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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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SLR Cameras?

I didnt know what section to post this in so mods move it if it needs to be. thank you.

Alright well since ive been a member of the forums, i have seen some amazing pictures here. Sh1bby69,LaraW,Blam, Radar_This, and BoostThat3 to name a few have churned out some of the nicest pics ive ever seen. I doubt this was done on a POS walgreens camera so i was hoping for some answers from the pros. I googled/wikipedia the term SLR and got a bunch of mumjo jumbo that totally screwed with my head. Can someone please put it into english for me lol. Id like to get into this type of stuff as a hobby and would like more information.

How much do these cameras run? Are they hard to learn how to use? Are they hard to maintain? Do i have to buy all kinds of different lenses n stuff? any info is highly appreciated.


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 04:26 PM
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Re: SLR Cameras?

Some basics.

A point and shoot, digicam or rangefinder (all different terms used more or less for the same type of camera) functions by having a little view finder on it (most do) and an image sensor (generally tiny). They allow you to have a live view of what you are taking a picture on on the LCD display.

Advantages are low cost, small size and the live view (what you see is what you get).

Negatives are that the sensor size is tiny (I'll get into why that is bad later), the range finder is an inaccurate representation of what you are taking a picture of, most have limited or no manual controls to control things such as image exposure and focus and most/all are limited to the built in lens which can vary in quality, but also tends to be slow.


An SLR camera, which stands for single lens reflex, has a mirror that bounces the image coming through the camera lens up into something called a pentaprism, this is basically a fancy shamnsy mirrored prism that then bounced the light out of the view finder so you can see it. The lenses on most/all SLR cameras are replacable and the image sensors tend to be much larger.

Advantages larger image sensor (see below for why), replacable lenses that tend to be of higher quality and some are MUCH faster (see below), fully manual controls that tend to be easy to use (or at least easier then a digital point and shoot) so you can manually control focus and exposure.

Negatives are much larger size, weight and cost.


A film SLR can run from about $30 up to around $600-900 for a used one depending on its condition. I think Cannon still sells a film SLR body at around $800-1000, but I could be wrong about that. Digital SLRs tend to run about $600 on the low end all the way up to about $20,000 for a medium format digital SLR. Typical consumer SLRs $600-1,500.

Most SLRs come with what is called a kit lens. In the times of yore (film) it used to be a 50mm lens of resonable to good quality that was pretty fast. These days it is a zoom lens generally ranging from wide angle to short telephoto (and not so fast). If you want anything outside of the abilities of the kit lens, then yes you would need to buy other lenses, which can vary in price for a new lens of about $100 for a prime lens (means that it has a fixed focal length) up to thousands of dollars for some of the pro-zooms and long telephoto lenses.

They aren't that hard to learn how to use. However, learning to be an artistic photographer producing good pictures is a lot harder to do. Nothing really to maintain, do drop them or get them soaking wet, don't get dirt in them and charge the battery when it needs charging.




So why a bigger sensor is a good thing. I am not refering to megapixels, though SLRs tend to have more megapixels then point and shoot cameras. Each photosite on the sensor has to take in light. The larger the photosensor the more light it can take in. This means that for low light operation a sensor with big photosites is going to work a lot better then one with much smaller photosites. This means that an SLR camera will produce a cleaner image (less color noise) then a point and shoot at basically the same light levels.

The 'speed' of a lens refers to how much light it can let in based on the focal length. It is represented as a fraction of the focal length. So a 50mm f/2 lens would have an aperature (where the light goes through) of 25mm (f/2 is focal length divided by 2). The light gathering is geometric, so an f/2 lens would let in twice the light of an f/2.8 lens and four times the light of an f/4 lens. Some zoom lenses also have variable aperatures or speeds. This means that the longer the lens is racked out (the higher the selected focal length) the less light it is going to let in. For example a variable zoom lens might be 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5, that means at a 28mm focal length it has an effective aperature of f/3.5, but at the 85mm end it has an aperature of f/4.5

Point and shoot cameras vary widely in the focal length and speed of their built in lens. However a typical one might be equivelent to 35-210mm and an aperature (or speed) of f/4.5-5.6, rather slow. Some of the higher end point and shoots have lenses as fast as f/2.8-5.6 (not earth shattering, but a lot better).

Typical higher end SLR camera zoom lens are as fast as f/2.8, but are fixed aperature and some of the primes (fixed focal length) lenses can range as fast as f/1.2...8 times as fast as an f/2.8 lens.


Hope that didn't completely confuse you, but I thought a lot of it might be useful.
-Matt

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: SLR Cameras?

lol it helped and it also confounded me more. im gonna check out amazon for a few dummies books on phototaking n stuff


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 04:45 PM
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Re: SLR Cameras?

Check out photo.net

Read up in their tutorial sections. That should give you a bit of an idea on photography.
-Matt
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: SLR Cameras?

k ill check it out thanks


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 05:00 PM
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Re: SLR Cameras?

A good point and shoot makes taking nice photos easy. The camera does all the work to digitally 'optimize' the photo. Most of the time it will do a pretty good job but it misses sometimes. An SLR is much more difficult to get the same scene to come out well. They usually have automatic controls though (like fully auto, sport mode, landscape mode) like a point and shoot but once you get used to using it you can start playing with the manual controls.
I went from a nice point and shoot to a Canon Rebel XT (as basic an SLR as you can get) and used the auto controls for awhile. Then I started playing with the manual controls a little and eventually I got used to adjusting the camera's settings myself. I don't pretend to be a great photographer (I've onlybeen using my SLR for about 5 months) but its gotten to the point that everytime I go out for 'photoshoot' with friends I generally have a handful of photos I am satisfied with.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 05:01 PM
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Re: SLR Cameras?

Matt cleared up a lot about p&s compared to SLR cameras. One thing to remember is you can take a digital camera and use it in a certain way to where it can make really good pictures. You can also use photoshop to aid in your camera images as well. Don't get me wrong a P&S doesn't compare to a SLR, but if you understand the art of taking pictures you can make a p&s photo look good. There's more to taking pictures then literally just pointing and shooting. I'm not camera goo roo by no means, but lighting and how far the image is away from the camera are two big criterias to taking pictures. p&s generally have a front number of I think the norm is around 7-10x, but the optical zoom is terrible at like 3x. If you can get good lighting with a p&s and not zoom far out your picture can look fairly crisp. I would get a p&s that cost a little bit more money than the average ones, if you just can't afford SLR. I've always wanted to get into picture taking, but it's too expensive and I just don't have the time. I do need to learn how to use photoshop though.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 05:03 PM
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Re: SLR Cameras?

Excellent question Marne_Aeok, I'm planning to invest too.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 05:06 PM
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Re: SLR Cameras?

I've been wanting an SLR, but since I started getting a lot more busy at work and working OT, I lost those nice weekends at the beach or in the mountains LOL, maybe in the summer or fall I can get my hands on one, I love those cameras.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 05:08 PM
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Re: SLR Cameras?

[quote author=PRBLU3MZR link=topic=103992.msg2106346#msg2106346 date=1204149978]
I've been wanting an SLR, but since I started getting a lot more busy at work and working OT, I lost those nice weekends at the beach or in the mountains LOL, maybe in the summer or fall I can get my hands on one, I love those cameras.
[/quote]

Yeah they can definitely do a lot. My g/f has as basic sony p&s that I've used just to take quick pictures of my car. On sunny days it takes good pictures, but in low light it's very blurry obviously. I've wanted to get the new samsung p&S that came out last year, but can't justify spending that much money if I'm not going to use it 3 times a week. If I buy anything I have to be able to use it almost 50% of the time.

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