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Compact camera with good image quality...

by antonkarrman / July 1, 2009 9:51 AM PDT

Hi,
So last summer I bought a Sony DSC-T70 and I liked it at first but I after a while I got fed up with how soft the images were. Also, the image stabilization didnt really work as well as i'd hoped. Anyway, something sad happened to my little bud, and i gotta get a new camera. Im looking for one that takes crisp, not-blurry, sharp, good photos, but is also able to do video with zoom (that's necessary ; i have my own reasons why!) but it also has to be compact... like close to the size of the T70 (needs to go out to the club on the weekends Wink

Any suggestions? i was thinking that the Lumix DMC-ZS3 looked quite nice but it had VERY few manual controls, which i thought might be sad; what if i want to set it down and let it take a night time photo of a beautiful river or something.... Am i asking for too much here haha? Anyway what would you guys recommend... Summary

-Video that has zoom
-very good picture quality (but megapixel count doesnt have to be huge
-has to be compact: shirt pocket
-would like at least some manual control for rare scene moments...

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Re: Compact camera with good image quality...
by MarkatNite / July 1, 2009 1:19 PM PDT

"very good" picture quality is obviously subjective, but generally speaking, very good picture quality and compact shirt pocket are mutually exclusive. (In order to get the former you need a large sensor which will not fit in the latter.)

That said, have you looked into Oly's new EP-1? - Mark

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Yeah it is subjective
by antonkarrman / July 1, 2009 6:18 PM PDT

OK yeah i mean it is a subjective term... let's just say that I was tired of the softness of the photos from the T70... that canon one looks nice but is a bit too much on the DSLR side of the spectrum.

I guess in the end i just want a camera with photos that actually take photos at the megapixelage they say they do; with the T70 it had detail only to 7 megapixels; then if you keep zooming you just get blurred pixels that don't contribute anything... stupid really because it makes the photos take up memory but stores the same info...

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Zoom
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / July 2, 2009 12:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Yeah it is subjective

I don't understand your last paragraph.
It sounds like you have digital zoom turned-on.
The Sony T70 only has 3X of optical zoom.

More megapixels will let you get away with a little bit of digital zoom. After that, digital zoom will degrade your picture.
Could that be the softness you speak of?

Digital zoom should only be used in situations where quality is not a requirement.

It sounds like you need a camera with more Optical Zoom.
There are now a few small cameras that have about 10X optical zoom.
Here is a link to a comparison of that type of camera:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q209grouplongzoom/

..
.

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no you misunderstood
by antonkarrman / July 2, 2009 7:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Zoom

yeah you definitely misunderstood. i know exactly what digital zoom is and i never use it, just because i know how to use photoshop, so i'd just crop a bigger photo if necessary. what i mean is when im looking at the photo, when you're looking at it on the computer, it looks crisp when you zoom in, but after you get totally zoomed in to the point where the resolution matches the screen resolution, the photo actually looks blurry, which should not happen. what is happening is the camera is using a little algorithm to interpolate the pixels rather than actually giving me my full 8 megapixels... when i had a 7 megapixel, the photos were very crisp, even when you zoomed in all the way to see them. no algorithm magic, just the photo i wanted! this T70 does not do that! so im looking for a crisp camera that gives me the full megapixelage, whether it's 7 like the one i had before my T70 or higher, but not trying to "force" the higher megapixelage with whatever little computational routines they teach those tiny sony cameras that don't have lenses that protrude from the body; because i feel like the cameras that dont have protruding lenses would tend to do that more; although this is just a hypothesis (im of course basing this off the fact that i had a sony with a lense that protruded and the pics were clear to 7 megapixels, and then when i got the T70 and the lense didnt protrude, i feel the camera software had to try and compensate for the camera hardware because it was immediately put at a disadvantage cuz the lense was limited by being stuck IN the camera body).

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OK
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / July 2, 2009 8:11 AM PDT
In reply to: no you misunderstood

I don't believe that Sony is using interpolation to achieve 8 megapixels in the T70.
That would be fraud which would open them up for a gigantic law suit.

I think you are seeing the results of overcrowding the CCD sensor assembly.

The Sony 7 meg sensor and 8 meg sensor use the same size sensor assembly.
(1/2.5 ") for a pixel density of 29MP/cm2 vs 37MP/cm2

Here is a link about pixel density:
http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/key=pixel%20density

They have crowded an extra meg of pixels onto the sensor assembly to get a total of 8 megapixels.
This lets them use the same size lens for both.

Sony also sells these 8 megapixel sensors to other camera manufacturers.

............

The internal lenses come with some problems.
Alignment is much more critical, which means more cost during assembly.
The most noticeable alignment problem has been when you find one side of the pictures is softer than the other side. That means the lens is not properly aligned.

..
.

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definitely!
by antonkarrman / July 2, 2009 8:27 AM PDT
In reply to: OK

Ok that explanation makes so much sense! ok yeah i totally get it... so with this in mind, any idea for good cameras that i could fit in a shirt pocket that wouldnt cram a ton of pixels into a tiny little sensor? cuz that's what im looking for! Happy

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Re: cram a ton of pixels in a tiny little sensor
by MarkatNite / July 2, 2009 10:19 AM PDT
In reply to: definitely!

That's not the best way to go:

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/02/15/deconstructing-the-megapixel-myth/

Meanwhile, cramming more pixels onto a camera?s sensor can actually LOWER the quality of the photo. A former Kodak manager wrote to explain it this way: ?Too many megapixels can actually impair a camera?s performance. For example, the typical sensor in a consumer camera is 0.5-0.7 inches. The more millions of pixels, the smaller each pixel must be?and the smaller the pixel, the less light-gathering efficiency it has, and the worse the camera performs in low-light or stop-action shots.?

(...)

Lots of you said yes, the sensor size is far more important. After all, it?s undisputed that a 6-megapixel Nikon D40 digital S.L.R. takes better pictures than a 10-megapixel shirt-pocket camera, because its sensor is relatively gigantic. Its individual pixel sensors can be larger and soak in more light, even if there are fewer of them.

==========

Or, like I said above, very good image quality requires a large sensor (not more megapixels on a small sensor), but a large sensor will not fit into a shirt pocket size camera.

Fortunately, this is exactly the situation that the micro-four-thirds configuration was designed for. And of the m4/3 cameras currently available, Pany's G1 doesn't meet your video requirement, and their GH-1 is both pricier and larger than Oly's EP-1.

Or you could wait to see the specs on Samsung's NX3 - Mark

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Low pixel density
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / July 2, 2009 11:47 AM PDT
In reply to: definitely!

This years crop of cameras have 10 and 12 megapixels.
While they have a slightly larger sensor assembly, they are even more crowded that the 8 megapixel sensors.

But there is one camera that is bucking the trend.
The Fujifilm F200.
While it has 12 megapixels, it has a larger than average sensor assembly.
In fact the pixel density if less than a 7 megapixel sensor.

Here is a link that shows the F200 in comparison to 7, 8, 10 and 12 MP sensors:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.asp?method=sidebyside&cameras=fujifilm_f200exr%2Csony_dscw120%2Csony_dscw130%2Csony_dscw170%2Csony_dscw220&show=all

Look down the blocks of information to the 14th and 15th block and find the Sensor Size and Pixel Density.
Click the yellow question mark next to Sensor Size and Pixel Density to learn the meaning of those subjects.

Fujifilm has developed their Super Sensor over many years.

Notice at the top of the page just under the photo of the F200.
There is a green link that takes you to a full review of the F200.
Another link takes you to sample photos.
..
.

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Re: Low pixel density
by MarkatNite / July 2, 2009 1:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Low pixel density

True, but how low is "low"?

Yes, at 25MP/cm2 the F200 has the lowest PD of the cameras listed there. But if you check dpreview's page for the E-P1:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Olympus/oly_ep1.asp

Pixel density: 5.1 MP/cm2

No, that's not a typo. It's not 25, or even 15. It's 5.1, nearly one-fifth of the F200's 25. And it does that in a package that, while granted is bigger, is nowhere near five times bigger. (The above linked pages also list dimensions of):

98 x 59 x 23 mm (3.9 x 2.3 x 0.9 in) for the F200
121 x 70 x 36 mm (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in) for the E-P1

And finally note that the F200 fails the initial "video with zoom" criterion that's stated in the initial post:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf200exr/page10.asp

"you can't zoom either optically or digitally while recording a movie"

Plus, the F200's video is limited to VGA (640x480) while the E-P1 is HD (1280x720p@30fps).

But yes, if the OP is willing to trade the "video with zoom" requirement for shirt pocket size, the F200 is probably about as good as it gets.

OTOH, if he would rather trade the shirt pocket size requirement for video with zoom *and* significantly better image quality (both stills and video)...

Like I originally said, look into the E-P1 - Mark

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