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Definition of "Point & Shoot?"


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#1 BurBunny

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 03:29 PM

Am actually trying to be good and get my entries together early for the upcoming contests (OWU, BTS for example). This year, BTS has a new category called "Novice - Point & Shoot". Okay, I fit their definition of novice (believe it or not), but I'm stumped on whether my Fuji F810 shots qualify as point & shoot camera shots. Their explanation of the category is:

"Photo taken with a Point and Shoot Digital Camera. Judges will decide, in their sole discretion, what is a point and shoot camera. Entrants in this category previously will not have been awarded First place in any category in any major underwater photographic competition."

I've done the obvious and emailed BTS (over 10 days ago) and left a message (3 days ago) trying to get a guideline on this, as I don't want to enter shots from the F810 in this category if the judges won't allow them - I'd just put them in the Open category. However, I'd much rather they be judged with the other compacts for obvious reasons. I'd even be fine if, in the judges' opinion my camera doesn't ultimately qualify but they move the pics to the appropriate other category. But no response whatsoever from BTS.

So, what do you all think? What's a compact point & shoot? Just those cameras with automatic controls, maybe aperture/shutter priority? Do cameras with full manual control count? What about RAW? Or do all compact cameras of this size, by nature of their size, count as point & shoots?

Obviously BTS will have the final say in what counts, but looking for some input here, opinions and suggestions.
-Amber

#2 james

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 04:11 PM

In my equipment seminars, I make a clear distinction between what I consider a point and shoot and what I consider a compact camera.

My guess is that the people who wrote the rules for this contest consider that anything that is not a DSLR is a point and shoot.

My definition of a point and shoot is different however. I consider a compact to be a camera that is not a DSLR. A point and shoot compact is a camera where you can not set the aperture and/or shutterspeed yourself.

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#3 underwatercolours

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 08:50 PM

That's an interesting question to me because the whole idea of having a point & shoot category vs a beginner category became somewhat of an interesting discussion at a recent UPS meeting.

By the looks of your camera it is definitely a point & shoot, but my interpretation of the term means nothing to the judges of that contest and they may not agree. You're doing the right thing by beating down their door for an answer.

James, your interpretation makes sense too, but setting up fair and reasonable categories in a photo contest is tough and I doubt they want to make it more complicated than it needs to be. Its unlikely the organizers of any contest are going to go to the extreme of looking up the list of features for a camera that captured any of the contest entries or winners.

What I would like to hear from other Wetpixelites is...

Hypothetically, do you think it is a fair competition for shooters who are using a non-DSLR camera (what I call point & shoot) to be competing in the same category as a new shooter using a housed DSLR camera? In addition to camera functions, exposure, focus, and file format (RAW or no RAW) options, take into consideration things like shutter lag, the range of camera possibilities (meaning an old Sealife could be competing against a D200 in a SeaCam housing).

The argument for combining the two in the same category was that the shooters are all beginners and just because someone might be able to afford or have access to an expensive housed DSLR rig doesn't make them a better photographer.

What do you all think?

#4 Paul Kay

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 01:52 AM

I would say that any camera which does not offer PRECISE control over a major function (such as exposure or focus) should be classed as a point and shoot. I'm often asked the opposing type of question: What benefit does a dSLR offer over a 'point&shoot'?, to which I reply, 'Precision control', but add that it also reqiures far more user input to utilise the advantages. All that said, I'm sure that in today's complex world of imaging gear, there will be cameras available which fall into the grey "betwixt or between" areas, and some such as the Leica M8 could be classed as compacts but (within their inherent limitations) are as capable as any dSLR of precision photography!
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#5 DDT uk

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:20 AM

What I would like to hear from other Wetpixelites is...

Hypothetically, do you think it is a fair competition for shooters who are using a non-DSLR camera (what I call point & shoot) to be competing in the same category as a new shooter using a housed DSLR camera? In addition to camera functions, exposure, focus, and file format (RAW or no RAW) options, take into consideration things like shutter lag, the range of camera possibilities (meaning an old Sealife could be competing against a D200 in a SeaCam housing).

The argument for combining the two in the same category was that the shooters are all beginners and just because someone might be able to afford or have access to an expensive housed DSLR rig doesn't make them a better photographer.

What do you all think?


I think that, if you were to apply a literal meaning of the word novice, then there would be very little difference between those shooting on DSLRs and those using a P&S. The novice DSLR shooter is unlikely to have mastered the additional benefits. Both shooters are likely to be concerned solely with capturing the moment in a sharp, well composed picture. However, I do think that the competitions definition of a beginner is not synonomous with the literal meaning of a novice. The competition is open to anyone who has not won a first place in a major underwater event. I, for one, would not regard myself at a novice, having many years of photographic experience, and certainly knowing my way round a DSLR. I just have never entered an underwater competition. Now, imagine that I did (and that I was actually any good!). I would imagine that, with the additional tools at my disposal, I would have a significant advantage over a P&S shooter - all other things being equal.

So, do I think there should be a distinction between DSLR and P&S users? Yes, if the definition and eligibility criteria for the class are broad.

Daniel