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I'm sure this has been asked a 1000 times but...
I use my Sony H2 6mp superzoom for practically everything under the sun. I use the 12x zoom quite regularly, especially at air shows. I take long (10 second+) exposures on numerous occasions with a camera on it's own and mounted on my telescope for astrophotography. I also use the macro lens for close up work. It's a cracking little camera which I bought after reading the review in DP a while ago and I certainly couldn't do without any feature..

However....as get more and more into photography (I've actually started contributing to a computer magazine and often find I'm pushing the limits of what the H2 is capable of especially at high iso speeds) it's becoming clear that I'm starting to itch after a DSLR. Unfortunately I can't afford one when you add the cost of lenses on top plus I really couldn't give up the versatility on the H2 - having a fantastic Macro and 12x telephoto lens all in one camera really is hard to beat..

What I find suprising is that there is still such a gap between high end compacts like the Canon Powershots and the basic DLSRs. I mean you won't find full manual exposure and (unlimited) bulb along with low noise at high ISOs on any Compact -features which I'd kill for at the moment but just dn't see on anything costing less than 3-400. Will there be such a thing as a DSLR with a built in zoom lens like that seen on the Sony H range or the Canon Powershot range? Or do these companies simply make too much money from after market lenses to risk producing a more "all-in-one" SLR. I know the die hard will probably turn their noses up, and they can continue to spend hundreds of pounds on lenses, but surely there is a market for such a camera, even if it's something like a budget DSLR???..

Comments (12)

The nearest thing to what you describe is the Sony R1. Uses a top quality fixed zoom lens (24-120mm equivalent) and has an APS C size CMOS live view sensor. Nikon used this sensor in some of their D SLR's a couple of years ago and as such, compared to most compacts like the H2, image noise at ISO 800 is the same as the H2 at ISO 400..

The R1 is by no means perfect, but for a 'bridge' or 'prosumer' camera, it's as good as a D SLR as you will find without the extra cost of lenses etc. I own a H5 and R1. The H5 is used for wildlife and very close macro work (long zoom and good close up capability respectively) and I use the R1 for portraiture and higher demand work where the extra resolution and image quality is required..

Visit the Sony Talk forum and see some sample pics. Personally, I can see where you're coming from with your comments about the H2. I myself still use the H5 at least 50% of the time and it's a fine camera..

R1's are always available on E Bay and although you will struggle to find a brand new one now, there are some excellent used examples being sold. Maybe an investment for you, considering what you're looking for?!..

Comment #1

Antonyleather wrote:.

Will there be such a thing as a DSLR with a built in zoom lens likethat seen on the Sony H range or the Canon Powershot range? Or dothese companies simply make too much money from after market lensesto risk producing a more "all-in-one" SLR. I know the die hard willprobably turn their noses up, and they can continue to spend hundredsof pounds on lenses, but surely there is a market for such a camera,even if it's something like a budget DSLR???.

I don't know about Sony H or R cameras so disregard them from what I'm about to say. SLR's use a much larger sensor than point and shoot cameras. This means lenses of an equivalent zoom range on a SLR will be very large, heavy, and expensive to maintain the same quality you get with a point and shoot zoom lens. You can find some large range zoom's for SLR's but they are a compromise..

Yes manufacturer's of all equipment are out to maximize their profit. If they could make a light, compact, inexpensive, well performing zoom lens equivalent to those found on point and shoots I think they would. They'd make their money on volume..

Given your circumstances I agree you should look at the used equipment market. Some manufacturer's have released new models; user's upgrading to them are probably selling very good equipment on the second hand market. In the US I'd suggest B&H photo and KEH, I have no idea about good second hand stores in the UK...

Comment #2

The problem you face is not unique, all DSLR owners would love to have a high quality lens of 12X zoom, unfortuntley for the general populace no such thing exists,I'm sure NASA and others have some real beauties..

You will note that there are a huge, and I mean huge number of lenses that are 3X Zoom(most P&S's), guess why, thats about the limit of a high quality Zoom, as soon as you exceed this there are compromises.

If you stood your 12X zoom against a High quality Canon or Nikon 3X (names used just for example) you would very soon conclude that the image quality of your lens is not very good..

I am not in any way saying your camera is rubbish but the lens quality is just not there..

The Camera suits you fine and has done a fine job for you but try cropping your best picture by half and then print it out at 20X16 or larger then you'll see what I'm getting at.Unfortunatley for you the next level is a big financial jump..

I think you will find some excellent secondhand DLSR Camera.s that suit your purpose but the cost will be in the lens..

Primes would be cheaper than zooms so if you shoot long all the time look for a good secondhand Canon "L" lens or the Nikon equivalent.(400mm).

The other problem you face is the great weight penalty, good lenses are made of glass not glass/plastic sandwiches and there are lots of elements in them, and they are heavy..

Watch those sports phtographers on the sidelines , do you think they lug all that weight around for fun, they do it because there is no alternative.Some of there lenses cost as much as a small car...

Comment #3

Two lens DSLR kit gives with a 18-70 and a 70-300 gives you a 16.6 times zoom. Add a 10-20 wide angle zoom and you have 30x zoom...

Comment #4

I'd suggest keeping your H2 and adding a D40. For less than $500 you get 28mm wide angle and greatly improved low-light performance. The H2 continues to provide the super-long zoom and movie mode. At some point in the future, add a 55-200 or 70-300..

Nikon used to make high-end compacts, but DSLR's crushed them. They still have the P5100 and Canon has the G9, but neither stack up to the D40 or XTi...

Comment #5

You said that youn want a dslr with a builtin 12x lens. well, if the camera has got a builtin lens it is not dslr/slr, period. if it has got a builtin lens then you are talking aboiut som,e version of a maker's point and shoot..

The closest you can get to what you want is a nikon d40 or pentax k100super or canon 400d, any with a 18-250 zoom lens such as the tamron. however, this will still not get you true macro or real wide angle shots. for that you would have to get 2 more lens..

You should remember that p&s cameras are compromises. they will do a lot of things. but to do them good you have to go to a dslr and the lenses that make that kind of photography so versatile and capable of all kinds of good shots...

Comment #6

Antonyleather wrote:.

I meanyou won't find full manual exposure and (unlimited) bulb along withlow noise at high ISOs on any Compact.

You'll certain find manual exposure controls on many compacts including Canon's A and G series (with the G even having a raw mode). As for low noise at high ISO, this is a function of how much total light dose the sensor can capture which is, in turn, a function of sensor size. To get what you want, you need a compact camera with a DSLR-sized sensor (the smallest of which are the 4/3 sensors)..

We haven't yet seen such a beast because of engineering challenges. To make a camera compact, you need to position the lens close to the sensor, not inches away. Unfortunately, this also results in a lot of the light striking the sensor at angles very far from perpendicular. Although film was insensitive to the angle of incidence of light, CCD and CMOS sensors are very sensitive. Their ability to intercept and absorb light falls off significantly with angle, especially if they employ microlenses..

Leica's digital rangefinder comes close to the form factor you describe (although is still larger) and yet has to jump through hoops to obtain corner to corner image quality, including having increasingly-offset microlenses toward the corners as well as in-camera digital postprocessing that automatically brightens the corners to eliminate the vignetting from the reduced light absorption there. Partly as a result, this is not a cheap camera..

David..

Comment #7

It ought to be possible to make a compact digital P&S camera with a 35mm-film-size sensor. The proof is that there were any number of 35mm compacts..

Of course, if you want one with a big zoom range, you might have to settle for the same compromises as those 35mm compacts did:.

1. Zoom range of about 5x or so..

2. Many-segment zooms that extend when you turn the camera on, and retract when you turn the camera off..

3. Poor light-gathering capability (maximum aperture f/5.6 or worse)...

Comment #8

Antonyleather wrote:.

... having a fantastic Macro and 12x telephoto lens all in onecamera really is hard to beat..

Nikon 18-200 is an 11x zoom, very popular. Micro with larger sensors is another story, you need a different lens for that...

Comment #9

Tom_N wrote:.

It ought to be possible to make a compact digital P&S camera with a35mm-film-size sensor. The proof is that there were any number of35mm compacts..

Of course, if you want one with a big zoom range, you might have tosettle for the same compromises as those 35mm compacts did:.

1. Zoom range of about 5x or so..

2. Many-segment zooms that extend when you turn the camera on, andretract when you turn the camera off..

3. Poor light-gathering capability (maximum aperture f/5.6 or worse)..

A full-frame sensor would be absurdly expensive. How about one with an crop factor of 1.5 or 2.0? Still way bigger sensor than any current compact. Imagine an XTi with the 17-85IS lens. About $1000 combined. Now, permanently marry them saving the cost and weight of the mounts. I think it would be a great camera, but the makers obviously disagree.



The Sony R1 was essentially that. They discontinued it and that was the last large sensor compact made...

Comment #10

Tom_N wrote:.

It ought to be possible to make a compact digital P&S camera with a35mm-film-size sensor. The proof is that there were any number of35mm compacts..

I addressed this in my post. The reason that this proof is flawed is that film was not sensitive to the angle of incidence of incoming light. Digital sensors have sensitivity that falls off significantly at angles of incidence that deviate from 90 degrees, leading to severe vignetting for compact designs that place the lens close to the sensor and allow for such angles. This is why Leica's digital rangefinder design requires not only increasing offset for their sensor's microlenses as one moves toward the edges/corners but also digital correction for the residual vignetting..

In addition, I believe manufacturers are reluctant to introduce category breakers such as a compact P & S that costs as much as a DSLR (due to the greatly increased cost of an APS-C or even 4/3 sensor over a 1/1.8" or 1/2.5" sensor). This would require that they first build up understanding of the relationship between sensor size and noise, something they've been working to *hide* for some time now..

David..

Comment #11

DRG wrote:.

The reason that this proof is flawed isthat film was not sensitive to the angle of incidence of incominglight. Digital sensors have sensitivity that falls off significantlyat angles of incidence that deviate from 90 degrees, leading tosevere vignetting for compact designs that place the lens close tothe sensor and allow for such angles..

Do you have links to support that? Film is sensitive to the angle, of course. It is proportional to the cosine of the angle. How this reflects a photoshot is another story - it depends whether you are taking picture of a flat object, or a spherical surface, etc..

This is why Leica's digitalrangefinder design requires not only increasing offset for theirsensor's microlenses as one moves toward the edges/corners but alsodigital correction for the residual vignetting...

Comment #12

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