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Old May 31, 2009, 10:23 PM   #1
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Default ISO 400 Comparisons of Z Series & Other Cameras

My study began with the question "How does the high ISO performance of the Kodak Z*12s & Z980 compare with each other and with their competitors?" In part this was as a result of the high ISO performance comments in Steve's review of the Z980.

I have started with ISO 400 as I wanted to use the Z612 as a somewhat a benchmark aws I've use my Z612 at ISO 400 and consider it very useable as long as the photographer understands its characteristics. After this thread I will also do an ISO study and hopefully a low ISO daylight study.

Since I don't own all the cameras I need sample photos under reasonably repeatable conditions and for these I chose Steve's sample photos included with his reviews. The cameras selected include the Z612, Z1012, Z980, Canon SX1 and the Sony H50. I have also done the same examination on the Canon S5, SX10, Olympus SP565 and the Sony HX1 but I won't post the analysis photos nor comment about those in the interest of space.

I used the "equal pixel" method to equalize the MP differences in the cameras IrfanView's B-Spline emplementation was used to resample down to the native resolution of the Z612.

The principle areas of judgment were 1) the "MM" on the central figurine and specifically the degree to which the radius at the edges of the raised letters appears as such and 2) the readability of the desktop weather station on the right hand side to the pictures.

The first two 100% crops are the Z612 follow by the Z1012 cropps. The final image is the center crop for the Z980. Take not of the Z612 in comparison to the other two cameras.

A. C.
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Old May 31, 2009, 10:38 PM   #2
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Default Continuation

The first photo in this series is the right hand crop for the Z980 followed by the crops for the Pany FZ28 and the Canon SX1.

The FZ28 is the class leader in my opinion. Considering the degree to which the FZ30 was criticized for being heavy handed with noise reduction it like Panasonic has studied the problem and is now handling it very deftly. The HX1 and the Z1012 seem very close in performance and somewhat behind the Z612.

A. C.
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Old May 31, 2009, 10:47 PM   #3
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Default Continuation 2

Final set - the Sony H50. It seems share the bottom performance heap with the Z980. The Z980 doesn't manage to get close to the performance level Kodak had three years ago in this test.

A. C
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 12:58 AM   #4
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AC-

In actual practice, I can shoot long zoom shots with the Kodak Z-1012 at ISO 800 that clearly beat either the Kodak Z-980 or the Sony H-50, all of which I own and use. The Z-1012, is only less than the FZ-28 in terms of the IQ, by a very small margin.

Here is an example of the Z-1012 at over 100feet at ISO 800.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 1:01 AM   #5
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Here is a sample from the FZ-28. This sample was shot much closer, at about 12 feet.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 2:42 AM   #6
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Excellent and dedicated experimental work, A. C. Thanks!

I've been using slightly higher ISO settings more on my Z1012 and Z712 lately, and have generally been pleased with the outcome. I gained confidence with them shooting our Christmas Advent candle, and on realising the improvement I could achieve in steadiness for hand-held long zoom shots.

As you may recall, I was trying to buy a Z612 like yours two years ago when I acquired the Z712. Maybe I missed the boat!
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 10:23 AM   #7
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Hi Sarah, when talking about camera quality can you please include 100% crops as just reducing the full frame shows nothing as to the quality of results available? Something like A.C. has done with Steve's sample photos will help give much more accurate info. It's usually best to take these on the features of the face as this is what most of us are interested in.

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Old Jun 1, 2009, 10:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
AC-

In actual practice, I can shoot long zoom shots with the Kodak Z-1012 at ISO 800 that clearly beat either the Kodak Z-980 or the Sony H-50, all of which I own and use. The Z-1012, is only less than the FZ-28 in terms of the IQ, by a very small margin.

Here is an example of the Z-1012 at over 100feet at ISO 800.

Sarah Joyce
I have most of the work done on ISO 800 comparisons but unfortunately the sample photos in Steve's review of the Z1012 do not include ISO 800. The Z612 drops out as it doesn't have the capability of ISO 800 at full resolution. I certainly would not discourage anyone who has a Z1012 from experimenting with high ISO's and learning what scenes work and what scenes don't work. This is based on both your results and Consumer Reports rating for the Z1012.

A. C.
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 11:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Alan T View Post
Excellent and dedicated experimental work, A. C. Thanks!

I've been using slightly higher ISO settings more on my Z1012 and Z712 lately, and have generally been pleased with the outcome. I gained confidence with them shooting our Christmas Advent candle, and on realising the improvement I could achieve in steadiness for hand-held long zoom shots.

As you may recall, I was trying to buy a Z612 like yours two years ago when I acquired the Z712. Maybe I missed the boat!
I don't think you missed the boat with the Z712 in high ISO setting and I'm looking forward to see some of your higher ISO work with that camera. Unfortunately Steve never tested the Z712 so I can't include it in the analyses in progress. I think the big advantage of the Z1012 and Z980 and the other 9-12 MP super-zooms is their ability to render detail under normal daylight conditions. Under those condition I think both the Z1012 and the Z980 (plus others in that class) will beat the 6MP Z612 handily.

I hope you have the time at some point to do an ISO 400 and ISO 800 comparison between your Z712 and your Z1012 using a controlled scene as you're one few in this community that have the capability to run this comparison.

My projects, using Steve's sample photos, are 1) an ISO 800 comparison of the Z980, Canon SX1 and SX10, Sony HX1 and H50, the Pany FX28 and maybe the Oly SP565 and 2) daylight (low ISO) comparisons using the Hayes Museum shots as the basis. The cameras will be the Z612/1012/980, FZ28, SX1/10 and maybe the HX1/H50 group.

A. C.

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Old Jun 1, 2009, 11:36 AM   #10
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...can you please include 100% crops as just reducing the full frame shows nothing as to the quality of results available? Something like A.C. has done with Steve's sample photos will help give much more accurate info
Thanks Mark. I've been working on a tactful post on these lines for several days, and you've saved me the trouble.

Many images seem to lose sharpness on downsizing for the web, and I believe this to be dependent, variably, on the nature of the content. If and when I've finally phrased it as well as I can manage, I'll post it in 'Resizing & interpolation'. As you may have noticed, several folk we know to be excellent photographers here for many years have recently been posting images that look less than sharp as viewed on my screen, at least.

We need some guidance on exactly what to do when resizing for the screens of our viewing public. I use PSP 'sharpen' myself, and if that looks overcooked, USM 30%.

But, as you say, if we're looking at image quality, a 100%, 1:1, pixel for pixel clip is what we need.
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