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Old Dec 12, 2002, 11:19 AM   #1
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Default 3 megapixel w/6x opitical or 4 megapixel w/3x optical?

I'm looking to buy either the Olympus 3800 with 3 megapixel with a 6x optical or the HP (or Kodak) 4 megapixel with 3x optical. I'll be using it as the family camera and my wife will use it as a middle school principal to take yearbook pictures of school programs etc. I think my question is: For the same money do I go for the 6x zoom or the additional megapixel and 3x zoom? Obviously I'm a newbee at this.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 11:32 AM   #2
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6x optical. There is no way you can blow up a 4mp pic to compensate.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 11:41 AM   #3
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The answer to your question lies in how you plan to use your camera and how much processing you'll do on your pictures after you take them.

A higher pixel count will let you crop your pictures more heavily and still be left with enough data (pixels) to make a reasonable print. Using your optical zoom to properly frame your subject provides essentially the same effect.

I'm a believer in the "big zoom" approach. There are some pitfalls caused by camera shake when zoomed in tight. My Canon Pro90 has a 10X stabilized lens (shared with the Olympic 2100 UZ). Stabilization is good for a couple of f-stops. Unfortunately, both of these cameras are out of production.

Almost all amateur photographers (at least casual snap shooters) need to think more about framing their pictures. A bigger optical zoom will help those folks learn how to properly frame their pictures.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 12:17 PM   #4
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Wildman has hit the nail on the head. Camera usage will dictate which camera to buy. 3X zoom will work well in the examples you sited. The increase mp will not make a noticeable difference in the quality of the pictures. The extra zoom comes in handy when you want to take a picture that if you get to close you lose the picture. Taking pictures of animals sometimes requires that you stand off from them, the extra zoom is better.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 12:32 PM   #5
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I bought the fuji for the extra zoom. Who need s4MP unless you're printing HUGE?????????? 3MP is well enough especially how it chews through the memory card so damn fast .... 4mp would be worse.

IMHO, 90% of a photo is what you can frame, NOT the quality. Whatuse is quality if you can't get the shot in the frame. THAT'S why i was so mad i couldn't find a good quality consumer digicam with a wide angle ... i was so damn mad.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 12:53 PM   #6
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There is a bunch more to think about than just zoom and pixel count. As an example, you mentioned pictures of school programs. That will need a camera with good low light capability and/or with an external flash. Cameras with long zoom ranges tend not to be the best for low light.

With the exception of the Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi, Large zoom lenses do not have much capability at the short (wide-angle) end of the range so make getting group shots indoors difficult.

Unless you are thinking of a real SRL ($$$), any camera with more than a 3x zoom will use either the LCD or its close cousin, the EVF, as the viewfinder. Those are getting better, but a lot of people (including me) cannot stand them. Other folks like them. Make sure you try out the camera before you buy.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 1:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDrew
With the exception of the Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi, Large zoom lenses do not have much capability at the short (wide-angle) end of the range so make getting group shots indoors difficult.
Nah that's just plain wrong. it's not just the big zoom cameras, ALL DIGICAMS are HOPELESS at wide angle. With 35mm a LOT of cameras had a 28mm wide angle, i'd say 90% of digicams are at 37+mm with a 38-105 being the standard.

To top it off, the wide angle digicams are made by two of the poorer camera manufacturers, Minolta and Kodak .. so you're screwed. The Minolta 7i is too big and any other digicam with a wide angle is not worth looking at.

Hence, i bough thte fuji and a wide angle converter lens.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 1:26 PM   #8
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Shame you can't fit it in the case with the lense fitted though! AND have you checked out the distortion? So a wide angle it might be, but I'd question whether the pics are that linear.

BillDrew saves money on lenses by stitching his group shots together - you can't see the join and you get twice the res.! Whereas your wide angle's distorting and still only 3Mpix.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 1:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Shame you can't fit it in the case with the lense fitted though! AND have you checked out the distortion? So a wide angle it might be, but I'd question whether the pics are that linear.

BillDrew saves money on lenses by stitching his group shots together - you can't see the join and you get twice the res.!
Even so .... that still gives you a large zoom whereas the others don't and they still have the 38mm "wide" angle. I've said it before, for all the fuss over digitals they are still completely useless at times and a lack of wide angle is gripe number 1.

At 3mp there is an extremely minimal distortion. I have a .5 converter so that's what ... 19mm.

I like the stitching idea, was readign about that .. i need a good program like photoshop though.
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Old Dec 12, 2002, 2:02 PM   #10
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Default Concerning wide angle lenses...

My experience has been that anything less than a .8x wideangle lens on a 38mm digicam will produce a noticeable, if not tremendous amount of parallax distortion. Just like on SLR film cameras, anything wider than 28mm gives great distortion. I don't know what brand of .5x converter you have, but I tried a Kenko KNW-05 HI .5x converter and was not pleased with the results. Aside from the gross parallax distortion and severe corner vignetting, the focus was just plain fuzzy. I finally purchased an Olympus WCON-08E .8x converter and it takes remarkably sharp and clear pictures with no vignetting and no noticeable distortion.
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