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Old Jan 19, 2004, 4:53 PM   #1
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Default C-5050 vs C-5060

Trying to decide between the 5050 and 5060 but having a hard time. My primary use for the camera would be underwater photography (primarily w/flash but some without) but I am planning to get back into photography so I am looking for a camera that can "do it all".

My problem is this: The C-5050 gets great reviews but I keep reading about "low light noise" and "slow focusing" issues. The Chromatic Aberrations problem also gets a lot of play but I am not too worried about that when it comes to underwater photography. The C-5060 seems to have resolved all of these issues but it's a bit larger than the 5050 and uses a new "proprietery battery".

Basically I am trying to find out if the "better" 5060 image quality, addition of the passive AF sensor, and increased focusing speed is enought to justify getting a slightly larger camera and, more importantly, giving up the ability to use AA batteries in a pinch. Can someone tell me if the changes in the 5060 are truly noticeable or are we talking about the difference between a Porche and Ferarri, lol.

Thanks in advance!!!
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Old Jan 19, 2004, 6:38 PM   #2
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Don't forget the lens speed.

Larger Aperture = Lower F-Stop Number = Faster Shutter Speeds for the same lighting conditions and ISO Speed.

The C-5050Z lens is an extremely bright F1.8/F2.6.

It's more than twice as bright as the C-5060Z lens at wide angle, and is probably several times as bright when using zoom (at equivalent focal lengths), compared to the C-5060Z's much slower F2.8/F4.8 lens.

Both cameras use the same Sony 5 Megapixel 1/1.8" Sensor, so noise levels are likely to be about the same (at equivalent ISO Speeds).

Of course, the problem with the C-5060Z, is that you may need to use higher ISO Speeds (resulting in much higher noise), just to get shutter speeds fast enough to prevent blur from camera shake/subject movement in some conditions (compared to the C-5050Z).

So, if you want to take low light pics without flash (you mentioned some underwater pics would be without flash), the C-5050Z would probably be a better choice.

Of course, the C-5060Z has a wider wide angle. There are pros and cons to both.
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 12:43 AM   #3
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I thought from reading the stats the 5060 was more compact than the 5050...anybody?

Kayd
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 8:38 AM   #4
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This is a good site for comparing the two cameras.

http://www.wrotniak.com/photo/c5050/index.html
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 2:24 PM   #5
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JimC: Thanks for the reply, the lens speed is another issue I read about but didn't realize the difference in brightness was as large as it sounds like. For underwater photography, a brighter lens would make a big difference by allowing a faster shutter speed, ie getting clearer shots of the quick moving critters. The noise levels between the 2 does seem to be an improvement of the 5060 (according to what I have read) but very few do an actual "comparison" between the two. Instead, I am usually reading both reviews someone performed (at different times) and trying to infer a difference between the 2 cameras based upon the language and tone of the review.

ImKayd1: The stats say the 5060 is just a bit larger than the 5050 and I have seen them both up close and can attest to that. It is not a huge difference but when you are talking about luggin it halfway around the globe and taking it diving smaller is better, lol.

EasyRay: Thanks for the link, I will check it out.
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 2:47 PM   #6
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Yes, the lens in the C-5050z is MUCH brighter than the lens in the newer C-5060z.

Here is a good chart that will help you to understand how Aperture and Lighting Conditions impact shutter speeds that a camera can use. It's based on ISO 100. So, each time you double ISO speed, you can double the shutter speed in the chart.

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleed...tes/tables.htm

Also, make sure to see the comparison in the link that Easyray provided. It includes some noise comparisons between the models.

I seriously doubt that there is much difference in noise between the two at the same ISO Speeds.

But, as I mentioned before, you may need to increase ISO Speed in the newer C-5060z, just to get shutter speeds anywhere near as fast for the same lighting conditions as in the C-5050z (since the lens in the C-5050z is more than twice as bright at wide angle, and several times as bright when using zoom).

I have seen a review showing higher than average noise from the C-5050z. However, I've also noticed that the firmware versions in the C-5050z have changed during production (so Olympus has probably made some improvements in the model, during the production process). Also, there can be a considerable variance between the sensor and related components between cameras.

So, one reviewer may have received a camera that was on the low end of acceptable tolerance (using early production firmware), with another receiving a camera on the better end of acceptable tolerance.

Sony is the manufacturer of the 5MP 1/1.8" Sensor used in both models. So, it's unlikely that there would be any significant difference in noise between these two models (especially since they both come from the same manufacturer).

Also, if you look at noise charts, "higher than average" usually means a small increase in noise -- not a big jump (as in going from ISO 100 to ISO 200), when compared to competing camera models using the same sensor.
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 5:15 PM   #7
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JimC: Thanks again, that is exactly the type of information I was looking for. You read about an "increase in noise" but what you can't determine is how much of an increase we are talking about. If both cameras are using the same sensor (and the 5050 FW has gone through an upgrade) then the difference is probably nominal. Adding to that your point about being able to shoot at a lower ISO due to the faster lens, I would feel very comfortable assuming that the image quality of the 2 cameras is very similar.

Thanks again, this is great stuff!! I took photography in school but that is many years, and many beers, ago and it is hard trying remember all of the stuff I was taught, lol.
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 6:17 PM   #8
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Well, noise does get pretty nasty, pretty fast on cameras using this CCD.

Basically, to increase ISO speed, manufacturers are just turning up the gain from the CCD. This also amplifies noise.

NONE of the cameras using it are exactly "low noise champs".

I'm using a Konica KD-510z (a.k.a., Minolta G500). I RARELY use anything over ISO 100 with it. The Sony 1/1.8" 5MP CCD is just too noisey to me in low light at higher ISO speeds.

In good light, it's fine (but you don't really need the higher ISO speeds in good light).

Most of the noise tests you see are taken at daylight equivalent lighting. In lower light, noise tends to be much worse.

Think of it as a Sound Amplifier without any input. With the sound amplifier you get hum and hiss. With a Digital Camera, you get image noise.

Unless you really need the 5 Megapixels, you may want to consider a older model using the 4MP 1/1.8" Sensor instead. It's noise profile tends to be much better than cameras using the newer 5MP 1/1.8" sensor. This is because the photosites for the individual pixels is larger in the Sony 1/1.8" 4MP Sensor.

Unfortunately, you'd probably have to go used, in order to locate a C-4040z.

Whichever model you choose, I'd buy it from a vendor with a no restocking fee policy -- just in case it doesn't meet your expectations.
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 10:54 PM   #9
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What about the noise reduction setting on these cameras? Doesn't that help?

Kayd
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 11:48 PM   #10
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Noise reduction typically doesn't kick in until longer exposures. Even then, most systems are using a dark frame subtraction system.

Basically, with most models, they're taking more than one photo at the same shutter speed (one is in the background, so you don't know about it). Then the cameras look for hot pixels in the "dark frame", then subtracts out these pixels from the actual image taken.

This doesn't help with random noise - only hot pixels.

Now, there are some differences in the way each model may process the image that can increase or decrease noise. In the case of the C-5050z, setting sharpening to a lower level in camera seems to reduce the appearance of noise substantially.

Also, cameras using the 5MP 1/1.8" CCD aren't the worst low light peformers.

Some of the newer ultracompact and "superzoom" models are using sensors with smaller pixel pitches (i.e., the 1/2.5" 4MP CCD, and the 1/2.7" 3MP CCD).

That's one of the reasons you are seeing so many new "ultracompact" and "super zoom" models. They can use smaller lenses for the same focal range, because the sensors are much smaller. This is good for camera size and weight, but the downside of the smaller sensors is increased noise at higher ISO speeds.

For most users, in most lighting, noise is perfectly acceptable at the print and viewing sizes they'll use a camera at.

However, if you want to take photos in low light, at higher ISO speeds, then noise can be a big problem.

That's one of the reasons that a Digital SLR is the camera of choice for low light sports. Their sensors are dramatically larger, so they have a much better signal to noise ratio. This is because the size of the photosites for each pixel is much larger. As a result, they can use much higher ISO speeds, with lower noise, compared to non DSLR models.

There is no perfect camera! If you want higher resolution, in a compact camera, then you must use a small, dense sensor to get it (and smaller, denser sensors have higher noise).
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