Home > General > The decision: digital SLR or super-zoom

The decision: digital SLR or super-zoom

I’ve got a dilemma, I’m not sure what to get. A digital SLR or the other option of possibly a superzoom like the Canon Powershot SX20 IS.  I guess my concern is that I will drop $800 on a dSLR and then another $600-800 on accessories (lens, SD cards, etc..). The other option would be a super-zoom camera for around $600 and have everything I need to enter the world of photography, or would I?

I’ve had a look at this review of the Canon Powershot SX2o IS and it looks like a great camera retailing for around $500.

I’ve also looked at the Canon EOS 500D / Rebel T1i which is retails for about $700-800.

Comparing them side by side on CNET here they look similar (I through in the Nikon D5000 in there as well), in fact the Canon Powershot SX20D IS has better zoom, focal length and lens aperture.  So what costs $200-300 more in the Rebel T1i?  Is it that much better of a camera?

In my opinion there is one main area that superzooms fail and that is image quality.  It seems most start to show noise around ISO400 or ISO800, so for the general hobbyist that doesn’t want large prints of their beautiful photos then the superzooms looks like a great option and seem to be extremely easy to use.

It seems at the moment I’m leaning to the more expensive and higher quality allure of the digital SLR…

  1. February 4, 2010 at 06:09

    I would have to agree, it is a hard choice. The versatility of the POWERSHOT SX20D IS amazing but I am betting that the quality of engineering is where it is lacking against even the entry level DSLR models. For example the EOS REBEL T1i has a high-resolution CMOS sensor and 15.0 effective megapixles whereas the SX20D uses a CCD and 12.0 megapixels. Although the CCD gives high quality imaging the CMOS sensor is the new technology. Again 15.0 is better but 12 megapixels will still give great resolution.

    You talked about ISO speed or sensitivity and the SX20D brings a range of only 80-1600 compared to the T1i with a range of 100-12800. Depending on the type of photos you are taking this could be irrelevant but options allow for growth and diversity.

    Something about the SX20D is that it requires AA batteries. I Find that two battery packs(most cameras come with a free back up) are more than enough for a day out snapping shots. They do cost around $45 if you plan on needing more juice but in the end they are lighter and take up less room in your bag.

    In the end my opinion is that the SX20D would be a perfect camera for someone starting out however if you know you have a passion for photography, get the higher end DSLR. Yes you are paying a bit more but you get a higher quality camera and more room to advance as well as expand with accessories such as extra flash kits, lens’ or even a shutter release.

  2. Christopher Swan
    February 5, 2010 at 00:25

    i had the same dilemma recently – in the end i went for a canon g11 and have been very, very happy with it. there are some photos on my blog ive taken using it.


    it offers you a great starting point to getting into digital photography as it has a fully auto mode but also can be used fully manually, giving you the same tools as a DSLR. its also quite a chunky, tough camera and feels nice in the hand. as for noise – ive not had any problems with shooting in low light so far.

    its a tough choice and it took me ages but in the end im glad i didnt go for a DSLR – if i had money to get a top of the range one i would, but i felt the g11 was a good compromise.

    good luck!

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