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From Bridge to DSLR disappointed

gospete

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Some advice if possible for a DSLR novice, please.

For the past few years I've been using a bridge camera, a Fuji Finepix S4300.

Wanting to take Photography more seriously without splashing out too much, I bought a Canon EOS 4000D with a stock 18-55mm lens.
(Yesterday I also added a Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DI II VC lens to the kit).
I realise that this equipment is at the low end of the DLSR market, but even so I fully expected the picture quality to easily out perform the Fuji Bridge.

Although I haven't taken many pictures so far (only practice indoor shots) I am quite surprised and disappointed to say the least. Here's why...

Last night I took some shots indoors (of a thermostat dial, 3 meters away in artificial light) to test out my new Tamron lens. Then the same shots with the Canon stock lens (note all this in Auto mode - haven't yet mastered all the various dslr options).
The Tamron was less sharp than the Canon - maybe understandable due to the budget price of the Tamron.

I then took the same shots with my Finepix Bridge using roughly the same zoom settings as the DSLR.

The upshot of this is that my Finepix Bridge produced a sharper image of the thermostat dial than either of the DSLR lenses.
Bearing in mind that the Bridge camera cost a fraction of the DSLR kit, am I justified in thinking I've wasted my money on my DSLR experience?
Or maybe my simple test too limited to make a proper judgement. Or maybe bridge cameras are not as inferior as I'm led to believe.

Finally, does the above surprise any of the experienced photographers on here?

Thanks for any advice or encouragement.
 

RyanB

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Lots to digest in this post but I will say first off that bridge cameras are not necessarily inferior to DSLRs. Much will depend on the individual cameras' specs, how much creative control over the images you want and what you want to do with the images.

For example bridge cameras for the most part in the lower end of the price spectrum shoot in the jpg format and don't have the ability to shoot in RAW formats which allows the user much greater flexibility during post processing. RAW files/ editors allow you to take advantage of the full dynamic range of the camera's sensor, making it possible to raise shadows and tone down highlights as well as a plethora of other tweaks to get the image just how you want it. When shooting in jpg the camera decides what information the sensor collects is included in the image the camera produces.

There is usually a disparity between bridge camera sensors and DSLRs which dictates its light gathering abilities with bridge sensors being smaller and having less ( i.e MP count) or more densely packed pixels. This in many cases means it will not gather light as efficiently and the result is more noise in lower light conditions. The sensor size and pixel count also directly affects the maximum print size a camera can produce. For web posting you would probably not see a difference unless heavy cropping of the image was done, this is due to web images being much lower resolution than either bridge or DSLR sensors produce.

Your test was using both cameras in auto mode which can produce vastly different results due to the above factors. Bridge cameras may choose settings in auto which are completely different to the settings a DSLR would choose. A much more robust comparison would be to set both cameras in manual mode using identical settings i.e. focal range, iso, aperture and shutter speed.

I'm sure my explanation is not definitive so perhaps post your 2 test images with exif data included and we can drill down into why you see such a disparity in quality.
 

gospete

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Lots to digest in this post but I will say first off that bridge cameras are not necessarily inferior to DSLRs. Much will depend on the individual cameras' specs, how much creative control over the images you want and what you want to do with the images.

For example bridge cameras for the most part in the lower end of the price spectrum shoot in the jpg format and don't have the ability to shoot in RAW formats which allows the user much greater flexibility during post processing. RAW files/ editors allow you to take advantage of the full dynamic range of the camera's sensor, making it possible to raise shadows and tone down highlights as well as a plethora of other tweaks to get the image just how you want it. When shooting in jpg the camera decides what information the sensor collects is included in the image the camera produces.

There is usually a disparity between bridge camera sensors and DSLRs which dictates its light gathering abilities with bridge sensors being smaller and having less ( i.e MP count) or more densely packed pixels. This in many cases means it will not gather light as efficiently and the result is more noise in lower light conditions. The sensor size and pixel count also directly affects the maximum print size a camera can produce. For web posting you would probably not see a difference unless heavy cropping of the image was done, this is due to web images being much lower resolution than either bridge or DSLR sensors produce.

Your test was using both cameras in auto mode which can produce vastly different results due to the above factors. Bridge cameras may choose settings in auto which are completely different to the settings a DSLR would choose. A much more robust comparison would be to set both cameras in manual mode using identical settings i.e. focal range, iso, aperture and shutter speed.

I'm sure my explanation is not definitive so perhaps post your 2 test images with exif data included and we can drill down into why you see such a disparity in quality.
Thanks for your reply. I will try to test and compare more accurately. I really hope that my dslr kit will equal or surpass the excellent sharpness of my Bridge.
On another note - Is it possible for two cameras (same model) to be slightly different in terms of AF sensitivity? My friend also has an EOS 4000D. We have found that quite often, more AF points seem to illuminate on his camera compared to mine, when shooting the same scene.
Thanks again.
 

RyanB

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On another note - Is it possible for two cameras (same model) to be slightly different in terms of AF sensitivity? My friend also has an EOS 4000D. We have found that quite often, more AF points seem to illuminate on his camera compared to mine, when shooting the same scene.
Thanks again.
My camera is a bit dated compared to yours and I think the way AF points are displayed and operate has changed a bit since so I am by no means an authority on such matters. I 'think' how many points are lit up depends on how the AF metering is set. You can set it to single point AF whereas you will see only one point lit and the camera will try and focus on that single point or if using auto metering the camera will search for AF points in the frame and you may see multiple points lit. This will result in the camera finding a happy medium between the AF points it has found.

I might be wrong so maybe someone with more experience in this aspect will chime in.
 

Taboo

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On another note - Is it possible for two cameras (same model) to be slightly different in terms of AF sensitivity? My friend also has an EOS 4000D. We have found that quite often, more AF points seem to illuminate on his camera compared to mine, when shooting the same scene.
Thanks again.
Herein lies the problem with using auto mode! Your allowing your camera to decide where it wants to focus and that could be just about anywhere you don't want. It can work ok but not if you are trying to check sharpness in a particular scene with two different cameras.

The illuminated focus points will change in number and area in auto mode so don't worry about that just don't use it. ;)

Hopefully you didn't buy the new cam just for sharpness as there is so much that can affect it or perception of it such as exposure, contrast, lens'

camera setting, shutter speed, ability to hand hold steady ect.

I don't have a Canon or that particular Tamron lens but so I won't comment except to say Tamron do make some good stuff these days compared to years of old. Not to say there is not something wrong with it but I doubt thats the problem here.

Most people without a lot of experience in photography believe that the bigger the camera the better the photo. Its a combination of the equipment and the six inches behind the viewfinder that makes the difference :grin: and then the six inches behind the viewfinder can often make a great photo with any equipment.

Don't be disheartened. Watch youtube or read google from someone who has that particular cam and read read read to get used to how it works. Then when you get a good idea with the camera and the capabilities of it and lens you have another whole heap of stuff to learn about post processing :swoon:

Hopefully someone here has that model or will jump in with canon specifics for you.
 

Ozzie_Traveller

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G'day Pete

As a died-in-the-wool superzoom user, your experiences mirror my own experiences and tests. And I put myself in the top 10% of users here ~ using all of the P-A-S-M modes weekly and knowing quite well all that I am doing with the camera

Like you, I started with a Fuji, mine was the S-5000 then went to a Panasonic FZ-30 of 8mpx for magazine work. Its Leica 12x zoom lens was remarkable, - the 'but' here is back all those years ago, its ISO maximum was 800. BTW- both our Fuji & the Panny cameras can shoot RAW if ever needed

I then purchased a Pentax APS sensor camera plus 2- Sigma APO zoom lenses ~ from memory a 28-105 and a 70-300. The advertising for these APO lenses alleged them to be "better" quality. The APS sensor is 9x larger in area then the FZ-30 sensor, so I expected a considerable increase in image sharpness, less sensor issues and I looked fwd to ISOs above 800

Overall I was quite disappointed. The Sigma lenses were not as sharp as the Leica 12x zoom on the FZ-30 - all tests were tripod based, with the cameras shooting targets laser printed at 1200DPI, and the cameras activated by self-timer or remote control. So I continued with the FZ-30 for some years eventually passing it to a beginner as I replaced it with another Panny FZ camera. The Pentax was relegated to student use in workshops

Currently I am using 2- Panny superzooms ... the FZ-200 (now -300) for its wonderful F2,8 zoom lens and the FZ-2500 with its larger sensor

While I freely acknowledge that these cameras will not compare against full-frame dSLRs with expensive lenses, for the bang-for-the-buck, I firmly believe that they out-gun the alternate cameras in the marketplace ~ but that's getting into territory well away from your circumstances

What I suggest for yourself is to keep trying -
a) your experiences are not unique to you, so do not think you are the problem, and
b) you've spent your $$ on these new bits of kit, so give it time, do your testing in a repeatable manner so that you can double-check / confirm your findings and from that, enjoy your photography in whatever form it takes .... be that dSLR or a return to superzoom cameras :)

Hope this helps
Phil
 

gaelldew

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I think the first thing I would ask is how are you checking them out, are you processing the shots at all? What about the in camera settings, shooting in raw or jpeg, Ryan and Taboo are correct in what they are saying but I would add you were shooting inside but they weren't controlled as in being on a tripod etc or at least you haven't said so there could have been slight camera shake but till you put up the shots then we can help.
 

gospete

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Thanks for the great advice and encouragement.
There's much for me to get to grips with. No doubt I'll have more questions as I move up the learning curve.
DSLR is a whole new ball game for me!
 

MikeB

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It would be best to upload a sample image from both cameras (downsampled for our site and include the EXIF metadata. Then we can see what behind-the-scenes differences are occurring between the cameras.

The price for the Fuji (new) was about the same as the price of a new EOS 4000D - 6 years later. The Fuji was a high-end compact camera in 2012 while the EOS 4000D was Canon's entry-level camera in 2018. Where the DSLR should be an improvement is with dynamic range and tonality, especially when shooting raw. It will also prove to be more flexible as you gain experience with it.

The quality of the lenses you have should be fine. Yes, they are not the best lenses but assessing image quality at the center of the lens will be pretty close whatever lens you use.

Be sure to:
1. While maintaining the same distance to subject, frame the subject the same with both cameras or ensure that you use the equivalent focal lengths when comparing images - for example; 60mm on Canon and 18mm on the Fuji (both are equivalent to 100mm on full frame.
2. Ensure that the ISO is the same on both cameras.
2. Set the Canon to capture full size JPEGs.
3. You can edit the JPEG edit settings on the Canon to increase/decrease saturation, sharpening, etc.
4. Take a photo of a scene having a large dynamic range. A simple monochromatic scene is fine for testing lens quality but that is not a full test of what the sensor can do.
5. Use a tripod for the comparison images ensuring that camera shake is not an issue.

Good luck.
 

imagesBV

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I had the 400D(Rebel XTi).....I was similarly disappointed at first as the 18-55 kit lens was very poor....the MKll version is far better or the much newer STM version.....I would definitely change if you have a MKl. The EF50mm 1.8 will transform your photography ....with fast wide aperture you get great background blur and amazing subject sharpness.
as a thinking process my approach would be use more manual methods on a DSLR and then bring in automatic modes to help when needed....I.E. single focus point, manual exposure to start with and really get an understanding of what’s happening.
the bridge approach is the other way around....mainly auto modeswith possibility for manual if needed. Bridge and compacts are more forgiving but less capable.
the 400D(Rebel XTi) is an excellent camera!
 

gospete

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I had the 400D(Rebel XTi)(Rebel XTi).....I was similarly disappointed at first as the 18-55 kit lens was very poor....the MKll version is far better or the much newer STM version.....I would definitely change if you have a MKl. The EF50mm 1.8 will transform your photography ....with fast wide aperture you get great background blur and amazing subject sharpness.
as a thinking process my approach would be use more manual methods on a DSLR and then bring in automatic modes to help when needed....I.E. single focus point, manual exposure to start with and really get an understanding of what’s happening.
the bridge approach is the other way around....mainly auto modeswith possibility for manual if needed. Bridge and compacts are more forgiving but less capable.
the 400D(Rebel XTi)(Rebel XTi) is an excellent camera!
Thanks. The 4000D came as a package which include the 18-55mm kit lens plus an EF50mm 1.8. I might add that neither have IS, which I didn't realise until after the purchase.
Would you advise that I use the 50mm to master the camera without worrying about the zoom for now?
 

imagesBV

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Thanks. The 4000D came as a package which include the 18-55mm kit lens plus an EF50mm 1.8. I might add that neither have IS, which I didn't realise until after the purchase.
Would you advise that I use the 50mm to master the camera without worrying about the zoom for now?
That might be a good idea...you can get much shallower depth of field and out of focus backgrounds by using f1.8 or f2.8....if you need a front to back sharpness use f8-f16...kept your shutter speed above 1/60th sec because without IS you may get shake at slower shutter speeds....use manual exposure for f-stop and shutter speed...if you need auto exposure set ISO to auto...that will be a good starting point. Good luck
 

gospete

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That might be a good idea...you can get much shallower depth of field and out of focus backgrounds by using f1.8 or f2.8....if you need a front to back sharpness use f8-f16...kept your shutter speed above 1/60th sec because without IS you may get shake at slower shutter speeds....use manual exposure for f-stop and shutter speed...if you need auto exposure set ISO to auto...that will be a good starting point. Good luck
Thanks again.
 

bwana

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Some advice if possible for a DSLR novice, please.
...
Sounds like your focus may be off. Have you calibrated your lenses on the Canon body?

I have a friend with a new DSLR and he has complained since day one that his shots were soft and blamed the quality of the lenses and the camera. After checking and adjusting the calibration of his lenses on the camera his images are now sharp.

Remember that a DSLR does not focus with the sensor like a mirrorless camera. Its focus system is separate from the sensor and can be out of adjustment.

bwa
 

MikeB

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Sounds like your focus may be off. Have you calibrated your lenses on the Canon body?

I have a friend with a new DSLR and he has complained since day one that his shots were soft and blamed the quality of the lenses and the camera. After checking and adjusting the calibration of his lenses on the camera his images are now sharp.

Remember that a DSLR does not focus with the sensor like a mirrorless camera. Its focus system is separate from the sensor and can be out of adjustment.

bwa

I don't believe that the Canon EOS 4000D has micro-adjustment.
 

bwana

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