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Old Dec 7, 2003, 11:56 AM   #1
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Default Which is better?

I am looking at buying a digital camera. Which would be a better option, a Panasonic DMC-FZ1 ( 2 megapixel with a Leica DC-VARIO ELMARIT 12x optical zoom lens) or something like a Pentax Optio 550 ( 5 megapixel 5X zoom)

Will I get better quality photo's at the end of the day out of the better lens and zoom rather than a 5 meg camera?
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 12:47 PM   #2
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I know nothing about either camera's lens quality. For that you would be better off looking for reviews on this site or others. For example pictures you can probably find tons on pbase.com; you can search their database for pictures based on camera type. As far as 2mp vs 5mp, it really depend on what you plan to do. If you don't anticipate printing many large pictures or post processing (i.e. cropping via an image editor) then you may be fine with a 2mp camera. Personally, I would rather have 5mp so that I could have the option to print larger pitures and have more pixels to edit / crop via an image editor.
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 1:18 PM   #3
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It all depends on what you are trying to photograph. Of very distant subjects, you can't make up for the lack of optical zoom by cropping (it takes about 4 times the resolution to equal twice the optical zoom).

Here is a table from Digital_Ray_Of Light, based on formulas described by Rodger Carter and Rick Matthews (Telephoto Figure of Merit: Explanation and Uses) with popular long zoom models.


BTW, I would personally not use the interpolated results for the newer Fuji models. Reviews that I've seen show no "real" resolution advantage to shooting in the interpolated modes (detail captured).

The older models Fujis were a little better in this respect (with 3 Megapixel Models performing more like 4 Megapixel Models on resolution charts). The denser "4th Generation" Fuji Sensors don't seem to perform as well.

Personally, I take most of my photos at full wide angle, so I'd prefer the higher resolution model, which would allow much larger prints for the photographs I take.

Also, you may want to look at the newer Optio 555 if you like this camera. It has far less noise (similiar to film grain, only worse) compared to the Optio 550 (which has been heavily criticized for noise at higher ISO speeds). It also has some improvements in camera performance.

BTW, the Optio 55x series cameras have received some criticism for vignetting (darkening of corners), but that is to be expected from such a small lens with it's zoom range. For many users, the convenience of a small camera with it's focal range is worth it.


Although Digital_Ray_of_Light has not added it to his tables yet, the new "king" of resolving power at longer focal ranges should be the Panasonic DMC-FZ10 (420mm equivalent stablized zoom lens, using a 4 Megapixel Sensor).

If you don't really need the higher zoom, chances are , you'll get better overall image quality from a model with a less dense sensor (the new Panasonic uses a small 1/2.5"(.4") 4 Megapixel CCD, which allows manufacturers to build a camera with much great zoom capability in a compact package). But, for photographing distant objects, you won't be able to beat it's resolving power (thanks to a stablized 420mm equivalent lens).

Again, there is no substitute for optical zoom (if you need it).

There are pros and cons to any camera choice. You'll need to decide what conditions you'll be using a camera in, and make the best decision for your needs.
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