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Old Apr 9, 2007, 9:36 AM   #1
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I'm pretty new to the business of digital cams and photography as a whole. I bought my Fuji S6500FD about a month ago after much indecision about the pros and cons of IS over ISO. As I have learned to use my camera, I think I've figured out some of the jargon, in what all these gimmicks mean in real world photography. Though I might be wrong as well.

I am now convinced that IS is just a convenient substitute for a tripod. IS solves one end of the problem in low-light photography, but it can't help in capturing subject movement sinced you will inevitably use a slow shutter speed.

Good ISO is the way to go and is the future of digital cameras. A high ISO solves both the problems of camera shake and capturing subject movement. So shouldn't improving ISO be the main motivation behind camera manufacturing companies? Why are newer cameras forever coming out with the same mediocre ISO performances of older models? Anyone know?
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Old Apr 9, 2007, 10:40 AM   #2
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Shahmatt wrote:
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Why are newer cameras forever coming out with the same mediocre ISO performances of older models? Anyone know?
Because there is a limit to how sensitive they can make the image sensor. However you do it, sometimes, there's just not enough light.
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Old Apr 9, 2007, 1:10 PM   #3
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Shahmatt wrote:
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I am now convinced that IS is just a convenient substitute for a tripod. IS solves one end of the problem in low-light photography, but it can't help in capturing subject movement sinced you will inevitably use a slow shutter speed.

Why are newer cameras forever coming out with the same mediocre ISO performances of older models? Anyone know?
Answering your second statement first. You have a very limited view of the evolution of digicam technology. Seven years ago most consumer cameras peaked out at ISO 160, maybe. Now virtually everything is higher than that. Kodak is replacing the Z612 with the Z712 which will have a two stop increase in ISO capability.

Now IS, at times it's more than just a convenience. Tripod are prohibited or completely impractical in certain venues/environments.
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Old Apr 9, 2007, 2:06 PM   #4
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Mainly because it's not a big driving factor in sales. Basically, as sensor technology improves, they can improve ISO performance, or instead get the same imaging performance from a smaller, cheaper, sensor. Or get more megapixels on the same sensor.

Right now, more consumers are looking at how many MP. And otherwise, very price sensitive. As consumers become aware/educated, you might see people willing to pay more for a 6MP model with clean ISO 400 than a 10MP model that isn't good past ISO 200. But that doesn't seem to be the case right now.

One big trend I see, is that the 1/2.5" sensor size has become the standard. It seems it used to be this size was primarily used in ultra compacts. Now, the only current Canon digicams with a larger sensor are the A630, A640, SD900, and G7. Many of the compact models use an even smaller size, like 1/3".

The higher end digicam market is also getting squeezed by falling dSLR prices. As the entry level dSLR becomes more affordable, fewer advanced amatures are willing to pay a premium for high end digicams which end up near the same price. Companies with strong dSLR business also may be reluctant to canbalize their own sales there. So they emphasize things that the dSLR doesn't do as easily, such as long zooms at a low price.

I'd guess that a company without a strong dSLR line, like Fuji, might be more inclined to push improved sensor performance in hgher end digicams.

There are very few advanced digicams anymore. The G7 seems to be one of the last. And even that has a number of downgrades from the previous G6, such as a weaker flash, less bright glass, and no RAW mode. But I do think there is room there for a revival of this type. I would like to see someone even bring back the 2/3" size sensor in an advanced digicam, with near dSLR performance, though this might still be very much a niche market at the moment. I don't think everyone looking to move up from lower end digicams wants to deal with the complexity or inconvenience of a dSLR. The lack of competition in this range right now means that if someone does it right, they could have a big seller there.

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