Thursday, 16 July 2015

DSLR and compact camera comparison

This is a little test to see how two cameras compare at taking exactly the same photographs. Both are set on fully automatic, point-and-shoot mode. 

One is a full frame Digital SLR - the Canon 5d MkII with a Canon 24-105 mm / F 3,5-5,6 EF IS STM lens. The whole setup weighs 1.4kg.

The other is a Canon Ixus 230 HS compact camera, which weighs 140g.

Here are the test photographs:

In these two below, it is clear that the cameras choose very different depth of field when left to their own devices. For really shallow depth of field, the DSLR is the only choice, but both produce very striking photos. 

Ixus     f/3.2      1/50th    100 ISO
DSLR     f/6.3     1/125th      100 ISO

In the two photos below, the DSLR was again clearly preferable because the autofocus on the Ixus was not able to focus on the macro subject in the centre. I'm not sure this is always the case though. I had a different Ixus camera a few years ago that had fantastic macro autofocus down to 1 cm from the subject. I used it to take the photo of a strawberry flower (third photo below): 

IXUS     f/4.5      1/160th      100 ISO

DSLR    f/7.1     1/125th     100 ISO

In these two photos below I can hardly tell the difference between the two cameras:

Ixus      f/3.5      1/100th     100 ISO

DSLR     f/5    1/60th     100 ISO

Again, in these two photographs of pumpkin plants, there is very little difference in focus, but the Ixus seems to have judged exposure much better as the DSLR photo is over exposed. 

Ixus     f/3.5    1/160    100 ISO

DSLR     f/6.3      1/100th      100 ISO

In this wide angle shot of a garden the Ixus seems to have chosen the better settings as the DSLR photograph is again over-exposed. 

Ixus     f/3     1/500th     100 ISO

DSLR     f/7.1     1/125th     100 ISO

So, in summary, the Ixus seems to do better at judging exposure, and the DSLR does better at close-up, shallow depth of field shots. The latter point is somewhat unexpected, given that the DSLR is using a wide angle zoom lens.

The obvious point to remember though, is that the main advantage of the DSLR is that it has huge numbers of extra controls on it, and can even changes lenses, so that shots can be properly controlled. The great advantage of the Ixus is that it weighs 140g rather than 1400g, which really makes a difference. Nice to know that both do rather well under most circumstances on auto though. :-)