Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Digital single lens reflex camera and compact cameras

When I bougth my only DSLR, a Sony A290, I knew nothing about these kind of cameras. I only knew it should make better photos, something between amateur and professional digital photography. I am a little disappointed, however, I expected much better results than those I reached with the compact cameras.

Recently I decided to compare the Sony A290 with a compact one, the Olympus SZ-14. Both have about 14 MP sensors but different sizes and types. The Sony has a CMOS image sensor of the size APS-C (half frame) and the Olympus has a CCD sensor of the size 1/2.3", much smaller than the Sony A290 one and the same used in many compact cameras of other brands too.

Both cameras were adjusted to the same ISO setting of 100 and with the widest possible angle, pointing to infinity in a cloudy day but clear.

Cropped  image of Sony A290

Detail of the picture above (Sony A290)
The same detail of a picture shot with Olympus SZ-14
The Sony A290 was set to the best JPEG image (RAW was not better, I also tried), the same with the Olympus SZ-14. As documented above, there isn't such a big difference, the Sony image is smoother but the lens (standard with the camera) are a little unsharp, as shown. I would say, unless we use a better lens with the Sony, it is not a great advantage the use of a cheap DSLR camera in what picture general quality is concerned.

What then are these DSLR cameras for? Which advantages they have? The manual operation, the optical viewfinder and the shorter field depth, when this is wanted. If you like to have full easy control on the settings, like aperture, speed and field depth then these DSLRs are a good choice. But if you are looking for a much better picture quality, you must consider buying a full frame DSLR of more than 20MP but costing about 5000 euro or more.

The good thing in this compact Olympus SZ-14 is the 24x optical zoom and its elegant appearence and easy handling. The adjustable focal lenght (zoom) allows short field depths too, like shown in the picture bellow. The main disadvantage of it is the absence of an optical viewfinder and less manual control. If you want to see what you are shooting with a compact camera, you may adapt an extern viewfinder, that avoids the blending of the screen when the light is falling in it from back.

Using zoom it is possible to have a short field
depth with the compact Olympus SZ-14

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