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Old Nov 1, 2005, 1:37 AM   #1
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Last summer, I tested an S1 for a week or so. I rather liked it - with the exception of the most important element... the quality of the image. Simply put, the images were much too soft.

Fast forward to the present day. I am currently trying out an S2. I really like everything about it - from the 1/3200 shutter speed to the 2.4 shots per second to the articulating LCD display... and even the 'My Colors' option. The focus is fast enough for me, and it is nice to have an AF assist beam (I own an Olympus C-755 - great camera, useless in low light). I don't even mind the menu system on the S2.

And so, it once again comes down to image quality. The S2 is no better than was the S1 in this regard. The S2's imagesare just as woefully and intollerably soft as were the S1's. I would likely buy this camera were it not for this frustratingly unnecessary matter.

As an aside, Ialso notice that the S2's compression is noticeably greater than the compression on my C-755. While the S2's compression ratiois habitually in the 6 to 9 range, the C-755 regularly comes in at between 4 and 6. This results inthe 5 MP S2's images being of a smaller file size than the 4 MP C-755's images, with both at maximumresolution and quality settings.
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Old Nov 1, 2005, 8:12 AM   #2
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The S2 came out fairly well in resolution compared to the competition: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons2is/page14.asp That usually translates to sharp images from the camera. Steve's sample shots look pretty good to me.

If you have online storage where you can put full sized images how about posting a comparison of the same shot from your Oly and the S2. I'm curious about what you are considering "soft". Maybe you got a bad camera.

I couldn't find numbers on the 755, but the 4Mp 750 has the same lens I think and this was Imaging Resource's resolution test:

"The C-750 Ultra Zoom performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,050 lines horizontally, and perhaps 1,000 lines vertically. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred around 1,150 lines."

So you should be getting a lot more detail from the S2. Keep in mind that dpreview had no way to bypass the native compression – the tests reflect that. Looking at Steve's images the S2 has a fairly average compression for a 5Mp camera. The files are larger for the same shot than either the Panasonic FZ20 or Sony H1, which are their main competition.

You might just like more in-camera sharpening, contrast or saturation. Try messing with the controls.


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Old Nov 1, 2005, 7:03 PM   #3
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yo EOS RT (nice handle by the way)

this goes against my experience with images from this camera as well.. they seemed to be as good or better than the competition.. what magnification are you looking at them at?

i am disappointed there is no RAW on the camera though, i mean how hard is it to put it in, you don't have to use it if you don't want to.. but then at least you would be able to control the sharpening and compression much better..
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Old Nov 2, 2005, 2:52 AM   #4
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You remember the EOS RT,Hards80? I still haveone...

The new Olympus SP-500shoots inRAW, I believe. However, it is lacking in other areas, as is to be expected, it seems, as no camera has all we want.

Wouldn't it be nice if one company would, for, say,$1000, allow consumers to 'build' their own camera by choosing the options which are important to him/her?

Yes, the C-755 is the same camera as the C-750.

My definition of 'soft' is, essentially, a softer focus than should be the case. With the S2, nothing seems in sharp focus - everything is a little soft - or 'blurry' - gets softer further away from the center of the lens at maximum wide. This is to be expected to a degree - but I've not seen itthis noticeablein other cameras. I view them at their full size resolution.

I've tried the S2 with stabalization on and off; I've shot at all levels of sharpness (there are only 3 levels - not enough), I've shot at various resolutions and 'qualities', and I've simply not been satisfied.

Perhaps, as slipe said, I've simply got a bad camera... which would be a good thing... except for the fact that such would notspeak well for Canon's quality control.



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Old Nov 2, 2005, 10:08 AM   #5
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Looking at Steve's sample photos, the standard photos of the building, park, restaurant etc are just a tad over 2Mp for the Oly 750. The same photos from the S2 are between 2.7 and 3Mp. That's around 5:1. So my guess is that you have a lower quality set on the S2. Best quality has a pretty good compression ratio for a 5Mp camera.

Without being able to see the full sized images you are shooting it is hard to know what is happening. Steve put the S2 on his best cameras list and dpreview gave it a highly recommended. Everyone else seemed to think it was a good camera. They look at the image 100% and note excessive edge softness, which didn't seem to be a complaint. You don't get those kind of resolution numbers from a 5Mp camera with a soft lens. I would guess the camera you are testing has an error in the focusing or lens manufacture. Everyone puts out a lemon occasionally and it doesn't seem to be a complaint from the S2 users.

Most people don't want to introduce sharpening artifacts by shooting at a high level of in-camera sharpening. That you want an extreme level of sharpening available might mean you just like a highly sharpened image.

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Old Nov 2, 2005, 1:01 PM   #6
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I have noticed that my S2 tends to give "soft" images on high aperture (low aperture values, let's say between F/2.7 and F/3.5), but it's a matter of doing a good focusing, but sometimes the camera doesn't get the perfect detail. This doesn't happen on higher aperture values (F/4-F/8) where the camera always behaves well. However, I've read that this problem is quite common to P&S cameras.

If you look at Steve's comparisions, the S2 produces nicer images than the Sony H1; I think the Sony kind of postprocesses images, so on higher ISO settings they seem to have less noise, but they look like postprocessed, and Sony images tend to be darker, which also can hide some noise at first sight.

But well, finally I've gotten many really crisp shots with the S2, in good lighting conditions it's a really excellent performer, and it works perfectly as long as you don't need to use ISO 200 or ISO 400, where noise becomes visible.

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Old Nov 2, 2005, 7:06 PM   #7
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Sharpness is user adjustable if you want to. See page 94 of user manual.



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Old Nov 3, 2005, 12:48 AM   #8
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As I've previously stated, I have tried all 3 Sharpness settings on the S2. Personally, I findsuch3 step settingsto be woefully inadequate. The S2 has a mid-level setting, and +/- 1. The C-750,in comparison, has a mid-level (0) stetting, and +/- 5. That's 8 steps more than the S2. (I mostly keep it at mid-level on the C-750 - works just fine - but it's nice to have 10 other options.)

And I assure you that I am shooting at maximum resolution and highest quality.

I'll not include comparisonphotos, as the differences are best seen at 100% - and I don't know how (or where)I canload full size photos. Plus, I'm on dial-up... Trust me - the difference in the photosis significant.

I will include this comparison, though...

The S2 does not always have a smaller file size than the C-755. Often, the S2 file size is smaller than the C-755 - but the S2 file size is sometimes larger than that of the C-755.

A couple of examples... photos were taken with the same variables (i.e. shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc. were the same on both cameras):

Indoor Flash photo:


Olympus C-755

File Size: 2.6
Uncompressed size: 11.2
Compression ratio: 4.3



Same photo with
Canon S2

File Size: 1.9
Uncompressed size: 14.4
Compression ratio: 7.4


------------------------------


Outdoor photo, sunlight:


Olympus C-755

File Size: 2.2
Uncompressed size: 11.2
Compression ratio: 5.2



Same photo withCanon S2

File Size: 2.3
Uncompressed size: 14.4
Compression ratio: 6.4


One thing which remains consistent is that theS2 always compresses significantlymore than does the C-755. The result is that the 4MP C-755 often has file sizes which are larger than those of the5MP S2 - thisis but one of the thingsI was not expecting from the S2.

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Old Dec 11, 2005, 1:49 AM   #9
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I couldn't find sample images for a C-755, but my S2 can produce images which at full magnification look subjectivly as good as the C-765 samples seen in the review on Steve's site.

Note lower shutter speeds seems to increase the amount of noise in my S2 images - especially for any darker colors or objects in shadows. So, if you go for a small aperture and the shutter speed is slower than half a second you will may see increased noise. For example, I took two shots of objects on a bookself from about 2.5 meters using a tripod using the 10 sec self timer with the lens at about 120mm: one shot at f3.5 0.1sec and the shot other at f8.0 0.5sec - the f8 image is noiser and not quite as sharp when viewed at 100% mag. I then used the flash and managed to get less noise.

I suspect a 5MP camera may have more noise problems than a 4MP if the sensors are the same size.

So perhaps, if you want a sharp image (at 100% mag) you need to think about shutter speed as a factor for noise as well as shake. Note, I could only see these differences at 100% magnification - so perhaps it's not a big issue unless you're in the habit of cropping and enlarging a lot of your images.

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Old Dec 23, 2005, 9:13 PM   #10
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The shutter speed and aperature setting has no almost no effect on compressed file size.
Subjet matter does.
A photo of a beach and sky will compress alot more than a photo of a forest and stream with alot of detail.
I compared a 5MP easyshare with my Canon a95 5mp. On thebest qualitysetting, and and the same subject the Kodak had 1.1 meg file compared to a 2meg canon file.
On another subject the Kodak gave a 1.6meg file while the Canon was 2.7 meg.
The photos were Identical when printed at 4x5 but easy to tell apart at 12x15"size.
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