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I am new to photography and my knowledge is limited to just this - have sufficient light, press button to take photo, quality of images in digital zoom is not as good as that of optical zoom and mobile phone cams of today CANNOT match quality of low end DSLR.

My problem - I want to decide if I should buy a high-end external/attachable optical zoom lens for my mobile OR get an entry level DSLR instead.

I want to compare the Sony QX10 (not QX100 which is too expensive) WITH an entry level DSLR like Canon T3i or Nikon D3100. Is this thing so good that it can replace a DSLR ? I don't know what factors to use for comparison other than the optical zoom and maybe sensor size. I need your help to make a decision.

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If you need any more informations, please ask. Chenqui. –  Borat Sagdiyev Mar 23 at 7:12

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The QX10 and QX100 aren't actually lenses for your phone, they are a miniature point and shoot camera that uses your phone for control and display of the images. (Think of it kind of like a remote controlled digital camera with no screen.)

It has its own sensor and is basically the same as buying a point and shoot that copies the photos to your phone. It has all the same drawbacks from when you compare a DSLR to a Point & Shoot. The smaller sensor size means lower quality, more depth of field, worse low light handling, etc, etc.

If you need something highly portable, it's probably not a bad device to have, but if you want the best quality, the DSLR is the way to go hands down.

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The main benefit of a mobile phone is that it fits in your pants pocket so you can take pictures anywhere you go without too much discomfort. With the QX10, it increases the bulk of your mobile phone to be comparable to a point-and-shoot camera, so why not get an actual point-and-shoot for a lot less? (In both cases, it will be difficult to fit in a pants pocket. Yes, with phone and point-and-shoot you have two things rather than one as in a phone with a lens attached to it, but the main issue in both cases is that one of the objects is simply too big.)

That said, I have a iPhone 5S, Panasonic LX5, and Nikon D7000. I'm finding that I only rarely use the LX5, since there's hardly an occasion where I want better image quality and can put up with precisely the amount of inconvenience that a point-and-shoot brings. If I were you, I'd just get a DSLR. Smartphones have progressed so far these days that they're as good as cheap point-and-shoots and close enough to good point-and-shoots that it just isn't worth the effort to have the point-and-shoot.

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Considering the price factor, a cheap entry level DSLR with its kit lens alone is not producing much better quality than a point&shoot from the same price group is. The Sony QX10 is among the Point&shoots here. Only with a more compact size than is usual.

Difference in depth of field is one major difference. It means that a focusing mistake will be obvious in a photo taken with a DSLR, but hardly noticeable in a photo taken with a point&shoot. On the plus side for DSLR the background blur is generally more pleasing than what is possible with a Point&shoot.

Speed of camera operations is another great difference. Point&shoot cameras tend to be slow to focus, slow to save a freshly taken photo in memory, slow to zoom back and forth. A DSLR from any price group can beat a Point&shoot in working speed.

Other than these two, there is not much difference in the cheapest DSLRs and good Point&shoot cameras. Oh, of course the weight and size, but those are rather obvious.

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+1. The primary different is in flexibility — you can replace that kit lens. –  mattdm Mar 23 at 11:55
    
Yeh, though when money is an issue... ;) –  Esa Paulasto Mar 23 at 11:55
    
Right, so if you aren't planning to take advantage of it, it isn't an advantage at all. –  mattdm Mar 23 at 11:56
    
So, is there a cheaper "point and shoot"/pos alternative to, say the Nikon D3100 ? 31 costs about $400. I saw pos with similar specs at $250, except that sensor size was much smaller (which means "lower" quality). So, I was leaning towards dslr. After your point, I am not so sure. –  Borat Sagdiyev Mar 23 at 16:49
    
@BoratSagdiyev - Look my answer to What are practical advantages of compact cameras over DSLR? –  Esa Paulasto Mar 23 at 20:02

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