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Copied From the Learn Photography Master Thread: Lesson 1


Choosing a camera: Point and Shoot vs. Mirrorless vs. DSLR


Before you even start thinking which camera model to buy, you have to decide something much more important: the type of camera. There are three main types of cameras on the market today, and they each offer some things the others don't. Let's take a quick at them and see what the differences are and why you might choose one over the other.


Point & Shoots (P&S): These are by far the most popular cameras out there. Usually extremely compact, they're all easy to use, relatively cheap, and deliver great images. The point & shoot ranges from tiny shirt-pocket cameras such as the Canon Elph series, to large superzooms (sometimes called all-in-ones or bridge cameras) such as the Panasonic FZ series, to 'advanced' P&Ss like the Canon G series or the $2800(!) Sony RX-1. All P&Ss have fixed (non-removable) lenses.


Point & Shoot pros:
--- Amazing selection: At the time of this writing, B&H has 328 cameras in stock listed under Point & Shoot. A basic Canon Elph-style camera usually has a 3-8x zoom lens, a 3" screen, 1080p video, image stabilization, and a million other features. Should you could choose a superzoom, you'd get a 24-50x zoom, manual controls, a viewfinder, and (usually) a hotshoe for flashes. Advanced P&Ss will give you even more control, better, larger sensors, and higher quality lenses. Want a camera your baby could drop into a bowl of cereal? There are currently 18 different shock and waterproof cameras [url=http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?ipp=100&Ns=p_PRODUCT_SHORT_DESCR|0&ci=8612&N=4288586279+35+4052359761&srtclk=sort]available
. Want a screen that swivels? Built-in GPS? WiFi? Check, check, and check. One screen not enough, you want two of 'em? Check!
--- Cheap: Even a $100 P&S will give you better pictures than a $500 camera from 5 years ago. You do not need to spend a fortune to get amazing pictures.
--- Light and easy to carry: No excuses for not shlepping the camera. If fits into your shirt pocket, a purse, just about anywhere.
--- Great video: Most current cameras are capable of recording 1080p HD video, or at least 720p. Combined with ubiquitous image stabilization P&Ss are capable of outputting awesome video.
--- Easy to use: Most P&S will only have an Auto or P mode, although some advanced or superzoom models will have full manual control. In Auto mode all you have to do is press the button. Some cameras even have an 'intelligent' auto feature where it could detect if you're shooting a flower, a portrait, etc. and adjust itself accordingly. This actually works pretty well on most cameras. In P mode you get a bit more control (you could turn the flash off, adjust the picture brighter or darker, etc.), but the camera still handles most of the decisions making for you.


Point & Shoot Cons:
--- Image quality relative to mirrorless and DSLRs: Yes, P&Ss will give you great picture quality - when situations are ideal. But if you plan to be shooting a lot in darker situations (indoors, your kids' school play) you will notice a considerable difference in quality compared to the other two. Sharpness will also not be as good as the others - the combination of a small physical lens, a small sensor, and over-zealous noise reduction (more on all of these later) is not a recipe for razor-sharp photos. These factors will be much less of an issue with advanced cameras such as the Canon G15, although a mirrorless or DSLR will still be far better.
--- Hard or impossible to achieve certain effects: You know that portrait look where the entire background is just blurred into creamy nothingness? That's one of the hardest things to create with a P&S (and conversely one of the easiest things to do with an SLR/mirrorless). Later on I'll show you some techniques to force this effect out of a P&S (to a degree), but the physics are simply not in your favor.
--- Speed: Compared to a DSLR, the P&S is practically a turtle. It takes a few seconds to turn on, zooming takes time, every setting change takes time. Most importantly though, is the speed at which the camera takes the picture. While a DSLR focuses almost instantly, a P&S could take a second or two. Once the image is in focus, there is a maddening delay called shutter lag, which is the time between you pressing the shutter button and the camera actually taking the picture. Between focusing and shutter lag, it could sometimes take 3 or more seconds to get your shoot, at which point the moment may be long gone. Later on we'll discuss some techniques for speeding this process up, but it'll still take far longer than a DSLR.
--- Not much control: The flip side to the P&S's ease of use it its lack of control. Want to lower your flash power so that people don't have that 'deer in headlights' look? Tough noogies. Want to change your aperture? Your shutter speed? Ain't happenin'. Of course some cameras do let you change all that, but a) they're in the minority by far, and b) since these are secondary features, you'll probably have to dig through 6 menu pages every time you want to make a change.
--- Limited expandability: A P&S is a closed system. Want a longer or wider lens? Want to use filters? No dice on most cameras. This is also a big issue if you ever want to dabble in lighting - it'll be quite difficult with a P&S.
____________


DSLRs: The big, black, "professional" looking cameras. Big, heavy, and (relatively) expensive, these have interchangeable lenses and optical viewfinders. The big players are Canon and Nikon, with Sony and Pentax having a small but dedicated market share. A typical 'starter' DSLR will have a 18 (Canon) or 24 (Nikon) megapixel sensor, come with an 18-55mm lens, and have actual buttons for only the most important tasks. As you move up through the lineup, you'll get more direct buttons and knobs, status LCDs, better focusing/metering systems, more lens support, metal or magnesium bodies, weather sealing, wireless flash control, higher frame-per-second rates, and more. You also get better kit lenses (that's the lens that comes with the camera) as you move up, and at a certain level (usually the third camera in the lineup) you'll also be able to buy the camera body by itself without any lens.


DSLR pros:
--- Image quality: This is the number one benefit of the DSLR - even the cheapest camera and lens combination will give you better pictures that any point and shoot, even if the P&S costs much more. (B&H currently lists 3 DSLR kits (camera and lens) for $450 - that's cheaper than some P&Ss.) Looking at pictures of a P&S and a DSLR side by side, you'll be blown away by the difference in sharpness, color, and dynamic range (explained later) of the DSLR. When it comes to low light, there's no contest; the DSLR wins hand down.
--- Control: In a DLSR you have control over every single shooting parameter. There are no limits to what you could create; everything's at your beck and call. Flash power, exposure, color, and most importantly, RAW shooting. (I'll get into far more detail on that last thing later.)
--- Special effects: Out of focus backgrounds? Easy peasy. Long exposures? Timelapse? You bet.
--- System expandability: DSLRs are sometimes called 'system cameras'. This is due to the fact that unlike P&Ss, a DSLR is not just a camera; it's at the heart of an entire system. Each brand has dozens of lenses available, plus many more from third-party lens manufacturers. You could get flashes, transmitters, remotes, and many other goodies and they will all work seamlessly and communicate properly to one another. BTW, this is why you should choose your first SLR very carefully: you're probably buying into a system. First you get a camera and lens, then another lens, then maybe another lens or a flash, and then the a new camera comes out so you buy that. It's quite the pain to switch to a different brand once you're bought in to the system.
--- Viewfinder: By definition, a DSLR is a single lens reflex camera; what that means is that inside the camera just behind the lens mount there's a mirror, which projects the image from the lens into a prism, which in turn shows up in the viewfinder. The big advantage of this is that when you look through the viewfinder you're actually looking through lens, and as such are seeing exactly what the lens sees. This gives you an extremely accurate and life-like view, which makes it easy to compose your shots properly. A viewfinder also lets you use the camera in bright light without worrying about not being able to see the screen.
--- Speed: A DSLR is ready to shoot almost instantly after being turned on. No matter where you are, be it a menu or playing back you pictures, a slight tap of the shutter button and the camera is instantly ready to shoot. Focus is nearly instantaneous, and shutter lag is pretty much a non-issue. Another speed aspect is continuous shooting - holding down the shutter button while the camera rattles off picture after picture. An entry-level camera  could easily do around 4.5fps (frames per second), while higher level cameras could do 7 or 8 (or 12, if you count the $6800 Canon 1D X).


DSLR cons:
--- Size and weight: There's no getting around it: DSLRs are big and bulky, especially if you're carrying more than one lens.
--- Price: DSLRs start at about $450, and go way up. One of the most common cameras, the Canon T4i, will set you back about a grand. And then you want to buy another lens. And another one. And another one... :D
--- Video: DSLR video is a really weird situation. On the one hand the quality is INSANE. Just look on Vimeo and see what people have been doing with the Canon 5DMk2 and Mk3 and you'll see what I mean. On the other hand, if you look at the behind the scenes video of one of those, you'll see that the camera is mounted on a rig costing $10K or more. The rig stabilizes the camera and provides support for the focus controls, the zoom controls, the sound system, and many other things. Why is all this necessary? Very simple - because the camera does a horrible job at all this if left to it's own devices. Focusing during video is horrible, especially if anything's moving through the scene. What this means is that if you're buying an SLR and are planning on taking videos of your kids running around in the park, you will be sorely disappointed - nothing will be in focus half the time, and when the camera finally does achieve focus, the built-in mike will have picked up every grind and whirr of the lens as it moved back and forth. Canon has made some progress on eliminating these issues with their new STM lenses, but for now that's only two cameras and two lenses, and even that isn't perfect.


__________


Mirrorless: Known by many different names (ILCs and EVILs for example), the industry has seemed to settle on Mirrorless lately. This was the brainchild of a joint venture between Olympus and Panasonic, and was aimed on creating an interchangeable-lens camera in with a P&S body and DSLR-like image quality, and has been wildly successful. Olympus and Panasonic are still the major players with their Micro 4/3s system, followed by Sony with their NEX line. Many others have tried to take over market share from the big 3, but have been largely unsuccessful mainly due to inferior products. Nikon 1, Canon, M, and Samsung NX are examples of fairly unpopular systems.


Most mirrorless cameras have a P&S form-factor, albeit somewhat larger. With the exception of Olympus and Panasonic, the lenses are not interchangeable between brands, but adapters are available to convert practically any DSLR (or old rangefinder camera) lens to just about every system. Most adapters will not autofocus the lens, so it's not exactly a perfect solution.


Mirrorless pros:
--- Size and weight: This is the main draw for most people. While not exactly pocket sized once a lens is in place, it it still a fairly compact kit and could be carried in a purse with ease. It's more like a large P&S than a small DSLR.
--- Price: Generally cheaper than a DSLR of a similar level. The Panasonics and Olympus (Olympusus? Olympi? ??? ) especially seem to be on sale more often than not.
--- Image quality: About as good as an SLR, simple as that.
--- Expandability: Like DSLRs, these cameras are part of a system. In the last couple of months more and more third parties have started to make lenses too. Micro 4/3s is a much more robust system then Sony NEX though, with many more lenses available.
--- Video: Video on mirrorless cameras is insanely fantastic. Similar in quality to an SLR, but with the ease of use of a P&S. It focuses quickly, perfectly, and fairly quietly.


Mirrorless cons:
--- Lenses: Far smaller selection than SLRs, although to be fair most important lenses are covered.
--- Image quality: A DSLR will still have slightly better image quality, especially in low light scenarios.
--- Viewfinders: Most donít have viewfinders at all, which make it harder to use in low light. Some of those have axillary finders you could out in the hotshoe (usually at exorbitant prices or some reason), but these are just to give you a general idea of what the camera is seeing.
--- Batteries: Uses batteries like a P&S (200-400 shots), while a DSLR usually gets around 2000 shots per battery.
--- Speed: Focusing, while worlds better than P&Ss, isn't quite up to DSLR standards yet, but that's getting better every day.
--- Control: While mirrorless camera offer the same level of control as DSLRs, very often you'll have to dig through menus to get to where you want to. The main point of mirrorless being cutting down on size, buttons and knobs were eliminated without mercy.


___________


Lesson Summary:
--- Point & Shoots are great for most everyday shooting. Cheap, more options than you could ever want, great image quality and video. Quite difficult (but definitely possible - I'll show you how) to get the 'pro' look.
--- DSLR are king when it comes to image quality, control, and expandability. For the best pictures in any situation, go for a DSLR. Video, not so much.
--- Mirrorless cameras are the best of both worlds, with some caveats. Amazing image quality, the best video, and fairly small and portable. Less control and versatility than an SLR, though.

___________


For the full lesson series visit the Learn Photography Master Thread.

____________________________________________________

Links to additional Info:

Learn Photography Master Thread: Lesson 2: Camera specs - What do they mean, and which ones matter to me?

Canon's DSLR naming scheme
Nikon's DSLR naming scheme
« Last edited by Curlyhead on August 10, 2016, 11:42:18 AM »

Author Topic: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread  (Read 168911 times)

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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #210 on: December 12, 2013, 05:10:26 PM »
I think you are mistaking it for a different camera. 60D is NOT 2 Generations newer, nor does it have WiFi, GPS, etc. It was released when the T2i was still holding up the Rebel side of their camera line. It is a Digic 4 chip, and same exact sensor, etc as the t2i and t3i (and t1i, for that matter). It brought the articulating screen and manual audio levels for video mode, however it is basically a Rebel with some extra prosumer functions and ergonomics. The t3i was released AFTERWARDS, and brought the fold out screen and audio levels, as well as some interesting video features like crop mode. Meanwhile, the 60D, like all double-digit D cameras from Canon, offers a slightly more pro-level package than the Rebels (also known as the triple-digit-D models), features such dialing in Kelvin values manually and less digging through menus for critical exposure adjustments when working in manual.

Wow - correct on all counts. That'll teach me not to post half asleep on the bus to work without double checking everything :P.

I was basically describing a 6D with an APS-C sensor ::).
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #211 on: December 12, 2013, 06:30:38 PM »
Wow - correct on all counts. That'll teach me not to post half asleep on the bus to work without double checking everything :P.

I was basically describing a 6D with an APS-C sensor ::).

LOL- It happens to the best of us. I only know this stuff because I happen to moderate the DSLR section of DVXUSer, where I wrote up this (now horribly dated) comparison of entry-level DSLRs at the time:
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?249562-Difference-between-APS-C-Camera-models-(7D-vs-T2i-vs-60D-vs-T3i)

On that note, I should really update that thread with info from the new Digic 5 cameras and state of Magic Lantern hacks, but to be honest video shooting on Canon DSLRs are on the way out. We get more traffic in the Panasonic, Nikon and generic DSLR / Mirrorless section these days (I myself prefer not to shoot on Canon for video anymore either, but that's another story).
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #212 on: December 12, 2013, 06:44:21 PM »
LOL- It happens to the best of us. I only know this stuff because I happen to moderate the DSLR section of DVXUSer, where I wrote up this (now horribly dated) comparison of entry-level DSLRs at the time:
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?249562-Difference-between-APS-C-Camera-models-(7D-vs-T2i-vs-60D-vs-T3i)

On that note, I should really update that thread with info from the new Digic 5 cameras and state of Magic Lantern hacks, but to be honest video shooting on Canon DSLRs are on the way out. We get more traffic in the Panasonic, Nikon and generic DSLR / Mirrorless section these days (I myself prefer not to shoot on Canon for video anymore either, but that's another story).

Happens to be that ML/CHDK is one of the only things that drives me nuts about Nikon. Canon guys mess with the firmware and we get awesomeness. A Nikon guy finally succeeds and what do we get? Star Wars. Lighten the Force! ::)

/rant

Back on topic, I'll check out that article once I get home. It's always fun to read old reviews :).
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #213 on: December 12, 2013, 06:55:09 PM »
Ok, I actually purchased the T3i and received it today. I'm no expert in photography, I would just love to great shots of my kids. Here's the thing, this might just be too much camera for me. I was really surprised by how bulky and heavy this camera is (not sure what I was expecting). It's not a device that you can casually walk around with and the carrying bag is like a medium-sized knapsack. I guess its not totally what I was looking for as I was hoping for something more convenient for carrying around, but something with better quality than your low=end point & shoot. Considering my needs, what would you recommend between the S110 and Olympus E-PL3. Thanks

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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #214 on: December 12, 2013, 07:00:33 PM »
Ok, I actually purchased the T3i and received it today. I'm no expert in photography, I would just love to great shots of my kids. Here's the thing, this might just be too much camera for me. I was really surprised by how bulky and heavy this camera is (not sure what I was expecting). It's not a device that you can casually walk around with and the carrying bag is like a medium-sized knapsack. I guess its not totally what I was looking for as I was hoping for something more convenient for carrying around, but something with better quality than your low=end point & shoot. Considering my needs, what would you recommend between the S110 and Olympus E-PL3. Thanks

You're not saying much except that you want something better than a low end p&s. Based solely on that both cameras may work. I say try them both out with a memory card in it. For all you know the Oly may also be too big for you, but it may be worth it for the image quality.
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #215 on: December 12, 2013, 07:03:54 PM »
By the way, it might be helpful to point out how Canon's DSLR naming scheme works, so that folks can understand where each model fits in their lineup.

This took me a while to figure out when I was buying my first model from them, as far as I know there isn't any official data from Canon on this. But I've noticed that there are basically 4 primary digit schemes, and they work backwards. That is, the 4-digits before the letter D is the lowest level, whereas the single digit-D is the higher end and most expensive.

To make matters even more complicated, their lower end cameras (such the the Rebel series) are given different names in different markets. For the example, the t3i is really the 600D (and also known as the KISS X4 in other markets). But aside from region specific branding, the digits in the actual name tell most of the story.

So basically, it goes something like this:
XXXXD (quadruple digits) - This is the lowest level, with generally very basic and cheaper mass-produced budget sensors. Examples include the 1000D and 1100D, which here in the US are known as the Rebel T2 and T3, respectively. These are not to be confused with the "i" models, which are actually the triple digit models, one tier up. They tend to have less dynamic range and megapixels than the same generation higher-tier model.

xxxD (triple digits) - This is the entry level prosumer/amateur camera. Very similar to the 4-digit models, with a similarly basic (dare I call it, dumbed-down) simple interface and functionality and sticks with the Rebel moniker. However under the hood it shares the sensor and image quality as many higher tier models. Examples here in the US are the T3i, T4i, and T5i which are actually the 600D, 650D and 700D, respectively.

xxD (double digits) - These are the slightly more pro-level models, while still being decidedly prosumer in design. They share the same APS-C sensor as the triple digit Rebels, and thus have roughly the same image quality. However the ergonomics and interface allow for more control and artistic features. They are larger and heavier as well, which all helps them "feel" more pro. In fact, I've seen plenty of these along side far more expensive pro-level cameras in photographic environments (weddings, etc). But under the hood, they are similar to the Rebel triple-digit models of the same generation. Examples include the 50D and 60D.

xD (single digits) - Now, here's where it gets complicated. So far, the levels were split into the amount of digits, each progressing upward with each generation (550D was replaced by the 600D, which was replaced by the 650D, and so on). The single digits appear to be their PRO level offerings, and their numbers don't change. Instead, each generation is marked with a version number following the name (5D was replaced with the 5D mark 2. The 6D is a totally different camera, as is the 7D).
It also appears that the models get more and more professional and expensive the closer it gets to 0. The 1D is their most professional (and expensive) camera, followed by the 5D, then 6D (also called the affordable 5D), and then the 7D.

So, in a nutshell it goes (from top to bottom):
1D (generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
5D (generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
6D (presumed generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
7D (presumed generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
xxD (digits go up by 10 each generation)
xxxD (digits go up by 50 each generation)
xxxxD (digits appear to go up by 100)

So basically, the 60D is a higher level than the t3i (600D), but lower level than the 6D.

Hope this helps someone. :)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 07:08:10 PM by Mordy »
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #216 on: December 12, 2013, 07:15:58 PM »
Happens to be that ML/CHDK is one of the only things that drives me nuts about Nikon. Canon guys mess with the firmware and we get awesomeness. A Nikon guy finally succeeds and what do we get? Star Wars. Lighten the Force! ::)

I know! Canon hasn't been to kind to the dev community though. Apparently, they figured out the difference between the 1Dx and 1Dc was just some firmware which they could easily port (despite the vast price difference), and Canon got very upset. Or rather, their lawyers did and the dev team got really quiet all of the sudden. :)
Just embrace them! One of the biggest reasons I buy my Canon bodies is because I love ML so much! Why can't they just embrace what is helping sales (even if only a small number). But I digress...
Ok, I actually purchased the T3i and received it today. I'm no expert in photography, I would just love to great shots of my kids. Here's the thing, this might just be too much camera for me. I was really surprised by how bulky and heavy this camera is (not sure what I was expecting). It's not a device that you can casually walk around with and the carrying bag is like a medium-sized knapsack. I guess its not totally what I was looking for as I was hoping for something more convenient for carrying around, but something with better quality than your low=end point & shoot. Considering my needs, what would you recommend between the S110 and Olympus E-PL3. Thanks

Yeah, as I mentioned earlier, DSLRs are not for everyone. I own a few and don't take them with me for family outings (except maybe for a graduation or something big). I love the EPL-3 for that, but you need a pancake prime to keep it pocketable. By that I mean it doesn't zoom. The zoom lenses are pretty compact as well if you really want that, but anything with a decent amount of throw is going to protrude from the front enough to make it hard to carry in my jacket pocket.

That being said, Panasonic DOES make a micro4/3 telescoping zoom lens, which when paired with an Olympus would make it similar to the size of a point-and-shoot, but they aren't so cheap last I checked.

I have some pictures of my EPL-3 with various lenses compared to my DSLRs somewhere for reference- I wish I could easily dig them up (buried on facebook somewhere).
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #217 on: December 12, 2013, 07:46:31 PM »
So the zoom is basically very lame on the PL3. Would you choose the S110 instead of it?

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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #218 on: December 12, 2013, 07:47:42 PM »

Just embrace them! One of the biggest reasons I buy my Canon bodies is because I love ML so much! Why can't they just embrace what is helping sales (even if only a small number). But I digress...

And that's without going into the Nikon battery Armageddon that started this week. They should both take a page out of Apple's MFI program.
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #219 on: December 12, 2013, 08:13:13 PM »
By the way, it might be helpful to point out how Canon's DSLR naming scheme works, so that folks can understand where each model fits in their lineup.

......

So, in a nutshell it goes (from top to bottom):
1D (generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
5D (generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
6D (presumed generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
7D (presumed generations enumerated by "mark I, mark II, etc")
xxD (digits go up by 10 each generation)
xxxD (digits go up by 50 each generation)
xxxxD (digits appear to go up by 100)

So basically, the 60D is a higher level than the t3i (600D), but lower level than the 6D.

Hope this helps someone. :)

Great info :).

Now the Nikon side of things:

Nikon is somewhat better than Canon in that their cameras have the same model number regardless of where it's sold, but the naming convention is still quite batty. I'm not going to go into all the details here as Mordy already summed it up quite well, and the Nikon levels pretty much parallel the Canons.

D3xxx (4 digits): the lowest level. Basic entry level DSLRs. Currently at the D3200, jumps by 100 with every new generation.
D5xxx: the next level up. All cameras in this level have a swivel LCD. This also appears to be the testing ground for new features, as many new functions appear in this camera first. Currently at the D5300; also jumps by 100 every gen.
D7xxx: another level up. This level is for higher end consumer and prosumer customer. We upgrade to 2 command dials, a second LCD, a built-in motor (more lens support), etc.
Dxxx (3 digits): this line straddles both APS-C and full frame, and is for the higher end prosumer all the way up to pro. The numbers don't make much sense looking at the entire lineup, so something will have to change in the scheme sooner or later. But for now we have:
- D3xx level is the top APS-C camera, and is completely at the pro level
- D6xx level is the lowest full frame camera, and is prosumer/lower level pro
- D8xx level is is next up at the pro level.
Dx (1 digit): the highest end cameras, and the top pro ones obviously.

Nikon also adds letters to model numbers often, indicating a slight upgrade, higher speed, or something similar. For example:
D300s: Slight upgrade from the D300 (added video, another card slot, etc.)
D3x: Slower, higher res version of the D3.
D800E: Same as the D800 but with the AA filter removed.

There's also the new oddball Df, which is a mashup of the D3's sensor, the D610's features, and an old film camera body and controls.
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Offline Mordy

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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #220 on: December 12, 2013, 08:31:59 PM »
So the zoom is basically very lame on the PL3. Would you choose the S110 instead of it?

No no no. The PL3 is an interchangable lens camera, so the zoom is whatever you put on it. If you want an AWESOME zoom, you can put something truly epic on it, like this old Canon FD lens I threw on it with an adapter (for giggles, just because I can!):



That'll give you an incredibly versatile zoom, but not very pocketable! The zoom it comes with isn't too bad, here's a picture of it with some of my other cameras for reference:
(its the one lowest in the picture, a bit off the left- I don't use the kit zoom very much, it still has the protective blue tape on the nose)


Behind it is an old Canon Powershot point and shoot for size reference. Notice how the E-PL3 is roughly the size of the Powershot save for the lens protruding. But more interesting, is the Lumix camera on the right (Panasonic GH2, one of my personal favorites for video), which has on it currently a pancake 17mm prime lens. That lens is usually sitting on my E-PL3, which just barely protrudes at all, and makes it roughly as pocketable as the Powershot. But you can't zoom with a prime lens (that's the difference between a prime and a zoom). If you want to zoom, a slightly larger lens is necessary, just because of the more complicated optics involved.

Or you can get the telescoping Lumix lens, shown here:


That lens works like a point-and-shoot style, it has a servo motor to zoom in and out, and collapses into itself when done, making it closer to a prime lens in size when not in use. But they aren't cheap, and they aren't as sharp or wide aperture as other options. Still, will probably get you better pics than a point-and-shoot if you have the budget for it!

I just keep the 17mm on it. It's good for most things, and sometimes if I know I'll need it, I keep a second prime in my pocket (85mm) for extreme closeups with lots of beautifully shallow focus. I'm not sure why the 17mm isn't on it for this picture, but whatever- this was taken a long time ago when I was illustrating how much smaller the GH2 can be than a Canon DSLR.

My picture to illustrate that:


The GH2 is bigger than the E-PL3, so you can just imagine the difference here.
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Offline Mordy

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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #221 on: December 12, 2013, 08:51:10 PM »
Now the Nikon side of things:

Nice, this should help clear up a lot of confusion.

Quote
There's also the new oddball Df, which is a mashup of the D3's sensor, the D610's features, and an old film camera body and controls.
I actually like those, but they are totally impractical. Hipster sells!


...on that note, I fear I may be over-geeking up this thread with you!
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #222 on: December 12, 2013, 08:52:53 PM »
I actually like those, but they are totally impractical. Hipster sells!

Oh, I love it. Played around with it for a while and it really is quite lovely. But what a waste of $3k :D.

...on that note, I fear I may be over-geeking up this thread with you!

Lol. I'm havin a good time...  ;D
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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #223 on: December 12, 2013, 09:01:01 PM »
Thanks a bunch for the info..so what would you recommend for a non-camera aficionado? I'm just considering too many options at this point. Would like something that will not weigh me down but will take great pics and video..Almost like close to DSLR-quality pics without the massive frame and with the capability to take quality videos. Thanks again, really appreciate the help (i'm going on vacation in a week and a half and trying to settle on one for the trip_)

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Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
« Reply #224 on: December 12, 2013, 10:25:03 PM »
Everyone goes gaga for the DSLRs because I think it makes them feel more "pro", but these mirrorless cams are amazing!
I agree.
Like i said last week:
The biggest reason for wanting an SLR [over a mirrorless] is probably psychological, my brain has been wired for so long to want one and it hasn't quite gotten used to the idea of the ML.
I actually have this little nagging voice in the back of my mind which keeps saying I'm making a mistake here and should've got a mirrorless.
(OTOH, I'm sure had I gone mirrorless the voice would still be there telling me I should've gone SLR...)

I guess time will tell if I made the right choice.