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Old Mar 2, 2006, 9:22 PM   #1
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I'm not a newbie but this question seems to me like it whould have a simple answer that i'm missing so i'll post it here. I understand all the technology, i just don't have much experience in actual picture taking.

I have a Nikon coolpix 4600 and a new Canon A620. So far i've taken a bunch of indoor people shots and the Canon shots seem much fuzzier than the nikon shots. Focus on things like a person's hair (or the hairs of the long haired cat sitting on their lap) seem to be much sharper on the nikon than the Canon. Why would this be?

These shots were all taken with automatic settings. Both are handheld shots but with steady hands. Neither camera complained about low lighting or shake issues. both cameras ended up taking shots at 1/60 and fstop 2.8ish. The nikon used iso 50 but the canon doesn't seem to save an iso rating to exif.

I plan on doing some more tests of my own and then making shots available online but I thought maybe someone had some quick idea what could be going on. I know some cameras perform more in-camera processing such as sharpening but I didn't think it would be this noticeable.

And if the problem is just that Canon cameras do less sharpening processing than Nikons, what is a good program for me to use for post processing some sharpening?

Thank you for your time.
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Old Mar 3, 2006, 1:00 AM   #2
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I would be interested to see some of the photos. Don't strip the EXIF.

SharpControl is far and away the best free sharpening tool I know of. It is under corrections: http://www.photo-freeware.net/category-downloads.php You can find a tutorial and a good comparison of SharpControl with some top of the line sharpeners you pay for if you do a Google search.

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Old Mar 3, 2006, 5:34 AM   #3
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I took a look at our flash photos here in the sample photos section of the reviews, and I didn't notice any advantage to the Nikon (I see more detail in the Canon images with flash).

But, these were portraits with flash (so, the subjects were relatively close to the camera and well lit).

If the Nikon is using ISO 50, that's the most likely reason you're seeing a difference. You could set both the same way and see if that's why.

Most models will increase their ISO speed indoors with flash to extend the flash range. Each time you double the ISO speed, the flash range increases by 1.4x. Most non-DSLR models rate their flash usiing Auto ISO, showing the range at both the wide and long zoom settings (most lenses lose light as more zoom is used).


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Old Mar 3, 2006, 5:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I am going to take some sample shots in the next couple days when i have some time and post the results. Any help and thoughts will be greatly appreciated. It irks me that an old 4mp camera seems to be taking better pictures than my fancy expensive new 7mp one. :-)
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Old Mar 3, 2006, 6:14 PM   #5
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Megapixels are not everything. ;-)

But, if you compare the flash photos from the two cameras in our sample images, it does appear that the Canon is capturing more detail to my eyes.

Look at the skin, eyelashes, etc., and you'll see what I mean.

The Canon probably uses some in camera noise reduction during the image processing pipeline as ISO speeds are increased, which reduces detail (a tradeoff to get lower noise levels).

If the Nikon is using ISO 50, then it's going to have more detail because of less noise. But, that also means you'll get less ambient light in your images (resulting in darker backgrounds shooting closer subjects with flash), and you'll have reduced flash range compared to shooting at higher ISO speeds.

So, there are tradeoffs to both approaches.
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Old Mar 4, 2006, 3:13 PM   #6
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@KevinCK:
It only makes sense to compare full size pics, but these are too large to be posted here. Thus you either should post some full size crops here or provide external links to full size pictures.
In general the A620 is a very fine camera but there are some lemons out there.
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