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Old Sep 18, 2005, 4:51 AM   #1
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My P850 is 1 day old now :-). I took some pictures yesterday morning at dawn, and some others in a park in the afternoon and evening. I will post some pictures soon, but in the meantime hereare my first thoughts.

Let me begin by stating again that I am a novice photographer and digital camera user. With the P850 I'm trying to move from the point-and-click experience to a more rich one, in which I have (some) more advanced control over what I'm doing. While I did go to Best Buy and got my hands on a Canon S2 and a Sony DSC-H1, I don't have enough info and experience toreally compare the P850 with another camera in this class.

Here it goes:

- the LCD is very good, and very large. It was cloudy yesterday in the park, so I can't say how good it is in bright light,but still the image is very clear and the resolution quite good (even in low light condition)

- the 12X zoom is also an extraordinary experience for people used with 3X and 4X. You can disable the digital zoom in the menu, which I did, to make sure you are only using the optical. The manual says that the digital zoom is not available in video mode, even if it is enabled. It is true that while zooming, the image on the LCD is very blurry, and you can't see what you're doing - I think that this is because of theAF.

- the IS is also very good. Again, I cannot compare it with other IS systems from Cannon, Sony and others, but for someone who is using it for the first timethe results are quite impressive. I took some pictures with full optical zoom, and I could see on the LCD that my hand was really shaking :-). However, the pictures look very good.

- the AF -a little too slow. While zooming fast to the max, you can't use the LCD (I have not tried theEVF so far) because it's just a big blur. Whenzooming little by little, the results are more acceptable. When pushing the shutter button halfway to lock the AE and AF, in many cases the AF kicked in again, even if theframing did not changeand the image seemed properly focused. This happens almost always in low light and in full zoom - so basically you need to wait for a moment with the shutter button halfway pressed to make sure that everything is OK before taking the picture. In these cases the AE also kicks in, so the image on the LCD suddenly becomes a little darker (for example) when the shutter button is pressed halfway. One thing that might cause this in full zoom - at least in my case - is that because of my shacky hands, the focus bracketscan easily move over objects withdifferent luminosity and situated at different distances, so the job of both the AF and the AE becomes really hard:-)

- finally (for now), the access to different buttons on the camera proved to be more convenient than I expected for a point-and-click person like me. I found myself using the flash and the drivebuttons quite effortlessly from the very beginning. I usually turned off the flash formost of pictures I took yesterday, and I used the drive buttonfor shutterdelay - there are 2 options: 10 seconds and 2 seconds, but sometimes the 2 seconds option is not available.One thing that would improve the experience here would be to get rid of (the need to use) the menu for some of these options, so I can change the selection without losing sight of what I't trying to photograph and having to use the selector. For example, in the case of the flash button, pressing it repeatedly could circle through all the possible settings, and updating the corresponding icon in the corner of the LCD would be good enough for me to know in what mode the camera is.

So far, I took all the pictures in the Auto mode or in a few modes from the Scene menu (e.g. Landscape). I hope to get soon to using more manual settings - I'm halfway through the manual :-).

Pictures coming....
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 5:40 AM   #2
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First Picture

It was cloudy. I'm not sure how far that person was from me but I could see almost no details with my eyes.

The camera was in auto mode - I only turned the flash off. Hand held, with my elbows on the wood rail. Full 12X optical zoom. IS set to single. Other EXIF info:
- shutter speed: 1/101
- exposure time: 1/100
- ISO 100
- aperture: f/3.6

No post processing, except for image resize from 2592x1944 to 800x600, and saving the resized imageas high quality (9) to get a file with an acceptablesize for this site.
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 6:30 AM   #3
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Thiswas a test for the optical zoom + AF + IS.

The picture is underexposed - the framing marks were over the sign with white background, and I took the picture in auto mode without any attempt to manually override any settings (like exposure compensation and so on), and as a result everything else is darker. The picture is also quite noisy. It was cloudy, and that area of the park was a little bit darker because of the trees.

Not sure how far that sign was from me, but I only saw a very small white rectangle with my eyes, and even on the LCD, with full 12X zoom, I only saw a few very thin black lines hinting that there is something written on that sign.

The camera was in auto mode, full 12X optical zoom, and the flash was fired. Hand held in front of me, with no support for elbows. The image on the LCD was really shaking :-). The IS was set to single. I was quite impressed afterwards, in review mode, when I used the digital zoom to enlarge the sign area and actually be able to read the sign!. Given the conditions, I think that both the IS and the AF worked pretty good. Without the IS, I belive the sign would have been blurry and unreadable.

There was no post processing of the image except for resizing from 2592x1944 to 800x600 and saving it as high quality (9).

Other EXIF info:
- exposure time: 1/200
- shutter speed: 1/202
- aperture: f/3.6
- ISO 200

Again, this was only done to test the zoom + IS + AF. I'm sure that I could have done a better job with the picture if I was looking for that.

A final note about the IS. While I used only the single mode to take pictures because I read in several forums that it is more effective + it does not drain the battery so much as the continuous mode, I did check how the continuous mode works whileframing a picture, as opposed to the single mode, and the difference is visible: in continuous mode, all the small shaking is gone. Of course, the image is not still when hand held, but when I was preparing to press the shutter button while keeping the camera as still as possible, the continuous mode delivered a more stable imageon the LCD. However, I did not actually take any picture in continuous IS mode.


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Old Sep 18, 2005, 11:22 AM   #4
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fava98-

Many thanks for posting the photos. I know that many of us would like to see more. Thank you for making the effort and supplying all of the details.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 11:39 AM   #5
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Hi,

Your tests are excellent, they show the usability of IS with 12Xzoom. I am really impressed with the results. The low light shot is particularly commendable. Noise must be there but as far as I saw other sample at fullsize on dpreview forum, the noise used to be finely grain with uniform distribution all over the image and not only in darker areas.

Thanks for your images, tests and opinion

ATindra
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 8:45 PM   #6
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Thank you all for welcoming me to this forum and for your kindcomments.

I will start a new thread to post some more P850 info and photos. Stay tuned! :-)
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 9:12 PM   #7
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FAVA98, I have found that using the EV instead of the LCD will lead to more stabile long shots. I have always used long heavy lens in my photography and can not see how anyone without a tripod or other stabile support for the camera can use the LCD with a long lens and get a non-shaky shot IS or no IS. You are comming from the point and shoot snap shot world and may not be as used to the long lens and shake involved with them. The EV just works better. Especially when shooting hand held! You have some very nice photo's there and I especially liked the low light shot, as I have trouble with them myself. I want to personnaly thank you for sharing your experiences with this camera as there are no reviews as yet and the feed back from owners is all we are able to hear so far! Again many thanks!

Your friend

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Old Sep 19, 2005, 12:02 AM   #8
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bigdawg wrote:
Quote:
FAVA98, I have found that using the EV instead of the LCD will lead to more stabile long shots. I have always used long heavy lens in my photography and can not see how anyone without a tripod or other stabile support for the camera can use the LCD with a long lens and get a non-shaky shot IS or no IS. You are comming from the point and shoot snap shot world and may not be as used to the long lens and shake involved with them. The EV just works better. Especially when shooting hand held! You have some very nice photo's there and I especially liked the low light shot, as I have trouble with them myself. I want to personnaly thank you for sharing your experiences with this camera as there are no reviews as yet and the feed back from owners is all we are able to hear so far! Again many thanks!

Your friend

Da Dawg
Thanks for the tips, I really appreciate it. I welcome every bit of info that would help me become a better photographer. I startedexperimenting with the EVF today, and I posted a picture I shot using it in http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=18.

I also started using a tripod for my experiments with low light photography.

WRT the lack of professional reviews of P850, I spent the last 10 days before buying mine visiting every digital camera reviews site I could find with Google, several times a day, and reading as much as I could about as much as I could. At some point I just took a chance when I saw it on display at Costco. Despite a few (apparent)shortcomings - and I say apparent because I'm not sure I always know what I'm doing :-)- I really like it. I'm gonna keep it no matter what the reviews say :-).

Take my observations with a grain of salt - since I don't have too much experience with cameras in this class, and with photography in general, I might be a little subjective:?.

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