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Thread: Are SLR's still worth investing in ?

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    Are SLR's still worth investing in ?

    Most of my gear is getting old and some of my lenses have been repaired only to fail a few months later. I have been holding back for quite some time partly because the outlets where I used to sell images have become very crafty on how they get images for free these days (competitions). The small amounts of work I have had through news story coverage and tourism have mainly come from compacts and gopro's, it seems that most magazines don't have the budget and by standing your ground with a fixed price now means you don't get a sale at all.

    I joined a camera club so that my two keen young daughters can come along to learn from different guest speakers. At first my girls were sort of looked down at as they use compacts but now that my eldest GBP (a member on here) won highest point score for 2013 as well as image of the year using compacts now half the club seem to have the same camera as her. Two weeks ago she had an image on the front of Herald and also has the front cover of the quarterly Brink UTS paper, all taken with compacts. I hear people comparing cameras iq etc, so last night at camera club with a very highly ranked guest speaker my daughter entered an image of a herons head to see if it would be noticed that it was from a powershot compact. The picture did very well with comments on how you could see every detail in all the feathers etc and came second in the competition.

    So if compacts are constantly improving and so easy to carry at all times as well as many being shock and waterproof is it really worth investing in expensive new gear.
    Jon


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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    It all depends on what you want to do. Yes, compact cameras are getting better but so are digital SLR's. The reality is if you want high quality pictures, you will pay a price for glass, not the body. For example, the 32mm f/1.2 for the Nikon 1 Series is still $1000, because producing good glass costs money. That said, a good photographer will produce good photos with virtually any camera, but it doesn't mean he will use any camera because he is constrained by the limitations of the gear.

    In short, a user could probably get away with something like a Nikon 1 series for sports, but a Pro Body with a 70-200 f/2.8 or 400 f/2.8 is still going to be streets ahead of it in the right hands.

    I believe that the compact interchangeable lens cameras like the EOS M and Nikon 1 Series do have a big target market. I think a DSLR is an overkill for people who simply want good image quality and the ability to change lenses. For these people, the compacts will work. In the past, if you wanted to get a good photo, you needed a DSLR, but these days you can do that with a compact; but, just because a compact gets good photos, doesn't mean the DSLR's haven't progressed as well. Focus speed, ISO Noise, etc are all progressing at a rapid rate.
    Fuji XT-2, Fuji VPB-XT2, Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8, Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8, Fujinon 23 f/2, Fujinon 35 f2, Fujinon 90 f/2, Yongnuo YN560 IV, Yongnuo YN560 TX, Benro C3580T
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    keen learner of new tricks.
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    at this stage, most certainly....although I just got the Fuji X-E1 (takes amazing pics too) for travelling o/s. Got tired of carrying the big one around.
    Graeme
    "May the good Lord look down and smile upon your face"......Norman Gunston___________________________________________________
    Nikon: D7000, D80, 12-24 f4, 17-55 f2.8, 18-135, 70-300VR, 35f2, SB 400, SB 600, TC-201 2x converter. Tamron: 90 macro 2.8 Kenko ext. tubes. Photoshop CS2.


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    I have to admit I am at that same cross roads when it comes to my digital equipment. I have a 5 year old DSLR, that while it still takes more then adequate pictures, it is in reality getting to the end of its life span. This actually depresses me to a degree. I have film cameras in my collection that A) can be readily serviced (by the right technicians and B) will last a very long time. IMHO, 5 years out of a $1600 camera is simply too short of a lifespan.

    Anyhow, mine is not to rant at the moment......

    I do really wonder whether something like the Sony E-Mount range (& what ever Canon, Nikon, etc come up with that is similar) is where its at. Yes, I know that the EVF is not everyones cup of tea, but the compact form factor, the ability to put just about any lens on it, the fact that now you can get one with a full 35mm sensor, just seems too tempting for me.

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    Haha.. you might want to have a look in here then:

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...uld-have-built

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Depends on what you're shooting. Yes, a relatively static bird in good light can easily be captured with a compact camera. However, when the light gets dim and there is fast movement, a good DSLR is still the way to go.

    And most of these have been cropped somewhat as well.

    D800E + 300mm f2.8 VRII @ ISO5600, 1/323sec, f4.



    D800E + 300mm f2.8 VRII @ ISO6400, 1/1250sec, f5.6.



    D7000 + 500mm f4 VR @ ISO3200, 1/160sec, f5.6



    D800E + 500 f4 VR, ISO6400, 1/1000sec, f5.6.



    D800 + 300mm f2.8 VRII + 1.4x TCII, ISO6400, 1/250sec, f5.6.



    Still not bad at ISO12800!

    D800E + 300mm f2.8 VRII ISO12800, 1/323sec, f5.6.



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    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    I have to admit I am at that same cross roads when it comes to my digital equipment. I have a 5 year old DSLR, that while it still takes more then adequate pictures, it is in reality getting to the end of its life span. This actually depresses me to a degree. I have film cameras in my collection that A) can be readily serviced (by the right technicians and B) will last a very long time. IMHO, 5 years out of a $1600 camera is simply too short of a lifespan.
    Compared to film, a DSLR is CHEAP! Let's say you shoot 2000 photos a year, not that many shots in reality when you compare what we do now days with digital, that's 56 rolls of 36 shot film and at say $10.00 per roll to buy and develop, that's $560 per year, without printing which you would normally have to do as you have no other medium to display the results further adding to this cost. Yes, you could scan them nowadays, but that was not on offer in the film days. So, over your 5 years of shooting film, that equates to a $2,800 in film costs and you haven't even factored in the cost of the film camera. Now, your $1,600 DSLR looks cheap as you have saved $1,200 and you can still sell it for probably $500 making it even cheaper. The thing is, a DSLR allows you to take as many shots as you like for experimental or learning purposes, whereas film would cost you a bomb if you did the same. The fact is, you can learn so much with a DSLR, which you would be hard pressed doing with a film camera.

    For me, I look at a DSLR "as the film" and an item I have to update every few years to keep up with current digital trends, which I can sell to someone who is not so into photography and just wants a decent camera. My D700 took about 14,000 images over 2 years of ownership which is 7,000 per year and it cost me about $3,000 and I sold it for about $1,200. So, in reality it cost me about $1,800 for 14,000 shots and if you use the example of film costs above, then using film would have cost me 389 rolls of 36 film @ $10 per roll (probably more these days) = $3,890!! I saved over $2,000!! My D800 took 20,000 shots in 8 months, the camera cost me $3,000 and I sold it for $2,000 well below it's true worth as I sold it to s good friend, I probably could have got about $2,500 if I really wanted. So, the camera cost me $1,000 for 20,000 shots which in film would have been 555 rolls @ $10= $5,550 so, I look at it that I saved $4,550!!
    Last edited by Lance B; 16-04-2014 at 5:32pm.

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    Some great shots there Lance B, though you do have to be quite close with a 300 mm lens, compared to using a compact with 1200mm or more, now, from Nikon.

    I used to own D series bodies with 2.8 lenses. I sold my 400 2.8 after 4yrs of just shooting birds and wildlife, but not making money from the lens. Even with a 2x converter, it didn't come close to what my daughter is getting with a compact (bird pics don't make money).
    Jon

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    Some great shots there Lance B, though you do have to be quite close with a 300 mm lens, compared to using a compact with 1200mm or more, now, from Nikon.

    I used to own D series bodies with 2.8 lenses. I sold my 400 2.8 after 4yrs of just shooting birds and wildlife, but not making money from the lens. Even with a 2x converter, it didn't come close to what my daughter is getting with a compact (bird pics don't make money).

    I do know that an slr will produce a better image but with stock libraries selling images at 50c I dont think Im willing to invest top dollar anymore.
    Jon

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    Some great shots there Lance B, though you do have to be quite close with a 300 mm lens, compared to using a compact with 1200mm or more, now, from Nikon.

    I used to own D series bodies with 2.8 lenses. I sold my 400 2.8 after 4yrs of just shooting birds and wildlife, but not making money from the lens. Even with a 2x converter, it didn't come close to what my daughter is getting with a compact (bird pics don't make money).

    I do know that an slr will produce a better image but with stock libraries selling images at 50c I dont think Im willing to invest top dollar anymore.
    Jon

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    That's more of an issue with the market than the camera or lens.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Errr, the term investment conjours up a view of a monetary return on the purchase price. A DSLR is no different to any other camera on the market, if the user can master it and produce saleable images, pay for the camera and lens system from the sale of images from the camera then it might turn a profit at the end of the financial year. If it doesn't, the camera is simply a depreciated asset that failed to pay it's way ( probably more due to owner ineptitude rather than technical inferiority ) and will soon join the business owner in the dole queue.

    There will always be a gap between different equipment levels in the terms of proficiency of image capture but I reckon those days are rapidly drawing to a close.

    Those who try to seek a living by using one form of technology and ignoring the rest are heading for dinosaur status faster than the titanic can shed deckchairs.
    Last edited by I @ M; 17-04-2014 at 9:11am.
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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freelancer View Post
    Some great shots there Lance B, though you do have to be quite close with a 300 mm lens, compared to using a compact with 1200mm or more, now, from Nikon.
    Thank you for your nice comment. However, I also have a 500mm and that seems to get most of what I want. I have never really found that I've been wanting in focal length all that much and even so, the D800E has plenty of res for cropping if required.

    I used to own D series bodies with 2.8 lenses. I sold my 400 2.8 after 4yrs of just shooting birds and wildlife, but not making money from the lens. Even with a 2x converter, it didn't come close to what my daughter is getting with a compact (bird pics don't make money).

    I do know that an slr will produce a better image but with stock libraries selling images at 50c I dont think Im willing to invest top dollar anymore.
    Jon
    I do photography as a hobby, not a business. The fact is, digital has devalued the whole photography game anyway so making money from it is a bit of a waste of time. Anyone with a half decent camera can get great images these days, not like it was in the film days when it required much patience and skill.

    I would still say that the DSLR will more often than not get better results and be more versatile than a compact. As I say, when the light gets low and you need fast AF, nothing beats a DSLR. In good light a compact can be decent, but it is rare that you are in good light and all the photos you see from a compact are always those from exceptional shooting conditions. Also, a 1200mm lens needs decent shutter speeds anyway and if you need one that long then you need to get closer, IMO. At that focal length, even if you have VR, you need a stationary subject and if not then you need a minimum of 1/1200sec shutter speed and that means high ISO's or a very nice bright subject.

    Anyway, I think your mind is already made up as there doesn't seem to be any convincing from me that will alter that.

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    Fishy bricat's Avatar
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    If you think that is expensive try fishing or 4 WDriving. A rod and reel can cost $1200 to $2000. and not the real dear brands. And it is disheartening to see a rod and reel bounce out of the overhead, hit the deck and disappear into the wild blue yonder. Buying a winch, raising suspension, long range tank: $5000. So to me photography although not cheap, when compared to other things I do it is really just a drop in the ocean. Mind you I can't justify buying that 600 mm lens I want. (more to the point I can't prise the money from her indoors) And as LanceB said you can re-sell older gear to make your new purchase a little cheaper. Is it worth it? Hell yeah. JMHO cheers Brian
    Cheers Brian. Canon 7D Kit lenses EFS 18-55 IS EFS 55-250 IS EF28-90 Canon EF 2xll Extender Sigma DG150-500 OS Speedlight 420EX

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    Ausphotography Regular landyvlad's Avatar
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    As with everything in life, your choice of tool depends on what you need to do with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post
    Depends on what you're shooting.

    Quote Originally Posted by bricat View Post
    If you think that is expensive try 4 WDriving.
    Buying a winch, raising suspension, long range tank: $5000. So to me photography although not cheap, when compared to other things I do it is really just a drop in the ocean.
    Tell me about it.
    Motorcycles can cost a bit too (trust me I know),
    but its my pasttime of shooting which costs $$$
    Shotguns and Rifles, quality optics, ammunition, clay targets, cleaning gear, reloading gear... $$$$$


    But these arguments are given short shrift by my wife when I argue that comparatively photography is cheap. She has these crazy ideas of me saving money by giving up something else. Bah !


    As to the original question I think that if photography is the core of your existence / your one main hobby / your over-riding interest then YES the money spent on a DSLR and good lenses IS worth it.

    If you want a camera however thats more convenient to take on those other activities, or travelling, etc then the options are vast !
    Panasonic Lumix FZ200 / Samsung Galaxy Note 5 / LR 5 & PSE 12

    Constructive Critique of my work is highly valued so have at it !

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    The old saying that "the best camera is the one that you have with you" still holds true. Both types of cameras have their place. As the OP was saying compacts are much easier to carry around so you are therefore more likely to have it in a pocket / purse / belt than carrying around a DSLR. There is nothing wrong with the image quality from a compact but it obviously has its limitations.

    A dslr for low light or fast moving action is obviously more preferable. Have you tried taking action shots with a compact. Lateral movement becomes a lottery as to when the shutter will actually close and where in the frame the object will be.

    There will always be a place for dslr's but I think the general public will move to higher end compacts (as will dslr users with the advent of the fuji, Nikon Df etc)

    - - - Updated - - -

    The old saying that "the best camera is the one that you have with you" still holds true. Both types of cameras have their place. As the OP was saying compacts are much easier to carry around so you are therefore more likely to have it in a pocket / purse / belt than carrying around a DSLR. There is nothing wrong with the image quality from a compact but it obviously has its limitations.

    A dslr for low light or fast moving action is obviously more preferable. Have you tried taking action shots with a compact. Lateral movement becomes a lottery as to when the shutter will actually close and where in the frame the object will be.

    There will always be a place for dslr's but I think the general public will move to higher end compacts (as will dslr users with the advent of the fuji, Nikon Df etc)
    Vince

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban dtmateojr's Avatar
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    I have transitioned from huge DSLRs to smaller cameras. I use mostly m43 now and got hold of a NEX6 kit lately. Being able to bring a camera everywhere is very important to be competitive.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtmateojr View Post
    Being able to bring a camera everywhere is very important to be competitive.
    Competitive to what exactly and for which genre of photography?

    If someone is setting out to specialise in travel photography then a smaller kit can be a definite advantage but in about 99.9% of all other cases I can't see any advantages that smaller bodies / lenses offer.

    Perhaps you could care to let us know what the competition is.

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban dtmateojr's Avatar
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    Are SLR's still worth investing in ?

    stock photography, street, photojournalism
    Last edited by dtmateojr; 04-05-2014 at 9:41pm.

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban dtmateojr's Avatar
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    it's not uncommon to hear wedding photographers ditching heavy equipment as well especially that they shoot all day.

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban dtmateojr's Avatar
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    Are SLR's still worth investing in ?

    I should add that they are no slouch in planned landscape shots either


    Or even casual snaps from a hotel window during a business trip. A small tripod and camera can fit in my laptop bag

    Last edited by dtmateojr; 04-05-2014 at 9:55pm.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    I suppose I should have thought about the term competitive more ---

    To me that term indicates a few things.

    Competitive in the terms of camera sales, the competition between manufacturers.
    Competitive in the terms of people earning money from the images they sell.

    Your statement about "being able to bring a camera everywhere is very important to be competitive" does have some merit to it in some ways but amongst the genre that you have mentioned I feel that

    #1 Stock photography, or at least those who make the big dollar amounts from it, is probably still being dominated by medium format bodies and expensive lighting sets in studios. If the stock photography market is still paying well these days, everything I hear is that it isn't except to the top end specialists, then the actual competition element is a race to the bottom of the price pile and I don't see that the smaller format cameras are any threat in the terms of competition at all.

    #2 Street photography, yes, smaller format bodies can be very advantageous for concealment and lighter weights ( marginally ) and sales of those bodies probably account for a few less DSLR sales and that is very definitely a competitive area between manufacturers. Seemingly, Oly, Fuji and Sony are leading the charge with their smaller dimensioned bodies and seeing as none of those companies either have an enormous share of the DSLR market or even make DSLRs these days they aren't cannibalising their own sales and only affecting the canikax market.
    Otherwise in terms of competition, the street genre seems to have little commercial value and the only competition between users of the varying camera formats would appear to be in terms of exhibition awards, views on flikr and facebook. I don't see any one body or format having much importance to the outcome of the photo in those scenarios.

    #3 Photojournalism, my understanding is that the one important milestone in that genre occurred way back when the Leica bodies were made and became an instant sensation for photo journalists due to their size and weight being a helluva lot less than the bulky gear that they were carrying around at the time. Skip forwards a few decades and you see the evolution of the film SLRs and then the DSLRs into powerful working tools for that genre. Along with the progress in imaging power came bulk and weight and yes, the smaller bodies are probably exactly what every photojournalist would love to have now but the way I see things, especially amongst the mirrorless offerings the low light ability with focussing speed and accuracy isn't quite there yet and there don't seem to be flash systems in place to compete with the established brands / formats. Apart from that, photojournalists seem to be a dying breed and I don't expect to hear of massive sales to newspapers of smaller format cameras any time in the near future.

    #4 Wedding photographers, I don't really look at what is happening around that genre but I feel from what I have seen is that there are many many fads going around in circles with both gear and "styles". As soon as one photographer gets ooohs and aaahs for his / her work with one particular camera, the rest of the brigade rush out to copy them and hope to cash in. Some become successful, some don't. I can't see the top of the town wedding photographers being too worried by any new camera stealing their work from them. They will probably continue using their medium format, DSLR, mirrorless bodies and I Phones to bring in the dollars.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the advancement in technology that is happening with the cameras now being offered and there are certainly many images out their testifying to their strengths but I still don't see that owning those bodies makes any photographer more competitive overall. I believe that the best images come from those who know their present gear and have the "eye" for photography.

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    I think competitive has used above is simply the wrong word choice. I suspect CAPABLE is more apt to describe what is being purported. Yes these cameras are very capable of performing admirably. However like for like, based on sensor size and physics/the properties of light, these smaller sensors are always going to be behind a larger sensored DSLR or Medium format back. Any study of physics and light electrons, along with the way sensors are manufactured shows that the smaller each pixel site, the less light it can 'catch'. So for any given sensor of say 24MP, a larger DSLR sensor is always going to be more capable than the smaller sensors of most of these cameras.

    I do not begrudge that they can perform extremely well, in their own right. But comparing them to a larger sensor camera is not the way to justify owning one.

    Capable yes, competitive (against larger sensored cameras) no! But I suspect the camera manufacturers did not introduce them to compete against DSLR, they were wanting to catch the point and shoot market with a better camera, for those that did not want a DSLR. The manufacturers did not want them to replace DSLR. Different markets, different cameras. Both do their jobs very well, but comparing them is a waste of time.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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