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Photography Question 
Brook M. McCaskill

Upgrade from Point & Shoot to D-SLR?

I am considering an upgrade to a D-SLR - Nikon D5000 with an 18-55mm VR lens. Would you recommend the switch to a D-SLR? Can you really tell the difference in clarity and image quality? Also, I have really liked the versatility of my 10x zoom... Is the D-SLR w/ a 55-200mm add-on worth the effort to achieve similar zoom capabilities?

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5/27/2009 7:19:54 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Whether you should switch depends on what point-and-shoot you're currently using and what it cannot do for you that you want from the D-SLR. But generally, yes, a D-SLR will give better results, especially large prints, and greater creative flexibility. But a D-SLR requires greater effort in handling (larger, heavier, several lenses, accessory flash), and while JPEGs straight from the camera are quite good, best results require post-processing the RAW images.

The D5000 + Nikon's 18-55 VR and 55-200 VR lenses is a good start that gives you 11x zoom range with good image quality and reasonable cost.

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5/28/2009 3:34:56 AM

Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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  Also consider the expense of the lenses.
What do you use your camera for, and what are you wanting to do that your point-and-shoot can't do? The expense of the lenses finally did me in... I've been shooting with a D-SLR for the last couple of years, but couldn't afford the lenses I wanted, so I've thrown in the towel and gone back to a point and shoot. If you are interested in doing stock or something like that, then sure, go for the D-SLR ... but on the other hand, as far as what the average person can see from one to the other, I doubt you'd notice a difference.

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5/28/2009 6:37:40 AM

Ron Evans   For me, it was never a question of image quality but rather the flexibility and most importantly - instantaneous capture which the DSLR provides. I find myself getting extremely frustrated when family members ask me to take photos with their P&S because the delay always seems to make me miss the shot I wanted.
I think Jon C. and Carolyn made an excellent point - ask yourself what your point-and-shoot is not doing for you. That's really an excellent way to determine whether or not the switch is necessary. Then again, necessity may not be the criteria. If you've got the money to invest and don't mind a little extra bulk, I think you'd find it worthwhile to experiment with the D-SLR. It's all subjective...

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5/28/2009 8:34:00 AM

Stanley Joel Schretter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/16/2007
  For years I only shot with a DSLR and have purchased many lens. There are some things that ONLY a DSLR will do and a P&S will not, e.g. shooting my grandchildren, etc.. They move way too fast for the P&S delay. On the other hand, when going on a vacation, I now prefer putting the P&S into my pocket and not having the heavy DSLR camera, lens bag, etc always with me. I have a new Canon G10 P&S and in reasonable light, including museums and churches, etc, it does a pretty good job with prints up to 8x10 and sometimes larger. Of course for web display it is more that adequate.

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6/2/2009 4:12:29 AM

Allen M. Aisenstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/3/2005
  All of the above answers are true. However, you do get what you pay for. No pain, no gain! Overall, there's no comparison between the quality you will receive with the Nikon kit vs. your point and shoot." Also consider the many options - macro lenses, remote flash, filters, and more. Good luck.

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6/2/2009 5:28:04 AM

Michael D. Miller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/26/2006
  In addition and alluded to all the above, I ask my friends and family if they 'intend to get into photography' more seriously as a hobby, avocation, or even vocation at some point.

It is somewhat a waste of money to operate a quality DSLR on automatic or program 100% of the time.

If you are not interested in using shutter and aperture priorities (or don't know what I am talking about) as well as manual operation, and not interested in learning about photography (focus, depth of field and shutter speed relationships, interpreting what the camera meter is 'seeing' because it will not always be accurate), and willing to 'change lenses' for various shooting (assuming you get more than one), then I don't recommend a DSLR or film SLR (FSLR?).

In my opinion, you have to be willing/prepared to:
Invest much more $ than a point and shoot,

'get into' photographic concepts,
read the manual and learn your camera more than On/Off and Automatic/Program,
'get into' lighting and composition, with emphasis on light more than taking all your pictures with the sun at your back, all horizontal (landscape format).

The others alluded to the question of what your point and shoot cannot do. If your P&S has a good zoom, manual, shutter, and aperature priority settings, and spot and center weighted metering, AND you are interested in learning them, I would certainly try them and your interest level out with your P&S. Then, you will just be left with the other features of a (good) DSLR to consider like no shutter lag, excellent optional flash units (you should learn to use your flash as well), and one of my favorites BURST mode (shooting 6 or 8 frames per second on my camera for sports and other action like children).

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6/9/2009 5:02:40 PM

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