picture quality p&s vs dSLR
Okay, I'm asking step by step....

Am I correct in thinking that NO p&shoot digi can match pro-dSLR (eg Canon 40D) for image quality, setting for setting?.

I believe I saw a practical demo of this on dpreview recently.


Comments (9)

Well, yes and no. It depends on a lot of things like the lighting, the choices made by the photographer and so on..

I'd say, that if you are asking, then you'll not see a difference yourself. Sorry if that sounds rude but my experience of P&S's suggests that they turn out good quality images a lot of the time. (P&S programming is better than beginners methods etc.) But a newcomer with an expensive dSLR will not (unless he/she leaves it on auto-everything and a lot of them do: a complete waste of money and camera IMO)..

So the answer is for most people and most of the time a good P&S will perform as well as a dSLR. Get into specialised subjects and dSLR's are needed, as the trolls will point out in a few minutes. Give a good photographer a good P&S and a typical subject (frioends, family, dogs, cats, kids, landscape etc) and look at the prints and you'd never know it was a P&S..

Regards, David..

Comment #1

Petronia wrote:.

Am I correct in thinking that NO p&shoot digi can match pro-dSLR for image quality, setting for setting?.


The difference is in how you measure image quality (IQ), and what situations you shoot..

The P&S lets you get great results in a very narrow set of lighting conditions, and does all the post-processing for you. They choose to be aggressive about the post-processing, such as sharpening and boosting the colors a lot, which is like adding a lot of salt to microwaved food: may taste acceptable (or even pretty good) to the average person but any gourmet would know the cheat and perhaps be disappointed..

The DSLR lets you get great results in almost any lighting conditions, but with some huge caveats. You have to have the lenses required to catch enough light with good clarity. You have to know the settings to apply in the camera to capture the best base image possible. You have to decide what post-processing to do, including color balance, sharpening, color saturation, contrast, and more. You get a lot more flexibility to do things just the way you envision, not the way the camera chooses for you. Cooking metaphor: you're a gourmet cook, maybe good or maybe bad, but does the patron even notice the difference between stale garlic salt powder and hand-pressed garlic cloves?.

Edit: David above mentions something important: any DSLR has a "fully automatic mode," which often makes people assume it will make the best choices for final images, just like the P&S camera. This is wrong. DSLR automatic modes will try to make the best image for FURTHER POST-PROCESSING by the user. The hired cook won't season the dish heavily, so you can salt it to taste..

[ e d @ h a l l e yc c ]

Comment #2

Ed Halley wrote:.

Cooking metaphor: you're agourmet cook, maybe good or maybe bad, but does the patron evennotice the difference between stale garlic salt powder andhand-pressed garlic cloves?.

No, but another chef will..

Point and shoots can take fantastic pictures, and when most people move up to DSLR (myself included) they are a bit disappointed with the results. But as you work with it, learn it, and utilize the full potential of DSLR's you can't go back and look at the P&S images without seeing how much better they could have been. I can't even look at my old P&S images anymore...

Comment #3

PRO DSLR in hands of bad photographer will produce worse images then talanted photographer with basic PS camera..

If Pro DSLR camera/lens is used properly(composition, exposure, WB) it produces astonishing image at very high resolution. At same resolution none of PS cameras could get close, even if used by same photographers because of technical limitations..


Comment #4

Immediately I'm getting the feedback I need, thanks ...I regard myself as an ok cook with good tastes..

I have been using a variety of p&s cameras, and use the basic adjusts (exposure, wb, colour, contrast etc) and do half-a-dozen simple post-ping adjusts to get the best out of what I've got..

I've noticed that the cameras can captured stuff I don't want (eg loud noise smearing etc) which my post-ping can't eradicate..

So yes, I'm looking to get better dishes/pics in more challenging kitchen/conditions by using reasonable ingredients (basic on-camera adjusts) and light-handed cookery methods (simple post-ping in photoshop).That either means good quality jpeg and/or raw, from a dSLR, I think? Yes/no?again thanksPet..

Comment #5

Yes, and that's part of my point, though I won't go so far as to say that you should only try to please the other chefs. Lots of gourmands out there who don't actually like to cook.  .

[ e d @ h a l l e yc c ]

Comment #6

Yes. If you want to do some post-processing, you won't mind and will appreciate the slightly bland look of the default processing from the raw or "neutral" jpeg that a DSLR will give you. You can make it as high-contrast or high-concept or lowbrow or crisp or dreamy as you want. A P&S will likely interfere with these artistic choices due to the aggressive internal processing..

A lot of people step up to a DSLR without that desire and are frankly frustrated by the sudden need to do any work. They assume more dollars means more pop, out of the box. You don't buy the pop, you buy the ability to make images that *can* pop or *can* soothe, at your discretion..

[ e d @ h a l l e yc c ]

Comment #7

This meen DSLR with good sensor/processor(Full Frame prefered), top notch lens (MTF 4 and higher), RAW ability, External lights (studio)..

Then, if composed and exposed well could be published in high key magazines, accepted by Corbis, Getty Images, Alamy..


Comment #8

A DSLR will only give you the potential to get more highly polished images, and often it will show up mistakes you never even knew were there. Above the entry level DSLR are 35mm full frame and medium format cameras offering the potential for better images still; so you can see it risks being a never-ending challenge..

You need a DSLR if you wish to have your work published in glossy magazines regularly, not least because the images can stand cropping more tightly than those from a compact or dslr-style camera and noise can be better controlled..

Perhaps 50% of the must-have-a-dslr fever is to do with fashion or 'bling' issues..

Take a look at the intro my "Back To The Bridge Camera" link below for a discussion of some of the things involved and real world comparative use of a DSLR and a Fuji 9100..

John.Please visit me at:

Comment #9

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