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Old Mar 10, 2007, 8:59 PM   #1
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I've been visiting Steve's DigiCams website for a few years now. The information has been invaluable during my multiple camera purchases. I love my Sony DSC F717 camera that I've had for awhile, but it's large and bulky and I tend to miss moments of a lifetime because I hate carrying it around. In my search for a "purse camera" with the same type of quality photos, one of the things most important to me is the image quality. I've found that if I view some of my pictures in full pixel mode, if it's crisp then the shot was focused properly and it prints crisp and clear. I've been trying to use this same idea when comparing sample photos in the reviews on this site.

Usually, I choose the photo with the M&M guys in it. I mainly use the magazines and the can on the left as my reference points. I look to see how crisp the letters are on the magazines along with the edges and lines of the can. I also tend to do this on the portrait photos. In full pixel mode, how detailed and crisp is the person's skin, teeth, etc.

Is this the best way to compare the sample photos? Is there an easier or more effective way of doing this?

Thank you for any assistance.
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 8:42 AM   #2
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LakNormn wrote:
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... Is this the best way to compare the sample photos? Is there an easier or more effective way of doing this? ...
The best way to compare sample photos is:Don't Do It! In good part what you are looking at is the default settings - in the examples you mentioned, sharpening.
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 9:10 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Then what good are the sample photos and how do I know if a camera takes good photos or not using the review on this site?
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 1:48 PM   #4
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I still look at the review pictures, it's just a matter of understanding what you're looking for.

For example, the test shots for noise levels on different ISO is helpful. Also color rendition, especially on P&S cameras that do not support RAW is also helpful.

Sharpness is a little odd thing. Digital pictures are not meant to be really sharp right off the camera. This is because sharpness varies on print-size target. So usually you add sharpening after you've resize the image to your targeted size.

I also like that M&M pictures, and yeah, I look at the text on the magazine as well. I think in some way it's good at determining detail resolution on the edge.

Another site to checkout is pbase.com It shows people's real-life pictures taken with specific cameras. You'd be surprised how using the same camera, people can get totally different quality of images.

Good Luck!

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Old Mar 11, 2007, 2:40 PM   #5
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Hello and welcome to the forum!

What is image quality for you?
- color reproduction (including WB etc.)
- dynamic range?
- geometrical reproduction (i.e. no distortion)
- low "artifacts" (CA, JPEG, in-camera image processing, ...)
- sharpness/contrast
- ...

Also how do you "use" your photos: printed - if so, what size? Viewed at the screen? And so on.

Next thing is - what will you photograph?
- macro
- architecture
- low light/available light
- (fast) moving objects
- ...

If you start to "pixel-peep" you will find bad things at every camera on the market, believe me. Try to get a digicam, that can deliver a good photo in most - if not all - situations you need. Then concentrate on learning to use that camera and improve your skills in taking photos - lot's of "problems" of a certain camera can be avoided or lessened if you know it and use a workaround.

Good luck in your search, hope that helps,
Th.
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 8:34 PM   #6
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Thank you to both Rey and THKN777. Both of your replies helped greatly. I appreciate the kind way you approach your replies. It doesn't make me feel as stupid. Thank you!

Although I take thousands of photographs a year, I'm anovice user ~ mainly a P&S. I don't knowmuch aboutwhite Balance, F stops, ISO and most other things. Most of the stuff I do to my photos are done afterwards using software. Right now, most of my pictures are of my 17 month old son to print and send to grandparents to print. As he gets older, I'm sure I'll have a larger need for more action shots!

I'd like to take a photography class, but all of them require a SLR camera and I don't know if I want to invest in one yet. I love digital and being able to just delete the ones that don't turn out.

Thanks again and I'm going to check out that website.
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 9:44 PM   #7
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LakNormn wrote:
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Thanks for the reply. Then what good are the sample photos and how do I know if a camera takes good photos or not using the review on this site?
Pretty much all cameras take good pictures - any that don't will be clearly noted in all reviews. Just read the text of the reviews. Being able to take good pictures isn't really much of an issue; things like lag time, noise, higherst ISO, size and weight, burst rate and duration, largest apperatre, tilt/swing LCDs, and other features that allow you to take the kind of pictures you want are important.

Almost all digicams can take a good picture of slowish moving things in good light with enough lead time.
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 10:34 PM   #8
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Below are sites that helped me learn about photography last year when I got my DSLR. The concept should apply to your camera since your camera supports A, S and M mode.

http://www.canon.co.jp/Imaging/enjoydslr/index.html

http://www.morguefile.com/archive/cl...94cc06glsjnfl2

Good Luck!

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Old Mar 13, 2007, 11:34 PM   #9
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If you are just interested in the pictures as they come from the camera, then that is what the samples are for. Which photos you use for your basis, should depend on the type of pictures you intend to take. IOW, if you are mainly interested in action shots of kids and pets, the still closeups aren't going to tell you very much. If the macro function is important, then look at the outer edges to see if there is a fall off in sharpness or brightness.

As others have mentioned, how the camera handles, and the ease of making necessary setting changes, can be more important than minor differences in image quality.

brian
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