After many months of contemplating, dreaming, debating & hand wringing over the cost I finally brought a digital SLR today. I've had my heart set on the Canon 350D, so that's what i ended up getting. Check out a review of it here.
I've been using a Canon S400/IXUS 400 (4MP 3x optical zoom) for the past few years and it's been a faithful tool. Great picture quality, compact & light. However, the following reasons moved me to get an SLR:
- Low light performance; the S400 really struggled in low light situations, even after bumping the ISO up to 400 (it's highest rating). The 350D can do ISO 1600 which is 4 times higher (resulting in faster shutter response) and yet it's noise (the grain you see on film photos) is comparable to the S400 at ISO 50.
- Shutter speed; I've lost many photos with the S400 due to camera blur because the shutter speed was too slow (I'm fairly stable when taking photos) and the moment had passed by the time the shutter went off. With the 350D the shutter is almost instanteous (after taking focusing into account).
- Image quality; though the S400 has great image quality straight out of the camera (and after post processing in Photoshop), it can't compare to the images the 350D or any SLR can produce.
- Lense selection; with my S400 I'm stuck with a 3x optical zoom and always in the same focal length. With an SLR I can get as many lenses as I want, to cover whatever focal length I want.
- Photo creativity; better brokeh (the ability to blur the background), more manual control over settings (though most digicameras have manual modes), better flash, in the proper 3:2 format for printing etc.
Given our baby arriving soon, I wanted a camera that could capture it's early life without compromising the points above. The S400 just wasn't going to offer that.
It's not all good news though. The SLR body is expensive, as are quality lenses, bigger than a compact digicamera, requires more post processing and did I say expensive (around a factor of 2.5 to 3 times)?
My DSLR arrives tomorrow – can't wait. I'll post up a review after a few days of using it!
Update 10/05: Camera has arrived, battery is charging – woohoo!