Recent Update

Four dSLR Advantages Unrelated to Single-Lens Reflexiveness

Some of the strengths that accrue to dSLRs have nothing to do with the fact that they are single lens reflex cameras.

Higher sensitivity and reduced noise.
The images from most non-dSLRs begin to break down when sensitivity is increased to ISO 400 or more, primarily because of excessive noise. Few of these cameras have an ISO setting thats usable. In contrast, many dSLRs generate relatively low noise at ISO 800, and produce acceptable images at ISO 1600, ISO 3200, and beyond. The improved quality offered by digital SLRs is due to the larger sensors available in these cameras. As vendors pack more and more pixels into the tiny CCD sensors found in non-SLR cameras, the pixels become smaller and more prone to noise. The larger pixels in the CMOS and CCD sensors of dSLRs have much less of a tendency to produce the random grain we see as noise, and are more sensitive, to boot, producing higher effective ISO speeds.

Control over depth-of-field.
The larger sensors require lenses with longer focal lengths, so the dSLR use regains the control over depth-of-field that is such an important creative tool. Ignore those 35mm equivalent specs you see posted for non-dSLR cameras. That 38mm zoom setting on your point-and-shoot digital may provide the same field-of-view as the moderate wide angle youve used on your film SLR, but the depth-of-field is more akin to what is native to the 6mm actual focal length of that lens. Youd think the 380mm setting would give you roughly the same narrow depth-of-field youd expect from a 400mm lens on your film camera, but what you end up with is the same field of sharpness offered by a 60mm lens. Anyone whos used a consumer digital camera knows that at non-macro shooting distances, virtually everything in the picture is sharp, at any zoom setting and at any f-stop. If you plan to use depth-of-field creatively, as in the photo shown in Figure 1.4, in which the background was thrown out of focus to emphasize the flower, youll need a dSLR with a larger sensor.

Digital SLRs work like a camera, not a VCR.
I own a Nikon CoolPix 995, which was one of the best $1,000 digital cameras of its time, and still a champ among 3.3MP models for sharp images and macro performance. Still, this camera drove me nuts. Even after Id owned it for a year I had to take along a cheat sheet that told me how to activate infrequently used features, such as manual focus. I used the 995 a lot, but I still had to refer to my crib notes to see which menu I needed to refer to to activate a particular feature, and then which buttons to press to make it work. It was a great camera, but it didnt work like one. The same situation exists today with the vast majority of nondSLR cameras. I have the opportunity to test eight or ten point-and-shoot cameras in all price ranges each month, and virtually all of them operate more like VCRs rather than like cameras. When you zoom in and out, do you want to press a couple of buttons and wait while a teeny motor adjusts the lens elements for you, or would you rather twirl a zoom ring on the lens itself and be done with it? To switch to manual focus, wouldnt you prefer to flip an AF/MF button and then twist the focus ring on the lens, instead of pressing a Menu key, finding the Focus setting, switching to Manual focus, and then pressing a pair of left-right cursor buttons?

Photo enthusiasts wont put up with that nonsense when theyre trying to take pictures. The dSLR I use has separate buttons for burst mode, ISO settings, white balance, EV adjustments, metering mode, and resolution. To adjust any of those, I hold down the appropriate button and thumb the command dial to choose the setting I want. Set the camera to shutter- or aperture-priority (with a dial, not a menu) and move the command dial to adjust the f-stop or shutter speed. In manual exposure mode, there are separate command dials for shutter speed and aperture.

That might seem like a lot of buttons to master, but, trust me, youll learn to use them much more quickly than youll memorize the menu system of the typical point-and-shoot.

Faster operation.
Youll find that dSLRs work much faster than point-and-shoot digital cameras. One of the metrics used to measure point-and-shoot performance is time to first shot. That is, once you decide to take a picture and switch the camera on, how long must you wait until the camera is actually ready to shoot? Generally, youll have to wait 3 to 5 seconds or more;  then wait another second while the camera autofocuses and calculates exposure after you've pressed the shutter release. Switch a dSLR on, and its ready to go. On more than one occasion I've spotted an unexpected opportunity, switched my digital SLR on as I brought the camera to my eye, and then took a picture, all within less than one second.


Post a Comment


I Am Model Design by Insight © 2009