Real difference: Canon XT vs. Canon S3 image quality
Hello, I've gone through the reviews for these cameras, the the sample pictures looked great for both. It didn't seem like there was that much reason to go for the SLR. But then I copied the sample pictures from each into photoshop so I could see them next to each other. The detail, resolution, and clarity of the Rebel images just seemed in a completely different world than the S3, even at the best ISOs..

This is a lot of money to spend and I'm not very confident, so I would appreciate very much if anybody could comment on this. Am I just a rookie and drawing a rookie's conclusions, or is this true? The image quality are in different leagues.Thanks for any help for a beginner..


Comments (7)

This can quite fast lead to "which is better"... don't think it that way. I suppose you've downloaded images and compared them -but you actually don't own both cameras. Nothing bad in that, though...You didn't tell, but I assume, you need to decide which way to go .

Yes, those two cameras are very different in any aspect, but if you don't *print* photos larger than 8.5x11", then you won't see much difference (I believe S3 has very good image quality)..

I have XT, but if there would be image quality only (and I print max 8.5x11"), then I would get S3 anytime: smaller, cheaper, IS, zoom range.....

But... it's hard to explain where the benefits of dSLR are -especially to those, who haven't used it yet. Saying, dSLR is more responsible/faster, for example? To understand what that means, it's needed to be tried out..

Yes, image quality is better with dSLR (especially at higher ISO), but you don't see difference on normal 4x6" printed photos -and only printed photos matter!.

IMO, the only downside having dSLR is: it's bigger/heavier and (can be) more expensive..

Greetings,BogdanMy pictures are my memories

Comment #1

1. DSLRs have much larger sensor than P&S cameras (XT has 15 times larger sensor area to that of S3's). So each pixel is larger..

2. Large pixels can gather more light (so less noisy) and have better dynamic range. So you will potentially have less blown out area, better shadow details. More so at higher ISOs..

3. Nevertheless you will have o shell out much more money to get as good quality lens as to that of Panasonic FZ50, FZ18, FujiF50fd, etc. These are convenient to carry too and are much cheaper..

4. I would suggest you to buy a P&S camera like above to have a hang of it. At least these will be useful for their good quality tele-zooms, later, when you decide to go for a DSLR. These have movie mode too:-).

Jimkroger wrote:.

The detail, resolution, and clarity of the Rebel images justseemed in a completely different world than the S3, even at the bestISOs..

Best Wishes, Ajay

Comment #2

I have to disagree with HBX2004 on one note. Where if you do not print larger than 8.5x11 you wont see a difference..

About a year and half ago I went on a 2 week vacation with my g/f and a friend of ours to the Black Hills. Our friend brought her S2(the S3 predecessor with similar noise). We took a ton of pictures she took several pictures of us at the badlands and we did 4x6 prints. Unfortunately they were set at ISO 400. The noise and lack of detail was VERY obvious in 4x6 prints compared to anything from my Rebel XT even at ISO 1600..

Now I know someone will point out the S3 is better in the noise department than the S2. But it is not that much better than. I mean the S2 4x6 prints at ISO 400 were horrible in terms of IQ compared to lower ISO's or the Rebel XT at any ISO..

Now her S2IS on auto ISO did produce nice 4x6 prints..

One thing to think about is the Canon S series line is nice and pretty easy to use. The IQ at anything higher than auto ISO suffers noticeably but that is true on any compact camera..

The Rebel XT and other DSLR cameras do offer great IQ but they are more expensive and to get the most out of the camera you have to work at it and learn about aperture, exposure, shutter speed, & DOF..

Mr. Fixitx..

Comment #3

Mrfixitx wrote:.

I have to disagree with HBX2004 on one note. Where if you do notprint larger than 8.5x11 you wont see a difference..

Can be argued, but photo taken with S3 (normal daylight condition & ISO100) has quite good quality on 8.5x11" paper. IMO, such photo printed on 4x6" paper is comparable with the one from dSLR -that's what I've had in mind..

Of course, "pixel-peeping" at 100% on screen will show differences -but nobody look at printed photos from 1 inch distance..

Otherwise, I agree with what you say about high(er) ISO usage on p&s: I would say, ISO200 is "acceptable" to some degree -everything above is "poor"..

Greetings,BogdanMy pictures are my memories

Comment #4

Jimkroger wrote:.

The detail, resolution, and clarity of the Rebel images justseemed in a completely different world than the S3, even at the bestISOs..

That is right. Even the best prosumer digicams can't stand up to even entry-level DLSR, especially Canon, in terms of noise level..

Regarding size of enlargement: Don't think that just because you never plan to enlarge greater than 8.5x11 means you won't ever notice the different in noise..

Even the best prosumer digicams are noisy above ISO400. Many are unusable at 800 and hardly any provide decent images at 1600. Whereas the XT is very quiet to 800 and still plenty decent at 1600..

Heavy cropping is another area where low noise will benefit you. Heavily cropping an image reduces DPI just as big enlargements do. The quieter the sensor, the more heavily you can crop (for a given megapixel rating)..

If you are willing to spend the extra bucks, I believe you'll be much happier. The fact that you've already noticed the differences, expressed reservations about the limitation of the S3, and asked about it here tells me that you'll probably hit the limits of the S3 pretty fast..



Comment #5

The fact that you took the time to DL and view 100% samples and post here tells me that you will notice the difference. If you weren't willing to accept the size and expense of a DSLR you probably wouldn't have included it in your comparison. The point about not noticing the same difference you see in a 100% view on the screen in a typical 4x6 print is valid (at least up till 400 ISO or higher, then you can see it at any size), however, it's not so much the image quality difference at the pixel level that you will affect your 4x6s as much as the shots you get with DSLR that you will miss entirely with a P/S. The speed of practical operation is massively different between the 2. As a side note, and this is coming from someone who shot Canon professionally for years and years and now shoots Fuji/Nikon, I suggest most prospecting DSLR / bridge camera shoppers take a look at Pentax K100D as well. At under $500 with good kit lens and in-body image stabilization it's a super deal...

Comment #6

I used a friend's S3is several times over the last year while I was waiting to get the money for my Nikon D40x. The Nikon is not quite the same as the XT, but close enough for comparison purposes..

The S3 did some very nice photos for me - as long as I was outdoors and the subject was relatively stationary, it performed great. Move indoors or other lower light situations, and noise increases much faster on it than the DSLR. A subject in motion is also more challenging for the focus speed and delays of the S3. Hiking along in the Sierras, I was pleased with the S3 because it was smaller, lighter, had a big zoom, and had very nice image quality. You can get one for under $300 now, or the S5 for $350 or so (I'd get the S5 simply for the larger, brighter LCD)..

But a DSLR is simply going to be a better camera over a broader array of conditions. It also is going to cost more. The Nikon D40 or Pentax K100D can be had for under $500, though you'd have to pay more to get a telephoto lens if that's what you need. A lot depends on how demanding of a photographer that you are, balanced against your budget. After using the S3, I thought it a very nice camera for the price, but I really wanted to move beyond the limitations of a point and shoot, so I bypassed the S5..

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Comment #7

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