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Old Dec 5, 2002, 11:06 PM   #1
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Default MP vs. optical zoom

Why is it that so many camera companies cripple their high megapixel cameras with low optical zoom capabilities? Or, if they put a large opt. zoom on the camera, it comes with mid-low amount of MP. Olympus is especially guilty of this.

To give an example, it's hard to find a camera with both the MP and the optical zoom at 5 or higher... Many have 7-10x opt. zoom, but only 3MP or less.

I'm leaning towards the Minolta Dimage 7i, or 7Hi, so I know some good ones are out there. But they seem to be vastly outnumbered by the others...
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Old Dec 6, 2002, 2:33 AM   #2
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Zoom costs money, and it tends to lead to compromises in image quality and to add to size and weight. Most people prefer to spend their money on maximizing the quality of the shots they will take most often, i.e. in the 35-105 mm zoom range.

Olympus has its current ultra zoom camera at 3 MP because without such a tiny sensor it won't reach so far. The larger the sensor, the shorter the same zoom lens will reach. But there's still zoom available, in the Nikon 5700 (up to 280 mm at 5 MP), 7i (up to 200 mm at 5 MP), Sony 717 (up to 196 mm at 5 MP), and the Fuji S602 (up to 210 at 3 MP that work more like 4), along with the Oly C-730 (up to 380 mm because of that teensy 3 MP sensor). And, if you want a really tiny sensor, and live in Japan, you can get 420 mm at 2 MP with image stabilization in the Panasonic FZ-1.
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Old Dec 6, 2002, 5:26 AM   #3
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In addition to what is already discussed, the x is actually a ratio of the zoom from wide to long. While tele is good to a lot of people (and made easier by the small CCD), the wide angle angle is actually more useful for landscape or close quarter... and should not be ignored either since only a few cameras can reach the 28mm (most are 35mm only) limit.

Even on non-full frame d-SLR the higher cost is on the wide lens (ie 28mm or smaller), and not the long. It's also harder to achieve because of the smaller CCD, since the best center part of the lens is used for the tele. With wide angles, distortion and maybe even CA problems are more acute @ the peripheral!
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Old Dec 6, 2002, 11:42 AM   #4
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two morw things:
1. the longer the zoom the smaller the top aperture. This slows down the camera quite a bit. My 5050 has a 3X lens, at 5mp's. I can add my 2X lens on top when i need it. Personally, i preffer the faster smaller lens, cause i do a lot of available light shooting.
2. we are still taking about digicams (not withstanding the slr's); the lenses put into these cameras, as good as they are, they are only comparable to other small lenses - not mainline canons, nikons, zeiss, etc. By that i mean that a 3mp sensor will be more forgiving to a lens than a 5mp, where barrel distortion and convergence , linear and chromatic abberations would become more noticable. I mean, even in my brand new 5050, there is a little play in the fit of the lens to the body -an unecceptable trait in the slr world. Guess what that little play would do to a 300-400mm lens at the edges (again, an unecceptable variable for slr lenses).
So just as it was previously said, it is a compromise between the two.
JUST WAIT until oly comes up with the new standard lens sizes for digitals ( which begs the question: is it prudent to come up with a new standard for lenses to fit the smaler sized ccds, when the ccds are getting larger all the time? just wondering).
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