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Old May 14, 2007, 11:39 PM   #11
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Thanks. Since I can usually use the flash on the wide end, my low light problems are usually on the telephoto end. So I'll probably lean toward the Nikon or the Sony. I just wish Steve had reviewed them (maybe I'll wait till he does). I don't suppose there's a good way to find out when/if he'll review a particular camera, is there?
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Old May 15, 2007, 9:46 AM   #12
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The Canon has been reviewed in DP Review, URL below:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd800is/

As far as I can tell neither Steve nor DP Review publish listings of upcoming reviews.

I am never desperate to have the newest toy available so I generally don't buy if it hasn't been independently reviewed. Of course the problem is that it may never be reviewed. If the specifications are the best fit for your requirements you might ask for user comments for the specific model in the Nikon, Sony and Canon forums both here on Steve's forums and the DP Review forums.
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Old May 15, 2007, 6:39 PM   #13
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"(which should help with my low light problems)"

Sorry chad, but if you are having problems with low light photography, I don't think the SD800IS is liable to help you much...

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf31fd/page6.asp

After you compare noise at given ISO settings, compare sensor size, and aperture/shutter priority mode capability.

Sorry if I added to your confusion...if you hadn't mentioned low light problems, I wouldn't have brought it up...I just wanted you to be aware of what's out there.

the Hun



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Old May 16, 2007, 9:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
I am never desperate to have the newest toy available so I generally don't buy if it hasn't been independently reviewed.
I'm not that desparate either, so I'll wait a bit until I see a review of at least the Nikon before acting. Hopefully it won't be too long (or forever)...
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Old May 19, 2007, 6:26 PM   #15
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With point and shoots the depth of field differences won't come into play too much except for maybe some macro shooting. Your main concern is how the wider apperture affects the exposure, allowing more light in.

For exposure purposes, if you multiply the f stop by 1.41, that cuts the light in half (a one stop difference). The difference between f2.8 and f3.35 would be a half stop. From f4.2 to f5.9 would be a full stop.

For low light performance, you really want to look at four factors:
1. How bright the lens (max apperture)
2. High ISO capabiltiy
3. Mechanical (or optical) image stabilization
4. Flash capability

Image stabilization can often be good for 2 stops, but keep in mind that it doesn't help with freezing subject motion. If you are worried about performance at the long end of these zooms, though, without IS you might normally need a shutter speed of 1/60-1/100 sec to prevent blur from camera shake. If you are dealing with shots with little subject motion, you might be able to instead get shots at 1/20-1/30 with IS.

High ISO ability will let you shoot at a faster shutter without losing light. If you need that faster shutter anyway to prevent subject blur, than your only choice may be to boost ISO--IS won't help much here. Keep in mind that using a higher ISO also extends your flash range. A flash that is only good for 5 feet at ISO 100 may be good for 20 feet at ISO 400. With a usable ISO 400, you may find that you can use the flash effectively even using the tele end of these lenses (which are only in the 100-115mm equivalent range).

While it would be ideal to have a compact camera that is a top performer in all four of the above, I don't think such a camera exists. The cameras listed may be as good as you will get. The Fuji Super CCD models are about a stop better than the Canon at high ISO (compare ISO 400 to 200, and 800 to 400 in the link from rinnie above); but the have no IS. I think there was a Panasonic model with IS and a faster lens, but noisy even at ISO 200.

From the above models, I would tend to lean towards the SD800IS, but that's in part because it has the 28mm wide angle. If you really don't want the good wide angle, you might also look at the SD700.

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Old May 19, 2007, 6:50 PM   #16
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Thanks very much for the info. Sounds like I really need to pay attention to useable ISO as well. Unfortunately, that definitely requires waiting for a review, as listed ISO values for cameras seem to be a joke. The Canon SD800 and Nikon S50 both list ISO max at 1600 and the Sony T20 lists 3200, but I know these have nothing to do with useable values. The wide angle of the SD800 would be nice, but I've never had a problem with the wide end of my current 35mm equivalent camera. And I worry about the f/5.8 aperture at the wide end of it.

I know I'm never going to find a camera that's perfect in all areas. I just want to do the best I can. And I'd guess that any of the 3 would meet my needs quite well. I'm just trying to be an informed consumer.
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Old May 20, 2007, 10:13 AM   #17
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In the FWIW category, if you're not planning on printing any larger than 5x7, the high ISO values on most cameras will provide adequate results. You can do even better if you invest in a Noise Reduction program like Noiseware, Neatimage, or Noise Ninja (the first two are about $30 each).


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Old May 20, 2007, 12:32 PM   #18
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chad515

I think it's a real good idea to look at those kinds of specs (aperture ratings of lenses), provided you have an understanding of the other properties of a given camera model, too.

Most modern compact camera models use a lens that starts out with a widest aperture of around f/2.8 anymore.

But, after you zoom in much, their lens may be down to around f/5.6.

Well, f/2.8 is 4 times as bright as f/5.6. So, if you zoom in to longer focal lengths with many compact cameras, your shutter speeds will begin to slow down signficantly in order to give you the same exposure, if the lighting and ISO speed remain the same.

So, if you're comparing a camera that has f/2.8 available on the long end (and a few models can maintain a relatively wide aperture throughout their zoom range) and it's got ISO 400 available, it could do just as well or better for getting fast enough shutter speeds compared to a camera that has a higher usable ISO speed using a lens that's not as bright.

For example, if you used a camera model that only had f/5.6 available on it's long end, shooting at ISO 1600, your shutter speeds would not be any faster than you'd get using a camera model with f/2.8 available shooting at ISO 400.

IOW, in that example, you'd get no benefit with the camera that has a usable ISO 1600 at f/5.6, versus one with a two stop brighter lens with ISO 400 avaiilable at f/2.8, if you needed to insure the fastest possible shutter speed was being used in a low light scnario where you couldn't use a flash.

You may find this online Exposure Calculator to be useful in getting a better understanding of how Light Levels (shown as EV for Exposure Valuce in the calculator), Aperture, and ISO speed (shown as film speed in the calculator) impact the shutter speed you can use to get proper exposure.

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

As for Depth of Field, you may find this online calculator to be useful. Make sure to use the actual (versus "35mm equivalent") focal lengths for calculations (since most non-DSLR models are using much shorter focal length lenses than most people realize). You'll see a link to actual focal lengths of popular models on the page.

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Also, keep in mind that if you use a focal length that's twice as long with the same camera, you'll need to shoot from twice as far away for the same subject framing (percentage of the frame occupied by your subject).

So, at most focal lengths you'd be concerned about Depth of Field, the actual DOF doesn't change with focal length, provided the same aperture and framing is maintained, since you'd need to shoot from further away with a longer focal length lens (although it does change a bit as your focus point gets closer to the hyperfocal distance).

See this article from Michael Reichmann on this topic here (and you can also use the calculator above to verify it. For example, if you change from a 50mm to a 100mm lens, you'll need to double the distance to your subject in order for your subject to occupy the same percentage of the frame, cancelling the shallower DOF from the longer focal length at most distances you'd shoot at typical subject at).

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/dof2.shtml

Use of a longer focal length to get the apperance of a shallower DOF has more do to with perspective (because you're shooting from further away for the same framing wth a longer lens, making the background more compressed with blur more obvious).


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Old May 25, 2007, 8:49 AM   #19
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After digging into useable ISO values for ultracompacts, I discovered that the 3 models I mentioned are probably fairly similar (assuming the reviews come in similar to the models they're replacing). It seems that the only cameras that differentiate themselves in the ISO category are the Fuji's (which is why so many people keep recommending the F30/F31fd on these forums). The F30/F31fd is a bit too big for me, but Fuji does make an ultracompact (the Z5fd) that seems to be very similar according to this review:

http://www.trustedreviews.com/digita...inePix-Z5fd/p1

So, 2 questions:

1) Has anyone heard of trustedreviews.com? Are they trustworthy?

2) The Fuji's have better ISO sensitivity, but don't include optical image stabilization. (Assuming a still subject) Would the higher useable ISO of the Fuji's be better or worse than optical image stabilization used in the other cameras I've mentioned? I realize that this is comparing general technologies, so if you'd prefer to compare specific models, how about comparing the OIS of the Canon SD800 IS to the high ISO of the Fuji F31fd.

Thanks for any input
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Old May 25, 2007, 10:48 AM   #20
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chad515 wrote:
Quote:
1) Has anyone heard of trustedreviews.com? Are they trustworthy?
I see people post links to a review there from time to time. But, I never visit it personally. From my perspective, the reviewer seemed a bit too enthusiastic about the image quality from that Fuji.

I see a lot of corner softness and purple fringing from that lens. Dead Center looks OK (other than a few sharpening artifacts in some of them). But, I think too many compromises were made trying to fit a 3x optical zoom into a body that tiny from what my eyes are telling me.

Each reviewer tends to have a certain style, and unless you've followed a reviewer, it's hard to judge how to interpret their findings. So, I'd let my own eyes be the judge. I also prefer it when I can see the same subjects in similar conditions from multiple cameras (for example, the way Steve tries to include some of the same subjects in most reviews here).

Quote:
2) The Fuji's have better ISO sensitivity, but don't include optical image stabilization. (Assuming a still subject) Would the higher useable ISO of the Fuji's be better or worse than optical image stabilization used in the other cameras I've mentioned?
That Fuji Z5fd you're looking at uses a smaller sensor compared to the models you thought were too large (F30, F31fd). It's noise levels are not going to be the same. I see pretty aggresive noise reduciton being used in those sample images. The appearance of noise is kept under control in light that good (and low light is the best way to see how one is going to perform).

But, even in lighting that good, I see loss of detail, decreased saturation and more. I would not expect to use that camera at it's highest ISO speeds and be satisfied with it (especially since it's probably going to be a lot worse in poor light where you'd need the higher ISO speeds).

Quote:
I realize that this is comparing general technologies, so if you'd prefer to compare specific models, how about comparing the OIS of the Canon SD800 IS to the high ISO of the Fuji F31fd.
It depends on what you want to shoot and the conditions you're shooting in. It's all a tradeoff, and just because you have higher ISO speeds available doesn't mean you want to use them (since noise will increase with ISO speed).

Between the Z5fd and Canon 800IS, I'd probably go with the Canon. From what I can see looking at the samples, I think the Canon could probably do about as well at higher ISO speeds retaining detail as that Fuji.

Without samples taken in the same conditions with both cameras, it's hard to say for sure. But, I don't think they're very far apart and the Canon has stabilization, better feature set, better flash range, what appears to be a better lens, and more.

As for the F30d/F31fd, if you're primary purpose is taking existing light photos of non-stationary subjects in low light (i.e., people that may not be motionless), it may make a good option in a pinch.

It's probably got about a stop benefit over the other Fuji model (Z5fd) from a noise/detail retention perspective from the little I can see from it (and I'd need to see more samples of both in the same conditions to form a better opinion.

If your subjects are mostly stationary, I'd personally go with the Canon over either one of them. But, if you need to shoot non-stationary subjects in low light often without a flash, the Fuji f30/f31d models may be a better option.

No one feature is going to be best for all conditions. You need to look at the camera as a whole (lens, image processing, usable ISO speeds, and more) to get a better idea of what compromises you'll make for the shooting that you will do more often (and any choice will be a compromise in one area or another).

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