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The biggest difference is the sensor size.
The ELPH's sensor is 6.17mm x 4.55mm
The Rebel's sensor is 22.2mm x 14.8mm
The Rebel has more than 10 times as much area, and the area is where the light is collected. What this means is the Rebel collects over 10 times as much light at the same f-stop and shutter speed as the Elph. Since signal-to-noise ratio goes with the square root of the light captured, you can count on a more than 3x better signal-to-noise ratio with the Rebel over the Elph for the same f-stop, shutter speed, and framed scene.
This is why SLRs have the (deserved) reputation of being better in low-light.
Of course, the Rebel can also use interchangable lenses. When you're a focal-length-range junky like me (over 1,500x covered), that can be important.
Thanks for the info... But I'm still not clear on some things... Like, I don't really understand what you mean by "low light" situations? Can you give me an example of when it would be more suitable to use the SLR vs the Powershot? And what about 8 megapixels on the SLR verses 10 megapixels on the PowerShot? Would I see a better digital image with the higher megapixel cameras?
I have an 18-55 lense on the Rebel SLR camera... Not totally sure if this would make it better or what it means. I would like to start taking day trips to various places and take some really nice scenic photos I can use in Photoshop and Lr3. I guess the Rebel SLR would be better for outdoor scenery.
I think where I'm really bent though is the 8.0mp vs the 10.0mp on the two cameras. I been looking and see some cameras (expensive cameras) are over 22megapixels. Even the new iPhone 4S has an 8.0mp camera on it.
You can get similar image quality from the SLR at ISO 1600 as you'll get from the compact at ISO 100. That allows you to shoot in darker conditions, such as indoors by artificial light and still retain good image quality.
The difference between 10MP and 8MP is irrelevant, and the lower noise of the larger sensor will probably give it the ability to retain more detail even with a lower pixel count. Your Rebel will demolish an iPhone in detail and low-light performance, even with just the kit lens.
Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you... I appreciate the additional information. I'm glad to hear the megapixels is not a true issue with my camera. What type of lenses are still available to me? Will I find a big difference from the kit lense? I'm curious as to how "interchangeable" they are... Especially, with the newer Digital Rebels out there.
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Your Rebel will use every Canon EOS lens ever made, including any new ones.
Thanks! That is certainly good to hear! I was online last night looking at the different lens available to me but I still don't know enough about them to make a choice on what would be a good lens. If you have any insight or recommendation to a lens which would compliment my Kit lens I would appreciate it. Maybe I should by one of those "Photography For Dummies" books.
What type of Lens is good for very close up shots like less than a foot distance?
And what type of lens is good for far away shots/landscapes/mountains/waterfalls, etc..?? I see all kinds of mm lens but have no idea of what the differences are...
Also... I have the EF-S 18-55 Kit... If this bit of information helps you.