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Old Feb 17, 2004, 9:22 AM   #1
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Default Quality compact with fixed aperture lens?

I have an Olympus C 4000 Zoom which takes pictures of a very excellent quality. I am told this is because of the constant aperture lens that it comes with - I don't know much about cameras, but I think it has an f2.8 lens.

I was amazed with this Olympus, because I didn't realise it was possible for a novice like me to produce such good pictures.

This year, I will be travelling around Thailand, Vietnam and China for 4 weeks and wanted to take a lightweight portable camera, and the Olympus is going to be too bulky.

Can someone recommend a lightweight or compact camera that has as good a lens as this Olympus 4000? Price is probably not an issue.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 9:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5jm-0045
I have an Olympus C 4000 Zoom which takes pictures of a very excellent quality. I am told this is because of the constant aperture lens that it comes with - I don't know much about cameras, but I think it has an f2.8 lens. ...
Very unlikely to be true. A camera with a fixed aperature of f/2.8 would need a shutter speed of 1/3200 sec on a sunny day (sunny f/16 rule). Faster to deal with bright sand or snow.

Take a look at the EXIF data from those pictures.
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 11:03 AM   #3
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Well as I said, I don't understand much about cameras...but there is a review here that seems to explain some of the technical stuff:

http://www.macaddict.com/issues/0301/rev.c4000z.html

The 4000 is over a year old now. Is it now possible to get a compact camera, with a similar level of picture quality?
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 8:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MacAddict
What's unusual about the C-4000 is that its maximum f-2.8 aperture (minimum is f-11) stays constant throughout its zoom range, whereas most zoom lenses go through an aperture shift—you might start off at f-2.8 on the wide end, but by the time you zoom to full telephoto, you end up with f-4.5. That lets in substantially less light, which forces the camera to shoot at slower shutter speeds to expose photos properly—resulting in blurred action, camera shake, and lousy pictures. Since the C-4000's aperture remains constant, it's much easier to get good telephoto shots of, say, sports action under artificial lights.
You missed a key phrase: "... constant throughout its zoom range, ..." Nice, but that has little or nothing to do with image quality other than the shake issue noted. So it will make little difference in good light. You can get the same effect by starting with a lens with a larger aperture. Large aperture is not something you will find in really compact cameras: small size means less room to put in a large lens.

Image quality is a very subjective issue. It also depends on camera settings (saturation, sharpness, white balance, ...) so IMHO it is next to impossible to really compare image quality between two cameras. Steve and other reputable reviewers do as good a job as possible, but it still remains in good part subjective. About the only fairly consistant camera measure that relates to image quality is sensor size: bigger sensor means more photons/pixel. A compact camera generally means a smaller sensor.

Sensor size is far from the only thing that determines image quality though.
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