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Picture Clarity, Megapixels, Lens, the unknown?

by nickmas80 / January 14, 2009 7:47 AM PST


I am once again confused with photography. I had a Sony DSC-S75 3.3MP that I thought took very clear pictures. A while ago I bought a Sony Cyber-shot 10.1MP camera and in my opinion the pictures are worse on the Cyber-shot than the DSC. I bought the DSC in 2001 and the Cyber-shot in 2008 so I thought that technological advances would surely make the Power-shot the winner of picture quality. They both have Carl Zeiss lenses so the only obvious difference is size. Is the difference in photo quality due to the size of the cameras? The Power-shot is definitely smaller but I didn't think it would make a big difference. If so, what's the point of more megapixels if they don't make the picture any better. I understand that if you zoom they are important but I don't zoom even half of my pictures so isn't that a waste?

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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / January 14, 2009 11:16 AM PST

You failed to mention the model number of your new Sony, but I think it is either one of the new "T" series or the W170.

I understand your dissatisfaction with the new camera as compared to your S75.

The S75 was released in early 2001 and was one of the top of the line from Sony. It originally cost about $700.

Now you are comparing it to a new camera that costs about $300.
The new camera has more bells and whistles, but not the quality of the old camera.
It is a bit like comparing a 2001 Buick Roadmaster to a 2008 Chevy Malibu.

Shortly after 2001, all the camera makers started to cost reduce their digital cameras. This has continue ever since.
Megapixels has been a blessing and a disaster.
When they got to 7 megapixels they should have stopped.

The S75 has a f/2.0 lens with 3X optical zoom, which all the camera makers have abandoned because it cost too much to manufacture.
The S75 performed better in low light than ANY of the newer (non DSLR) cameras.

The only new (non DSLR) camera that can possibly be compared to the S75 is the Canon G10 or possibly the Panasonic LX3. And both of them will fall short regarding low light performance.

Megapixels don't make the picture any better.
Once they went past the very early 7 megapixel cameras they reduced the sensor assembly size so that they could use smaller diameter lenses. CCD sensor noise increased significantly.

The only thing I can suggest on your new camera is make sure that you have digital zoom turned off.
Digital zoom will reduce the quality of the pictures.
Avoid taking pictures in low light without flash, unless you use a tripod to support and steady the camera.

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New Camers
by nickmas80 / January 14, 2009 11:42 PM PST
In reply to: Sony

The model of my new camera is DSC-W170. You're car analogy is clear. I understand that my point-and-shoot is only that and will never be more. So that takes me to the next step.

I would like a digital camera that is for beginners. I bought a Nikon N75 SLR with Tamra lens in an attempt to learn photography as a hobby. That was an absolute failure. I would only get about 25% of my pictures back from developing and the ones I did get back were complete disasters, nothing worth keeping. The cost of film and developing the film is a lot at the rate I was going through it so I put it in the closet and photography is on hold. I figured that if I got a digital camera I could immediately see the pictures and what went wrong which would save me tons of money on film and tons of time on learning.

Any suggestions on a camera? Size, trendiness, color, I have no needs or preferences. I just want an honest camera that I can take good quality pictures with and begin learning photography.

Thanks for any help provided.

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Digital Cameras
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / January 15, 2009 6:45 AM PST
In reply to: New Camers

There are several inexpensive digital cameras for someone who is interested in photography.
You need a camera with some manual controls so that you can try the things you learn.

For a smaller camera, the Canon A590 is a lot of camera for the money.
It sells for less than $125.

For a full size camera the Fujifilm S1000 gives you everything that you need plus it has a 12X lens.
It sells for under $200.

Both have sharp lenses and take very good photographs.

Both have the additional manual controls:
Shutter Priority
Aperture Priority
Programmed AE
Full Manual

You may not use the manual controls much at first, but as you learn more you will need them.
They let you let you do things that a normal point-and-shoot camera cannot do.


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Digital Cameras
by webweazel / January 19, 2009 3:38 PM PST
In reply to: Digital Cameras

I agree with snapshot2. I had done a lot of research a while back, and chose a Canon Power Shot A460 for around $125. It has a nice mix of automatic and manual controls. Prints come out crisp and bright, and larger prints also look crisp. Colors are excellent. I showed it to a family member who is a semi-professional photographer, and they liked it so much, they got one, albeit a newer model, A5xx I think, as the A460 was no longer made. She also got one for another family member. They are all very happy with them. Even the newer models were around $125.

So, you don't have to shell out a lot of money to get excellent photos!

I hope this helped you!

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Megapixels are misleading
by DOSpower / January 16, 2009 8:49 PM PST
In reply to: Sony

Before the digital camera revolution we had film cameras. Back then I was told that if you want a camera that takes good pictures then you need to put your money into the lens. The same goes now that we use digital capture rather than film. If the lens is the size of your little finger nail then expect point & shoot results. If the lens is a bit lump of a thing then you can expect something that provides clarity, speed, focus and improved colour rendition.

A little lens with 10 megapixels is not going to please you nearly as much as a good sized lens on a 7 megapixel camera. A cheap camera will give you the results you paid for, no more.

Good luck and look beyond the marketing hype of megapixels.

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Re: Picture Clarity, Megapixels, Lens, the unknown?
by shadowke2 / January 16, 2009 10:10 PM PST

I started with an Canon AE-1, then went to an EOS. I decided digital was the way to go, so then got a Canon PowerShot. I don't remember the model, it was years ago. Eventually dropped it, and replaced it with another, newer model PowerShot. Both PowerShots took wonderful photos, but eventually the shutter lag time became an issue for me.

For a digital SLR, I switched to Nikon, a D40. It does everything I want it to do, as an amateur. Although there were cameras with more megapixels, I decided to go with less and sink the extra money into another lens (18-200 VR). I haven't been sorry.

For point and shoot, I can't recommend the Canon PowerShots any higher. For a DSLR, go as "bare bones" as you can live with, and put the money into a better lens.

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