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I’m done with point-and-shoots. Forever.

May 30, 2010

I gripe a lot about point-and-shoot cameras. Heck, I kicked off my taking better photos series with a post titled “Buy a DSLR”.

Here’s why.

Both of these pictures were taken within moments of one another. Both were shot at the same ISO (800), same aperture (f/2.8) and nearly the same shutter speed (1/320 and 1/350, respectively).

This one was shot with a Sony Cyber-shot W130 point-and-shoot:

And this one was shot with my Nikon D80 DSLR:

Pretty astonishing how completely the D80 blows the Cyber-shot out of the water here, isn’t it? Ignoring for the moment the DSLR’s typical advantages in depth of field and noise handling, look at how much better the D80 handles detail and tonal range. Look at the softer gradations between light and dark, the greater amount of image detail, the richer textures on Lola’s blanket and Jamie’s hospital gown.

Now check out the close-in detail of these 100% crops…

100% Crop - Cyber-shot W130

100% Crop - D80

I understand that a big part of a point-and-shoot’s appeal is it’s convenience. It’s a lot smaller than a DSLR, and therefore a lot more portable.

But when there’s such a wide gulf in terms of image quality, choosing a point-and-shoot for it’s convenience is kind of like saying you don’t really care about the quality of the images you take. And when you reach that point, why not just use your cell phone? It’s far more convenient, and the image quality isn’t necessarily all that bad…

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