I am beginner in photography and want to buy a small and cheap camera for learning purposes. I am in a dilemma: should I purchase a point and shoot camera with high zoom (50X) or should I purchase a basic DSLR at the same price.

My budget is not so high but I can get a point and shoot camera for INR 20000. Though there are some DSLR cameras in the same range, the lens quality and Zoom X are not high.

Please recommend, do I get a great point-and-shoot with 50x zoom or a DSLR with small zoom?

  • \$\begingroup\$ See also: Beginner photography - Low end DSLR vs mid/high end Point and Shoot/P&S? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might get better answers if you're more specific about your "learning purpose". What do you want to learn? Composition? Portraiture? Scientific photography? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 13:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand that 50x zoom seems impressive. But do you really need it? I mean, how often you think you'll shot small, distant things? Won't you be able to get closer to them? Usually I don't feel the need of anything more than a 3x or 7x zoom (I'm thinking of a 18-135 mm lens I use on my APS-C DSLR), and often I don't use any zoom at all, since I walk around with my fixed "normal" lens (it's a 24 mm lens). What are you planning to shot at 50x? \$\endgroup\$
    – gerlos
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ See How do I decide on a camera/lens with high zoom range? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 2:14

2 Answers 2


Here are the advantages of the 50X zoom compact camera:

  • ZOOM

Here are the advantages of a DSLR:

  • Larger sensor = Better low light performance
  • Larger sensor = Longer exposure times without unacceptable noise from the sensor heating up
  • Larger sensor = more background blur when desired
  • Interchangeable lenses = better lens quality at the only focal length you're actually using for any given shot
  • Interchangeable lenses = wider maximum aperture for even creamier background blur when desired
  • Interchangeable lenses = wider maximum aperture for shooting in even lower light
  • Through the lens viewfinder with reflex mirror = Allowing the sensor to cool between shots
  • Through the lens viewfinder with reflex mirror = Phase Detection Autofocus that is generally faster than the Contrast Detection Autofocus found in most 50X zoom compact cameras

But hey, that compact has 50X ZOOM, dude!

You can have all of the advantages of an interchangeable system or you can give them up for a crappy, non-changeable lens that is severely compromised in many ways and for a very small sensor with all of those disadvantages, just to get 50X Zoom, Baby!

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    \$\begingroup\$ thanks for your information, your last line of answer changed my mind again. Now I am again in dilemma. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aman Garg
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you can add portability to the pros of the compact camera. After all how many 50x zoom lenses have you seen for any DSLR mount? \$\endgroup\$
    – K. Minkov
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KamenMinkov Most 50X zoom "compacts" are not much, if any, smaller than the smallest DSLRs with a kit lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 0:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark I'll always advocate using a larger sensor when you can, but for some people it's more convenient to have a somehow pocketable camera with a larger zoom than a small-ish DSLR kit can offer, especially if shooting only in daylight. Just checked, there's a 63.3x zoom Sony (H400), indeed about as heavy as an entry level DSLR with a 18-55 kit lens. There is, however, a 30x zoom that weighs just over 200 g and seems pocketable. My point is that there's different market segments and people wanting different stuff, otherwise everyone would be carrying FX bodies with 70-200 2.8 lenses. \$\endgroup\$
    – K. Minkov
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ 30X isn't 50X. Since most "superzoom" compacts start out with around a 20mm equivalent AoV, the difference between 600mm and 1000mm equivalent is rather significant, especially when coupled with a small sensor that isn't as amiable to cropping as a larger sensor would be. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 17:18

These high zoom ratios come at a cost. Such lenses have lower image quality and let in much less light. Most experienced photographers do not use them. If you decide to buy a compact camera after all, forget these ridiculous zoom ratios and get a camera that has good rating in tests in optical quality...

Compact or DSLR? I don't know how much is INR20000 in world currencies and how much you can get for the money, but try to get a camera with APS sized sensor, if possible, no matter if DSLR or not.

Someone said "the best camera is the one that you have with you". Don't feel compelled to get a DSLR if it is too large for your lifestyle to carry all the time.


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