It may sound weird – we are trying to compare a point-and-shoot with a dSLR. Why? I already have a low priced auto-focus camera with 4x zoom. Now, my aim is to take decent shallow DoF photos. The maximum budget I can spend along with lens is $600. EOS 1100-D with the lens kit given fits into this budget.

  1. EOS 1100-D with 18-55 & 55-250 IS MK II
  2. Canon PowerShot SX160 28 - 448 mm IS F/3.5-5.9

In the following review, one obvious difference is the sensor size. Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D has approx. 1054% more surface area than Canon PowerShot SX160 IS. http://www.digicamdb.com/compare/canon_powershot-sx160-is-vs-canon_eos-rebel-t3/

Comparing with PowerShot SX160, does EOS 1100-D produce enormously better shallow DoF?

I can get PowerShot SX160 at one third price of EOS 1100-D. So, is the investment worth in creating good shallow DoF photos?

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    Is shallow DoF your primary concern? In that case, take a look at this question. There may be other factors you want I consider beyond that and price, though — see this one on that. – mattdm Jun 5 '13 at 12:58
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    If all you want is extreme shallow depth of field, any DSLR with a 50mm f/1.8 lens is going to blow away that point and shoot. Even better would be the 85mm f/1.8 which is still reasonably priced. – dpollitt Jun 5 '13 at 13:35

I'm going to ignore everything and only compare DOF - but it feels a little silly, a P&S and a DSLR are pretty different in more important ways.

Short answer:

Theoretically the 1100D with the kit lens will give you about 1/3 of the DOF of the SX160, I suspect based on my experience with P&S cameras that in practice the difference is greater - and the 1100D will be much easier to control in the (semi) manual mode you need to minimize DOF.

Also, with a cheap lens upgrade like the 50mm f/1.8 ($100) or the 40mm f/2.8 ($150) you will reach shallow DOF you can't even dream of with a point and shoot (at 10 feet distance, with the 50mm at f/1.8 you'll have just 0.8 feet of DOF).

Boring number crunching:

according to the dofmaster.com depth of field calculator:

With the subject at 10 feet:

EOS 1100D at 55mm f/5.6 (most zoomed in and wide open with the kit lens) will give you a total DOF of 2.1 feet

SX160 at the same field of view (15mm real, not equiv) at f/5 (because I don't know what the max aperture at 15mm is) will give you 7.6 feet

With the subject at 20 feet:

EOS 1100D at 250mm f/5.6 (the 55-250 zoomed in and wide open) - 0.39 feet

The SX160 at max zoom (448 equiv) wide open (f/5.9) - 1.06 feet

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