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Old May 20, 2004, 7:28 AM   #1
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Does anyone know if the physical size of a digital camera lens makes a difference to the quality of the finished photo? I see the newer cameras with very small lenses in comparrison to my G3 which has a physically large lens. Does it make any difference to the finished product?????
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Old May 20, 2004, 8:18 AM   #2
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A very interesting and astute question.
Strictly speaking, the answer to your question is no. That means that no cause and effect relationship can be read from lens size. That does not mean that a bigger lens may not be better than a given smaller lens, or the other way around, only that the size is not necessarily the cause.
Increased size in a lens can be due to a number of factors including larger maximum aperture (f-stop) for a given focal length, increased number of elements for increased optical complexity, increased zoom range, increased macro range, or some mechanical consideration such as vibration compensation such as the huge difference in sizes between the Olympus C700 and the 2500 ultrazoom which have the same optical elements but differ very greatly in physical size since the 2500 has vibration reduction.

Hope this helps.

Richard S.
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Old May 20, 2004, 9:12 AM   #3
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Good list. Well said!


Another effect is that the larger lenses might have less depth of field. This isn't guarrentied, but one of the things effecting DOF size is the physical aperture side (not f-stop, which is a ratio.)

So the smaller portable digital cameras with the smaller lenses are good for group photos because they have a larger DOF (more people in focus.) But if you wanted to isolate your subject from the background (a head shot, a bird, whatever) then this is harder to do with a smaller camera because the DOF is just so large. For the later use, the SLR/DSLR cameras have an advantage because their larger lens means smaller DOF.

This isn't inherently "better" just more useful for one type of photography, and worse for the other.

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Old May 20, 2004, 9:18 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, the reason I asked was that when I purchased this camera the guy who sold it claimed that the larger the lens physically, the better the photos. I tend to take more photos of single things so I guess I picked the right camera for this being as the G3 has a largish lens:-)
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