Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 5, 2004, 8:24 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
pianoplayer88key's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 405
Default

here's a link to a small gallery of pics...

http://68.105.110.45:1180/stephen/pi..._comp_fewpics/

all are as close to the same shutter speed as possible (for the high ISO telephoto shots)

For the high ISO pics, which one do you think is the best quality, taking into acount image noise and sharpness?

For the low ISO pics, which one do you think is the best, with a faster shutter speed being preferred?

I have narrowed it down to these few cameras, and would like to buy one as early as tomorrow (no later than tomorrow if I bid on an eBay auction) or as late as Friday (if I get one at Fry's, Ritz, etc.)


My decision may be swaying toward giving the Canon S1 a second chance. It seems to have the fastest shutter speeds at a given ISO setting (so hopefully I won't have to crank it up so high), I got fair (compared to the others) results when running a few test shots through NeatImage, it has a good movie mode, and one major thing is I already have almost 2GB of CF memory, and CF is dirt cheap, too, compared to the other types of memory.

Should I give the S1 a second chance? or should I take a closer look at one of the others?
pianoplayer88key is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 5, 2004, 8:46 PM   #2
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

If you're going to be doing a lot of shooting at longer focal lengths, then the Canon and Panasonic models will have the advantage, thanks to their stabilized lens design.

The lenses on both are very fast (F2.8 throughout the zoom range for the Panasonic; F2.8/F3.1 for the Canon). So, there should be little difference in shutter speeds for these models (for the same subject/lighting condition/ISO speed). That is, unless the manufacturers "fudged" their ISO rating (sometimes a given model may be more or less sensitive than advertised fora given ISO speed).

There may be some difference in the Autoexposure Algorithms (with one model preferring a wider or smaller aperture than the other in some conditions). However, both models have Aperture Priority Mode, so you could control their behavior as needed for more or less depth of field -- or using a wider aperture when faster shutter speeds are preferred.

Both are going to have a lot of noise at higher ISO speeds because of their tiny, very dense sensors -- especially in low light (noise is much worse in underexposed/shadow areas of an image).

It would help to know what you'll be using the camera for.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2004, 10:10 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
pianoplayer88key's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 405
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
If you're going to be doing a lot of shooting at longer focal lengths, then the Canon and Panasonic models will have the advantage, thanks to their stabilized lens design.

The lenses on both are very fast (F2.8 throughout the zoom range for the Panasonic; F2.8/F3.1 for the Canon). So, there should be little difference in shutter speeds for these models (for the same subject/lighting condition/ISO speed). That is, unless the manufacturers "fudged" their ISO rating (sometimes a given model may be more or less sensitive than advertised for a given ISO speed).

There may be some difference in the Autoexposure Algorithms (with one model preferring a wider or smaller aperture than the other in some conditions). However, both models have Aperture Priority Mode, so you could control their behavior as needed for more or less depth of field -- or using a wider aperture when faster shutter speeds are preferred.

Both are going to have a lot of noise at higher ISO speeds because of their tiny, very dense sensors -- especially in low light (noise is much worse in underexposed/shadow areas of an image).

It would help to know what you'll be using the camera for.
In good light, I might be doing quite a bit of telephoto shooting, and in poor light it will mostly be wide-angle, but there may be some telephoto. A lot of shots will be unposed spur-of-the-moment action (or nearly so) (which camera has IS on the subject, not the photographer?) candids in all types of lighting situations.

I added a few wide-angle pics from the S1 and the FZ10 to the linked gallery.

I didn't add these particular pics, but I noticed when looking at them myself that the low ISO telephoto shots from the Z2 were better than the Z1 (the Z1s had a lot of camera shake). Forget about the Olympus C-740 and C-750 - I couldn't shake the shake.

By the way, price is a major factor. I already have about 1.75GB of CompactFlash Memory (but none of it I think is fast enough for continuous 640x480 fine 30fps shooting on the S1). Looking at ebay, lowest buy-it-now prices are currently $440 for the Canon S1, $284 for the Minolta Z1, $360 for the Minolta Z2, and $510 for the Panasonic FZ10, not including shipping charges. At Fry's the prices (not including tax) are $500 for the S1, $350 for the Z1, $450 for the Z2, and $600 for the FZ10.

One observation about ISO speeds vs shutter speeds - it seems that the Canon is approximately 1 stop faster than the Panasonic at each ISO setting.

So... which would be best for the price -- Canon S1 and use my existing memory, or Panasonic DMC-FZ10 and get enough memory for at least 8 minutes of movie and/or 160 highest quality pics, or Minolta Z2 and enough memory for the same quantity of use as the FZ10? (another option with the S1 might be getting a 4GB Muvo player or the 4GB microdrive)


I had had a Canon S1 a few weeks ago, but the autofocus was poor / nonexistant in low light and the image noise was pretty bad. I wonder if it's because I had one of the very first ones and the bugs hadn't all been worked out? Should I give the S1 a second chance?
pianoplayer88key is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6, 2004, 12:25 AM   #4
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I think noise is going to bebad at higher ISO speeds with any of these models. These tiny sensors are not exactly "low noise champs". But, it does allow manufacturers to build compact "super zoom" models, since the actual (versus 35mm equivalent) focal length of the lenses can be much shorter.

If you're right about the Canon being about 1 stop faster (which is quite possible, since I've seen some reports on other Canons showing that their ISO 50 is closer to ISO 100), then the Canon may be agood choice.Then, you could use a lower ISO speed, and still have shutter speeds just as fast as the Panasonic. This should result in lower noise for the same conditions. Of course, without controlled tests, it's impossible to tell for sure.


I doubt you got a bad camera (but you never know). As far as focusing, I doubt that the Panasonic is any better, either. With a Contrast Detection type focus system, you will need a certain amount of contrast in the photo before it can focus.

For carry purposes, the Canon would be smaller and lighter. So, I'd make sure to see which one I was more comfortable with from a size, weight, and ergonomics perspective. I'd also compare EVF useability carefully in different lighting.

The Panasonic would offer a longer zoom andhigher resolution (as well as a hot shoe for an external flash). These things may or may not be important to you.





JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6, 2004, 1:49 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
pianoplayer88key's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 405
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
I think noise is going to be bad at higher ISO speeds with any of these models. These tiny sensors are not exactly "low noise champs". But, it does allow manufacturers to build compact "super zoom" models, since the actual (versus 35mm equivalent) focal length of the lenses can be much shorter.
If I had the money, I'd get a dSLR with an F1.0/F96 16mm-3050mm lens. Unfortunately I don't so I gotta figure out something with the dough I DO have.

Quote:
If you're right about the Canon being about 1 stop faster (which is quite possible, since I've seen some reports on other Canons showing that their ISO 50 is closer to ISO 100), then the Canon may be a good choice. Then, you could use a lower ISO speed, and still have shutter speeds just as fast as the Panasonic. This should result in lower noise for the same conditions. Of course, without controlled tests, it's impossible to tell for sure.
One mark against the canon (but maybe I wasn't focusing properly) might be that it is a bit fuzzier than the Panasonic (for the superzoom pics, that is). Could you compare the two wide-angle pics and tell me if you think one's better (sharper) than the other? (both are low ISO pics)
Canon
Panasonic


Quote:
I doubt you got a bad camera (but you never know). As far as focusing, I doubt that the Panasonic is any better, either. With a Contrast Detection type focus system, you will need a certain amount of contrast in the photo before it can focus.
The Minoltas I was trying out could focus very quickly, which was a fairly major plus.

Quote:
For carry purposes, the Canon would be smaller and lighter. So, I'd make sure to see which one I was more comfortable with from a size, weight, and ergonomics perspective. I'd also compare EVF useability carefully in different lighting.
I mostly use the LCD as the viewfinder, and I like the swivel LCD on the Canon.

Quote:
The Panasonic would offer a longer zoom and higher resolution (as well as a hot shoe for an external flash). These things may or may not be important to you.
a longer zoom AND higher megapixel (but not at the expense of extra image noise) would be nice to have so I can get in a little closer. As for an external flash, I probably wouldn't use it, unless I could get a good deal on an IR lamp powerful enough to make up for the possible fact that the camera may have an IR filter and/or be very IR insensitive, so that a Sony DSC-V1, DSC-F717, or DSC-F828 would fall on its knees begging for mercy (and then I could use IR in manual mode too.... but I don't know of any powerful enough IR lamp to get a 1/250sec F/2.8 full telephoto EV-1/3 shot in total darkness with a camera that isn't designed for IR photography, and if I did the price would probably be a lot more than I am willing to pay. So... it looks like I wouldn't have any use for a flash hotshoe.



So... it seems to be down to giving the Canon a second chance, or the Panasonic. Should I by any chance still consider a Minolta? Also what about an Oly C-765 or C-770? Fry's didn't have them - are they much better than the 740 or 750? If not, they're out.
pianoplayer88key is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6, 2004, 7:35 AM   #6
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I would not want to make a judgement call between the two wide angle images from the Canon and Panasonic, because the conditions were not controlled. The framing anddistance tosubjectis different between the photos.The shutter speed is different, too (1/15 second for the Panasonic, 1/25 second for the Canon).

However, I would expect the Panasonic to resolve slightly more detail - all else being equal, since it's got a 1MP resolution advantage. However, in print, this difference would probably be negligible, unless printing at larger (> 8x10") sizes.

As far as autofocus differences, you'd have to interpret Steve's conclusions:

"Although it has no AF-assist lamp, the S1 was able to autofocus fairly reliably in conditions of low ambient light at the wide angle end of the zoom range."

"Although it does not have a focus-assist lamp, the FZ10's autofocus system performs well in moderate lighting conditions"

Note that Steve used the wording "low ambient light" for the Canon, and "moderate lighting conditions" for the Panasonic. However, he also implied that the Canon worked better at the wide angle end - which is odd, since the lens brightness is fairly consistent throughout the zoom range (F2.8/F3.1).

I doubt there is much difference in their autofocus ability. Without controlled tests with both, it's hard to say. Even then, one may perform better with some subjects, and vice-versa.

As to the Minolta's autofocus-- Minolta does have a reputation for better than average low light autofocus, without using an autofocus assist lamp. However, Steve specifically mentions that it's autofocus system will fail in conditions of low light or inadequate contrast in the Z2 conclusion, too.

None of these systems are perfect in lower light.

Personally, I take very few photos at full zoom (maybe 1 out of 500, and my latest camera only goes to 117mm equivalent focal range). So, I'd be inclined to go with something like the Oly C-750UZ, if forced to choosebetween the models you are considering. It would be smaller and lighter than the stabilized lens models.

I spent a good deal of time comparing it's photos, and would place it near the top of the "super zoom" models for image quality. However, if you use a camera at longer focal lengths (and/or slower shutter speeds), then the Panasonic and Canon models would definitely be superior (thanks to the stabilized zoom lens).

As a general rule of thumb, you want to use a shutter speed of 1/focal length with a non-stabilized model. In other words, at 300mm equivalent zoom, you want to use 1/300 second or faster to help prevent motion blur from camera shake. So, in many lighting conditions, at longer focal lengths, the lens stabilization would give you sharper photos with the Panasonic Z10 or Canon S1 Pro (since these systems are designed to improve useability by about 2 stops).

My shooting needs are much different. In fact, my latest camera is a Konica KD-510z (a.k.a., Minolta G500). I've found that with larger cameras, I'd often leave them at home. With the Konica, I carry it everywhere I go in a pocket. So, it's always ready to take a photo "on a moments notice". Since I take most of my photos at full wide angle anyway, a Super Zoom is not needed for me.

Look at things this way -- in most conditions, the differences in photo quality between the models you are considering will probably be negligible (you are "splitting hairs") -- especially at the print sizes you will most likely use more often.

So, I'd probably go for the camera you are most comfortable with (size, weight, ergonomics, features, menus, control layout, etc.).

Chances are, if the decision is this hard, your second best choice will be almost as good as your first choice.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6, 2004, 2:20 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
pianoplayer88key's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 405
Default

Looks like partially based on price and the fact that I already have quite a bit of memory for it (and I'd have to spend a lot of dough for memory for the Panasonic) I should probably give the Canon S1 a second chance. Maybe I just need to learn how to use it properly. It is probably at least comparable in quality to my old A70.


Oh, I have a 2x telephoto converter and a .5x wide converter and a few filters that I got in a bundle with my A80. What lens adapter do I need to use them with an S1, and how much would I expect to pay for one? I haven't seen one on ebay, btw. (edit: there IS a canon one for $51 right now.)
pianoplayer88key is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6, 2004, 4:13 PM   #8
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

You'll need the LAH-DC10 lens adapter / lens hood set, which also lets you attach 52 mm filters (same filter size your A70 used with it's adapter).

This set lists for $39.00, but most vendors appear to have it for about $30.00 (never assume that the Ebay vendors are less expensive before checking with other vendors).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...amp;sku=319753

As far as image quality, it's using the same sensor as the A70. However, it's brighter lens (especially with stabilization) should give it far more useability in a greater variety of conditions. For one, the lens is much brighter as zoom is used.

So, you would be able to use faster shutter speeds (or lower ISO speeds for lower noise), in the same conditions you were using your A70 in. Also, you'll have image stabilization -- again letting you do the same things (around 2 to 3 stops difference, depending on how steady you hold a camera).

I suspect that image processing will be very similiar to your A70 (although Canon may have made some improvements in the newer models).


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6, 2004, 6:55 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
pianoplayer88key's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 405
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
You'll need the LAH-DC10 lens adapter / lens hood set, which also lets you attach 52 mm filters (same filter size your A70 used with it's adapter).

This set lists for $39.00, but most vendors appear to have it for about $30.00 (never assume that the Ebay vendors are less expensive before checking with other vendors).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...&O=&sku=319753

As far as image quality, it's using the same sensor as the A70. However, it's brighter lens (especially with stabilization) should give it far more useability in a greater variety of conditions. For one, the lens is much brighter as zoom is used.

So, you would be able to use faster shutter speeds (or lower ISO speeds for lower noise), in the same conditions you were using your A70 in. Also, you'll have image stabilization -- again letting you do the same things (around 2 to 3 stops difference, depending on how steady you hold a camera).

I suspect that image processing will be very similiar to your A70 (although Canon may have made some improvements in the newer models).


I just checked prices online a few places, and it appears that WalMart has it for approx $450 plus tax, with a 30-day return policy. I think I'll be getting an S1 there tomorrow. I might check to see if they have the adapter, too (but the search for "LAH-DC10" online returned no results). If not, I might see if I can get one ($40) at Ritz Camera. It should work with these, right?
pianoplayer88key is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6, 2004, 7:28 PM   #10
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Yes, this is the correct part number for the lens adapter/lens hood set for the Power S1 IS. It will allow you to use 52mm filters.

Typically B&H has more of these types of items "in stock", since they are avery large, stocking "brick and mortar" dealer, but I see it listed elsewhere, too. JandR also shows it:

http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.proc...de=CAN+LAHDC10

P.S. -- you need a new search engine.

Google shows hits at lots of dealers (but I doubt that most of themarereal "brick andmortar"dealers -- most internet vendors just drop ship from distributors -- with the distributors preparing custom shipping labels, etc. -- ditto for how returns are handled).

I also see it in a couple of the price search engines.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:28 PM.