SLR or Digital Camera? Or Both?

Feb 13th, 2010, 09:19 AM
  #1  
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SLR or Digital Camera? Or Both?

I have a SLR camera (professional) and I know I am going to use it during the day when sightseeing (Paris, Venice, Cannes, Lucerne, Lake Como); I have a sling bag to hold the camera and lenses. I am debating on whether or not I should buy a small digital camera for those circumstances when I don't want to carry the sling bag (i.e. dinner, etc.). The idea is that I can use my purse to carry the camera, but is it worth buying the digital camera just for these circumstances?
JillDavis is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 09:31 AM
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If all you would do is buy a digital camera for those possibilities, I would vote no. I carry my digital SLR all the time... I use a messenger bag that doesn't look like a camera bag. What would happen at night that a pocket digital would actually be able to take ? If there are great outdoor night shots or sunset shots, the SLR is the way to go...
surfmom is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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I too take my DSLR everywhere. Sometimes in a photo rucksack, sometimes in a more discrete shoulder bag.
I too am tempted by a compact digital that I can just carry in my pocket, but so far I have not gone down that road. I tend to take the DSLR with a single "walkabout" lens on it if I don't want the whole shooting match with me.

You can still get great night time shots with a compact. provided you can place it somewhere to get the picture, the same as is true of a DSLR. The advantage would be you could use a mini tripod or Gorilla pod with the compact.

If you decide on a compact look for one with a reasonable number of pixels - more is not necessarily better with the small sensors they use. Also look for one with true shake reduction, (moving the sensor) not one which does it by, for instance, upping the ISO. If it has RAW and some degree of control such as Aperture and Time modes so much the better.

Most importantly try before you buy!
hetismij is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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I would say "both" but with a twist. Make that small digital one that is water resistant so that you can use it in the rain when you do not want to expose your good DSLR to the elements. Pentax makes some good ones, IMO better than the Panasonic water resistant model. I carry a Pentax model together with my larger digital and my son has the Panasonic water proof model and I can see a large difference in picture quality favoring the Pentax.

I have had some very good use with the Pentax, using it at the beach without worry and on water rides and such with the grand kids. I bought a discontinued model and it was downright cheap.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 10:01 AM
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In a word, Yes. Buy a small P&S for those times that you don't want to lug the dSLR (and the lenses) around. You probably know that there is always something photo-worthy happening when you don't have a camera so why not have a good quality pocket-able camera that you can always have with you. They aren't that expensive anymore and the quality is also pretty good now. (My favorites are Canon.)
RonDace is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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I do take both an DSLR and a pocket camera on my trips for the exact reason you mention. I have a pocket sized Canon that takes nice pics, not as nice as the Nikon DSLR, but some days your shoulders just need a rest!
sferguso is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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At the price small point and shoot cameras are these days you'd be foolish not to.

There are many for $100 and less.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:00 PM
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I have a pocket-sized cannon and my husband has his SLR. We find that the digital is nice to pull out to take quick shots of people in our group and also nice to take with us for any pictures we might want to take when we are out into the wee hours and not wanting to haul around anything at all bulky or worth stealing.
november_moon is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:08 PM
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I agree with everyone above that a pocket digital is nice to have for some occasions - I have one that I slide into a pocket for quick family trips. However, I wouldn't go out and buy one just for this trip. It is another memory card, another battery charger to carry, etc.

The idea of taking one that is waterproof is a good idea - one warning though. My kids have a waterproof pocket digital but it doesn't have a viewfinder. I hate shooting from the screen in the back of the camera. Many pocket digitals are now made without a viewfinder and if you are used to an SLR, that may be a feature that is important to you. I hate the ones where I have to compose from the live view screen. (bright sunlight and polarized sunglasses are a problem).
surfmom is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:25 PM
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Hey Monica:
What do you think??
Waldo is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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JillDavis,

It seems that your Pentax is a film camera or you wouldn't be asking this question. I thought that I was the last of the film people. I've had 3 Olympus OM-1 and OM-2 SLRs and a multitude of lenses since the 70s. I finally shelved them all two years ago.

I started with a Olympus P&S 4 years ago. Then I went Nikon DSLR and another Olympus P&S. My Nikons have been a D-40 and a D-60. The most important point is to have a zoom lens. Then you only need one lens and not a bag full. I now have a an 18-200 zoom with vibration reduction.

The DSLR is always on a strap around my neck when I am out, except at pubs. Why keep it in a bag? You want to be ready to shoot.

I keep the P&S in my pocket everywhere. I get some of my best shots with it, in the pubs.

I knew photography in the film days. I shot all kinds of film and processed it. Digital photography is so much different. After a year of owning my Nikon D-60 and reading the manual several times I finally took a series of classes in how to use it. That was a year too late for some of my opportunities. You almost have to be a PhD to know how the gadget works.
spaarne is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 06:14 AM
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Spaarne - I actually do not own a Pentax. I believe you are reading the post from someone else who owns one. Our SLR is the new Cannon Rebel T1. I do need to take some classes on how to use it though! However, I don't want to pay a small fortune for photography classes. I have heard of free classes offered, but I haven't come across it yet.

What you think about my question? I am obviously going to have the SLR during the day. However, what about those times at night when we are going to dinner? I think it might be worth it to get the Cannon Powershot. They are so cheap.
JillDavis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 07:19 AM
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I used a Canon S-40 point-and-shoot and my wife a Canon S-45 P&S on a UK trip in 2004 and a Central Europe (Budapest, Prague, Vienna) 2006 trip. Those cameras are similar to each other, with common batteries, charger, CF card and were entirely satisfactory, if not as compact as others, for both of us. Since then, I've moved to, first, a Nikon D80 DSLR for trip to Spain, southern France and London, and began, shortly after I got the D80, to shoot wholly in RAW and to post-process the "keepers" in Lightroom. I've moved to a D200 and may make the big jump to a D700, but, in any event, I'm enjoying the image control I have in post-processing. The DSLRs are relatively heavy to carry around but increase photograph flexibility (I did limit the overall weight and space with the D80 by just taking a 16-85 zoom and a 35mm prime fast lens and no separate flash equipment, and was able to pack these in a fairly small, fairly unobtrusive messenger-type bag). If you do not intend to do any post-processing, you'l likely be shooting jpegs and a good point and shoot could be perfectly fine. If you are expanding, or thinking of expanding, your photographic adventures to post-processing I suggest you consider the additional expense of purchasing a P&S that also shoots RAW so you can have it both ways.
mohun is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 07:28 AM
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I would think that you want you to take a digital camera of some sort.

Having a back-up in case something happens to your primary camera is not a bad idea either.

He is one consideration, if you shoot with film, then you probably will have a considerable film developing expense when you return. With digital, you pay only for developing the very best photos.

As mentioned above, entry level P&S cameras can be had for under $100. While most P&S cameras are configured to take photos of faces and bodies, there are a few cameras that are setup with wider-angle (shorter focal length) configurations - won't be $100 but might be worth it to you.

[And for real fun there are high-definition camcorders.]
Big_Red is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 07:43 AM
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Big Red makes some very good regarding film vs digital.

As I write this, I have a drawer full of some fine SLRs of various vintage with lenses to match. I no longer use them. While my ultra zoom point and shoot type digital does not match the picture quality of my SLRs, it is still quite good. The money I saved on film and processing has paid for my digital several times over. Plus, finding the film that I liked and local quality processing has become increasingly a hassle and expensive. This does not even begin to get into the advantages of the ease of making digital adjustments to the final photos and being able to upload and post them quickly as well as the ease of carrying it around.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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My SLR is digital.
JillDavis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 08:29 AM
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I'd vote yes. On my last trip, for the first time I left the SLR home and brought only a smaller, but high quality, P&S. There was actually a sense of freedom in not being burdened with all my SLR gear, though I still brought a lightweight tripod. The important thing to me is that the P&S will produce RAW output, but that's probably a topic for another discussion.
Nelson is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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Sorry JD, using the term SLR rather than DSLR led me astray.

Still, a small pocket camera is a good idea, in fact a back up camera of any type is a good idea. Since you say that you are thinking of using it at night, make sure that the one you buy has good low light performance. Some of the Panasonics do well in low light. Most cameras now have ultra high iso settings, but few can produce decent photos at those higher settings.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 08:48 AM
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All you photo buffs will laugh at me, but I carry a disposable camera(s). It's easy, no worries, and you can transfer the shots onto a CD when you get home and treat them as digital from then on. Especially since you have a fancy camera for the majority of your photos, this would be an easy backup, and costs only $5-7 each and about that much more again for developing.
suze is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 04:11 PM
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If you are used to a SLR and have not used a pocket digital, you will probably be disappointed with the results from a $100 P&S. The low light results will not make you happy, the ability to compose a shot will be too limited, the lenses are best for simple snapshots, and so forth.

Spend more and do better. Try, for instance, a Canon with a viewfinder, maybe even a G-series (bigger than a pocket, but fits in purse or raincoat pocket)that has good low light ability and does RAW. But if you don't practice with your new camera before you go, you will spend your time either on Auto or fiddling with obscure menus rather than taking pictures.
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