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#3499717 - 01/20/12 05:26 PM Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot
malibu43 Offline
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Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 2001
Loc: Belmont, CA
Hi folks,

I should start by saying I’m not a “photography person”, and neither (right now) is my wife.

Since our son was born in June, she’s been taking pictures by the dozens each day. She has a Canon Power Shot (not sure which one, exactly) that is I think maybe 3 years old (maybe older, it’s pretty beat up…). We had some professional photos taken a few months ago, and obviously they look a lot better than what we get with our old point and shoot. Both of our parents recently got new point and shoot’s, and she’s also noticed that the picture quality from them is better as well, just because the cameras are newer with better technology.

Her birthday is coming up and she mentioned she wants a new camera. One of her friends came by with a Canon EOS, and she mentioned she might be interested in that style of camera instead of a smaller point and shoot. So, I went to Best Buy and started looking at point and shoots and DSLR’s. I was thoroughly confused. However, the guy there took 45 minutes to give me a pretty thorough and relatively technical explanation of the differences between the two types of cameras (image sensor size, lenses, etc...). I also talked to a friend who know a little about photography and cameras, and then used the internet to fill the gaps and supplement anything I may have missed.

The point is that at this point, I have a pretty good understanding of the differences between point and shoot and DSLR. As far as picture quality, customization, and “room to grow” go, the DSLR is obviously better. The point and shoots win out in terms of size and simplicity of use. Even the point and shoots that we're looking at are the bigger ones, so either way we’re not really looking for something that can easily fit in a pocket and be taken out to bars on a Saturday night (we have phones that can serve that purpose now). We (or at least I) are leaning toward a DSLR. It sounds like fun. After shopping around, we’re specifically looking at the Canon EOS Rebel T2i. For comparison, the point and shoot she’s looked at is the Power Shot SX40.

What I’m trying to figure out is if the DSLR will be “convenient” enough for what she wants to do. If she just picks the DSLR camera up to grab a candid shot and uses the “auto” setting, will we still get a better picture than with the Point and Shoot on auto setting? Or are we wasting the nicer features of the nicer camera? Does she need to learn how to manually adjust settings on the DSLR to get better picture quality?

Another thing she’s interested in is the ability to take multiple shots at a time. The T2i claims 3.7 fps, but is that in “auto” mode (ie – will she be able to use that feature on the fly)? The PS SX40, on the other hand, claims 8 fps. 8 fps seems like overkill to me, but this isn’t really my area of expertise, either.

What do you guys think?

PS – We both know that a Point and Shoot will serve our “needs” in this case. But it’s her birthday and I’m all for including some “wants” as well. I just need to make sure a DSLR will meet our “wants”.


Edited by malibu43 (01/20/12 05:28 PM)
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#3499720 - 01/20/12 05:32 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Arthonon Offline
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It's tough to give advice because I don't really know what you want, but one thing I will mention is that the DSLR will almost always focus and react more quickly, so for a moving subject, like maybe the 2 year old your child will be in a couple of years, you're going to be more likely to get a focused shot of them with a DSLR that has them in frame, etc.

My guess is that the T2i will not do the 3.7fps in auto mode, but there is probably a sport mode (represented by an icon of a person running) that will basically be auto but with focus tracking and continuous shooting activated.

Another consideration I didn't see mentioned might be video. The DSLR will probably do video, but it is not good at focusing. The P&S camera would probably be easier to use for video, so if that's important, it might be a factor to consider.
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#3499753 - 01/20/12 06:02 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
MajorMagee Offline
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If you're looking for more functionality and growth options than a P&S without the heft of a DSLR you should take a look at the mirror-less cameras. You still get something pocket-able, but with interchangeable lenses, and better performance. (Sony, Nikon, Panasonic, and Olympus all have something to offer for this in between range)
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#3500350 - 01/21/12 12:56 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Gopher Offline
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The problem with both DSLRs and mirror-less cameras is that 400 bucks will only get you a fraction (in terms of zoom) of capability - and the cost will only increase in time. On the other hand, you gain a lot in places that you never really thought about - principally, autofocus, responsiveness (shutter lag), shot buffers - not just IQ.

My advice is that if you're not interested or not looking to get into aviation, racing, or wildlife photography (or really anything that involves tracking stuff that's mildly far away), stick with a new bridge camera. If you want to do *any* of these with a reasonable chance of success, I'd recommend the dSLR route, with one caveat - you'll be spending about $1100 to get there. My rather long reasoning is below.

Click to reveal..

I'm guessing that you do want room to grow and wouldn't mind doing aviation/racing photography if you had the opportunity. The problem here is that for a few hundred bucks, you'll get a basic Canon camera and a standard kit lens which is great for portraiture, but not very useful for long-distance tracking because it doesn't zoom in far enough - for that, you'll need to buy another lens, which I would hazard a guess would be something like this (disclaimer: I'm a Nikon shooter, so I don't know the Canon range that well). So, if you go down the dSLR route, understand this limitation.

At this point, you might think that, okay, the SX40 can cover that, as it has a ludicrous zoom range and can shoot stupidly fast. Sadly, the problem here is that bridge cameras typically have slow autofocus - so you'll have 8fps of out-of-focus shots, or it will fail to focus at all and therefore not "fire" in the first place. Shooting long range static objects, no problem, as you have time. Something flying or moving at any speed, forget it. On the flip side, you'll only pay your $400 once.

dSLR:
+ It can shoot well in low light
+ It can competently do tracking shots
+ Fast AF
+ Much more flexible
- $600 is only the beginning
- Takes time to learn - and you WILL want to learn to get the best out of it.

SX40:
+ $400 once and only once
+ Learning curve will be much nicer
+ Will have the full focal length (zoom) range right off the bat
- Shooting anything requiring tracking will be a royal pain
- You don't get as good IQ.

I haven't said anything about mirrorless as I haven't any experience with any of them. From what I've read, they occupy a middle ground between the two. They are only a little less expensive than a proper dSLR kit though, so personally I'm not convinced on cost grounds. That and I already have a setup that I like...


Arthonon's comments on video is, for you, something to think about. dSLR video implementation is a bit haphazard, whereas on bridge cameras, it has been around for a lot longer, and therefore "easier to use".

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#3500398 - 01/21/12 02:19 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Lieste Offline
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Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 1848
Be careful about 2/3 cameras - while these may have improved since I bought the first generation this suffered rather badly from noise. This is fairly easily 'corrected' in photoshop - at least getting rid of the multi-coloured 'digital camera' noise, and replacing it with a more 'averaged' colour and retaining the detail in the luminance channel. (My method for a quick'n'dirty fix was to duplicate the image twice, and set one to colour blending with a gaussian blur (to average the colour information) and the other to soft light blending with the high-pass filter to retain valid data for edges and detail, while minimising the effect of the noise.

Within reason ignore the image size in megapixels - the increase in resolution generally comes with an increase in noise, and the resulting images may merely be larger with no significant additional information compared to a more modest sensor. A better test is to use the camera in low light and examine the resulting image (a cupboard in the camera shop, or a bag will do as well as anything, but borrowing a similar camera (from a friend or an obliging shop - some do & some don't do loans to prospective customers) and making a wide range of test shots will give you the best idea.

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#3500851 - 01/22/12 07:36 AM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
storm rider Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 43
Originally Posted By: malibu43
Hi folks,

I should start by saying I’m not a “photography person”, and neither (right now) is my wife.

Since our son was born in June, she’s been taking pictures by the dozens each day. She has a Canon Power Shot (not sure which one, exactly) that is I think maybe 3 years old (maybe older, it’s pretty beat up…). We had some professional photos taken a few months ago, and obviously they look a lot better than what we get with our old point and shoot. Both of our parents recently got new point and shoot’s, and she’s also noticed that the picture quality from them is better as well, just because the cameras are newer with better technology.

Her birthday is coming up and she mentioned she wants a new camera. One of her friends came by with a Canon EOS, and she mentioned she might be interested in that style of camera instead of a smaller point and shoot. So, I went to Best Buy and started looking at point and shoots and DSLR’s. I was thoroughly confused. However, the guy there took 45 minutes to give me a pretty thorough and relatively technical explanation of the differences between the two types of cameras (image sensor size, lenses, etc...). I also talked to a friend who know a little about photography and cameras, and then used the internet to fill the gaps and supplement anything I may have missed.

The point is that at this point, I have a pretty good understanding of the differences between point and shoot and DSLR. As far as picture quality, customization, and “room to grow” go, the DSLR is obviously better. The point and shoots win out in terms of size and simplicity of use. Even the point and shoots that we're looking at are the bigger ones, so either way we’re not really looking for something that can easily fit in a pocket and be taken out to bars on a Saturday night (we have phones that can serve that purpose now). We (or at least I) are leaning toward a DSLR. It sounds like fun. After shopping around, we’re specifically looking at the Canon EOS Rebel T2i. For comparison, the point and shoot she’s looked at is the Power Shot SX40.

What I’m trying to figure out is if the DSLR will be “convenient” enough for what she wants to do. If she just picks the DSLR camera up to grab a candid shot and uses the “auto” setting, will we still get a better picture than with the Point and Shoot on auto setting? Or are we wasting the nicer features of the nicer camera? Does she need to learn how to manually adjust settings on the DSLR to get better picture quality?

Another thing she’s interested in is the ability to take multiple shots at a time. The T2i claims 3.7 fps, but is that in “auto” mode (ie – will she be able to use that feature on the fly)? The PS SX40, on the other hand, claims 8 fps. 8 fps seems like overkill to me, but this isn’t really my area of expertise, either.

What do you guys think?

PS – We both know that a Point and Shoot will serve our “needs” in this case. But it’s her birthday and I’m all for including some “wants” as well. I just need to make sure a DSLR will meet our “wants”.


I'd say, get a DSLR. Either Canon or Nikon. Get a canon or nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 and the worst thing that can happen is you and wife to fall in love with photography! Get also Adobe Lightroom which in my opinion is the best program around.

With a point & shoot you'll always be wanting this something more.

Cheers

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#3501115 - 01/22/12 03:50 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
MajorMagee Offline
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Registered: 03/16/06
Posts: 1457
Loc: Dayton, OH
Don't be put off by the idea that the new mirror-less offerings are inadequate to the task of capturing children.

Micro Four Thirds Photo Examples

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#3501781 - 01/23/12 01:51 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Top Gun Offline
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If she's already taking that many photo's of the kids now of an infant that can barely move, she'll love having a DSLR once they're older. I use mine for boys who are 8 & 10 now but have been shooting their sports since they were small. My kids love going through my scrap books too.

Even if you just go entry level DSLR it's better than a P&S, maybe pick up a photography course for Cmas or anniversary as well thumbsup
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#3501787 - 01/23/12 01:56 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
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I had a micro four thirds cam. The Panasonic G1. It was a great little cam. If that's what you are interested in, one of the best ones for the money is the Panny G3. In fairly good light it takes great images. The contrast focus is the only real downside to the mirrorless cams IMHO. I got a Sony A77 a few months back and I love it. The Tamron 200-500 comes in handy too.

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#3501998 - 01/23/12 05:50 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: speedbump]
malibu43 Offline
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Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 2001
Loc: Belmont, CA
Guys - thanks for all the feedback. I'm still leaning toward DSLR, but we're still undecided. I think we're going to go back to Best Buy and ask about the autofocus speed and max FPS of the two specific cameras we're looking at. Hopefully that will help clear it up for us...

Originally Posted By: speedbump
I had a micro four thirds cam. The Panasonic G1. It was a great little cam. If that's what you are interested in, one of the best ones for the money is the Panny G3. In fairly good light it takes great images. The contrast focus is the only real downside to the mirrorless cams IMHO. I got a Sony A77 a few months back and I love it. The Tamron 200-500 comes in handy too.

...


I didn't understand any of that... biggrin


Edited by malibu43 (01/23/12 05:50 PM)
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#3502108 - 01/23/12 07:51 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Gopher Offline
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See if you can get a hands-on play around as well. When you get the camera in your hands, point it at something a bit far away, then press the shutter release ("the button") half way down so that it acquires focus. See how long it does it on the dSLR, and how long it does it on the other camera - the dSLR should be a damn sight faster, and should go straight to the focus point, whereas the other camera might wiggle in and out a bit before locking on.
This is one of the biggest strengths of a dSLR, which speedbump mentioned. dSLRs use something called "phase detection autofocus", a bit like how old manual cameras worked (but automated now), whereas most compact cameras use "contrast-detection" autofocus, which is inferior - usually very much so - and also why compact cameras are a bit crappy when tackling things that move.

Don't worry too much about FPS. If you can get a hands-on demo, get the rep to set up the compact camera for high-FPS shooting. Try it on a static object, then try taking a panning shot with it and see what happens. To take a good sequence of shots at high FPS, two things need to be present: a camera that can do the FPS, and more importantly an AF system that can actually keep up with such a high FPS.

G'luck!

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#3502205 - 01/23/12 10:36 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
MajorMagee Offline
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Quote:
There were several factors that contributed to the fast autofocus on the E-P3. We all know how slow CDAF was originally, and that was restricted by the 60hz of images (60 images per second) feedback to the CDAF system to determine the focus. Breaking this limit, E-P3 boosted up to 120Hz, which is twice as much data feedback being provided for the CDAF to process and determine the focus. By doing so, the autofocus speed has been improved drastically. To accomplish this task, the E-P3 has a built in dual core processor to enable faster processing. Furthermore, the dual core processor does a lot more than just enhancing the autofocus performance, it takes the camera one step further by reducing the black out time. Generally, after a digital camera takes a picture, it does two things: write the image file to the memory card and produce a display image on the preview screen on the camera. During this process, usually any camera would experience a “black-out” time, and you cannot resume camera operation until the black out time is over. With the aid of the dual core processing, each task (write to memory card and preview on screen) can be assigned to one core, hence speeding up the processing time to nearly none. Not only was the autofocus being super fast, but the responsiveness of the camera has remarkably improved as well.

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#3502293 - 01/24/12 02:31 AM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Lieuwe Offline
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Registered: 07/22/07
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Some stores that specialise in DSLR's also do day rentals(atleast here in the Netherlands), you could always ask if you could give a entry level DSLR a go for a day if the costs are reasonable and see how you get on.

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#3502396 - 01/24/12 08:45 AM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
speedbump Online   content
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I was just saying the mirror-less cams don't have phase detect auto focus like a DSLR. They rely on contrast detect focus which uses the main sensor to focus. Contrast detect focus is way better than it used to be and on the higher end cams will probably work on aircraft, but if you want to shoot birds in flight, get a DSLR as they can lock on and keep lock on a bird that suddenly changes direction.

Eventually they will become equal I figure in the next few years.

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-autofocus.htm
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#3504082 - 01/26/12 02:19 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Reschke Offline
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Go the DSLR route and be prepared to have her want to upgrade again (just like you do with computers) in 2-4 years. My wife has an older Pentax K100 and loved it up until about 6-12 months ago because she said "I want a Nikon because everyone has one".

Now she will not even consider the newest Pentax offering which is the K5. I like it and have played around with one for a while and almost bought her one but didn't want to drop nearly $2k on it with a couple of new lenses last spring. They are dropping in price now because Pentax is about to bring out their newest version. If I buy a Nikon I will have to spring for all new lenses since the first camera she ever bought was a SLR Pentax 35mm that was great but didn't have autofocus which was fine for learning how to take pictures.

Anyway I really like the K-5 because it is capable of going out in all kinds of weather and still functioning without needing to be pampered. Not to mention the fact that the camera has backwards compatibility with lenses that AREN'T motorized. This will allow you to use older SLR lenses with the Pentax cameras autofocus instead of being stuck with having to buy bigger bags to carry all the Nikon/Canon/Olympus/Sony gear that is bulkier and heavier.

Specs on the Pentax K-5


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#3505015 - 01/27/12 02:50 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
malibu43 Offline
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Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 2001
Loc: Belmont, CA
Guys – Best Buy has the T2i on sale for $599, so I’m either going to pick it up today or tomorrow.

The first time I went in, the guy mentioned you can get damage coverage for $150 or something like that (covers lenses breaking etc.. if we drop it or whatever). Normally, I don’t go for that kind of stuff. But I also don’t know that much about these cameras. How “delicate” are they? What are the chances that we’ll break something?
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#3505129 - 01/27/12 04:45 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Gopher Offline
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I would personally not bother, but then I don't do this as a trade. If you drop a camera, as long as it's not more than a couple of feet (read: 2 feet), it should be okay as it is all solid state, even for the most plasticky camera body. Both of mine have also been accidentally saturated after going from somewhere extremely cold to somewhere at room-temp and high humidity, and survived without any problems, although I would not recommend it.

Modern lenses shouldn't be dropped at all (kinda goes without saying :o). They are still quite strong, but the weakest point is the electronics. If you build up some safe habits while use (e.g. always wearing the strap while using) and store it in a place where it is unlikely to be knocked down, and treat both of them with some care and respect, you shouldn't have any problems. Keep in mind that warranties are another way that retailers make big bucks on.

I should note that this is IMHO - your mileage may vary.

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#3505257 - 01/27/12 06:43 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Arthonon Offline
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My opinion matches Gopher's - I doubt it's worth it. You might drop it taking it out of the box, I suppose, but I think that's not likely. DSLRs are not any more delicate than any other camera, and are usually more robust, so I don't think it's likely that they'll be a problem unless abused.
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#3505323 - 01/27/12 07:54 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
speedbump Online   content
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Those warranties are not worth the price they want. Not to say I have not dropped a camera before though.
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#3505439 - 01/27/12 11:04 PM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
malibu43 Offline
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Registered: 02/28/07
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Loc: Belmont, CA
That's what I figured. Just thought I'd check, though.

Thanks!
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#3508745 - 02/01/12 11:07 AM Re: Need some help deciding DSLR vs Point and Shoot [Re: malibu43]
Charlie_SB Offline
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Posts: 722
I got a dslr as well as a photography course for my girlfriend a couple of years ago. Turned out photography was not her new hobby and now we use a p.a.s canon and the iphones for documenting our daughter's first years. Bottom line for me is that it doesn't matter how good your camera is, if it's not in your hand at the right moment you might as well have no camera at all. My canon is always nearby or in my bag so it gets used a lot. The fancy nikon is in a cupboard and never gets to go anywhere, it's too big.

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Fooling a father.
by Desert Eagle
48 minutes 23 seconds ago
A word of gratitude to my SimHQ brothers and sisters(?)
by JCathcart
Today at 03:45 PM
War Thunder nature series
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Today at 06:02 AM
Tattoos love them or hate them.
by marko1231123
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Pizza is coming to me while I am gaming. That's as righteous as it can be!
by letterboy1
Yesterday at 06:41 PM
Family pets passing
by Stormtrooper
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Microsoft deploys robotic security guards
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Steam Sale coming Nov 26
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Yesterday at 01:32 PM
And they go to penalties...
by DBond
Yesterday at 01:15 PM
DCS November Surprise Sale
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Yesterday at 12:25 PM
 

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