Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   General Discussion (
-   -   whats the difference ????? please help (

95Probite Sep 12, 2005 12:10 AM

hi. im planning on buying a pocketable camera and i was curious. what is the difference in "quality and performance" between pocketable cameras that have "retracatable lens, i mean one where the lens physically comes out of the body to shoot a pic" OR a camera, like some of the sony models that have the zome "built-in" and there is no motorized action when you take a pic" ??

im a newbie when it comes to these types of cameras, so i need help. thanks!!!

eric s Sep 12, 2005 9:49 AM

Well, I bet some optical compromizes must be made to make the lens retract, but there is nothing inherely "Better" in a lens that doesn't retract. Its just that it *could be* better.

The more elaborate retraction system adds cost to the camera that they could have spent on improving the camera in other ways. Or just reduced the cost to undercut the competition.

The smaller pocketable cameras are aimed at a market that views the convienence of fitting in your pocket as more important than a higher quality picture. This isn't true for everyone, but youc an't get something for nothing.

Some of the best lenses made for 35-mm cameras are over a foot long. I doubt you'll ever find a lens that retracts into a pocketable camera that matches the quality of those lenses (300mm f2.8 and f4 prime lenses, 70-200 f2.8 zoom lenses are good examples.) That is the tradeoff. Large and a bit clunky, amazing optical quality.

Also the smaller cameras often have smaller digital sensors than the larger non-lens-retracting models. As a general rule (but it isn't always true) smaller sensors perform worse than larger sensor.

Does that help?

There are other ways that they perform better, but those have less to do with how the lens retracts and more to do with the physical size of the camera.


95Probite Sep 12, 2005 12:19 PM

so youre saying that retractable cameras can perform better since built-in models COULD be better?

what is the more overall on AVERAGE choice in this department for the average non-porfessional camera user?

eric s Sep 13, 2005 9:04 AM

It's all a question of cost.

My personal, slight unexperienced opinion (I have taken over 13,000 images with an SLR, but almost none with a point and shoot) is that a camera without a retracting lens will probably take a better picture than a similarly priced retracting lens camera.

Is it possible to build a really good retracting lens camera? Yes, of course. But I would expect it to cost *more* than one that didn't.

Does that help?

The key, to me, is how important having a small easy to carry camera is. If you don't think you'll take the camera with you because it's too big... then don't get the big camera. In the end, they are tools. And there are other factors beyond image quality that are also very important. Size and weight, for some, are even *more* important than image quality.


Sep 13, 2005 12:21 PM

A good analogy to what Eric is saying is the example of an 35mm, Olympus Stylus Epic. The "standard" model has a very good, fast lens that makes excellent images. Other models, of the exact same camera, have longer retractable lenses that produce less than stellar images (when compared to the original Epic).

luisr Sep 21, 2005 8:14 AM

On the other side, cameras with retractable lenses usually have larger lenses, which is better.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 6:50 PM.