So, is the trade off for better quality that I can't take quick videos? In that case, I may need to keep my Powershot for video?
     
  7. Hi, i own a 350D and am very happy with the results. It's an older camera, but can produce very fine pictures and can be bought very cheaply. For low light, you might want to consider an Canon EOS 50mm 1.8 II lens, around $90 and very good quality/price wise.
    Cheers
     
  8. Yes indeed, the T1i is the first rebel to support video. This is thanks to introduction of the Digic4 processing chip ( see table). Another advantage of this chip is that it allows iso (film speed) up to 12,800 with a very competent 1600 iso. This helps a lot in low light. As such the T1i is a major upgrade from previous models.
    Cost is $649 right now, with lens
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/613613-REG/Canon_3818B002_EOS_Rebel_T1i_500D.html
    Perhaps you can find one for cheaper on craigslist.
    The 400D is still a fine camera. I own one and use it often even though I also have a 7D. I'd stay away from the 300D and 350D, they are getting a bit long in the tooth, and your budget allows for a newer model.
     
  9. I can't believe how that people will actually give advise like most of this.
    The short and simple answer is: No.
    Is a DSLR (even this modest model) an improvement over a compact? Yes.
    Will it give you better photos? Most likely not.
    The camera obviously plays a huge part in image quality, but knowing how to use it, is infinitely more important.
    The SD1400 is by no means a bad camera. It is in fact capable of producing some really great photos, in most conditions (even poor light). In fact, a good photographer could take much better photos with that, than a bad photographer with a 1Ds mk3, 10 out of 10 times.
    If you buy a DSLR and expect to instantly get better photos, I guarantee that you will be disappointed.
    Please don't take this personally, but if your photos keep turning out bad, the problem is most likely your technique. "upgrading" to a DSLR will not improve that.
    The best way to consistently get better photos, is to learn.
    It is also worth remembering that the DSLR investment only starts with the camera. The standard kit lens is about the most useless thing ever build, and will have to be changed right away. There are fairly cheap options like the 50mm. f/1.8, but even that ads another $100 to the price.
    And trust me. One lens is not going to be enough for long, if you want more shooting options.
    I have the "Sony equivalent" to the SD1400. Even with a very nice lineup of pro DSLR's, the tiny sony sees use every single day. And I have never been unhappy with the image quality.
    My advise? Learn. The better you get, the better your photos get.
    If you want to take your photography a step further and perhaps get into it as a hobby, a Rebel could be a good leaning tool. But if you just want to be able to take better photos of your kids, dog, vacation etc. the camera you have is more than capable of doing that. You just need to learn how to get the most out of it.
    I really hope you don't take any of this personal. It was meant in the best possible way.
    We were all beginners at some point and we all had to start from square one.
    If you give your SD1400 a chance, and spend a bit of time learning some tricks of the trade (this site has plenty), I have no doubt that you will be pleasantly surprised with the results sooner time than you might imagine.
     
  10. Sorry Morten, a SD1400 is a serious impediment to anyone's learning curve, especially in low light. If she knows enough to know that her camera is giving her poor low light performance, has taken a camera course and understands the basics, then a dslr will make for better IQ, more control, and ultimately, better pictures.
     
  11. 3) Is Rebel the best way for someone like me, or should I be looking at other models too?​
    My advise is always -- go for an older, better model than a currently entry-level camera where corners were cut to make them as cheap as possible. Unless you want specific features only the latest model has, I can recommend the EOS 40D. Get the IS kit zoom, a 50mm prime and a Speedlite flash unit (e.g., an Mk.1 430EX) and you have a very versatile, inexpensive kit that produces awesome pictures and is fun to learn with.
    And I also second what Morten said: You need to understand the basics of photography and camera operation to be able to take the pictures you want (and not that the camera's auto features are set to). This includes understanding exposure, dynamic range and stuff like white balance, exposure compensation, AF modes, custom parameters...
    But I do not agree with his assessment of the standard kit zoom. It is a very capable and decent lens that produces good images within its technical limits! Many here have published works shot with it.
     
  12. @ Andrew Morton:
    That all depends on what she wants to do. If the goal is "just" to get good photos in of birthdays, the family and such, she really doesn't need to spend a lot of money on equipment that is ultimately not necessary.
    If she wants to pursue photography as a hobby, I agree that the upgrade to a DSLR will be a good start.
    Any halfway decent photographer knows that great photos can be taken with any camera, if you know how to use it. Even the average cellphone can do things that might surprise you.
    The SD1400 is a good compact. There is no way around that fact. If use correctly, it will consistently produce great images. Even for relatively large prints.
    The fact that you believe that a DSLR will automatically give better photos, tells me that you really are not qualified to give this sort of advise.
     
  13. no offense at all taken. I actually read exactly the same thing on this site a few months ago. So I printed out the whole users manual and tried each suggestion. I searched for tips on this site. I adjusted my exposure, light settings, white balance, iso speed and still just got blurry, off color photos, no depth, no sharpness. Yes, good enough for everyday stuff and email and such, but not for prints.
    I make home movies using video and photo so it is a hobby for me and worth the investment. I also like to make scrapbooks/framed photos with nice prints.
    I think I will invest in the T1i as suggested, so I can shoot video and I can learn more too. Plus, I trust the Dutch guy! :)
    I think I can get a XTi with low light lens on CL for around $500 and sell my three other cameras to make up some of the difference. that's reasonable.
    i feel like I know alot more now what I want and what I'm looking for.
     
  14. I think I can get a XTi with low light lens on CL for around $500​
    What's a low light lens?
     
  15. The 50mm lens is so often suggested as a way to take photos in low light. Can't disagree with that. BUT using the lens at its widest aperture of f/1.8 to take low light photos of active children will result in very little depth of field. If you want a dreamy shot of a child where only its eyes are in focus, and the rest is out of focus, then its the way to go.
    I have a Canon DSLR (XSi) and half a dozen lenses for it. But you know what I use all the time for photographing our 21 month old grandson when he visits? A Canon Powershot XS30, with a Canon 430EX flash and a diffuser. Sure, I do miss the occasional moments because of the slow focusing and shutter delay, but the small sensor in this camera gives a reasonable depth of field so that it usually doesn't matter. Anytime I've used my DSLR and 50mm, I'm disappointed in the lack of depth of field.

    While the 50mm is great, it isn't the be all and end all.

    And the SX30 shoots HD and regular video and has a 24-840mm equivalent lens too! I use it way more than my DSLR.
     
  16. Maybe I will start with a 50mm lens and then see if I need something else?
    If i make this investment in the camera, I am willing to learn more.
    It's very important to me to have better quality photos and that is why I took the class. I became very good at using my 35mm, even can do macro with manual focus, etc..
    But I'm trying to find something digital that will give me good results, if I put in the effort.[​IMG][/IMG]
     
  17. Maybe I will start with a 50mm lens and then see if I need something else?​
    No, a 50mm is a short telephoto on APS-C which is not that versatile. It makes a fine portrait lens but if you buy an expensive camera, it makes sense to have a few more options. That's why I say get/keep the 18-55mm kit zoom, it is fine for wide angle duty until you can afford/need dedicated super-wide zooms.
    However, if you want a one prime lens kit, get the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 which is a more "allround" lens.
     
  18. Nicole - I have a T1i and it's been a great camera. I bought the 50/1.8 to take pictures of my daughter indoors, but I always have my back against the wall. Getting close wide open to keep shutter speed up meant DOF was razor thin. I eventually added a manual flash so that I could make use of the wide end of my 18-55 kit lens indoors by bouncing off the ceiling. A T1i, several different lenses, and an external flash will open up a whole world for you...
     
  19. Any moderately recent rebel is a fine upgrade to a powershot. No comment there.

    Using a flash, preferably bounced will greatly improve technical quality of indoor/lowlight pictures. Again no comment.

    If you don't want to use flash you'll want one or more fast lenses. O.K.

    However, bluntly stating that a 50 is too long is too simple.

    What's too long or too short is entirely an issue of personal taste and circumstances.

    If you like upper body / headshot or if you have a big house a 50 is probably good for you, maybe even too short.
    If you like full body / group shots and you live in a trailer then a 24 might even be too long.

    Personally I love the look of a 50 on a rebel and can heartily recommend one. If that's too long a 28/2.8 might be a
    low budget alternative. (maybe you can borrow before buying? that way you can get a feel for what you like.)

    Depending on your budget I'd say a 400D/XTi if budget is low, a T1i if you can stretch it or the latest (T3i) if you're
    willing to get the latest technology in rebels.

    Hope this helps, good luck,

    Matthijs.
     
  20. Maybe I will start with a 50mm lens and then see if I need something else?​
    Sure, the 50mm makes for a great portrait lens. Set the camera to portrait mode (or aperture priority with the lens at f2.8.) Frame the composition so that the face is emphasized and have the subject be at least a few feet away from background clutter. Focus on the nearest eye. Shoot (and shoot, and shoot.) You will get results that the SD1400 can't give.
    Here's another worthwhile item that won't break the bank - pick up a Sunpak 383 flash, about $50 used. Bounce the supplemental lighting off of white ceiling or walls. Tack a white index card to the flash head for on-camera diffusion. Use NiMH rechargeable AA's for faster recycling time. Once you get a taste of how much better the results are relative to the built-in flash, SD1400 or Rebel, go to the Strobist to learn more technique.
     
  21. Maybe I will start with a 50mm lens and then see if I need something else?​
    Sure, the 50mm makes for a great portrait lens. Set the camera to portrait mode (or aperture priority with the lens at f2.8.) Frame the composition so that the face is emphasized and have the subject be at least a few feet away from background clutter. Focus on the nearest eye. Shoot (and shoot, and shoot.) You will get results that the SD1400 can't give.
    Here's another worthwhile item that won't break the bank - pick up a Sunpak 383 flash, about $50 used. Bounce the supplemental lighting off of white ceiling or walls. Tack a white index card to the flash head for on-camera diffusion. Use NiMH rechargeable AA's for faster recycling time. Once you get a taste of how much better the results are relative to the built-in flash, SD1400 or Rebel, go to the Strobist to learn more technique.
     
  22. You can find used a used 20D or 30D and a nifty fifty for 350 to 400 bucks on some of the forums. You might need to add a wider angle lens at some point but that should take care of any quality issues you might have. Now just shooting with a 20-30D and the 50 is half the battle. To get great results you need to shoot raw and add in some post processing work.
    The photo below isnt mine but it illustrates what the 20D/30D sensor is capable of capturing with a good 50mm prime.
    http://www.photo.net/photo/10923292
     
  23. @ Dan:
    What kind of BS is that to be telling a beginner?
    Just shoot away and fix your crappy photos in PS?
    The best thing any beginner can do, is to stay as far away from photoshop as humanly possible. Relying on post processing is one of the easiest ways to become a crappy photographer.
    Learning the trade and focusing on getting it right in-camera, is the only way to achieve any real skills. Relying on photoshop will only make you sloppy and mediocre. At best.
     
  24. Nicole, I think you are ready for the move up to a DSLR. You are obviously serious about photography and taken a class. One poster mentioned anything from a Digital Rebel XT (350D) on up. I agree. The 40D is a good solid camera and can be found at a great price and it has a few advantages over the Digital Rebel XT, the larger LCD is one that many appreciate after making the move. Once you are into the DSLRs moving up from a 350D to a 40D or 450D on up will not make you take better pictures. When I moved from a 350D to a 40D, I did not take better photos, but I did like the features I upgraded to. Moving up to any DSLR will improve what you can do over the Powershot.
    A fast lens and good external flash like 580 EX II will be great for indoor low light.
    The 50mm F/1.4 lens is a great fast lens, but using one on a crop sensor camera, it will be an 80mm.
    Any Canon Crop Sensor Camera, these would be models from the 350D all the way up to the new 7D, you can take the mm number of the lens and multiply by 1.6 to get what it will be on a crop sensor camera.
    50mm x 1.6 = 80mm on Crop Sensor Camera.
    Andrew wrote that using the 50mm, he has to back up to the wall to get shots. (lol, been there) That is because that 50mm is an 80mm lens on any crop sensor. On a full frame sensor camera like a 5D, the 50mm is 50mm.
    My Sigma 50mm is an awesome lens, but on my 40D it is a lens that needs some room to stand back. 80mm is not a great indoor snap shot lens if you live in an average home. But the lens does have it's uses.
    Sigma makes a 30mm f/1.4 lens that runs between $300-$400. On a Crop Sensor Camera it will be a 48mm and more practical for indoor low light in an average home.
    I also recommend a monopod to keep that camera steady in low light longer exposures with no flash.
    You have a lot of options and have fun shopping. Read reviews and comments, take your time making this next move to upgrade so you know what people are saying and have said about the gear your considering, there is a lot of great stuff out there.
     
  25. Ok, I pipe up one more time.
    Some folks have mentioned a used 20D, 30D, or 40D. Think of it like buying a new Honda Civic (new T1i) versus a used SUV (xxD). Which one suits you best depends on your own tastes. Either will get you from A to B. Looking at a photo you won't be able to tell with which camera it was shot. A used 300D is like a used Chevy Nova, gets the job done but not much luxury there, and there's a risk of getting stranded by the side of the road.
    Some folks have mentioned the 50/1.8, aka nifty fifty. It's a nice lens and at $100 it's a bargain. I've taken some really nice photos of my nephews and niece with this lens. However it is a specialty lens. It's a nice lens to have in addition to the kit zoom lens. It's a good future purchase or bday gift. Ditto for a hotshoe flash that tilts and swivels.
    As always, the key to success is good light - whether natural or flash. Improving your light (e.g. moving your baby towards a window with soft light streaming in) trumps SLR technology. But - all things being equal, the DSLR will produce sharper photos than a point-n-shoot, with better colors, in every circumstance. For best results you want good light and a DSLR. When the light is good, a DSLR allows you to explore and exploit it more creatively. Have fun.
     
  26. Danke well Arie (My Opa is Arie too). Thanks everyone for caring about my little purchase here. I was really lost and was looking at an old Chevy Nova when I started here.
    I think the video capability is the deciding factor for me so that puts me at a T1i at least. I've decided I'm OK with the cost.
    If there is some reason the video won't work for my purposes, then that is another story?
    I am perfectly happy with the video quality on the powershot, but would prefer to have just one camera that does both.
    I'll start out with the kit lens and then use the advice here on additional lenses.
    I'm excited now to finally get a good picture of my babies (twins) and I really want to bounce my flash :)
     
  27. +1 Andrew, got to agree, even in the best conditions, with the best photographer, a P&S is limited by it's capabilities, and probably equally as much by it's interface/controls. As a simple example, you simply cannot get the focus speed out of P&S that you get out of the crappiest current eos lens. (That and MF is...um... not available). Sure, a P&S can give great results when used with perfect technique in an ideal situation, unfortunately technique is never perfect, and life is rarely ideal.
    IMHO, an XTi is a great step up. Not the best, as it doesn't have a rear control dial, which makes M work very easy, and it doesn't have spot metering, but certainly it's a great camera to learn how to shoot better w/ and it's sensor will perform decidedly better than any current P&S. A proper lens would be a good idea too, but even with an 18-55 IS (I'd stay away from the 18-55 non-IS that originally came w/ the XTi if you have the option), you'll be able to play with things you may only have dreamed of before. Hopefully it will allow you to learn how to shoot as never before too.
     
  28. great comments from everyone, just wanted to mention, video on a DSLR is quite different than on a compact. some inconveniences mentioned are that autofocus is not great, and that dslr sensors show a lot of the rolling shutter effect (pan horizontally and your vertical lines slant visibly). advantages are that you can isolate your subject really well (sometimes too well) due to smaller DOF, and that low-light performance is better.
    just wanted to make sure you knew that DSLR video isn't like video on a compact camera, which in my experience is much more convenient (huge depth-of-field, dedicated movie buttons, no rolling shutter). try the video on the T1i out and see if it's to your liking.
     
  29. I think shooting kids at play in inside light is one of the most demanding tasks in photography. During the tweny-odd years my wife and spent raising our four, I shot thousands of mediocre photographs, and got a few keepers. All the latter were shots with good natural light or bounced flash. Many were shot with with a Minolta and a 50mm f2. If you've got a fast fifty on your Minolta, load it with iso 800 film and see what you get, with your subjects and environment. Like what you see? Get one of the Rebels or XXD cameras suggested and a fast prime. I'd go for the 35mm f2, but the 50mm f1.8 will be less than half the price of the 35.
    Still not the quality you'd like? Many of the cameras suggested will only give you one stop over iso 800 film. You're going to have to enhance your lighting. With gatherings of older kids I have used floods washing walls and ceiling so I could shoot without flash, but bounce and/or slave flash is the usual route.
     
  30. Marcus Ian, Feb 18, 2011; 06:13 p.m.
    +1 Andrew, got to agree, even in the best conditions, with the best photographer, a P&S is limited by it's capabilities, and probably equally as much by it's interface/controls. As a simple example, you simply cannot get the focus speed out of P&S that you get out of the crappiest current eos lens. (That and MF is...um... not available). Sure, a P&S can give great results when used with perfect technique in an ideal situation, unfortunately technique isnever perfect, and life is rarely ideal.​
    Lack of MF and slow AF.. I will give you that.
    But other than that, there are very few limitations, if you know what you are doing. Even low light has never been a problem for me.
    I prefer to shoot in low light (dusk, dawn, night time) and My tiny sony has never let me down. Often it is just not practical to bring a large DSLR, but other times I wil actually put my "real" camera down and grab my compact. Some of my favourite photos were shot with a compact while the DSLR was just sitting on the ground.
    It's all about technique. Do it right and any decent compact will outperform the average photographer with even the best DSLR.
    If you wish, I shall gladly find you an example or two.
     
  31. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Apropos the advice to LEARN because the more you learn - the better your photos will get:
    The Canon Powershot SD1400 IS has only three shooting modes: Smart Auto, Program and Movie.
    In Program Mode, there is capacity to manipulate the ISO.
    There is no capacity to manipulate the Shutter or the Aperture, in any shooting mode.
    As a tool for Learning – a DSLR will be better.
    If learning is the key to taking better Photographs, then, ergo getting a DSLR will be the tool to use, for that learning.
    That is simple logic and good advice for the OP.
    Getting a DSLR with which to learn, is my advice to Beginners. I Teach Basic Photography, to Beginners.
    A simple census of most Basic Photography Courses worth any salt; will reveal that the student has a camera which can control Aperture and Shutter Speed.
    I think that concept would also be easily understood by any Photographer, who has mastered the basics and who consequently offers advice, on this forum.
    Also, it seems to me there is an attempt to infiltrate the thread with silliness: and it wisely is being ignored by most folk, who are actively attempting to help the OP.
    WW
     
  32. Lots of recommendations for primes here.
    Not that I don't like primes - I have several - but as an only lens on a camera, I think a 35 or 50mm prime is too limiting. Stepping up to a camera with virtually no shutter lag and good autofocus is great -> and then to constrain all your photography to a portrait lens is simply nuts.
    You are buying into a photography system - not a one trick (portrait) pony.
    The 18-55 kit lens with a dSLR is nice that allows more verstile use of the camera. The 15-85 kit lens would be a nice step up in terms of image quality. I would personally suggest buying a camera with the 15-85 as a starting point.
    After the kit lens, I think the next most important thing to have is a nice flash unit (one with tilt an swivel). This allows you to get nice bounce flash shots for all those "less than ideal" natural lighting situations.
    Past this point. . . then definately to go into the primes is an awesome and rewarding experience. The 50 (either 1.8 or 1.4 flavors) are a GREAT way to start. For general photography, the 24/2.8 is also hugely useful and the 85/1.8 is a magnificent short telephoto/portrait lens. I remember many nice shooting days walking around with one prime mounted, and the other prime in a pocket ready for a quick swap.
    This is my opinion - and your milage may vary.
    Have a great day!
     
  33. I agree with Jim. The ONLY times I would recommend owning just a prime are if that prime works out to about human vision on your camera (the 50mm does not on the Rebels, but the 35mm f/2 does), or if you're so sure about what makes a 'Nicole' photo that you can only buy equipment that meets that end. I don't think either is the case here.
    I forget who compared cameras to cars, but the comparison makes a lot of sense. I would add that getting an SLR is like switching to a stick shift though, in that the pictures it takes is determined as much by your skill as by the spec sheet. Point and shoots like your SD1400 are not optimized for any single task, but the fact that they do all the work means they're unlikely to be too far off either, while you can really crash and burn with an SLR if you start pressing buttons without knowing what they do.
    Also, other than high ISO performance, AF speed, and maximum print size, you're MUCH more likely to see big returns from all the other bits and bobs like lenses and flashes than you are just buying a newer camera. If you're working with a limited budget, make sure you can pick up a second lens and/or a flash too. If you can't, you need to buy a cheaper camera. That Xti might be the Chevy Nova of cameras (seriously, the Xt and Xti were somehow slightly WORSE than the cameras that came before), but if buying a Nova gets you enough for a flash and second lens, then you ought to buy the Nova.
    For what it's worth, I used a Nikon D70 until recently (about the same age as the Xti), and I found that on low ISO settings (plenty of light), and stationary or slow-moving subjects, the only difference between that camera and the newer ones was print size, and the fact that the D70 was a little more likely to blow out detail in very bright or very dark spots. If I wasn't shooting in a dark room, then every photo that was good on the newer camera was good on the older one too.
     
  34. A simple census of most Basic Photography Courses worth any salt; will reveal that the student has a camera which can control Aperture and Shutter Speed.​
    Gonna agree with the above statement from William. I have had several Canon P&S's, and a few dSLRs in the last ten years. I couldn't BEGIN to describe the "scene modes". No idea how they trick out the camera. BUT, I make sure EVERY camera has Av, and M mode. Even the point and shoots.
    Understanding the relationships and limitations of Shutter, Aperture, and ISO of a particular camera is essential to getting the most out of the tool.
     
  35. I have taken pictures with the old EOS 300D and original 18-55 lens that are on my wall printed at A3 size and would knock the spots off anything from a compact. Yes, you will find a difference for sure. As for video there are so many inexpensive and small HD video cameras out there that I would not let this be too much of an influence on your choice. It's almost as quick to take one out of your pocket as to reset your SLR to video.
     
  36. Jim Larson , Feb 19, 2011; 01:10 a.m.
    A simple census of most Basic Photography Courses worth any salt; will reveal that the student has a camera which can control Aperture and Shutter Speed.
    Gonna agree with the above statement from William. I have had several Canon P&S's, and a few dSLRs in the last ten years. I couldn't BEGIN to describe the "scene modes". No idea how they trick out the camera. BUT, I make sure EVERY camera has Av, and M mode. Even the point and shoots.
    Understanding the relationships and limitations of Shutter, Aperture, and ISO of a particular camera is essential to getting the most out of the tool.​
    Aaaand I'm going to have to disagree. Between the ridiculously small sensors in those cameras and the extremely wide angle lenses that they mate to said sensors, very few pocket cameras allow you any sort of reasonable control over depth of field. I would actually go as far as saying that Aperture Priority mode is more-or-less worthless on any current camera model below Canon's S95. Even then the camera lenses hit infinity at 8 feet or something silly like that, so you're still limited to subjects 4-6 feet away if you're looking to get a shallow DOF. Maybe I'm just too pragmatic, but I think its all but impossible to learn what an aperture setting actually does when the camera takes almost the exact same shot on f/4 as it does on f/11. Plus if you're going to get the same photo anyway, why bother doing it yourself? The camera is much smarter and faster than you or I. If you just want to control exposure, the Exposure Compensation (+/-) function does that fine, and I use that a lot on my Canon SD series camera. I wouldn't recommend the OP get a more advanced P&S to learn anything. It's still a P&S, and she should only upgrade if she wants another P&S.
     
  37. Apologies ... looks like my text got all squished together. Sorry 'bout that.
     
  38. I notice that there has been a tendency in this thread to fail to define terms. The OP wanted to find a camera that would give her
    "sharper" and "truer" images. Many of the responders have interpreted the question as if the OP wanted a camera that would take
    "better" pictures. As we all know, "better" is something largely a matter of the photographer's skill; hence Morton's repeated comments
    about the need to learn photography. But "sharper" and "truer" may well be functions of the tool chosen, particularly given any
    particular set of shooting circumstances. Here, the OP is talking about shooting children in indoor light. That suggests a need for a
    tool that can competently handle those conditions. A camera with poor high ISO sensitivity will not perform as well in such
    circumstances as one with good high ISO sensitivity, regardless of the photographer's level of skill. Of course, a better photographer
    will be able to wring more performance out of any given camera, but I don't think that was the OP's question.
     
  39. I whole heartedly agree with Morten.
    To assume that buying a DSLR will automatically improve your images is a total fallacy, but one that sells a lot of Rebels.
    In my household there are 3 cameras. My 1Ds, my Powershot S95 and my nine year old daughter's SD1400IS. In most situations I can take equally decent pictures with any one of the 3. Of course at a pixel peeping level there are differences, but for most applications the results are fine regardless of the tool used.
    What does a DSLR give a user over a P&S such as the SD1400IS. Greater control, changeable lenses, larger sensor.... all things already mentioned. Does it automatically mean better pictures, absolutely not. That is up to the person pushing the shutter release button.
    Case in point. I was at Disney World the other day taking pictures of the Electric Street Parade (brightly lit floats in total darkness). I was using my S95, while a lady beside me was using her Nikon equivalent of the Canon Rebel (a D90?). She had it in green square mode and was zooming the kit lens to its maximum telephoto setting, giving her an aperture of 5.6 or 6.3 or so. The camera was averaging the scene and trying to equally expose for subject and background and so she was getting pictures that made the floats look like they were in energy conservation mode, rather than the brightly lit reality. With every shot preview I could see the disappointment on her face and could imagine the frustration she was feeling. Maybe she was cursing under her breath at the Best Buy sales person that promised her that this camera would be the answer to her poor picture blahs.
    I thought I might try to offer a little help. So I asked her if she would like a tip or two on how to get the pictures she wanted. She breathed a bit of a sigh of relief and said "Yes". I told her to put it in Av mode and turn the ISO up to about 1600 and zoom out to the wide end (with 14 odd megapixels you can always do some cropping later). Set the metering to center weighted average and open up the aperture to its maximum and snap away.
    She of course looked at me like I was speaking another language and continued trying in vain to get her $800 camera to do the thinking for her.
    So Nicole, the answer to you question is that you would be much better off to spend a little money on some photography books, or maybe even a course or two and you will probably be very surprised at the difference in results that you will see. You may also have to change up that SD1400IS to something that allows for some manual control. Whether that is a Rebel, an advanced compact, or something more advanced all together, the difference maker is the user, not the tool.
     
  40. I am not happy with my new Canon Powershot SD1400. I want to upgrade to something that will give me sharper, truer images. I've tried adjusting all the modes with my Powershot and it doesn't help. My pictures are mostly of children indoors (low light).​
    The SD1400 is a places a premium on compactness and styling. It's major issues with sharp indoor low-light candids are the slow AF and large amounts of noise reduction applied to higher ISO images. Any Rebel will improve on this noticeably if used correctly.
    I'm thinking of investing about $300-$500 on a used Canon Rebel.​
    Note that for under $500 you can buy a new Rebel XS kit from many places.
    1) will I really see a noticable difference in quality if I purchase a Rebel, even if it's an old one, say from 2003? or is digital just that way unless I spend alot more money and I just have to accept it?​
    Yes and no. Those older Rebels (300D/Rebel, 350D/XT, 400D/XTi) are limited in the basic modes to max ISO 400. So unless you switch to one of the more advanced modes and set the ISO higher, you might end up losing sharpness due to motion blur. The older Rebels also typically come with the older non-IS 18-55mm kit lens and the later IS version is noticeably better and has image stabilization (for when the kids are asleep.) Finally, they use compact flash cards instead of SD cards. Cards are cheap but it's an annoyance to carry both.
    The other caveat that some find when upgrading from a P&S to a DSLR is that the default image output of a DSLR is more subtle. Your outdoor shots may not have as much "punch" -- but they will also have fewer blown highlights and clipped shadows.
    Finally, the auto-white balance of Rebels runs quite warm (yellow/orange) for incandescent lighting. You may also find you need to manually set the WB unless you like that look.
    2) can someone direct me to an overview of the Rebel models and dates, etc..so I can tell whether an Xti or 300D is newer or older, etc..​
    Many of the review sites have a place where they list the cameras in chronological order. The dpreview front page for the 550D/T2i review conveniently lists all the previous models as links to those reviews.
    3) Is Rebel the best way for someone like me, or should I be looking at other models too?​
    The Rebels are very good but so are most of the competing models. Those models can be worth considering as well but since the differences are subtle you will not be poorly served by sticking to the Rebel line. IMHO a new XS or used XSi (or better) is the best value/money for at the higher end of the range and $300 is way too much for a 300D today. If you buy one of the older rebels, you should think about using the savings for a decent flash for bounce lighting or nifty-fifty lens.
     
  41. I'll echo what some of the other posters have said.
    Definitely get a DSLR. Personally I prefer full-frame after having a crop for 4 years but you will get great shots from a crop DSLR too.
    I got my 20D for the same reasons you are looking at a DSLR. Kids move fast and a P&S just won't do the job.
    Unfortunately your specific demands will not be cheap! I did buy cheaper lenses to start off with. I soon found that the slow AF, small aperture approach wasn't doing it for me.
    On the 50, as others have mentioned, isn't really good on a crop and even on a FF it can be a bit long (subjective but it is my view from personal experience). Plus the shallow DOF can be a challenge with kids zooming around.
    I found my 16-35 great on my 20D, still I needed flash as I wasn't really that happy with the 20D over 800 ISO. The 5D2 is great at high ISO. You have to decide if you want to get good glass along with a decent body. The 17-55 2.8 IS is expensive but well regarded.
    Really, DSLR's with with slow lenses indoors are a challenge.
    On video, I haven't found this function that useful for me. It's less than easy. I'd stick with a camcorder.
    Bite the bullet and get ready to pay!
     
  42. @ Chris Clarke:
    Really? Thats your advise? Get a camera and lens that will set her back over $4000?
    That is quite a long way from maybe wanting to spend $4-500 on a simple camera, that gets the job done.
    Broken record here, I know. But once more for the slow kids:
    If your compact (or any other camera) isn't doing the very simple job of taking photos of kids indoors, you are using it wrong.
    The SD1400 is more than capable of that task, IF USED CORRECTLY.
    I know it has slow AF, but that is something you can learn to deal with. When I started in this field, it was with a film SLR with manual focus only. In fact, that was what most people used back then. And believe it or not, we still got great shots of things moving a hell of a lot faster than a couple of kids.
    Bottom line. ANY camera can produce good images under most conditions. It's all about the photographer's skills.
     
  43. Morton, in response to your broken record, perhaps you should actually examine the output of the SD1400 and say the Rebel XS in a indoor low-light situation:
    ISO 800, SD1400: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/SD1400IS/SD1400ISINBI0800.HTM
    ISO 800, Rebel XS: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/XS/XSINBI0800.HTM
    You don't have to pixel peep to see the difference. Even resized to 1280 pixels wide (e.g. a smallish laptop screen) the differences are obvious. Now look at the EXIF for those shots: the Rebel is actually exposed 1/2 stop less. So the effective EI for the SD1400 is only 600 (or the Rebel is EI 1200). So if the Rebel had been using the kit lens which is about 1/2 stop slower than the SD1400 then the comparison is pretty direct about what a consumer will experience.
    Yes, you can work around the camera limitations: just buy brighter lights for all your indoor lamps and learn a lot about resizing/sharpening. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's easier to upgrade the camera than everything else in your house. It's not a panacea but then again it's also not always a bad idea.
     
  44. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Erik . . . and with the Rebel XS I reckon we could also control the shutter speed really easily too, which sometimes is a really simple way of addressing subject movement, in low light without flash . . . which as I understood is what the "Kid’s Party" scenario was about.
    . . . and there's more -
    IF we want to use Flash - the Rebel has an hot-shoe and with the addition of a dedicated Flash we could learn how to use Bounce or Diffused Flash -
    Again this is something that CAN be done with a Powershot SD1400 - but gee-wizz - it is doing it the hard way, I think.
    WW
     
  45. @ Erik Magnuson:
    That one photo says nothing about the potential of the camera. Only that it handles high ISO's less than perfectly, when shot as they did.
    But lets assume that you are right. If that is the case, the thousands of photos that I and many others have taken with cameras of near identical specifications, must somehow have broken the laws of camera physics, since they are sharp and in focus.
    You should see some of the prints I have on my walls. Even the 20x30's look great. It must be the magic print paper, that fairies make in my basement.
    Online reviews can be a great source of information, but no one in their right mind takes the so called "test shots" serious.
     
  46. Morton,
    Only that it handles high ISO's less than perfectly, when shot as they did.​
    If you read what the OP wrote, (I.e. "My pictures are mostly of children indoors (low light)") you might understand that shots at high ISOs is most likely exactly the issue she's having difficulties with. And the issue in this case is not focus, but over aggressive noise reduction where the SD1400 doesn't offer any control. This doesn't make the SD1400 a bad camera or even suggest that you cannot make ever excellent images with it or similar cameras. It simply answers her question: that for that particular usage, a Rebel would very likely offer a noticeable improvement.
    I own a both Canon P&S and a Rebel XSi. And I use them both. In some situations, the output is pretty much indistinguishable. In some cases, the Rebel is far superior. In other cases, the size & handling of the P&S means I get images I would not get with the Rebel. Yes, you can shoot baseball with a box brownie and get some good images (as one sports photographer did on a dare). But you are going to need superlative skills, work much harder and even then there will be some types of images you will never get -- particularly if it's a night game! There is also the difference between reliable documentary photography (shooting candid images of your children) and shooting for wall decorations. In the real world where you have a specific goal in mind, the camera can matter.
     
  47. @ Erik Magnuson:
    Whichever way you look at it, you simply can't get around the fact that many of us consistently get the results you claim are impossible, with either the camera in question, or others with identical specifications.
    If I can get clear and sharp photos in low light, it can be done. So the fact that the OP and you can't, points more towards lack of skill on your end, than lack of potential in the camera.
    In any case, I give up. You have made it clear that you either don't understand, or don't want to understand. My life is to short to spend any more of it, trying to help you. If you are happy with uninformed mediocrity, than who am I to judge.
    Ps: If you want to be taken seriously, start by showing a bit of respect by at least getting peoples names right, when you address them.
     
  48. I don't recall saying any results are impossible. But show me the results like the following from your SD1400-class P&S:
    [​IMG]
    (131s exposure. The SD1400 has neither B nor provision for cable release.)
    Or perhaps this:
    [​IMG]
    (handheld 2.2:1 macro, no flash. I'd be interested to see your rig for this.)
    Or this:
    [​IMG]
    1/640@f/2.0 85mm ISO1600
    So no, I understand. I shoot with everything from sub-minis using microfilm to 4x5 to cell phone cameras to DSLRs. All cameras have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes weaknesses can be worked around if you have sufficient ingenuity and skill. But why work that hard if you don't have to?
    If you want to be taken seriously, you need to show us the wonderful low light candids you've taken with a camera using only the capabilities of the SD1400's limited controls rather than complain about typos.
     
  49. Slow kids?
    That's just being ignorant. Do you need to be so rude Morten?
     
  50. Ok. So maybe I have changed my mind a bit. Erik makes a good argument. I don't get the sense that Nicole plans on taking macro shots of bugs or long exposures of shuttle launches (great picture btw), but I will agree that a Rebel certainly has greater potential for better pictures than the SD1400IS, but I don't think it can be stressed enough that technology is no substitute for skill and know-how.
     
  51. The short and simple answer is: No.
    Is a DSLR (even this modest model) an improvement over a compact? Yes.
    Will it give you better photos? Most likely not.​
    While the camera does not affect composition of the photo, it does affect the technical quality aspects like e.g. sharpness, contrast, noise, etc. Therefore, given the same photographer the better camera will result in better images. However, if you compare images from photographer A to images taken by photographer B, then things may turn out different: You can create low quality photos using even the best camera.
     
  52. ^== I can agree with that.
    I am the first to admit that my GF takes better pictures than I do. And she still does not understand the concept of "you can't take hand held non-flash photos at night". The best photographs happen when we travel together. Her eye with my Nerd knowledge is powerful.
     
  53. The mkII kit lens is actually considered by those that have tested it and used it, as one of the best lens bargains around. The IS function works superbly, better than the older technology in my 24-105 L, and any CA issues (less likely to be a problem in low light conditions) can be corrected by RAW processing software. But the series one version of the lens is a dog.
    If you can live without video, also consider a used 40D. Virtually identical image quality to the XT but much faster FPS, perhaps important for capturing the fast movements of kids.
     
  54. I prefer a camera with video capability, see new thread. thanks.
     
  55. OK, I tested out the T2i and I noticed the difference immediately. I was impressed and I'm going to get one (or T1i)
    I liked the video function.
    It may be more camera than I can handle, but i will grow into it.
     
  56. "Morten" L : nice portfolio, website, et al...
    For someone so critical and new.... geesh! Chill out man. ;-)
     
  57. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

  58. Morten -- please describe your history of use with Canon EOS DSLRs.
    Please attach a photo you might have taken with one as well. Your bio lists none.
    Gracias amigo! (and to all the other high photog powers-that-be)
     
  59. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I am making every effort to visit SF in this lifetime . . . when I do, I shall visit the Toronado Bar . . . and the beers are on me.
    WW
     
  60. Just five me a couple days notice William... it's a date. We'll compare my 5 year old Powershot and whatever new EOS I have at the moment.
    (Below -- 666 px wide save at quality '66' in "Save for Web" PS CS2)
    (11:30 a.m. opening bell at the T too pictured here, hence the bar is not yet full, maybe Mort can join us for a laugh)
    00YHCz-334991584.jpg
     
  61. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I am seriously working on it - a few things to tie up this year, first.
     

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