Thank you both...
How much of IQ is the operator's skill though? Shooting both the Nikon and the Sony on automatic or Program mode, will I experience a difference? I mean, I look at some of the photos on here that I can tell are significantly better than mine, then I read in a thread like this and can tell that photo belongs to someone who is extremely knowledgeable about shooting manual mode on a DSLR with a range of lenses, which I doubt I will ever be, and wonder what my end result on something like the Sony will be.
To use a DSLR, youve got to learn about exposure. That is shutter speed, aperture and ISO and what each one does inside out. To fully use a DSLR you've got to be able to manipulate these three to get the desired results.
Many DSLR's have a full auto mode, but IMO it doesn't work as well as in bridge and P&S cameras.
Photography is all about composition (perspective and everything that goes into making a photograph) and light. A properly framed photo with brilliant composition will always be pleasing. You cannot fight the light. It can work in your favor or not. Studio work is obviously all about manipulating light. I am talking about safari photos.
Finally the equipment. Fast, good quality lenses help once you've mastered the above. Fast lenses (low aperture number, f1.4, f2 and even f2.8) in amateurs hands will create worse pictures than P&S. You've got to be able to control depth of focus with those.
Then finally the camera. Print size plays a huge role in what size sensor size you need. I like to blow up my best pictures to about 24X24 or slightly larger and prefer not to hall around a FF camera, and I find APSC size is fine. Any smaller will not suffice. For 5X7 prints and computer viewing 1" sensor should be fine. P&S cannot even get proper isolation and thus is not suitable for any artistic work. They are great for snap shots to document things and so are today's phones.
So, IMO. The equipment doesn't play much role in why the photographs you like are that way. It only played a small role. So, you cannot buy your way into good photography. However, like you said, if you do not want to spend your time, get yourself a good bridge camera and if you are skilled in composition (which is natural for some.....my wife who is not into photography has a better eye than me) your images will be nicer than average.
Edited by Gilgamesh, 14 September 2016 - 06:38 PM.