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Old Oct 12, 2003, 8:36 AM   #1
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Default Which camera, Canon S50 or Pentax Optio 555?

I have narrowed my choice down to 2 cameras:

Pentax Optio 555
Canon Powershot S50.

The specs seem fairly similar, but the Pentax has a 5x optical zoom lens. Pricewise, the Pentax costs about $100 more. Price put aside, which would you recommend?
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Old Oct 12, 2003, 9:52 AM   #2
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Hmm may I advice to consider the 4 mP version of these cameras? Less noise.
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Old Oct 12, 2003, 10:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathilde uP
Hmm may I advice to consider the 4 mP version of these cameras? Less noise.
Less noise??? Do you mean sound or some kind of "noise" in the picture? What about the quality of 4 megapixel vs. 5 megapixel?
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Old Oct 12, 2003, 10:53 AM   #4
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I mean noise in picture :-) Take a look at image examples at http://www.imaging-resource.com/DIGCAM06.HTM
and compare that with the 5 megaPixel cameras you want. 5 mP gives your more pixels not persee better quality. This happens with many cameras that use the same size of ccd for next model with increased pixels. The photo sensitive cells get too close to operate without disturbance of neighboor cells.

Ofcourse this noise shows up best at longer exposures or higher iso (400). Which means the 5 mPixel camera works best in sunny regions. If I had to choose I would go for Canon S45, better colors and sharper.
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Old Oct 12, 2003, 4:24 PM   #5
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Do you have any experience with the Pentax Optio 550 or 555?
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Old Oct 12, 2003, 6:19 PM   #6
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No, not with any of the cameras you named. You are free to ignore my opinion. However a few month back I was also looking for a new camera and read a lot about different models. I made a list with a possible cameras that came close to what I needed and wanted. The cameras you named were also on that list. Looking at quality and responsive shutter Canon S45 came very close, but as this camera lacks iso 800 it also lacks some use for me (taking night pictures down town/ concerts and so on).
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Old Oct 13, 2003, 4:36 PM   #7
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I donít put much faith in one personís experience with a camera. You have extensive reviews by Steve on this site, Phil at dpreview and Dave et al at Imaging Resource. These are people who not only have extensive experience with various cameras but who do detailed tests to enhance their intuition. Just because Joe Blow canít get good pictures with camera X doesnít mean camera X doesnít take good pictures, it just means Jow Blow canít take good pictures with it. All three have full reviews of the Pentax 550 and S50. I would be amazed if the 555 wasnít at least as good as the 550.

I donít necessarily agree about the noise. Mathilde uPís approach would ultimately take you to a 1Mp camera. The more you blow up an image the more you see the noise. If you look at a 4 and 5 Mp image displayed 100%, the 5Mp is blown up 25% so you will see the noise more. But if you compare them at the same size the noise difference is much smaller. If you print a 4 and a 5Mp image at 13 X 19 on a good photo printer the noise is going to be similar but the 5Mp shot is going to look better because 5Mp isnít even enough for an optimum 13 X 19 print. This is an ďeverything else being equalĒ assumption, but that is pretty much the case comparing a S45 and S50 image. You donít know what you are going to do in the future with the images and they should be saved in the best resolution possible IMO.

The Pentax 555 is smaller than the S50 and has 5X. The S50 uses CF cards and AA batteries Ė both a cheaper approach than SD and proprietary battery assuming you will want extra batteries. The Pentax has more barrel and pincushion distortion than the S50, but it isnít bad for that long a lens in that small a camera. Otherwise the Pentax lens is very sharp. Iím presuming that from 550 tests as I havenít seen a good one for the 555 yet. As far as I know the lens will be the same with improvements in the processor and firmware. I would personally opt for the 555 for the smaller size and longer zoom range, but the S50 is probably a better all round camera. Nice comparison shots: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pent...550/page13.asp

You have to subtract almost a Mp for framing with a rangfinder type optical finder. The Canons display 82% and the Pentax 550 displays 80% of the image. So what you frame in the viewfinder is 3.28Mp on the S45, 4.1Mp on the S50 and 4Mp on the 550. One thing I hope they improve on the 555 is the viewfinder coverage but I have no idea whether they did. You only get the full pixels if you frame with the LCD and most people donít do that. You probably lose as much from camera shake as you gain in resolution when you do that.
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