Old 06-11-2007, 06:19 AM   #1
Everywhere West
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Default New and better Camera ? ? ? ? ? ?

As I educate myself on digital cameras has anyone got a comment on the major differences between the Canon A640, G7 and the rebel XTi as they would relate to Rail photography? Advantages of one over the others in different circumstances.
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Old 06-11-2007, 08:25 AM   #2
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I won't address the G7-type camera as I've never used one. As for digicam vs. DSLR (generically, I've used Canon digis but not the A640 specifically, and I've used the original DReb as well as a 20D but not the XTi), basically, the DSLR is better in all dimensions of image quality other than number of megapixels and is faster and/or easier to use in terms of shooting with control. The digicam is much smaller and much cheaper. In no particular order, and not a full list because who has time to type in all the ways in which a DSLR is better than a digicam?

- much, much better low light image quality -digicams really drop off in quality as one goes above ISO200 or even 100
- much better image quality due to better glass - as good as you are willing to spend to make it good!
- viewfinder is close to 100% accuracy
- manual controls easily accessible - don't have to go through menus
- much faster shot-to-shot response time
- much faster press-to-click time - only a fraction of a second faster, but that really matters with a moving train

lots more, there's a taste
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Old 06-12-2007, 12:09 AM   #3
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As good as DSLR cameras are, the high end, all-in-one digital camera is closing in quality. I just got a Fuji S9100, 9MP, 10X Optical Zoom, SLR form factor, digital camera. I took it to the Nascar practices at Pocono on Saturday to test it out. I was very surprised with the quick shutter response and recovery. These cars travel a lot faster than even the UP across central Nebraska (180mph). I was using a shutter speed of 1/1200 of a second to photograph the cars on the track at speed. I prefocused my photo spot and then picked up the car I wanted to photograph and followed it to my spot where I clicked the shutter button. The results are below . . . .
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File Type: jpg 0609-0234a.JPG (217.0 KB, 161 views)
File Type: jpg 0609-0152a.JPG (159.9 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg 0609-0105a.JPG (294.8 KB, 120 views)
File Type: jpg 0609-0178a.JPG (207.9 KB, 117 views)
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:33 AM   #4
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Looks good Rob!

We'll have fun down here in a couple weeks!

I bought a new camera as well.. still working on getting it right

Loyd L.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
- viewfinder is close to 100% accuracy
I've heard from several that on the XT/XTi and other Canon EOS cameras, the viewfinder is bad, since it (can't remember which one) cuts off the edges of what you are shooting or shows more than what you are shooting.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:37 PM   #6
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The XT's viewfinder is not a 100% actual representation of the scene...there are additional items on the edges that appear on the final image that are not seen through the viewfinder...
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:45 PM   #7
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DSLR viewfinders are not 100% accurate (except, I believe, the very expensive Canon 1-series bodies) but they are much, much more accurate than a digicam viewfinder. I believed dpreview.com in their tests records the % accuracy.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
DSLR viewfinders are not 100% accurate (except, I believe, the very expensive Canon 1-series bodies) but they are much, much more accurate than a digicam viewfinder. I believed dpreview.com in their tests records the % accuracy.
dpreview talked about the XT's viewfinder magnification going from .88 on the Rebel to .8 on the XT. I don't exactly know what that means, but they did give the XT a 'con' on small viewfinder.

I don't have experience with a higher-level dSLR, but I can say I'm glad I don't have to manually focus while looking through the XT's viewfinder...
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:07 PM   #9
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I've read a zillion times that crop-sensor DSLR bodies have terrible viewfinders compared to full-frame sensor or film bodies. But it is way, way better than a digicam! For that matter, more and more digicams are being made without viewfinders at all; one has to hold them away from the face and compose by looking at the LCD!
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Old 06-12-2007, 05:17 PM   #10
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Viewfinders are extremely important, to me at least. The viewfinder in the D80 (x0.94 magnification) was one of the top three reasons I bought it over the D40 (x0.80) or D50(x0.75). I didn't like having to struggle to see through the viewfinder and when you can actually see what you're looking at, it's much easier to compose the photo.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Becker
I've heard from several that on the XT/XTi and other Canon EOS cameras, the viewfinder is bad, since it (can't remember which one) cuts off the edges of what you are shooting or shows more than what you are shooting.
I have an XT and it outperforms any digicam in terms of viewfinder accuracy. I think it covers about 98% of the final image's area.

The image quality and flexibility delivered with a digital SLR is simply unparalleled.

Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 171909
Photograph © Frederick W.


Below is a 100% crop of the above image. (I had to bump the quality down a notch in Photoshop to reduce the file size.)
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Old 06-13-2007, 12:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Becker
I've heard from several that on the XT/XTi and other Canon EOS cameras, the viewfinder is bad, since it (can't remember which one) cuts off the edges of what you are shooting or shows more than what you are shooting.
I've taken over 9000 pictures with mine and this has never occurred to me as being an issue.
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Old 06-13-2007, 12:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
I've taken over 9000 pictures with mine and this has never occurred to me as being an issue.
Which is why Canon designs it that way! You get the benefit of the slight cropping in the viewfinder, in terms of things on the edge of your view not being cut off a bit due to hand movement, say. Canon gets the benefit of a slight savings in cost due to a somewhat smaller pentaprism or whatever it is - and we get the slight savings in weight.

For the folks who peer intently through the viewfinder and analyse every pixel in advance, there are the 1-series bodies.

BTW, don't fully know myself, isn't there a difference between magnification ("x0.94") and viewfinder coverage? I think you can have 100% coverage and different extents of magnification (which would result in a smaller or larger opening in the back of the camera).
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:08 AM   #14
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Default Buy the DSLR

Buy the DSLR.

It may have "issues" like a small viewfinder, but these details mean next to nothing in the real world. The whole point of having a single-lens-reflex camera is to be able to use interchangeable lenses and actually "see" your subject. These lenses will give you variety that a clicker camera will never allow. I own one of those so called "very expensive Canon 1-Series bodies," but I started with a digital rebel. Yes, the viewfinder was small and dinky, but it beats the heck out of looking at a little window on the back of a clicker.

Here's a token picture taken with my rebel:

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Being able to actually "see" the picture through a real viewfinder is the number one enabler for creative photography. Clicker cameras are nice for keeping in the glove box of your car for spontaneous photography, but the DSLR gives you the greatest degree of control.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:30 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the input it was a hard decision. I have selected the Canon S5 IS. It has an optical viewfinder which I really like and it uses 4 AA batteries. It has only 8 megapixels where the other three have 10, I don`t think its a big loss. What I really find amazing about this camera in just the little bit I`ve used it so far is the 12x optical zoom, the clarity is awesome. I`m still learning to use all its options with only a few weeks before a cross country trip.
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