DSLR or Point & Shoot?? Are you a patient shooter or a wild gun?? Which camera will help you make your mark? Each of these has its own pros and cons, but is one truly better than the other? In preparation for our next Tech Talk Seminar on digital photography, we will look at the differences between these two types of cameras. Let’s start with the pros and cons of a Point & Shoot.
The P&S cameras are often referred to as fixed lens cameras, because the point and shoot are unable to change lenses. The lenses are built directly into the camera body. A point and shoot camera is considered very easy to use, as they doesn’t offer quite the level of manual control options that a DSLR offers. You just point the camera at the subject and shoot. These are common features of the Point & Shoot category, however not all cameras in this category are the same. The compact size and light weight of most Point & Shoot cameras make them a go to for a quick and convenient option for the novice photographer and snap happy shutterbug. This style of camera tends to be easier on the pocket book, with lower price points and maintenance costs.
The simpler design of the Point & Shoot camera and fixed lens create a massive field of depth that does its best to bring everything in frame in to focus. This tries to make the entire scene look sharp. Depending on the feel and focus of the photograph this could be good and bad at the same time. This is also one of the cons of the point and shoot cameras.
Lola Elise writes “While a point and shoot gets your entire scene nicely in focus, there is not much you can do to isolate your subject from the background and make it look soft and blurry.” (DSLR vs Point and Shoot Camera). This issue stems from the second and third cons of the P&S cameras, limited control and lack of adaptability. These models are meant to be a quick and easy use cameras, giving the user “…very limited control over aperture and shutter speed, there is no distance marking on the lens and the cameras are tougher to control in manual mode. … point and shoot cameras give much less control over the process of taking pictures.” (DSLR vs Point and Shoot Camera). The functionality of your camera will of course be partially determined by the camera you buy. Point and shoot cameras come in a wide range of models and each has different features and controls. The more you are willing to spend the more you will have access to.
Many of people, myself included, have wondered with the constant improvement of the cameras on our everyday carry devices, such as phones and tablets, why do we need point and shoot cameras? There are a few advantages to the Point and Shoot that make it a worthwhile investment. Craig Lloyd over at How To Geek wants us to keep in mind “…there are still a few areas in which point-and-shoot cameras are superior to the phone in your pocket.” in his article Four Ways Point-and-Shoot Cameras Still Beat Smartphones. Lloyd points out four important things to consider 1) Point and Shoots Save Your Phone’s Battery Life & Storage, 2) If You Need to Zoom In, 3) You Want More Control Over Your Photos, and 4) You Want Better Quality Photos, Especially in Low Light.
An easy way to help understand why the quality of the photo changes with the device in hand is demonstrated below quite well. Digital device capture images on a Charged-Couple Device (CCD). The CCD is allocated two important numbers the first is the number of pixels and the second is its physical size. In most phones 12 megapixels is standard, yet the CCDs physical size, as we see, is rather small in comparison to what might be found in a point and shoot camera. The Canon PowerShot is 12 megapixels as well, but has a larger CCD. The pixel count on both is the same: however the CCD in the camera is larger allowing a greater number of sensors, allowing for more light to be captured and thus a clearer picture. Even if the megapixel count is lower the larger CCD will alway allow for a clearer picture. This is why a DSLR will alway produce a cleaner, higher grade photo than its counterparts.
I’ve been dancing around DSLRs now and I think it is only fair to give them the once over. The Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras provide the photographer with greater control over the camera through a greater selection of lenses, available settings and superior shutter and focus speed. With the use of the reflective lens the image you see is what the lens sees, presenting a truer sense of what you are photographing. This is quite different from the lower end point and shoot cameras ( as seen in the image below).
DSLR cameras are a greater investment for the burgeoning photographer. The initial cost, plus an assortment of lens, a protective bag or case, will attest to the expense behind the camera. As Lola Elise explains to readers, “…the expense does not stop with the camera – good lenses typically cost more than the camera itself and you will have to cash out on other accessories (larger camera bags, filters, memory cards, etc). To get started, an entry-level camera with a kit lens will cost you anywhere between $500-800. That’s just the initial cost. Overtime, you might spend three times as much on accessories alone.”(Elise)
These DSLR cameras are an investment, and with proper maintenance should last you far longer than most point and shoot cameras. Please don’t underestimate the importance of what it will take to maintain the camera. With interchangeable lenses and accessories the chance of dust and dirt gathering on the lens and sensors is greater.
The cost of maintenance on a DSLR is much higher than on a point and shoot. The camera sensor can get dirty and dust can get into lenses. While all manufacturers have some sort of a warranty period, there is no guarantee that things will keep on working when the warranty expires. Obviously, the cost of repair on DSLRs and lenses can get outrageously expensive. You will have to learn how to care for your camera and lenses to prevent dust accumulation and other mechanical problems. (Elise)
Dust on an image sensor is a real annoyance, as it will leave your images looking spotty or blotchy. Cleaning your image sensor is not for the faint of heart and I recommend that you get it done professionally ($$$). This is becoming less of an issue with many new DSLRs being released with self cleaning sensors.
So where do you see yourself in this shootout? Are you quick on the draw with your point and shoot?? Or are you a waiting for the right shoot with your DSLR??
– Scott M.
Want to learn more? Register today for NTPL’s Tech Assist Seminar: Digital Photography.
Call the D.A. Jones Branch 905-729-3726 to register. Space is limited.
Update: The Digital Photography Seminar scheduled for today, June 19th, has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.