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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > This is what I want...nay NEED for Christmas (camera)

This is what I want...nay NEED for Christmas (camera)
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Hawkeye_a
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Sep 27, 2006, 03:47 AM
 
Never really been a "photographic" enthusiast...dont even own a camera myself. My folks have a couple...and it's been a borderline "fancy". But i saw this camera on Leica's website, and i absolutely want one.



10MP, 4X optical. Hand crafted in Germany, native 16X9 aspect ratio 2.8" LCD..... *drool*

What do you guys reckon ?

Cheers

PS>> Leica Camera AG - Photography - D-Lux 3
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; Oct 8, 2006 at 07:59 AM. )
     
IceEnclosure
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Sep 27, 2006, 04:06 AM
 
Awesome camera. I was just looking at this online the other day. This one does ISO 1600, no?
ice
     
mydog8mymac
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Sep 27, 2006, 04:12 AM
 
It's hard to beat Leica's optics.
     
screamingFit
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Sep 27, 2006, 06:03 AM
 
No thanks. It's not $5000 worth of sexyness to me.
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Mastrap
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Sep 27, 2006, 07:20 AM
 
That's a nice bit of glass on that camera. Very nice.
If I had money to burn I'd get one of these.
     
Goldfinger
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Sep 27, 2006, 07:38 AM
 
Get the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2. Exactly the same camera (including glass). And it probably costs a LOT less.

The Leica looks nicer and it has the Leica logo . I'm interested in the new M8 though.

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RAILhead
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Sep 27, 2006, 07:45 AM
 
I LOOOVE the Leica on my Panasonic FZ30.
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That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
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Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 27, 2006, 10:07 AM
 
Yeah, i heard about the Panasonics. Same camera....mass produced. the difference i was told is that the Leica's have a metal body vs the Panasonic's plastic body ? I cant beleive the actually hand make these Leica's on an assembly line in Germany, and even grind n shape the lenses by hand. Heck even the logo is etched by hand onto these things apparently. There arent too many consumer level companies that practice this kind of craftmenship these days, and i really appreciate this sort of attention to detail. And from speaking to several ppl about it....the quality of the Leica's is awesome.

I have a couple of friends who are pro photographers and they say this camera is borderline-SLR quality pics, just cause of the optics.

I know the panasonic's cost half the price, and ive looked em up...the Leica's design is stellar and i dont mind paying the premium for it (almost double i think?). I dont buy a camera very often, so if im going to i might as well get the one REALLY want

Was aspeaking to the W.Australian rep today on the availability.... he said...HOPEFULLY before Christmas....so here's hoping. i can wait for this kind of a product. I might even order it through B&H in NYC....apparently they will be getting it before us in Oz.
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; Sep 27, 2006 at 10:42 AM. )
     
RAILhead
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Sep 27, 2006, 10:39 AM
 
No, I'm talking about the REAL Panas -- not the little point and shoot crap.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
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Mastrap
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Sep 27, 2006, 10:40 AM
 
$699.00 for the Leica.

There is a time and a place for point and shoot. I always have a small Sony with me - at least I did before my wife dropped it and banged the optics. I might just go for the Leica as a little diary cam.
     
mitchell_pgh
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:10 AM
 
It's an amazing camera, but IMHO, I would rather have a nice $2000 D-SLR.

I'm too rough on cameras.
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by RAILhead
No, I'm talking about the REAL Panas -- not the little point and shoot crap.
Oh. im not really "into" cameras, so i dont know a whole lot...point-n-shoot is sorta my limit...SLRs are well over my head. I think im just being a superficial bastard, cause the Leica just looks awesome to me , couple that with the craftmanship and the niceities like true 16X9 and a wide angle lens, and im a happy camper.

Like im sure there are point-n-shoots and prosumer cameras that match the D-LUX 3....but man thats one sexy camera imo looks vintage with cutting edge technology.i havent ever wanted/needed a camera till i saw this one hehe

Cheers for that link Mastrap. i might just get it from one of the stores in NYC....
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; Sep 27, 2006 at 11:19 AM. )
     
screamingFit
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap
$699.00 for the Leica.

There is a time and a place for point and shoot. I always have a small Sony with me - at least I did before my wife dropped it and banged the optics. I might just go for the Leica as a little diary cam.
Sheesh - I thought he Hawkeye was talking about the M8, not the D-LUX3.

I wouldn't buy a low end Leica - what's the point? You could probably get better pix out of a Canon P&S at half that price. Especially if you're not a "photographer" - prime your skills, then move up.
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Oisín
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Goldfinger
Get the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2. Exactly the same camera (including glass). And it probably costs a LOT less.

The Leica looks nicer and it has the Leica logo . I'm interested in the new M8 though.
The Panasonic is a lot cheaper, yes.

I tried out an LX2 about a week (in an eternal quest to find my boyfriend a camera), and I was utterly disappointed. The noise was extreme, the controls were slow to respond, the zoom was odd and counter-intuitive, the screen made everything look unnatural. I had expected a brand-spankin’-new Leica lens to be better at noise reduction than my three-year-old Sony point-and-shoot camera.

If this Leica is really as bad as the LX2 (it seems to be close to an exact equivalent in most respects), I’d seriously reconsider buying one.
     
the_glassman
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:29 AM
 
The whole time I thought you were going to say one of these!
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by screamingFit
Sheesh - I thought he Hawkeye was talking about the M8, not the D-LUX3.

I wouldn't buy a low end Leica - what's the point? You could probably get better pix out of a Canon P&S at half that price. Especially if you're not a "photographer" - prime your skills, then move up.
Yeah, i know whats ur saying, and i was on the verge of getting an 800is....then this beauty caught my eye. Im not in the high end market (SLRs), im more of a point n shoot, but would like to do some landscapes as well...and as far as specs go....i do like the 10MP, 4X zoom, 16X9 and IS. plus it looks a heck of a lot nicer , what can i say ? im just that superficial hehe

Could you elaborate on that ?...i hear what your saying about the price, but price isnt an issue.....image quality and build quality are to me anyway. I know canon is about to come out(if it hasnt already) with the new range that has Digic3s in em. I love the image quality of the canons....but if you compare the quality of a D-Lux 3 to a similarily priced canon....which would be "better" ?

Thanks for your opinions guys.

PS>> i noticed that B&H has it going for $599...well worth it imo.
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; Sep 27, 2006 at 11:51 AM. )
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:37 AM
 
*double post*
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; Sep 27, 2006 at 11:50 AM. )
     
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:42 AM
 
http://www.leica-camera.us/photography/m_system/m8/

This is what I want for Christmas

€4500, but hey. A digital Leica rangefinder. Just wow. I want, I need, *I crave!*

(although, I'll live fine without one too )

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zwiebel_
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Sep 27, 2006, 12:05 PM
 
Not exactly point and shoot, but this camera would make my life easier.
     
screamingFit
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Sep 27, 2006, 12:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a
Yeah, i know whats ur saying, and i was on the verge of getting an 800is....then this beauty caught my eye. Im not in the high end market (SLRs), im more of a point n shoot, but would like to do some landscapes as well...and as far as specs go....i do like the 10MP, 4X zoom, 16X9 and IS. plus it looks a heck of a lot nicer , what can i say ? im just that superficial hehe

Could you elaborate on that ?...i hear what your saying about the price, but price isnt an issue.....image quality and build quality are to me anyway. I know canon is about to come out(if it hasnt already) with the new range that has Digic3s in em. I love the image quality of the canons....but if you compare the quality of a D-Lux 3 to a similarily priced canon....which would be "better" ?

Thanks for your opinions guys.

PS>> i noticed that B&H has it going for $599...well worth it imo.
10MP is probably overkill. A "nice to have" but with P&S cameras, with their small CCD, you're not gaining much over 4-6MP, really. Just marketing hype. And, 16x9? Maybe I'm misunderstanding but why are the screwing with imaging standards? "Yes, I'd like to make an enlargement of this 16x9 picture"... To what?

4x optical zoom is pretty standard for P&S digicams due to the tech used. Wide-angle is almost NEVER a problem with any P&S digicam - zoom is. Being constrained by 4x optical zoom has blown many a good opportunity over the years for me.

I've had two Canon A-series cameras over the years and they're built like tanks. One even bounced down a flight of concrete stairs and other than a small scuff, there wasn't any damage. But, Canons, to me, seem to image very "blue" and oversaturated - I almost always have to toss the pix into Photoshop to fix the cast and dump the saturation down a tad.

If I was buying a P&S right now, I'd probably look at the Canon Powershot S3 IS. Cheap, good zoom, fair MP, image stabilzation and built like a small SLR.. Failing that the Canon G7 or the A710 IS. I haven't noted Nikon not because I don't like them but because I've never really used their digital stuff (save an old Coolpix 900 that I adored!).
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Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 27, 2006, 12:41 PM
 
Well, a dont think too many consumer camers have wide angle lenses on em...the only other one i can think of is the Ricoh R4. the MP although a "marketing" thing...doesnt hurt to have more of....lens quality apparently matters more. 4X optical....since most consumer camers have 3X, i think 4X should be adequate for my needs. And then there's 16X9....you can take 3X2 or 4X3 if you like, effectively cutting down the pixels.... BUT.....combine a wide angle lens with a 16X9 aspect ratio, a 10MP resolution and an image stabelizer..... thats just brilliant imo.

Not that i know a whole lot about cameras, but it's that combination that has me interested in this camera from the technological standpoint. I've een the Canons your talking about...the S3 IS, etc....first impression.....bulky. great camers from what i hear, just as you pointed out....but from an industrial design pov (and obviously this is VERY subjective) i think the Leica just looks better.
     
Eug Wanker
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Sep 27, 2006, 02:20 PM
 
I've always found Leica products to be expensive, and not necessarily justifiably so.

We have a lot of Leica stuff in our lab, and while the optics are good, everything else isn't. Ergonomics, software, drivers, etc. For example, we needed a new microscope, and the Leica was $30000. The Olympus we eventually bought was $5000 less, was much better designed ergonomically, and had 98% of the optical quality.
     
paul w
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Sep 27, 2006, 02:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug Wanker
I've always found Leica products to be expensive, and not necessarily justifiably so.

We have a lot of Leica stuff in our lab, and while the optics are good, everything else isn't. Ergonomics, software, drivers, etc. For example, we needed a new microscope, and the Leica was $30000. The Olympus we eventually bought was $5000 less, was much better designed ergonomically, and had 98% of the optical quality.
But you aren't comparing a Leica rangefinder to an Olympus SLR even? I mean Leica puts its brand name on some pretty mediocre camera too. This is different - their rangefinders are universally accepted to be beautiful tools.

I just don't see the point investing in one with a soon to be dated sensor.

I wouldn't mind playing with one of these.

EDITED for coherency.
( Last edited by paul w; Sep 27, 2006 at 02:53 PM. )
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 27, 2006, 08:03 PM
 
Oh another technical feature was drawn to is...it shoots in RAW format and the CCD(???) is 10.4MP and 10 million effective pixels.

It's also roughly the size of an iPod video and as thick as a PowerBook....cause of the lens im assuming.

Whats the deal with mega pixels, and "effective" pixels ?
     
RAILhead
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Sep 27, 2006, 09:44 PM
 
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:05 PM
 
Cheers for that. i guess any camera with IS will have more pixels than effective pixels (or the other way around or somthin).

Thanks
     
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Sep 27, 2006, 11:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by zwiebel_
Not exactly point and shoot, but this camera would make my life easier.
Look at that page. The "digital storage device" they bundle with the camera is a Mac Mini. Pretty cool.
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Sep 28, 2006, 06:25 AM
 
The Leica isn't getting good reviews. I'd be wary of buying this camera. Leica used to be great when building quality lenses was tough but today, Canon and Nikon can build some very decent lenses for a lot less than Leica and their bodies are probably better.
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Sep 28, 2006, 06:29 AM
 
Well looks like i'll be getting this camera. I was speaking to a friend of mine who was a pro-surf photographer for a long time, and he said at the very worst, the D-LUX 3 would be as bad as a similarily priced Canon. He drew an analogy that the Leica is to the Canon as the BMW is to the Toyota.

I also heard him say that the Leica (if it's a "true" Leica lens) will produce an image similar to vintage cameras. And thats what i wanted to hear cause i want a digital camera with no compromise on image quality when compared to film-based-cameras. I guess my point being....i can wait for the technoplogy to catch up to what i want.....a compact with a great lens that takes a beautiful picture.

He also said that the Panasonic is identical to the Leica's as mentioned above, cause panasonic supplies the electronic components to Leica. I guess thats where my obsession with craftmanship and brand kick into the equation.

It'll be out in the US in October and i might have to get it from there cause the reps still arent sure when it will reach Ozzie's shores.

I called a few camera places and none of them could confirm the warranty on Leica products. Ive emailed B&H, but was wondering if any of you guys have any of the C-Lux or D-Lux cameras, and could confirm the type of warranty on the camera ?

Cheers
     
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Sep 28, 2006, 06:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by RAILhead
I LOOOVE the Leica on my Panasonic FZ30.
Yep, the Panasonic Lumix is a great camera series - I've got the rather old DMC-FZ2, still usefull and with an 12x optical zoom lens made by Leica.

My next upgrade is going to the FZ30.
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RAILhead
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Sep 28, 2006, 07:19 AM
 
The FZ50 is out, but it's pretty much the same except that it's 10MP compared to 8MP.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
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Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Oct 5, 2006, 10:18 PM
 
B&H (NYC) has this camera in stock , my order has been placed. Now..i gotta ascessorize..... gosh that sounded fruity.
     
misc
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Oct 5, 2006, 10:24 PM
 
While you are at it...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0610/zeiss1700-02.jpg

You can pick up a Hasselblad also.

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screamingFit
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Oct 6, 2006, 12:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a
B&H (NYC) has this camera in stock , my order has been placed. Now..i gotta ascessorize..... gosh that sounded fruity.
I'm really curious what you end up thinking of the pictures of this camera. It's my understanding that the Panasonic CCDs are utter crap. Examples I've seen show the "watercolor effect" (from poor noise reduction interpolation) and way too much image noise.

The high ISO setting (for a P&S) is pointless and noisy with a small lens and CCD on any manufacturer's camera - but, with Panasonic's noise reduction routines adding more pain to that fact it's especially worse.

I admire the lens and the build but when there's crappy electronics shoved in there, it won't matter.
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Oct 6, 2006, 12:48 PM
 
Man, who are you reading? Panasonic has great CCDs in their upper line cameras.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
screamingFit
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Oct 6, 2006, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by RAILhead
Man, who are you reading? Panasonic has great CCDs in their upper line cameras.
On the FZ7 (from DPReview):
* Higher than average Noise at ISO 80
* Strong color noise at ISO 200+
* Mild Chromatic aberration and corner softness in macro mode
* Mild vignetting at widest zoom setting / widest aperture
* Occasional focus hunting at long end of zoom in low light
* Macro mode pointless - why not a macro button?
* High sensitivity mode results next to useless

And someone starting a petition on the user reviews there:
"In short, the main aim of this petition is to "force" the Panasonic to release a firmware update for their very recent prosumer cameras FZ50 and LX2. This new firmware should allow the users to turn the in-camera Noise Reduction (and other picture adjustments, like contrast, saturation and sharpness) completely OFF.

It's more than evident (from every new LX2/FZ50 ISO sample), the current option to set the NR adjustment to LOW is not enough, because the VENUS III NR is simply too strong, kills many fine details and gives the JPEG output very smudgy and watercolor paint look, especially well visible in shots at ISO400 and above."

And, on and on from other places around the web.

I really would like a P&S Panny - good price and features but from what I've been reading, I'd be happier with an 7 year old Nikon Coolpix.
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tooki
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Oct 6, 2006, 02:26 PM
 
The Lumixes (and their Leica counterparts) suffer from very high noise. I was really considering getting an FX01, but I just couldn't get past the noise. At ISO 80, it has more noise than the Sony I ended up buying has at 200. (Of course, my D70s at 1600 has less noise than the Sony at 80.)

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Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Oct 6, 2006, 06:50 PM
 
I noticed that at the higher ISOs the noise increases dramatically. Conflicting reports suggest that the Leica will either have ISO400 or ISO 1600 (max). i hope it's the prior, cause to be honest, i dont need ISO1600 + noise).

On the oher hand.... Although identical to the Panasonic range as far as components go, the Leicas have apparently been tweeked to improve image quality and make the final result...more "Leica".

And yeah at the end of the day all I want is a good picture, ISO settings, megapixels, etc...are sorta secondary to me. I've seen some samples online of the D-Lux series, and i'm impressed. Either way, my order shipped yesterday, so i should have it a week from now....so i'll post some samples.

PS>> dppreview.com, which is probably the most unbiased of camera review sites, seems to think the camera is aweome.
     
tooki
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Oct 6, 2006, 09:41 PM
 
Unbiased? Hahaha! Did you ever notice that its reviews consist to a large degree of material cut and pasted either from a press release, or from a previous review of a similar model?

Their reviews are useful and informative, but I'd still take them with a grain of salt.

tooki
     
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Oct 6, 2006, 10:02 PM
 
I'm loving the camera too, but I have to agree with tooki.

I dug up the "review" of the D-LUX 3, and it seemed like a very, very early "review" that draws most of its information from official press releases. DPReview usually does this with newly released cameras and follows up with a more thorough review once they get their hands on the actual camera. A few dpreview forum members will be getting their D-Lux 3s in on Monday so we'll start seeing the true reviews trickle in soon.

Still, this shouldn't take away from the joy of getting a new camera -- especially a Leica.
     
Mastrap
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Oct 6, 2006, 10:29 PM
 
I'm kind of torn what to buy. On the one hand I need to replace my aging Olympus E-20 SLR. Great image quality, but slow to start up and to write to media. Fixed lens. So, a new SLR would be perfect.

On the other hand, I need a new diary cam. Something I can slip into my pocket and carry around with me wherever I go.
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Oct 7, 2006, 03:55 AM
 
Well of all the sites i know of... cnet, etc...dpreview seems like the most unbiased as they dont get paid to write their opinions. Thats not to say they arent "biased"...but money/income isnt a factor that sways their opinion...i think.

And yeah this camera JUST CAME OUT....i literally ordered it as soon as B&H emailed me they had em in stock. People got a handson w/ it at Photokina....havent seem/heard a bad thing about this camera (or any Leica's for that matter). So yeah the "review" is probably a cut n paste. I guess at the end of the day.... i have yet to see a bad review of any Leica. And i think im going to love this camera. Heck for US$599 i better love it.

It's shipped, so ill post pictures when i get it.

Cheers
     
Mastrap
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Oct 7, 2006, 10:06 AM
 
I'd be interested to see how it performs at high ISO.
     
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Oct 7, 2006, 11:02 AM
 
I hate to sound like a novice(which i am). But i dont know what all this means. all ive heard from my photographer friends are....the higher ISO, the more moise, the worse the picture. could someone show me some sample so i can actually "see" how they compare ?

Cheers

PS>> have any of you guys own/owned a Leica camera ?
     
climber
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Oct 7, 2006, 01:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a
I hate to sound like a novice(which i am). But i dont know what all this means. all ive heard from my photographer friends are....the higher ISO, the more moise, the worse the picture. could someone show me some sample so i can actually "see" how they compare ?

Cheers

PS>> have any of you guys own/owned a Leica camera ?
Simply put, higher ISO is for lower light like indoors. Especially without a flash. Most digital cameras are pretty clean and clear of noise at lower ISO's when there is enough light. The problem is that some cameras are much noisier at the higher ISO's. Any photo digital or film can show what happens when there is not enough light. The images are somewhat dull with a visible grain to them.

If you like to take photos of indoor stuff with the flash then a camera that performs well in low light is helpful. If instead you want scenic pictures on a sunny day, then other things like a longer zoom may be more important.

In the end most differences in ISO performance between cameras (same type) are somewhat irrelevant. Yes differences can be seen in photoshop zoomed in all the way, but often times those differences disappear when printing. If image quality is really that important move to a DSLR (I shoot a Nikon D200)

As someone else pointed out anything over 4-6 meg in a point and shoot is pretty useless.
     
funkboy
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Oct 7, 2006, 04:34 PM
 
What is the best camera to slip in my pocket that can take a little abuse, but still has manual controls for shutter speed?
     
Salty
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Oct 7, 2006, 04:58 PM
 
I don't see what you guys are seeing. To me that camera looks plain and kinda ugly, and that logo personally is a big eye sore for me.
     
Hawkeye_a  (op)
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Oct 7, 2006, 10:12 PM
 
Climber, cheers for clearing that up... i was hoping someone had examples of pictures to compare. i understand what noise is, but i dont know the range of "less" and "more" noise is when comparing these cameras.

Salty, to each his own dude. the reason i like it is cause it's minimalist, old fashioned with a great camera under the hood. but yeah, i can see how some people would prefer other designs like the ultra futuristic... ala Sony.

Cheers
     
paul w
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Oct 7, 2006, 11:26 PM
 
Noise in digital cameras is a bit different than grain. While grain can have aesthetic appeal noise - or really bad noise - is totally unappealing and looks very digital. Some cameras' noise look a bit like film grain, but only up to a point.

From what I've seen and heard, Fujifilm has the best high ISO performance with noise of any of the compact cameras. A friend has the F10 and it's clearly in a class of its own. The F30 looks to be its successor and supposedly has excellent lowlight performance.

Basically this is important if you take pictures indoors without using flash. Since I hardly ever use flash and do a lot of low light photography it's absolutely vital.

I drool over the Leica brand as much as the next guy, but for me the dealbreaker is always noise at high ISO.
     
climber
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Oct 8, 2006, 12:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a
Climber, cheers for clearing that up... i was hoping someone had examples of pictures to compare. i understand what noise is, but i dont know the range of "less" and "more" noise is when comparing these cameras.

Salty, to each his own dude. the reason i like it is cause it's minimalist, old fashioned with a great camera under the hood. but yeah, i can see how some people would prefer other designs like the ultra futuristic... ala Sony.

Cheers
I purposely avoided using an image to illustrate differences in noise between cameras. Any camera has flaws that if properly understood the photographer can exaggerate those defects. This includes noise. Most people are concerned only with taking some snapshots at xmas. For that purpose any good camera will work great.

I think the old fashioned design and feel are probably counterproductive. And this is from someone who also shoots 2-1/4 film on a 1950's Rolleiflex. With a DLSR it sort of makes sense to be able to use existing mounts and lenses and a standard through the lens viewfinder. But on a point and shoot it makes little sense to style the camera based on a range-finder. Especially when other designs probably work better. In other words to much form not enough function.

I think a point and shoot should be mostly about convenience and size. When they start approaching the size of a DSLR with a small lens I feel they have lost most of their usefulness. A good DSLR will take much better photos. This has to do with the size of the sensor used. Although a few cameras with fixed lenses use the same sensor, most use a substantially smaller one. No matter the number of pixels this means lower quality images. The other advantage of a DSLR is the ability to set easily set your aperture and your shutter speed. And my personal favorite very little shutter lag.

That is not to say a digital point and shoot can't take really great photos. I have some great shots of the US olympic qualifier for freestyle aerials a couple of years back. Much better than a lot of the pros. But then I was standing underneath the takeoff ramp with a small camera while all the real pros were stuck at the bottom of the hill with a giant telephoto. In that case I was there working as a ski patroller and a large camera and lens was probably not appropriate. This is why I really like the small digital point and shoot cameras, very unobtrusive and convenient to carry in a pocket all day.
     
 
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