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Old Feb 17, 2005, 5:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Here's my question, which is slightly different than other questions I've seen in this forum:

I had a Canon S1 IS which I loved, partly because it had 10x optical zoom. Well, that camera got lost & now I need to buy a new camera.

My spouse wants a slimmer & sexier camera like a Canon Powershot S500 or SD300, but those have much lower optical zooms (I'm ignoring digital zoom) and a higher megapixel count.

Here's my question: How many megapixels do I need in order to achieve the (approximately) equivalent quality when using a combined optical & digital zoom up to 10x (3x optical + 4x digital) as compared to the quality I got using the Canon S1 IS 10x optical zoom. I only take up to 4x6 or 5x7.

Or maybe to rephrase: if I want to replace my 10x optical zoom 3.2 megapixel Canon S1 IS for a higher mexapixel and lower optical zoom camera, which one should I buy? (and I have a preference for Canons).

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Old Feb 17, 2005, 6:03 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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There is no substitute for optical zoom, if you have a genuine need to bring your subject in closer (digital zoom is only cropping and interpolating an image, so this does not add to the detail captured).

It takes 4 times the resolution (not twice the resolution) to maintain the same amount of subject detail in pixels per inch, if you want to crop a photo (or use digital zoom) to make it look like you've used twiceas much optical zoom.

So, your S1 IS could resolve far more detail compared to much higher resolution models with shorter focal lengths (at maximum zoom). Take a look at where the 8MP Olympus C-8080WZ falls in this table for an example.


But, you may not always be using maximum zoom on a camera (and 4x6" prints don't need a lot of resolution to look good).

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Old Feb 17, 2005, 6:46 PM   #3
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This isn't going to replace your zoom but you may want to look at compacts, which have decent. Compacts are bigger than ultra-compacts so it isn't the same size, but they have more manual controls and zoom...

Something like the newly announced Panasonic LC1 and LC2 (if I'm getting the numbers right) has 6x zoom...
Sivaram Velauthapillai is offline   Reply With Quote

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