A fine article at this site lists some pros and cons of digital single lens reflex cameras. It inspired me to make a comparison to my Panasonic FZ50.
The FZ50 is one of several SLR-like digital cameras on the market that should be considered by those who do not want a DSLR. SLR-like digital cameras have many of the same features, but cost a lot less.
I’ll quote the article and then add some comments about the FZ50. The comments may apply as well to other digital cameras in its class.
“DSLRs have very fast shot-to-shot time…”
The FZ50 matches that benefit with a very fast shot-to-shot time and a burst mode for taking shots in rapid succession.
“If you photograph wildlife that is far away from the camera and need super telephoto capability….”
The FZ50 has a terrific built-in 420mm zoom lens. The camera accepts telephoto and other lenses as well (see below).
“If you like to photograph tiny things that you want to look large and have stunning detail,….”
The FZ50 has 10.1 megapixel detail and great macro capabilities. It also has the ability to add macro lenses to it’s threaded lens.
“subjects in good focus, but beautifully blur the background”
The FZ50 excels in this department – especially with its manual focus ring and manual aperture setting to adjust depth of field.
“a camera with which I could use different lenses to capture a wide range of subjects”
The FZ50 accepts a wide range of telephoto, macro and wide-angle lenses; filters, etc. with its threaded lens. And it accepts other brand ad-ons, not just Panasonic!
“some of my compact digital cameras do not have hot shoes for external flashes …”
Hot shoe present and accounted for on the FZ50.
“DSLR cameras are larger and bulkier…and more expensive…than compacts.”
The price of the FZ50 is way less than most DSLRs and somewhat less bulky – although it is more “bulky” than most compact digital cameras.
“If you think you’ll find one with the perfect lens to take all the pictures you want to take, forget it! …”
The FZ50 has one super-dooper lens which accomplishes quite a lot, from 32mm all the way to 420mm (35mm equiv.).
“All but a few DSLRs lack a “live” LCD, so you can’t use the LCD for composing a picture….”
The FZ50, like most compacts, has a “live” LCD, which rotates 180 degrees so you can shoot from above, below, to the side, and even photograph yourself and see the shot as you take it!
“Today’s DSLRs are also audibly NOISY. The combination of the mirror slap* and shutter sound are enough to send a cat flying.”
The FZ50 is very quiet (unless you choose to turn the sounds “on”) – very good for nature photography.
“DSLRs have much better image quality at higher ISO.”
True. The FZ50 puts quite a bit of noise in photos at high ISO numbers. Panasonic includes on-camera noise reduction, which helps some. When shooting in low light, I use the lowest ISO possilbe. But if low-light photography is a primary consideration for the camera buyer, then they should consider a DSLR.
The FZ50 is an awesome camera. Yes, the best photos are going to be with a DSLR, probably. But the FZ50 offers near DSLR features and benefits, and high quality photos … all for much less money.
So if you’re in the market for a new camera, but don’t want to buy a DSLR, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 is a great alternative.
Note: there are other cameras with advanced features like the FZ50 that are suitable as a DSLR alternative. Many are featured in our Amazon Store.