Problems of the digital technology / Compact cameras vs. DSLRs
By Matjaz Intihar; Translation: Gregor Borosa
Aug 3, 2005, 07:00


With the digital imaging came new findings. To make good photos, you have to know your camera and its functions, be familiar with photographic techniques and finally, know how post-processing works on computers.


More and more photographers come to digital photography and think that their camera is capable of making great pictures by itself. What's worse, many think that more expensive cameras, which are used also by professionals, make better pictures by default.


We have to be aware that even with analog cameras you have to know their limits and post-process each photo to really make the best of it. The same holds true for digital imaging!


I'm starting this article with an interesting letter from one owner of a compact digital camera, which faced some problems as soon as he got his camera. I've been receiving letters like this ever since I started publishing the magazine e-Fotografija. In recent time, there are many questions addressed to me, to salesmen, to distributors and to maintenance personal about the subject "what's wrong with my camera?"
Author of the letter below at the end answered himself, what mistakes he made when buying the camera and later when using it. 


Note! Names, equipment and some other data were removed for the sake of privacy! 



I've been following your website since I got my digital camera. I got it for my birthday from my wife, who said she will buy me a digital camera and I have to choose it now and end of discussion. I've never thought about getting a digital camera (at least not loud). So I had few days to jump into the cold water and start swimming. Salesman took note of my previous photographic experiences and wishes about new camera and than suggested I buy a new version of a compact digital camera for 250€.


Salesman reasoning: top quality, metal body, precise buttons, new model, excellent optics made in new technique of super slim ceramic lenses, big screen, good battery life – and pocket size, perfect for hobby photographers ...

Salesman offered free return if I won't be satisfied (I bought it abroad with extra insurance).


I was very disappointed with pictures (today, after reading all your articles, I can speak in digital language). There was a lot of noise, no contrast, a lot of blurry images. After three weeks they've given me another camera when I showed them my photos. (Hint, if you're not happy with your camera, return it.)


Three weeks later the story repeated (photos looked as before, but with an additional finding: the camera is useless under direct sun light – LCD screen is almost invisible and the camera doesn't have optical viewfinder). I've returned the camera for a different model.


Again three weeks passed and I was back in the store. Reason: unsharp photos, contrast too low, a lot of noise, underexposed objects on nature photos.

No questions asked, they've taken the camera back and offered me one model from a higher class and one mini compact camera. I've taken the one with an optical finder and which was compatible with SD memory cards, because otherwise my SD card would be useless.


What bothers me with this camera is poor battery performance comparing to the former camera, charging the battery is inconvenient as I have to remove the battery from the camera and insert it in a separate charger (which means I had to buy a spare battery and always carry it with me. Why didn't they make a slot for one extra battery in the camera?). Less program modes than my last camera. The plastic cover of AV and USB connectors looks like it will break soon. Finally, there's only one location in this country for repairing these cameras and it's not cheap.


How do I feel about my photos and what is my opinion in this subject! As I've said, I've read all your articles and reviews. If I would read them before buying my cameras, I'd acted differently. For bad photos, I've blamed the cameras, but now I know that I just didn't use them properly. Noise and blurry images were produced because of the way I was shooting.


Which compact camera should I buy? If you will get really close with your camera and ways of image manipulation and will find all its strengths and weaknesses, then you'll be happy with it. Otherwise you will always be disappointed.


What I was doing wrong (because of my ignorance): I was using only auto modes, often at tele range and often inside with little light available. In other words, the worst light conditions, irrespective of the fact that the lens was slower at the tele end, the flash was working only in the range of 3 meters, ISO was high which cause a lot of noise and exposure time was long to gather enough light, but this also cause all the blurry images. I was focusing on subjects at 4 or 5 meters. My complaints about dark objects with nature photos were unfounded. I didn't know that camera measures the light only in some areas and that it was mainly the light of the sky that defined the exposure.


Nobody told me (who was supposed to be this nobody) that compact digital cameras were limited in some cases


At the same time I would like to say thanks to the salesman for all his help and I would also like to ask if there is such a helpful salesman in Ljubljana or in Slovenia at all, who would be always willing to explain things to an annoying and ignorant customer and exchange the camera four times in a row for THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CAMERA.


Best regards from a man who started to think digital


Thank you and good bye

The letter above makes it very simple, before we blame our camera, salesman, technicians and others, we have to ask ourselves: do I know how to properly use this camera?





page 2 (unsharp photos from DSLR cameras)

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