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Old Dec 27, 2004, 10:41 AM   #11
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atlantagreg wrote:
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The truth to the matter is that S7000 images *CAN* look very good, with the right post-processing, and in the right amount, etc.

While my site is not officially a "review" site, I'm much more blunt than some. The Fuji guys (and a gal or two I'm sure) have really put far too much hype into the super CCD thing than they should... it simply doesn't work. It doesn't matter whether the CCD diodes/sensors are shaped like rectangles, octagons, or santa clause - you are not getting 12 true megapixel images from 6 million of them. The results are not close to traditional CCD cameras. The fact that in many of their models you cannot change the compression settings on some of the resolution sizes causes further image quality issues.

You know they're aware of it. No amount of saki however, is going to get them to admit the super CCD is going to fade away. However, in newer models (a couple in the 500 series and the new 5100/5500) you see Fuji dropping the super CCD in favor of traditional CCDs. Silently, but they're doing it, and I think the trend will continue until they've phased out the super CCD (HR) entirely - maybe the (SR) later.

To get back to the images though - "out of camera" the images on a monitor and standard size prints look fine, but they are noisy, and contain too many compression artifacts. To test this out, I set the camera one day up at 12MP "fine", with soft sharpening in camera. Submitted the photos to two popular stock photo agencies. All were declined. I then took those images, and applied Paint Shop Pro 9's noise filter to them, and then reduced them to a 6MP image size and resubmitted them. Most were accepted by the agencies. As far as reviews go - the reviewers of these sites review photos out of camera from various models - they do not have the time to "fix" images to be able to tell people images "can be good if you work at them". If the images are cruddy out of camera, they say so, and rightfully so.

The point of this is that S7000 images CAN be made to a higher standard, but out of camera upon inspection they do indeed have problems. For the low price being charged for it today, the S7000 is a good deal considering the features you get. Just learn to use whatever image editor you have, or buy a good one, to tweak the images from this camera to get the best results. I really do like Paint Shop Pros noise reduction filter, but you can do this in Photoshop, Elements, etc. If you're willing to work on the images, it's worth the money. If you want the very best out of camera image quality, get a DSLR.



GREG

Hi Greg,

Certainly a reviewer should post pics "out of camera" and not post process them. At the same time, in my opinion, a reviewer should take the time learn enough about the camera they are reviewing to at least shoot pictures in the native format, and they should not be posting pictures from defective cameras. If they don't "have the time" to at least meet those minimum standards, perhaps they need to find a new job. The majority of my post processing is limited to cropping and reducing the picture size, I don't have tospend much time trying to make my pics acceptable quality. I looked at dozens of pics "out of camera" shot by a professional cat photographer with his S7000 back up camera, none of his pics looked "noisy". If you are so unhappy with your S7000, get over it, move on, and purchase a camera that better meets your particular needs.

Clyde


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Old Dec 27, 2004, 1:45 PM   #12
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At the same time, in my opinion, a reviewer should take the time learn enough about the camera they are reviewing to at least shoot pictures in the native format, and they should not be posting pictures from defective cameras.
What exactly is the native format of the S7000? It is a 6Mp camera and most reviewers took most of their shots at the only quality offered in 6Mp. Both Steve and Jeff at DCRP addressed the 12Mp alternatives and found them wanting.

Steve:
"We've never been big fans of in-camera interpolation. It's our experience that interpolated images are generally soft and no better than what can be obtained from the interpolation function of an image editor; our opinion is unchanged with the S7000."

"That said, we were generally pleased with the quality of the S7000's 6M images even though the JPG files are aggressively compressed and unusually small at approx. 1.5-megabytes. This "aggressive compression" can be seen as noise in the blue sky areas of our sample pictures. We also noticed considerable shadow noise in low contrast areas of the frame as well but this isn't due to compression, it's sensor noise."

Jeff:
"Interpolation is a subject that must be mentioned when reviewing a SuperCCD-based camera. As you know, the S7000 has 6.3 million pixels, but it's capable of generating images with twice that many pixels. How? Interpolation is the answer. In (very) simple terms, the camera is "guessing" at the data that makes up the 12M image. That always leads to digital artifacts like noise."

"The camera always records images at 12M, and it then downsizes them to the chosen resolution.
[Paragraph updated 10/30/03, 5pm; Thanks Karl & Jake]"

"Like all of Fuji's SuperCCD-based cameras, you should consider the S7000 as a 6 Megapixel camera with a 12 Megapixel mode that should only be used for making large prints. Viewed at 100%, the 12M images are very noisy:" (followed by sample 12Mp picture)

"All that noise reduces the detail in your images! You'll get much better results by shooting in 6M mode:"

"The problem with always shooting in RAW mode is that your memory card will quickly fill up. Also, all your images will need to be post-processed. If you're willing to live with those two things, then shoot in RAW mode. As someone who wants my pictures without a lot of hassle, I'd just shoot in 6M -- possibly at soft sharpness, depending on your tastes."

I don't necessarily agree with all of the conclusions, but it is obvious that they both made an effort to find a native resolution and posted pictures at 6Mp, fine 12Mp and Jeff posted raw shots. Maybe you consider raw 12Mp to be the "native" resolution of the camera. But there are some drawbacks like large files and post processing to distill the raw images into something useable. It is probably what I would use if I had one as I am willing to put up with hassles to get good quality, and the raw cycle times are quite acceptable.

I don't think it is always obvious to the reviewer that they have a camera that is a little off. Steve posted results from the Pentax S5i and found from posts on the board that other owners didn't have the edge softness he reported. He got another camera from Pentax and updated the review. Phil at dpreview got a faulty Pentax 750Z and found out the same way it wasn't perfect from posts on his board. He is awaiting another camera from Pentax so he can update the review. I think that is the best they can do.


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Old Dec 27, 2004, 5:00 PM   #13
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slipe wrote:
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At the same time, in my opinion, a reviewer should take the time learn enough about the camera they are reviewing to at least shoot pictures in the native format, and they should not be posting pictures from defective cameras.
What exactly is the native format of the S7000? It is a 6Mp camera and most reviewers took most of their shots at the only quality offered in 6Mp. Both Steve and Jeff at DCRP addressed the 12Mp alternatives and found them wanting.

Steve:
"We've never been big fans of in-camera interpolation. It's our experience that interpolated images are generally soft and no better than what can be obtained from the interpolation function of an image editor; our opinion is unchanged with the S7000."

"That said, we were generally pleased with the quality of the S7000's 6M images even though the JPG files are aggressively compressed and unusually small at approx. 1.5-megabytes. This "aggressive compression" can be seen as noise in the blue sky areas of our sample pictures. We also noticed considerable shadow noise in low contrast areas of the frame as well but this isn't due to compression, it's sensor noise."

Jeff:
"Interpolation is a subject that must be mentioned when reviewing a SuperCCD-based camera. As you know, the S7000 has 6.3 million pixels, but it's capable of generating images with twice that many pixels. How? Interpolation is the answer. In (very) simple terms, the camera is "guessing" at the data that makes up the 12M image. That always leads to digital artifacts like noise."

"The camera always records images at 12M, and it then downsizes them to the chosen resolution.
[Paragraph updated 10/30/03, 5pm; Thanks Karl & Jake]"

"Like all of Fuji's SuperCCD-based cameras, you should consider the S7000 as a 6 Megapixel camera with a 12 Megapixel mode that should only be used for making large prints. Viewed at 100%, the 12M images are very noisy:" (followed by sample 12Mp picture)

"All that noise reduces the detail in your images! You'll get much better results by shooting in 6M mode:"

"The problem with always shooting in RAW mode is that your memory card will quickly fill up. Also, all your images will need to be post-processed. If you're willing to live with those two things, then shoot in RAW mode. As someone who wants my pictures without a lot of hassle, I'd just shoot in 6M -- possibly at soft sharpness, depending on your tastes."

I don't necessarily agree with all of the conclusions, but it is obvious that they both made an effort to find a native resolution and posted pictures at 6Mp, fine 12Mp and Jeff posted raw shots. Maybe you consider raw 12Mp to be the "native" resolution of the camera. But there are some drawbacks like large files and post processing to distill the raw images into something useable. It is probably what I would use if I had one as I am willing to put up with hassles to get good quality, and the raw cycle times are quite acceptable.

I don't think it is always obvious to the reviewer that they have a camera that is a little off. Steve posted results from the Pentax S5i and found from posts on the board that other owners didn't have the edge softness he reported. He got another camera from Pentax and updated the review. Phil at dpreview got a faulty Pentax 750Z and found out the same way it wasn't perfect from posts on his board. He is awaiting another camera from Pentax so he can update the review. I think that is the best they can do.


Hi slipe,

I think you answered your own question about what the native format of the S7k is, if it always starts with a 12mp file and downsizes to get 6mp and smaller formats, then it is obvious that the native format is 12mp. And the 12mp jpeg files should not be confused with the 12mp RAW files. Many (if not most) serious users shoot 12mp fine soft, yes the files are big (approx. 4.7 mb), but that should not be a problem with the proper amount of memory. I can get over 400 images at 12mp fine soft on my 2gb microdrive, so I don't see a problem with file sizes, the RAW images would be a different situation (about 150 images in 2gb). I think there is still one site with S7k pics posted from a defective unit, I'm sure they were made aware of it months ago, but have done nothing to correct it. And certainly, Jeff and Steve are not the only two reviewers posting reviews, I find both of them to usually have pretty good, concise, accurate, and informativereviews, can't say the same for some others I've read. While the effort of reviewers can be a useful tool (I'msure they work hard at it and I would not want their job!!), it is just that, one of many tools that can and need be used to help purchasers make a decision. IMO the best information on ANY brand or model of camera is from the experienced user base thatknows the positives and negatives of the camera in question.While the S7k is not perfect (what cam is?), it certainly has a lot to offer for the size of the investment, and I still say that most of the "hype" about noise in the S7k is just that, hype.

Clyde

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Old Dec 27, 2004, 9:38 PM   #14
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Clyde Atkinson wrote:
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Hi Greg,

Certainly a reviewer should post pics "out of camera" and not post process them. At the same time, in my opinion, a reviewer should take the time learn enough about the camera they are reviewing to at least shoot pictures in the native format, and they should not be posting pictures from defective cameras. If they don't "have the time" to at least meet those minimum standards, perhaps they need to find a new job. The majority of my post processing is limited to cropping and reducing the picture size, I don't have tospend much time trying to make my pics acceptable quality. I looked at dozens of pics "out of camera" shot by a professional cat photographer with his S7000 back up camera, none of his pics looked "noisy". If you are so unhappy with your S7000, get over it, move on, and purchase a camera that better meets your particular needs.

Clyde

Clyde,

If I were "so unhappy" with the camera it would have been on EBAY soon after I bought it, or simply returned to the store. Where did you read anywhere in my post that I was unhappy? Please copy/paste this. Please. Now.

I pointed out that WITH WORK, the S7000 images can be make to look very nice. If you or your friends have a magic one that produces noise-free images out of camera, the best to you and you have wonderful luck. Say hello to The three pigs, Cinderella, and Pinoccio while you're in that fantasy land as well for me.

You speak of the major reviewers "not taking time". They are sent review units (cameras) from the camera makers for their reviews. Many times there are a limited number of these review units to pass around, so they're told they can only keep them for a limited number of days, before having to send it back, where it will be sent to another reviewer. They are being sent many cameras from many makers at the same time, most with strict time limits on the amount of time they can be held by any one reviewer. I would challenge anyone to be able to do what Steve, Jeff, Phil, and the others do in the way of detailed reviews in the amount of time they do them in, juggling the number of cameras they have at any given time. They take plenty of time given what they have, and none of their reviews on the S7000 controdict my own findings and I actually OWN one. To say they need to "find another job" is very smart-ass on your part.

You say you only crop and resize your images to produce an "acceptable quality" in them. That's fine. If the images are acceptable to you after doing this, then that is all that really matters. Please do me a favor however - submit these images to some stock agencies such as Alamy, istockphoto, and shutterstock. Let me know how many get accepted as-is without further processing. Once again, if they're acceptable to YOU for YOUR uses, then that's all that matters. The S7000 can be a very capable camera in the right hands - but it is not the golden fleece of cameras without some work.

Have a nice day


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Old Dec 29, 2004, 6:20 PM   #15
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atlantagreg wrote:
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Clyde Atkinson wrote:
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Hi Greg,

Certainly a reviewer should post pics "out of camera" and not post process them. At the same time, in my opinion, a reviewer should take the time learn enough about the camera they are reviewing to at least shoot pictures in the native format, and they should not be posting pictures from defective cameras. If they don't "have the time" to at least meet those minimum standards, perhaps they need to find a new job. The majority of my post processing is limited to cropping and reducing the picture size, I don't have tospend much time trying to make my pics acceptable quality. I looked at dozens of pics "out of camera" shot by a professional cat photographer with his S7000 back up camera, none of his pics looked "noisy". If you are so unhappy with your S7000, get over it, move on, and purchase a camera that better meets your particular needs.

Clyde

Quote:
Clyde,

If I were "so unhappy" with the camera it would have been on EBAY soon after I bought it, or simply returned to the store. Where did you read anywhere in my post that I was unhappy? Please copy/paste this. Please. Now.

I pointed out that WITH WORK, the S7000 images can be make to look very nice. If you or your friends have a magic one that produces noise-free images out of camera, the best to you and you have wonderful luck. Say hello to The three pigs, Cinderella, and Pinoccio while you're in that fantasy land as well for me.

You speak of the major reviewers "not taking time". They are sent review units (cameras) from the camera makers for their reviews. Many times there are a limited number of these review units to pass around, so they're told they can only keep them for a limited number of days, before having to send it back, where it will be sent to another reviewer. They are being sent many cameras from many makers at the same time, most with strict time limits on the amount of time they can be held by any one reviewer. I would challenge anyone to be able to do what Steve, Jeff, Phil, and the others do in the way of detailed reviews in the amount of time they do them in, juggling the number of cameras they have at any given time. They take plenty of time given what they have, and none of their reviews on the S7000 controdict my own findings and I actually OWN one. To say they need to "find another job" is very smart-bottom on your part.

You say you only crop and resize your images to produce an "acceptable quality" in them. That's fine. If the images are acceptable to you after doing this, then that is all that really matters. Please do me a favor however - submit these images to some stock agencies such as Alamy, istockphoto, and shutterstock. Let me know how many get accepted as-is without further processing. Once again, if they're acceptable to YOU for YOUR uses, then that's all that matters. The S7000 can be a very capable camera in the right hands - but it is not the golden fleece of cameras without some work.

Have a nice day
Quote:
Hi Greg,
Quote:
Perhaps you should take the time to read my posts completely instead of rushing off into your diatribe (as usual). I never said that the S7000 was the "golden fleece", nor have I implied such. I rarely read a post from you on the topic of the S7k that you are not "denigrating" the cam in some way, thus my perception that you are unhappy with it. Whether you are or you aren't makes no difference, you have every right to be either one, we all have to choose which cameras will work for our needs. You also must have missed the part about my friend, the professional cat photographer, where I mentioned looking at lots of photos of his out of camera that were fine. And he certainly has many thousands of dollars of other equipment/brands that he shoots with, but he really likes his S7k to the point that it is his primary back up cam at this point. Are our cameras any different than his? No. Is he using "magic" or as yet unknown softwear to crop and resize pics? No. Does he understand the cam better than we do and has learned how to make it work for him? I don't know, but it could be. As far as my statements about camera reviewers, you are the second person on this forum to make the mistake of thinking you know which reviewers I was talking about, I mentioned NO ONE by name, and I still believe that reviewers in general need to strive for as much accuracy without bias as is possible. I believe I also said earlier in this thread that I would not want their jobs. Just so you know where I'm coming from.
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Old Feb 11, 2005, 8:58 AM   #16
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3 different scenes.
enough said...
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 12:38 PM   #17
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All pixel peeping aside, both cameras produce good pictures, the edge in quality falling to the Panasonic, however, there are other factors:

Pro Fuji:

1- cheap batteries (NiMH at less than $20 a set)
2- CF cards are still cheaper (for the moment at least) and xD cards are quite fast.
3- Low cost

Cons for Fuji:

1- Less zoom range
2- No image stabilization.
3- Image quality?

Pro Panasonic:

1- Good lens with exceptional zoom range.
2- Image stabilization
3- Image quality

cons for Panasonic:

1- Very costly battery (near $100 in Canada)
2- Higher price.

Due to economics, and more experience with Fuji products, I chose the S7000. The image noise only shows on the screen at 100% view and in large prints (although my 11"X14" ink jet prints showed less noise than 35mm film grain).

The point is, make a choice and be happy with it, both of these cameras represent the top rung of non-SLR digitals. (I know about the 8MP models but they offer only an incremental improvement and also are prone to digital noise). They are both excellent picture makers with professional quality results when used properly. Get a camera and get out there and capture some photos. Photography is more practice than equipment, especially when the differences are so minor.

Ira

BTW here is a sample from my S7000:


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Old Feb 14, 2005, 2:27 PM   #18
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BTW to keep this equal, here is a 100% crop from the actual picture used in my last post. This is 6MP mode cropped but not enhanced, it is also further compressed to reduce file size for posting (so some quality is lost):


Remember that at this level of enlargement the original file would produce a print 39.556 inches wide by 29.667 inches wide ( a bit much for any 6MP image).

That is why we should not be too wrapped up in how sharp an image looks at 100% but instead should look at real prints. My 8" X 10" Walmart colour print from this file is magnificent.

Ira
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 8:03 PM   #19
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Hi Ira,

I agree completely with you and that is the very point that I have been trying to make in this thread, look at the print quality.

Clyde
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