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Old Nov 12, 2003, 11:47 PM   #1
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Default Please help me find a camera with Sharp images!!!

:?: I have read a million reviews, only to realilze that there are a million more and I still can't decide on a camera. I mostly take pictures of my kids...nothing high tech. Here is my "wish list" if someone could point me in the direction of a camera that fits these "wishes", I would be EXTREMELY appreciative!! 4.0 megapixel or greater, Excellent, SHARP images, AF illuminator...I am not really that picky, but so many of the cameras that I have tried out had problems with sharpness. Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old Nov 13, 2003, 3:58 AM   #2
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'Sharpness' is often a misnomer and really comes in 2 flavours. Most digicams rely on some sort of auto focus system (fly by wire). Unfortunately the lens systems with zoom don't work like the preset focus of simple film cameras. If the camera fails to get focus lock, then unless you mess with manual settings, you can see a pic on the small lcd, which might appear ok but is actually blurred on enlargement. This is the common problem users refer to as unsharp or soft.

The second more correct term describes a perfectly focussed picture (AF all worked on the right parts of the pic) but the pic on enlargement appear soft or lacking in detail. For say a 6X4 print, 3-4 Mpix is in theory OK for detail. However, camera images need to be made to 'look sharp'. This is in part done by processing to create an illusion that edges 'look' sharp. Unfortunately, if cam makers do too much of this, big enlargements suffer and look artificial. It's a bit like adjusting brightness and contrast on a TV - what works in one room with lights on - won't be the same in daylight.

So, if you're comparing true sharpness enhancement on cameras, be careful because the camera with a fixed internal sharpness level working ok to your eyes most of the time for small prints - probably won't look right on the big enlargement pic of your cat! This is why more experienced users like to turn off internal sharpness to get 'soft' pics you might say are unsharp, but then add the correct amount of sharpening in an editor.

When trying a camera, read how it gives a focus lock warning, focus assist can help a lot, then point the camera at different scenes, particularly in lower light without flash, and get a feel for where the threshold is when the warning comes on. Ideally, the warning should come on at slow shutter speeds when the camera is likely to shake anyway. Oh, and that's another point, some people confuse sharpness with camera shake as well. A more sensitive camera (say up to 400ASA) will allow higher shutter speeds and avoid the shake problem, small cameras are more prone to this than bigger cams. VOX
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