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Old Sep 6, 2003, 11:47 AM   #1
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Default What camera for landscapes?

Hi everyone,

sorry for my poor English, Im from Czechia, Europe, and Ive got only a little opportunity to use English.

Now, whats the problem. Ive got Olympus C4000 (it is the same as 4040 in US) and bought it to photograph mostly landscapes. After 4 months of using I find that it is good for anything except landscapes. The pictures are not sharp enough in the distance of "infinity", even if focused for infinity manually. Having asked my Czech friends I found that it is not a beginners mistake but probably a common feature of this camera.

My questions are:
1. What would you recommend for landscapes instead of Oly4000?
2. Is it a good idea to use MAVICA CD500 for this purpose (this advice appeared on one of the Czech digiforums)? This camera is not very common here in Czechia and only few people have experience with it.

Thanks a lot for recommendations and ideas.
hank
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 12:18 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with the cameras you name but I have noticed that image samples of the Olympus stand out in crisp clarity as long as the shot is taken at 100 iso or less. At 200 iso or higher Olympus looses the race.

Next I have a feeling that more glass diameter leads to more crisp images. The sony cd500 might sound cool, personally I find Sony colors too cold to be representive out of the camera. Maybe the Nikon Coolpix 5000 is also worth to look into?
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 12:27 PM   #3
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The Olympus C-4040z is a different camera, with a different lens design compared to the C-4000z. The C-4040z offers a much faster lens (F1.8/F2.6), along with some features that were not available on the lower priced C-4000z.

Both cameras were marketed in the U.S.

The Olympus C-4000z has an excellent reputation for taking high quality photos.

Dave Etchells (owner/editor of imaging-resource.com) found that the C-4000z performed well on resolution tests, and also exhibited lower than average lens distortion at wide angle.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/C40/C40PICS.HTM

I would try the in camera settings for things like Sharpness to see if this helps your perception of the photos. Also, you may want to make sure you are using an Aperture that gives you a greater depth of field (you can use aperture priority mode for this purpose).

You may also want to take your landscape photos using a tripod -- to help reduce any blur due to camera shake.

You can also use image editing software to improve perception of sharpness (although, using too sharpness -- either in camera or with software, can add artificacts, and give your photos an "overprocessed look".

A free imaging editing package like irfanview can help you modify images to better suit your tastes, and can be downloaded free at http://www.irfanview.com

If you are still not satisfied with the photos, consider purchasing a higher resolution camera, with a higher rating on the amount of detail it is able to resolve.

An example would be the Sony DSC-F717, which is capable of resolving more detail on a resolution chart, compared to any other consumer level digital camera.

Also, can you post some photos somewhere on a web site, so that we can see what you are talking about? Sometimes the problem may be something to do with the way you are using the camera.
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 12:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
Also, can you post some photos somewhere on a web site, so that we can see what you are talking about? Sometimes the problem may be something to do with the way you are using the camera.
Indeed a sample or full sized crop might help us to see what the cause is. Please provide us a url.

Second thought, it might be ;
- What I said 200 iso or higher Olympus snow/noise
- Camera flaw. Hank did you look at pbase http://www.pbase.com/cameras/olympus/c4000z for similar photos?
- Atmospheric haze

I think I see what you are talking about at http://www.pbase.com/image/6654445/original
yuchhh, what a bummer .
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 1:19 PM   #5
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Yep -- some of the landscape photos from the C-4000 on pbase.com do look pretty bad.

The worst ones seem to be using wider apertures, with terrible quality, despite relatively high shutter speeds.

The better photos seem to be using an Aperture of around F5.6, with some users seeming to prefer faster ISO speeds to get a faster shutter with smaller apertures..

You may want to try shooting your landscapes with Aperture Priority, experimenting with different Apertures -- using a tripod to reduce blur due to a slower shutter speed, until you find the best "sweet spot" for your lens.
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 1:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathilde uP
I think I see what you are talking about at http://www.pbase.com/image/6654445/original
yuchhh, what a bummer .
But with that photo they used f2.8 which is the worst thing you can do for a photo like that. You can have the best camera in the world but if the person behind the camera doesn't know what they are doing, they can ruin the shot!
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 1:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_PEAT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathilde uP
I think I see what you are talking about at http://www.pbase.com/image/6654445/original
yuchhh, what a bummer .
But with that photo they used f2.8 which is the worst thing you can do for a photo like that. You can have the best camera in the world but if the person behind the camera doesn't know what they are doing, they can ruin the shot!
Mike:

From looking through many of the photos from the C-4000z, the camera appears to prefer shooting at wider apertures using full auto. Many users don't realize the effect that this can have with some lens designs. A new camera user should expect the camera to deliver a high percentage of better shots using full auto, IMO.

The C-4000z lens does appear to be pretty bad at wider apertures -- not only from a sharpness perspective, but from a chromatic aberrations perspective as well. This is a common problem with many other cameras too.

Even in some C-4000z review shots on other sites, I'm seeing the camera use an aperture of F3.2, with a shutter speed of 1/800 for building photos.

IMO, given the photo quality at wider apertures, Olympus probably should have taken a more "middle of the road" path with exposure settings in auto (versus preferring wider apertures w/faster shutter speeds). This would have allowed better photos in a wider variety of conditions.

I've seen this kind of auto exposure behavior with other cameras too (for example: an Epson PhotoPC that I used to own preferred wider apertures, with many shots lacking sharpness as a result). I even complained in writing to Epson about it.

I've found that the Nikons I've owned generally used a more balanced approach to aperture/shutter speed choices in full auto, versus going to one extreme or another.

In any event, there is nothing that he can do about it now.

So, the best solution appears to be using the camera's available Aperture Priority Mode -- selecting a smaller Aperture to improve the quality of the Landscape Photos.
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 2:18 PM   #8
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Even at f2.8 a good camera would atleast produce 1 branch sharp, I couldn't find such in the forest.

I was also under assumption that DOF range at lets say f2.8 depend may vary how close or far focuss is set and lense used. At f2.8 and landscape it is easier to get atleast 1 tree sharp while in macro mode we are picky on mm.
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 2:32 PM   #9
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I don't think it's a DOF issue. I think the lens sharpness just plain stinks at wider apertures, from what I'm seeing in photos from the camera.

Ditto for CA/Purple Fringing -- it appears pretty bad from this lens at wider apertures. Unfortunately, the reviewers sometimes "smooth over" a cameras weak areas (no offense guys).

More than once, I've bought cameras that I was dissapointed with, despite "glowing" reviews.

So, I've learned over the years -- look at as many photos as you can find from a camera you are considering, in a wide variety of conditions, to try and find out a camera's weaknesses and strengths before buying one -- taking both professional reviews, and user opinions of other owners "with a grain of salt".

Then, after narrrowing down your selection to "the camera" -- make sure that the vendor accepts returns (without high restocking fees) -- just in case you missed something that you will find so unsatisfactory, that you'll want to return it for a refund.
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 4:32 PM   #10
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Indeed look at all possible photos by users before buying a camera. I found pbase.com/camera quite usefull for browsing several cameras.

If pro reviewers would spell out all the flaws cameras have, nobody would ever buy a consumer camera and no camera manufacturer would ever hand them a model for review. However they do hint in political phrases to these flaws. Read very carefull. Image resource sample images are good to see what the camera really can do in optimal controlled situation. That excludes most of the times fully automatic modes.

User reviews are mostly crap aka; "I bought this camera yesterday and it is really amazing". Ofcourse this person hasn't been through all difficult photo situations with this camera. And ofcourse some people like to prove they have a better than yours or in other cases write a raving review to pardon their big spending.
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