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Old Jul 14, 2004, 6:11 PM   #11
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Hey JimC,

Once again thanks for your help. I appreciate it

Well I am convinced that the coolpix 4500 is the best camera for the job when it comes to macro pictures. Andit isn't too big a camera, mainly because of it's shape. I will try and find a store tomorrow where I can play arround with it.Also found this about the coolpix 4500:
http://xoomer.virgilio.it/ripolini/CP_4500_2.htm

But there is a but. The camera is going to be used to take other pictures than just macro pictures (eventhough that is my main interrest) and I'm not sure if the cp4500 is close (In picture quality) to some of the other camera models I have looked at. Thinking of landscape pictures, indoor pictures with/without flash, lowlight pictures without flashand so on. I also like that most newer cameras can take video's in 640*480 at 30/15fps without time limitation. It actually happens that I shoot a small video clip.

I used to work at a company where they had a coolpix. I think it was the 950 and it was very easy to take shaky or blurry pictures with that camera. I wasn't impressed, but then again. The 950 is also an old model compared to the 4500.

So I need to weigh out all these advantages/"disadvantages" compared to other cameras that also takes good macro pictures. And I must say that I canno't say which quality in macro pictures is good enough for me. I guess it can never be too good, bus as I said. I need to weigh this up into a higher unit.

Perhabs I should try and find at macro picture that I find ok and upload it here for you guys to evaluate?
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Old Jul 14, 2004, 6:42 PM   #12
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Just had to post 2 macro pictures taken with the cp4500:

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Nor...photo66066.htm

and

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Eur...photo15011.htm
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Old Jul 14, 2004, 6:50 PM   #13
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ledderlappan wrote:
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[snip]
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Thinking of landscape pictures, indoor pictures with/without flash, lowlight pictures without flashand so on.
Quote:
[snip]
I used to work at a company where they had a coolpix. I think it was the 950 and it was very easy to take shaky or blurry pictures with that camera. I wasn't impressed, but then again. The 950 is also an old model compared to the 4500.
Well, you've got a BIG problem. The vast majority of digital cameras (unless you want to invest in a Digital SLR) are NOT going to be good choices for existing light (i.e., indoor) photos without a flash (or tripod) -- especially most newer models (because they are packing more photosites, into smaller CCD imagers). Higher Resolution does not necessarily equal higher quality (especially if you need to use higher ISO speeds).

Unfortunately, what is bright to the human eye, is not to the camera's lens, so achieving shutter speeds fast enough indoors to prevent blur from camera shake with many cameras can be challenging.

One way to get faster shutter speeds witha camera is to set it to higher ISO speeds. For example, ISO 400would allow shutter speeds 4 times as fast as ISO 100. The downside of increasing ISO speed, is that the camera is amplifying the signal from the CCD sensor to achieve greater sensitivity to light. Amplification increases noise (similiar to film grain).

Most users find noise very objectionable (often to the point of making the photos virtually unusable frommost newer camera models), once you get up to ISO 400 in low light conditions.

You can find software tools to reduce noise in images if shooting at higher ISO speeds is needed. Noise Ninja and Neat Image are probably the best two. Here are the download links:

http://www.picturecode.com

http://www.neatimage.com

Another thing you'll want to do, is try to stay at as close to wide angle as possible with most compact models in low light. This is because the lenses are much brighter at full wide angle.

The lower the F-Stop, the larger the aperture (with more light reaching the sensor through the lens). The higher the F-Stop, the smaller the aperture (with less light reaching the sensor through the lens).

F/1.4 is twice as bright as F/2.0

F/2.0 is twice as bright as F/2.8

F/2.8 is twice as bright as F/4.0

etc.

The aperture scale (in one stop increments) goes F/1.4, F/2.0, F/2.8, F/4.0, F/5.6, F/8.0, F/11, F/16, F/22... With each one stop move to a smaller aperture, you will need shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure.

ISO Speed is linear (ISO 200 is twice as sensitive to light as ISO 100, ISO 400 is 4 times as sensitive as ISO 100, etc.)

An understanding of these parameters is very important, especially if you need to shoot in "existing light" indoors.

Here is a handy chart that shows how Aperture impacts shutter speeds needed in various lighting conditions (see the table for Exposure Values, F-Stops and Shutter Speeds). Note that the chart is based on ISO 100. So, each time you double the ISO speed, you can (or the camera's autoexposure can) use shutter speeds twice as fast as in the chart for proper exposure:

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleedawson/dcnotes/tables.htm

In order to get a fast enough shutter speed, in many lighting conditions, you'll need both a fast lens (lower F-Stop rating), as well as a camera that can shoot at higher ISO speeds.

The best models for existing light photos are the Digital SLR's. They have dramatically larger sensors, which are able to gather more light. As a result, they have much higher useable ISO speeds, because the signal from them does not have to be amplifed as much. The two least expensive models are the Nikon D70 and the Canon Digital Rebel (EOS-300D). These models can shoot at ISO 1600 in a pinch, and still produce useable images.

However, in many lighting conditions, you'll still want a bright (larger aperture/lower f-stop) lens to go with them. These models can be purchased camera body only, or as a kit with a zoom lens. For existing light use, you'll want a better lens than would come with the kits.

These solutions may or may not be outside of your budget.

Depending on your budget, you may want to consider some of the models with anti-shake technology, too. Konica-Minolta's DiMAGE A1 model has an anti-shake system that compensates for camera movement, allowing you to hand hold the camera at much slower shutter speeds than would normally be possible without a tripod.

I have seen some criticism of it's noise level at ISO 100, compared to it's competitors. However, when you take a closer look, it's ISO 100 sensitivity, is really closer to ISO 200, compared to some of the other competing models.

Because of the anti-shake mechanism, much slower shutter speeds can be used than otherwise possible without a tripod with this model.

If you can locate one (it's been discontinued for a while now) the Olympus C-4040z is also a much better than average low light performer. It's lens is rated at F1.8/F2.6 (much brighter than average), and it's 4 megapixel CCD is a better performer (from a noise perspective), compared to some of the newer models using the densor (more pixels in the same area) Sony 5 megapixel 1/1.8" CCD.

The Sony DSC-F717 is also better than average in low light (for a non-DSLR model), with it's bright F2.0/F2.4 lens -- combined with a 2/3" 5 Megapixel CCD.

Another camera that has a brighter than average lens, is the Canon Powershot G3 (if you can find one, since it was replaced with the 5 Megapixel Canon G5). It's lens is rated at F2.0/F3.0; and it uses the same 4 Megapixel 1/1.8" (.556") Sony CCD sensor as the Olympus C-4040z uses.

All else being equal, the models using the 4 Megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensors are usually much better low light performers (less noise at higher ISO speeds), compared to models using the newer 5 Megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensors.

BTW, the Coolpix 4500 also uses the Sony 4 Megapixel 1/1.8" CCD, but it's lens "stops down" significantly when using zoom (as does the lens in the majority of compact models).

I'd also avoid 3 and 4 Megapixel models using the smaller sensors (1/2.5", 1/2.7"). These smaller sensors seem to be the trend lately, because they allow much smaller lenses for the same 35mm equivalent focal lengths. That's why you're seeing so many new "super zoom" models coming out.

See my post in this thread concerning the Z2, formore comments how sensor size impacts noise:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=20


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Old Jul 14, 2004, 6:59 PM   #14
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P.S. - The easiest solution (giving you far more choices in cameras), is to simply usea flash, if you need to take indoor photos without a tripod.

Then, you can keep ISO speeds set low (for low noise), and get good photos.

You may also want to look at models with some type of image stabilization to prevent blur from camera shake at slower shutter speeds. However, this only works if your subjects are not moving (anti-shake technology only reduces blur from camera shake, not blur from subject movement). One camera with this technology is the Minoilta DiMAGE A1 I mentioned in my previous post.

Unfortunately, there is no one "perfect" camera for all users, in all conditions. So, we often need to make difficult choices/compromises.


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Old Jul 15, 2004, 5:37 PM   #15
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Once again thanks for the help.

I have for the last couple of days-and will continue for a while, been looking at pictures taken by different models. I will use these pictures as a erhmm guideline when looking for my new camera. Hoping that the picturehaven't been through photoshop too many times.

I will advoid the new super zoom models using the smaller sensors (1/2.5", 1/2.7"). But Ican understand why they are so popular. On paper the overall specslook very nice (For the untrained eye?) The new konica-minolta Z3 was actually a top candidate for me untill recently. But since it uses a 1/2.5" Type CCD it should have the same problem witha lot of noise in theimages as withthe Z2?

I will find 2 or 3 top candidates and post them in here and see what the response are.



Edit:

You mention the Dimage A1 and I must say that I have seen some very beautiful pictures taken by this camera. One danish guy has taken a lot of macro pictures with this camera and they are stunning. But it's also a bit pricy (870 $us)

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Old Jul 16, 2004, 11:42 AM   #16
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My 2 current top kandidates are:

Nikon coolpix 5700 and FujiFilm Finepix S7000.

The Finepix S7000 is more than 200$us cheaper than the coolpix 5700. In general I like the Finepix the most and the 200$ got a big impact as well, but the coolpix get recommendet a lot more and I also think that camera takes better pictures.
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Old Jul 16, 2004, 1:04 PM   #17
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Well, given your desire for low light use, I would not recommend the Coolpix 5700. See the conclusion section for it in Steve's Review:

"The EVF does not "gain up" (brighten) in low light unless you select ISO 400 or 800 and in my opinion the noise at these ISO settings is unacceptable."

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_...n5700_pg6.html

Because this model uses and Electronic Viewfinder (as do all non-DSLR models with longer focal lengh lenses), it can be very hard to use in lower light conditions. Also, this model has below average low light autofocus, especially at longer focal lengths (because it's lensis not as bright when using zoom). Also,it's EVF makes it difficult to use manual focus too.

Again, because you want to use a camera in low light conditions, this will make it much tougher to find a "good match" -- especially if you want to use it indoors without a flash (as you indicated in one of your posts). I'm afraid you'd be dissapointed with it in these conditions.

As far as the Fuji, it's had mixed reviews. One reviewers observation is that it's image processing algorithms tend to softenimages, as higher ISO speeds are used. This reduces visible noise in a photo, but can result in loss of detail.

Another observation by some reviewers, is thatFuji appears to be using overaggressive image processing and too much JPEG compression. Shooting in 6 Megapixel (versus interpolated 12MP mode) seems to help, although it's noise is still considered high by some in 6 Megapixel Mode, too. Shooting in RAW (then converting to another format with software later) seems to improve images.

Because the Fuji also uses an Electronic Viewfinder, you may find it difficult to use in very low light conditions, too.

Now, if you're not going to be printing at larger sizes, some of these problems may not be noticeable. I just wanted to make sure you are aware of them when comparing models.

BTW, one other model you may want to take a look at is the Sony DSC-F717. It's got a very bright lens (F/2.0 -- only stopping down to F/2.4 at full zoom). It's also using a superb autofocus assist system (laser based). Because it's lens is very bright, you can shoot at faster shutter speeds, and/or lower ISO speeds in low light, compared to other models in it's class.


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Old Jul 16, 2004, 5:28 PM   #18
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Well I have more or less discarted the coolpix 5700 for several reasons, but one of them is that I find it a bit pricy.

I have looked at the Sony DSC-F717 before, but didn't really move on with it. One of the reasons is that I found it a bit pricy? About 100$ more than the S7000 and I wasn't really sure if it was worth the extra money and the memory sticks are also quite exspensive I think. Second I disliked the fact that itis an impressive 151mm in depth. So I have mixed feelings about this camera, but after reading Steve's review once more I'm a bit more positive since he reallygives this camera "the thumbs up".

And I have looked into the possibility of buying one of these cameras used and have found both the F717 and S7000 used at a fair price. But nothing is for sure yet.
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Old Jul 16, 2004, 5:48 PM   #19
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The single biggest problem I see, is your desire to take photos indoors without a flash.

Unless you want to use a tripod, the cameras capable of doing this (without a lot of motion blur and/or noise) will be very limited.

No one camera is going to be "best" in all conditions. So, you'll need to decide what features are more important to you, then try to find the camera that meets most of them, within your budget.

Finding the "right" camera forour desired shooting style can be difficult, and we often have to make very difficult choices and compromises.


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Old Jul 16, 2004, 6:39 PM   #20
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Actually the F717 get's rated a lot better than the s7000at dpreview.com. Need to read the 2 review's again (just looked at it very quickly)

But I have read some buyers reviews on it's bigbrother, the DSC-F828 and they all complained about noise on their pictures at heigher iso. Need to find out if that is also the case with the F717.

No matter what camera I buy I will probably get into trouble when taking pictures indoor without a flash i.e. a church, but buying a camera that minimises the risk of getting blurry pictures (When compared to other models)is a good idea. But then again ... in most cases when I take pictures indoor without a flash, I am able toput the camera in a fixed position.
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