Top Social

the world of funky templates

Photography Tech Talk - DSLR vs Point & Shoot cameras


A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend whose grandchildren are roughly the same age as my children.  We were talking about photos and taking snapshots at her grandson’s birthday party.  She asked me what the difference is between a point and shoot camera and a DSLR and if having a DSLR would help her take better photos.  That conversation reminded me that not all scrapbookers are photographers.  Most of my scrapping buddies are scrapers-turned photographers – returned scrapbookers, but there are tons of scrappers out there using all types of cameras, so I thought I would focus this week on some technical talk about cameras.  I’ll preface this article with the fact that currently, I do not have a point and shoot camera.  I use my cell phone for random snapshots and I’ll focus on the cell phone camera NEXT WEEK.  I totally rock the cell phone ;)

P&S vs DSLR – What is the difference and what are the pros and cons for each?

A P&S is typically smaller and lighter, with limited features.  These can be both pros and cons. A small, lightweight camera is great for carrying around with you to capture everyday moments.  Most will fit in your pocket.  However, a smaller size camera also means a smaller sensor and a smaller sensor means a lower quality photo.  From a scapbooking perspective, theoretically, you will not be printing photos larger than say 12x12 (and likely, much smaller), so this may not be a disadvantage at all.  The lens is fixed, making the overall camera smaller and lighter, and P&S cameras are easy to use in that literally all that is required is to point and shoot.  The disadvantage here is that you give up creative control.  You will get a mid-range zoom lens with a wide depth of field.  Sure, most of your photos will be in focus, but that also means that most of the photo itself will also be in focus.  One main thing that separates the style of snapshots from portraits is the separation between the subject and the background.  This is achieved by shooting with a wider aperture that just isn’t an option with a P&S.  Shooting in low light conditions is another area of give and take.  A point and shoot camera simply can not perform well when the lights go down.  The response here is the added flash.  I’m not a fan of ever using a flash, but it’s the only option with a P&S.  The biggest disadvantage, in my opinion, of a P&S camera is the time it takes for most of these cameras to take a photo.  If you have younger children, then you know exactly my frustration.  Kids are far too active for most P&S cameras to keep up.  You’re likely to miss a moment, or capture some motion blur when chasing after an active toddler.  And finally, the lower cost of most P&S cameras make them a very attractive option, especially for scrapbookers.

DSLR cameras are always going to have a much larger sensor than a point and shoot camera – which means a much larger image quality and the ability to print enlargements of any size imaginable.  DSLRs are larger and HEAVY.  The lenses are larger and HEAVY and a large assortment of lenses means a greater number of creative options, but you’re unlikely to carry them all around.  These can be a disadvantage when you’re out and about, on vacation or just at the park.  You’re unlikely to just toss one in your bag and off you go.  Most photographers have larger, dedicated bags for camera equipment.  DSLR cameras are fast – many with the ability to shoot 3.5 or greater frames per second.  This is a huge advantage for photographing sporting events and young children.  I mentioned earlier about low light being a problem for P&S cameras.  The larger sensors of DSLRs  allow them to perform far better in low lighting, without requiring a flash.  Many DSLRs don’t have a built in flash – but sometimes a flash is needed, in which case, we’re adding to the amount of equipment to buy and carry around.  This leads me to my last point for today: DSLRs are much, much more expensive.  There are many more items to buy and learn to use.  There will never be a time in which you just pick one up at the store, take it out of the box and immediately start shooting.  The learning curve of shooting with a DSLR is extensive and time consuming.

Is a DSLR for you and do you really need a DSLR?

As a professional photographer, of course I need to have a high quality DSLR and a plethora of lenses, but let’s just talk about my personal photos.  I enjoy the creative aspects of photography.  I love to change my lenses, shoot wide open, and play with fun effects created with lenses like the Lensbaby Composer.  I don’t think that I would be satisfied without a DSLR.  Would I like a Point and shoot?  YES, but for reasons not related to photo creativity or quality.  This isn’t to mean that you can’t get great photo quality from a point and shoot, I just mean that I would choose a P&S camera for other, more appealing features.  I would love a lightweight camera that is waterproof and shock proof.  Something that could go anywhere, any time.  A camera to take to the pool or the beach and not have to worry about getting it wet.  A camera to take hiking and not feel like I have to lug 10 extra pounds up 14,000 feet.  A camera that I could hand over to the kids and say “have fun” without worrying about losing my job. 

Before heading out the to the camera store, as yourself what aspects of photography are most important to you.  There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both types of cameras – do your research and find the right features that are for you.

And although I would love to have a P&S camera, here is an image that can only be achieved with a DSLR with a creative lens – in this case, I used the Lensbaby Composer pro with the sweet 35 optics.  I love the fun effect I get with this lens.  

For the layout for this photo, I used a template from the Twist of Fate template pack by Jimbo Jambo designs and the collaboration kit, For the Record from One Little Bird and Paislee Press.

Post Comment
KRISTIE said...

Great article! I think I will need a lensbaby for Chistmas. The layout works great with this image.

Anonymous said...

After seeing more and more of your images and layouts, I get so inspired to begin to scrap again. Now, I need a lensbaby too. You are so talented and this was a great read.


Auto Post Signature

Auto Post  Signature