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Old Sep 20, 2004, 9:32 AM   #11
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Antti wrote:
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The megapixel rally has gone to a point where it is very hard to find a pocket size camera that takes sharp photos without much noise.
There are pros and cons to a pocket size camera. In order to make the cameras smaller, the CCD must be smaller, too; so noise levels are typically higher. Also, consider things like the flash range, lens brightness, ability to use add-on lens accessories, manual control, etc.

I bought a pocketable model last year (Konica KD-510z; a.k.a., Minolta G500), and have been quite pleased with it (with an understanding of the compromises needed). If I keep ISO speed set to 100, then noise is not too bad for average viewing sizes with my model (provided I stay within the flash range).

But, flash is a must with a small camera like this (the lens is not bright enough without it indoors, and noise levels would be too high trying to increase ISO speeds).

Because of the lens brightness with a small camera (f/2.8-4.9 in mine, which is typical for most compact models), you will also need to stay at closer to full wide angle for your photos to get much flash range (since more than twice as much light reaches the sensor through the lens at wide angle, versus full zoom).

Redeye will be very bad, too (this is because the flash is located so close to the lens).

The benefit of a smaller camera is that you can carry one with your everywhere. I'd often leave my larger cameras at home. But now, I keep always have a camera with me in my pocket.

After all, the first rule of a gunfight is to bring a gun. So, if you don't have a camera with you (because it was too bulky to carry), then you can't take the photos.

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is theremaufacturers that have solved this problem or are still producing 3.2 mp cameras? Or do I just have to forget the size andget one of the bigger cameras (i like canon a85 and s1 SI). I would like to take pictures with a bigger and better camera, buti think that i wouldn't carry i around very much.

You can't go by the Megapixels. You have to look at the sensor size and density. The newer 3 Megapixel CCD's used in most models are very small (most are using a Sony 1/2.7" 3MP CCD -- although the Panasonic/Matsushita 3MP 1/3.2" CCD is being seen more often now); even in the larger models. As a result, the photosites for each pixel are smaller, too. Older 3MP models used a larger 1/1.8" CCD.

Of course, advancements in CCD design have been made (improved microlens design, etc.). But, IMO, the improvements have not been enough to offset the much smaller size of the photosites for each pixel.

Also, the way the images are processed by the camera can have an impact on noise. Some manufacturers do a better job compared to others. Although, in many cases, when you have less noise (because of noise reduction in the camera), you also end up with less detail.

IMO, the best CCD for low light/higher ISO speeds being used in any of the subcompact models is the Sony 4MP 1/1.8" CCD, as used in the Canon S410. It's got a 3.1 micron pixel pitch, which is larger than what you'll find in any of the current 3MP or 5MP subcompact models.

However, a model like the S410is still going to have it's drawbacks: lens brightness is f/2.8-4.9; virtually no manual control, no ability to use add-on lens accessories, no ability to use an external flash (unless you go with a slave flash), redeye (which you'll get in the vast majority of models using the built in flash), weak AF assist lamp, etc.

In other words, there is no free lunch.

If you use a flash (and make sure to check the flash range carefully for models you consider), keep ISO speeds set lower (and be careful when reviewing flash ranges, as some manufacturers quote them at Auto ISO speed -- which means they are boosting the ISO speed to get the stated ranges), don't mind correcting the redeye (which can be severe at times), then a pocketable model can be worth the tradeoffs.

However, if you don't mind a larger model (especially one than can use an external flash), then you'll probably get better results indoors -- if you choose the camera carefully.



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Old Sep 20, 2004, 4:00 PM   #12
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Hello Antii:

I was wondering who or what gave you the impression that digital cameras are not very good for indoor photography? Many of the samples I've seen are great shots with little noise.

My camera (which has been decommissioned since I dropped it:sad is a Fuji S602Z, 3.2 meg pix camera.

Since I hardly use my flash, I usually set my ISO to 400 and click away. With enve lower light available, I have used my ISO 800 and 1600 settings (the 1 meg pix setting is the only resolution for those ISO settings).

Here's my grand-nephew at his 2nd birthday party with natural light, ISO 400

I'll also attach some nighttime shots with no flash in my next post.
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 4:02 PM   #13
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Here's the 1st at ISO 160
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 4:02 PM   #14
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Here's the 2nd at ISO 200
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 4:02 PM   #15
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Here's the 3rd at ISO 400
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 4:08 PM   #16
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Here's the 4th at ISO 800
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 4:09 PM   #17
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And last, here's the 5th at ISO 1600
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 4:23 PM   #18
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JerryF

If you read the 2nd paragraph in the initial post, Antti is looking forinformation abouta "pocket size camera".

Even if Antti decides to go with a larger camera,the S602 is no longer being manufactured, andcurrent consumer models don't offer 3MP CCD's as large as the one in your Fuji (1/1.7"). Of course, if she was willing to go used or refurbished, it would be a good camera to consider.
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Old Sep 21, 2004, 4:36 PM   #19
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JimC wrote:
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JerryF

If you read the 2nd paragraph in the initial post, Antti is looking forinformation abouta "pocket size camera".

Even if Antti decides to go with a larger camera,the S602 is no longer being manufactured, andcurrent consumer models don't offer 3MP CCD's as large as the one in your Fuji (1/1.7"). Of course, if she was willing to go used or refurbished, it would be a good camera to consider.
JimC,

Thanks for pointing that out. You are right; I neglected that piece of information.

Antti: How about the Pentax Optio 450 or the Canon Powershot Digital Elph A80 models? Theyboth have a relatively large 1/1.8" CCD and can be set to ISO 400.
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Old Sep 21, 2004, 4:59 PM   #20
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JerryF wrote:
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Antti: How about the Pentax Optio 450 or the Canon Powershot Digital Elph A80 models? Theyboth have a relatively large 1/1.8" CCD and can be set to ISO 400.
That's my opinon, too (the 4MP 1/1.8" CCD is about as good as you'll find in a subcompact model now). That's why I mentioned the S410 (a little smaller than the A80) in my previous post:

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IMO, the best CCD for low light/higher ISO speeds being used in any of the subcompact models is the Sony 4MP 1/1.8" CCD, as used in the Canon S410. It's got a 3.1 micron pixel pitch, which is larger than what you'll find in any of the current 3MP or 5MP subcompact models.

However, a model like the S410is still going to have it's drawbacks: lens brightness is f/2.8-4.9; virtually no manual control, no ability to use add-on lens accessories, no ability to use an external flash (unless you go with a slave flash), redeye (which you'll get in the vast majority of models using the built in flash), weak AF assist lamp, etc.
If Antti's willing to go a little larger, the A80 would be a camera to consider, too (although it's lens is not any brighter than the smaller S410's, and it still can't use an external flash, it does give you more manual control).

Although, both of these models may be getting a little harder to find now (since the newer S500 and A95 models have come out).

If Antti's willing to go even larger still -- even though I've got mixed feelings on it, the newerCanon G6 would also be a model to consider. It does have a very bright f/2.0-3.0 lens. Canonseems to have managed to reduce noise compared to theolder G5 model (although this is probably just in camera noise reduction, which can result in some loss of detail). Even the G5 would probably be good, too(even though it's 5MP CCD is not the best for noise levels).At lower ISO speeds, it's not too bad (and it's lens is much brighter than the lens on the smaller models, so you wouldn't need to increase ISO speeds as much).
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