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Old Feb 26, 2003, 5:22 AM   #1
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Default Surprising print result - Canon S230 Vs Dimage Xi

Hello All!

Well this is my first post here, although I've been nosing around for a while! I'm from sunny London - well today it is anyway!

Having had my auto 35mm camera stolen I am now looking into getting a digital replacement (I guess it was a blessing in disguise!). So this would be my first buy.

Anyway my main criteria is camera size Vs picture quality. I shorltisted the Canon Ixus V3 (Powershot S230 in the US I believe) against the Minolta Dimage Xi. As part of my final decision making, I decided to download several sample pictures from the reviews on this site and get them printed at my local professional photo-shop.

I was expecting the Canon to show much better photos but I was really suprised and had to check my results with several people who agreed. The pictures from the Dimage Xi suffer from a bit of vignetting but other than that are clear. The pictures from the Canon were clearly much poorer in quality. In particular the blue sky looked very off and in general the picture were less clear. Basically you could see the pictures from the Canon came from a digital camera immediately. For the Dimage Xi, I had to look very carefully.

I had several similar photos printed for both cameras both in 6X4 and 8X6 but in both sizes the pciture quality from the Canon is noticeably poorer.

I've looked for any other reference to this but haven't found any so apologies if I am repeatting a similar forum topic. Any help or advice would be much appreciated - I simply don't understand!

Thanks in advance for any help!

jp
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Old Feb 26, 2003, 12:57 PM   #2
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Make sure you are judging like with like. Are both pics the same resolution etc.

I've heard the Dimage does do a good job though.
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Old Feb 26, 2003, 1:51 PM   #3
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Hi Steve

I think so, both sets of pictures appear to be the same size: 2000x1500X24bit.

*he researches further*

Wait a minute, I have just noticed that the Canon files I used are c900-1000Kb against the Minolta's c1000K-1150Kb. So an average 15% difference. (I noticed the Superfine detail on the Canon creates files c1400-1500Kb but didn't use those). Might this be the cause - there is quite a substantial difference in print quality between the two cameras?

I think I may have embarassed myself on my first question on this board! :roll:

*he thinks and researches further*

Interestingly one of the photos is 1,050Kb Vs 975Kb so not a huge difference in size (7%) but the print quality is very different - Is it that the Minolta maybe uses a more efficient JPEG compression method too?

So many thoughts....!
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Old Feb 26, 2003, 2:33 PM   #4
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Don't worry about the small differences. The same pic can vary in file sizd depending on the image detail the camera picks up. The lighting etc can cause this.

A 4x6" on 2mp cams or above should give nice pixel free results.

You should see the difference on the screen too. No real need to print them.

I've just downloaded one from each camera - they are both very good. I wouldn't like to say which is best.

The differences have got to be with you or your printers.
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Old Feb 28, 2003, 7:22 AM   #5
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Thanks Steve, well I've done some checks and the photos on the canon were definitely not in the finest setting. On superfine mode, the pictures come out excellent - as good as the Dimage Xi...

I couldn't resist but get a few more sample shots printed just to check quality on print (out of interest). Am very impressed with the Fuji 601's 3MP interpolated to 6MP - they come out on print at least better than many of the 4MP cameras. Fuji seem to have this reputation... I guess my criteria is for my 8x6 prints to look like they come from a film camera unless you look very carefully...


Interestingly, I thought I'd put some comparisons in terms of file sizes for different 4MP cameras + my findings of quality on 8X6 film:

Pentax 430RS - 2.8Mb Excellent quality
Casio QVR4 - 1.8Mb Good quality, tint a bit off
Kodak LS433 - 1.2Mb Obvious pixellisation on sky, blurred - bad quality
Minolta F100 - 1.5Mb Good quality but minimal 'video' look on sky
Olympus C50 - 5MP I know - 2.2Mb Good quality but again sky a bit pixelled and video like look.

These files were all created at the cameras' finest setting and I am amazed that these 4MP cameras show such different compression settings. Seems like some companies are shooting themselves in the foot by over compressing? Surely a camera like the Kodak could provide better pictures if it didn't compress them so much?

Very interesting though!
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Old Feb 28, 2003, 8:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Seems like some companies are shooting themselves in the foot by over compressing
When you consider that scenes can sometimes have a lot of detail, I wonder why manufacturers can't offer a continuously variable compression quality setting - now memory is bigger and cheaper! Perhaps they can't predict the output file sizes. Or feel sensitive to the question 'How many pics on a card'.

You hit the nail with the Oly - a 5Mpix cam but compressed to a small file, conversely an older 2Mpix doing a 2.8Mb file might also be as good as the extra price of Mpix.
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Old Mar 5, 2003, 12:23 PM   #7
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I've spoken to a few retailers to see some cameras and get more info on compression levels and they thought I was mad. For them only Megapixels count towards quality - I guess that means higher price=higher profit in many cases!

Thanks Voxmagna - you've confirmed I'm not insane.......yet!
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