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Old Apr 10, 2003, 9:04 AM   #1
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Default My fisrt digital camera purchase - please HELP!

Hi all!

Folks, i think this kind of question is probably posted about 10 times each day here, but, i really need the help from someone more experienced, so, let me pop out the question....


I'm about to purchase a Sony P72, but a week ago i borrowed a P7, and was immensely disapointed!! All the pictures i got (at higher resolution) were very fuzzy, grainny and color messy, just like if i took a 640x480 72dpi image and resized it to 1600x1200 with 72dpi also. Got the picture??

So, i'd like to know if thats what i'm suposed to get with this camera, and i should settle for it, or it could be a question of bad configuration or bad-photographer....

Perhaps another camera/brand could be recommended??

Any comments and suggestion would be greatly appreciated!

thanks a lot, folks!

marcelo
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Old Apr 10, 2003, 11:11 AM   #2
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I can't speak for the sony altought I had the idea that it was a good camera.

Now, on recommendations, you have to give some more data:

What specs do you want?

For what are you going to use the camera?

What is your "photographic status" (strictly amateur (point'n'shoot), amateur but wanting to learn, semi-pro, pro, etc.)?
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Old Apr 10, 2003, 12:31 PM   #3
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thanks for taking the time and replying!

Now, here's the info you requested:

i'm a totally amateur photographer. Got a Canon Classic 120 as a "non-digital" camera, but never used any of its features. Just point and shoot, with the usual zoon adjust.

99% of the digital camera use will be to take pictures of my children, also, 99% of the time those will be indoors pics, and probably at night, when i'm at home.

i'd like to go for a camera that will allow me to also take some selected pics and have them developed, and get at least a similar quality as i get on my non-digital Canon. I've been told that 3 Megapixel cameras would give me a similar quality. is that true?

again, thank you very much for any help!!

muito obrigado!!! ;-)

marcelo
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Old Apr 11, 2003, 3:57 AM   #4
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Ok, let's tackle each point at a time:

-You want a point'n'click camera, minimum fuss, best auto settings.

Rule out any "I-have-a-lot-of-settings-camera".

-Night photos, indoors.

Depending on the available lighting, you might want a camera with a autofocus assiste light and also with a good-to-excellent automatic white balance (to cope with the type of light you have indoors)

-Kids :lol:

Ok, you'll want the fastest AF available, minimum shutter lag, fast lenses (unless you pretend to tie your kids up before taking the photo)

-On quality

It depends for what are you going to use the photos. If you're just going to get them to a photo store and have them print them as regular photos (4x6) 3 or even 2 MP will be fine. If you pretend on cropping (i.e. of a larger photo, only print a smaller part) or print larger size photos, you might want to consider a 4-5 MP camera.

Giving all of this the Sony (P72) should fit the bill. If not, you could take a look at the canon range (A70, S30,S45,S50) or olympus (D560, Stylus 300/400, altoght they lack AF assist light). You could also check out the minolta F-100/200.

Of all of these, I think the Sony might be the most straightforward as they have little-to-none manual controls.

The problem you described earlier with the P7 might be due to a high-compression image format (JPEG) or shooting a a lower resolution. When shooting at the highest resolution (3 MP) and using a low compression JPEG (SHQ or someting) or a non-lossy format (RAW or TIFF) you should not have any problems.

But check Steve's review of the P72:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/p72.html

Boa sorte e boas fotografias
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Old Apr 11, 2003, 9:34 AM   #5
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Carlos, thanks a lot for your reply!! But if you dont mind, i do have a few more questions..... :-)

I was heavly considering that the bad P7 pictures i got were because of bad settings, even though everything was on AUTO, and i used the higher finner pic quality when shooting. After a friend of mine did some more samples with his brand new P72, and after i checked steve's digicams sample pics from P72 compared to Canon S30, i started to notice that Sony cams DO HAVE a little problem with low light environments, and also, from my point of view, Sony cams usually have worse colors than the Canon ones, which look more "vivid", alive, more colorfull as oposed to the "washed out", faded overall aspect of pics made on sony's.

Not sure if you get what i mean.... just check Steves sample pics for P72 and S30 and you'll see what i mean. And i dont believe its just a matter of "avaliable daylight", because my friends pics have the same problem (a LOT of noise on low light environments and washed out colors).

Also, he sent me some S-30 samples, wich i just loved! Very colorful, defined and bright pics! But it seems like the S-30 is over my budget, so i'd guess i would have to check the A-70 or A-60. My question are:

- "Depending on the available lighting, you might want a camera with a autofocus assiste light and also with a good-to-excellent automatic white balance (to cope with the type of light you have indoors)"

We have a very low light indoors, because of the babies, so i think that might impact on quality of pics. But i have no idea what that "automatic white balance" is about.... Hows the A60/70 compared to P72 on that aspect?


- "Ok, you'll want the fastest AF available, minimum shutter lag, fast lenses"

Humm... how are the A-60/70 compared to P72 on that feature?


_ "Quality - It depends for what are you going to use the photos. If you're just going to get them to a photo store and have them print them as regular photos"

Most of them will be stored on my computer, but the good ones will be taken to the lab to be developed, and 99,99% of the time on the 10x15 cm default size (inches????). So, my question is: 2 megapixel (A60) will do??? Will i notice any difference on the printed pic if the image was shot at 3 megapixel instead?


- "Giving all of this the Sony (P72) should fit the bill. Of all of these, I think the Sony might be the most straightforward as they have little-to-none manual controls. "


I really like Sonys P family package. Nice sized, nice memory card, nice features, nice looks, nice handling, nice etc, etc. There's only ONE little aspect on Sony's that i discovered i dont like: image quality....... I'm sorry, i really tried and analysed a lot of pics, but i'm really going for the conclusion that for my taste, pics shot with Sony's, even with the best setting, are usually with washed out colors and terribly noisy under low light conditions when compared to Canon... That's a HUGE surprise to me, because i always thought Sony's were inquestionably the best.... Am i crazy and being too picky or my conclusion is right???


- "If not, you could take a look at the canon range (A70, S30,S45,S50) or olympus (D560, Stylus 300/400, altoght they lack AF assist light)."

You said Canon's doesnt have the AF light feature. Well, sorry to ask, but, what does this AF light does???.... Do you think ill i miss that under the conditions my pics will be shoot most of the time(indoors, low light, etc)??


- "The problem you described earlier with the P7 might be due to a high-compression image format (JPEG) or shooting a a lower resolution. When shooting at the highest resolution (3 MP) and using a low compression JPEG (SHQ or someting) or a non-lossy format (RAW or TIFF) you should not have any problems.
But check Steve's review of the P72."

I dont think so... as i said, i compared a few other P7 and P72 pics, and also read some major complains from P7/72 users stating that their pics are usually rather noisy and out of focus. Also, i wasnt very impressed with steves sample pics for most of the DSC-P family, again, when compared to other brands.... Maybe i'm crazy, but, for my eyes, thats what i got....

Well, i guess i already wrote a LOT, so, i'd really really appreciate if you or someone else could offer me some comments on the points i raised on this post... Now, my choices are between the A70/60 and the P72. I really liked Canons sample pictures, both from Steves and from friends, so, if those features wont be missed that much, i'd probably go for the A60 if 2 megapixel does fine for my printinf purpouses. Also, i LOVE Canons software, whereas i just HATED Sonys Pixela software.....

Carlos, muito obrigado pela ajuda! Se voce puder fazer mais estes comentarios, vou lhe agradecer imensamente pois estou comprando a camera sem poder testa-la!!! E isso eh sempre meio complicado.... ;-)


muito obrigado e fique com Deus!

Thanks again!

PEACE!

marcelo




a bit overpriced for me
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Old Apr 11, 2003, 12:36 PM   #6
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Quote:

We have a very low light indoors, because of the babies, so i think that might impact on quality of pics. But i have no idea what that "automatic white balance" is about.... Hows the A60/70 compared to P72 on that aspect?
I can't really compare the cameras unless I read some reviews, but I'll check it out.
White balance is a setting that eliminates (mainly) white distortion due to the lighting condition. For example, if you shoot near a fluorescent lamp, your whites will tend to look greenish and so people on the photos will look like they're sick. If you shoot in bright sunlight, white will look blueish, etc.
Most (at least the better ones) cameras have both automatic white balance and manual settings. The manual settings use comprise outdoors sunny, outdoors cloudy, fluorescent lamp and tungsten-filament lamp, and some even let you calibrate the WB.
Automatic WB is a bliss. The camera "calculates" the needed correction and applies it. So a camera with a good WB will take good-looking pictures (i.e. correct whites and no tinge to the rest of the photo) under any light source.

Quote:
Humm... how are the A-60/70 compared to P72 on that feature?
I think I need to explain a little more this point: if your kids move a lot (i.e. they won't be still for the photo) or you want to take an "action shot" (like on a footbal match, for example) you want the camera to be able to capture a short moment (a fraction of a second) to avoid blurs (like you see if you take a photo and move the camera while doing it). If you are going to take "still" photos, this will be less of a problem.

Quote:
Most of them will be stored on my computer, but the good ones will be taken to the lab to be developed, and 99,99% of the time on the 10x15 cm default size (inches????). So, my question is: 2 megapixel (A60) will do??? Will i notice any difference on the printed pic if the image was shot at 3 megapixel instead?
It depends. MP are not the ultimate measure of picture quality in a camera. Some 2 MP will take photos that are a whole lot better than those taken with another 3 MP camera.
If you want to be able to just print part of the photo, higher MP's are preferable. For normal photos, 2 MP is usually enough. If you want larger photos or to print a smaller area, 3+ MP are necessary.


Quote:
I really like Sonys P family package. Nice sized, nice memory card, nice features, nice looks, nice handling, nice etc, etc. There's only ONE little aspect on Sony's that i discovered i dont like: image quality....... I'm sorry, i really tried and analysed a lot of pics, but i'm really going for the conclusion that for my taste, pics shot with Sony's, even with the best setting, are usually with washed out colors and terribly noisy under low light conditions when compared to Canon... That's a HUGE surprise to me, because i always thought Sony's were inquestionably the best.... Am i crazy and being too picky or my conclusion is right???
It's a matter of taste. I can't really compare because I have never taken photos with a sony (or a canon for that matter, I have an Olympus). But if you don't like the way the photos look, don't buy the camera

Quote:
You said Canon's doesnt have the AF light feature. Well, sorry to ask, but, what does this AF light does???.... Do you think ill i miss that under the conditions my pics will be shoot most of the time(indoors, low light, etc)??
As you probably know, cameras nowadays have an autofocus feature which eliminates the need for you to manually focus the picture. The better the autofocus, the more in-focus will all the picture look, avoiding blurreness.
To autofocus, the camera needs some light. Under low light conditions, most cameras have problems focusing correctly because they have little light to do it. An AF assist light is a small light that turns on when the camera focus and then turns of after doing it. It is very low intensity and as it turns off after you take the picture, it be like a flash.
If you're going to shoot in low-to-none light, AF assist is a must.

If you're going to shoot your babies while they're sleeping, I could recomend you get a camera able to have long exposure times. Like you said, you'll be shooting under low light, so most likely the camera will want to use the flash. That might disturb your babies' sleep. If you shoot with a camera which has a long exposure time, you just leave the camera gathering light from the scene for a longer period and is most cases you won't need to use the flash. Of course this has some drawbacks: the camera needs to be perfectly still (on a tripod or on top of a firm object, holding it generally won't do) and the "subject" being photographed should't move But you'll get EXCELLENT photos this way.

Another thing, what is you budget? It would be easier to give some options if you give us your budget.


muito obrigado e fique com Deus!

De nada!

[/quote]
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Old Apr 11, 2003, 1:21 PM   #7
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Carlos,

novamente, muito obrigado pelas respostas!!

On the budget aspect, 350U$ is around the average price i can afford. The A60 would be a good deal because i would be able to afford the camera AND a bigger memory card.


On a previous post of yours, i got the impression that Canons didnt have the AF assist light, but i guess you were talking about Olympus models..... ;-)


- "But if you don't like the way the photos look, don't buy the camera. "


well, you're gonna laugh at this, but, i believe its also a psychological issue..... i'm soooo used to buying sony products with my eyes closed, and always getting a good product, that i'm actually confused with this P7/72 thing. My eyes tell my brains that 100% of the P72 samples i saw so far, plus the ones i got with a borrowed P7, are very washed out in terms of colors, contours, etc. But my brain responds to my eyes: what are u talking about, its a SONY for Christs sake!!!


I'm still very confused. Maybe i'm being too pick or maybe all the samples i got and saw were bad camera settings case, or bad photographer....

Another point: i'm still not sure if the shutter speed of the P72 is better than the A60/70.

Still, my choices remain with the P72, A70, A60 and maybe the S230, if it really pays off in terms of aditional features and image quality.

Thanks again! Muito obrigado novamente pela ajuda....

abracos,

marcelo
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Old Apr 14, 2003, 4:01 AM   #8
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Actualy, and in terms of additional "features", I think you'll find the A60/70 more "feature-full". The s230 and P72 are more straight-up point'n'shoot cameras. The A series is an intermediate model in terms of manual settings.

If it was ME who was going to buy, I'd probably stick to the A70. Pretty good point'n'shoot modes but enough customization so if you want to "try" some things out, you can.

But doing a short comparison on some aspects:

Resolution: all 3 MP except for the A60

Like I said before, it depends. If all other things equal, go for 3 MP of course.

Zoom (optical): all 3x except for the s230 (2x)

Of my experience, the more zoom the better.

Shutter speed: A70/60 -> 15 sec - 1/2000 sec
s230 -> 15 sec - 1/1500 sec
P72 -> 2 sec - 2/1000 sec

For the type of photos you want to take, the faster the lens, the better. The P72 might be a little too slow for your taste. Besides, it lacks the ability to take long exposure shots (2 sec is too short). So I'd rule the camera out on this point.

Aperture: All f2.8/8.0 except for the s230 (2.8/4.0)

The wider the available aperture range, the better.

Control: A70/A60 -> Full auto -> full manual
s230 -> Full auto -> Some manual
P72 -> Almost only full auto

If you want to "grow" into the camera, be able to try and learn, experiment with it, the A70/60 seems the better choice.

Sensibility (ISO): Canon's: Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400.
Sony: Auto, 100, 200, 400

Canons have a better control over ISO settings, but apart from that, not much of a difference.


Pictures format: A60/70, s230 -> JPEG, 3 quality settings
P72 -> JPEG, 2 quality settings

On quality settings, I'd go with the canons. The superfine setting seems to be a very low compression JPEG, so quality loss would be very minimal (probably you wouldn't notice any comparing to the "original" picture).

Batteries: A60/70 -> 4 NiMH (AA)
s230 -> Li-ion (Proprietary)
P72 -> 2 NiMH (AA)

Go for rechargeable NiMH. Cheaper to buy, better to control and if your batteries run out you can always go to ANY shop, buy some AA alkalynes and keep shooting. Propietary Li-ion are a pain.

Storage media: Canon's: CF I
Sony: Memory Stick

Compact flash is slightly cheaper, non-proprietary and has more storage capacity available if you want it.

Conclusion: I'd go with the A70. Over all the others, without hesitation. If not, I'd compare the A60 pictures with either the P72 or the s230 and if the quality difference is not that noticeable, I'd go with the A60. Otherwise, it's a matter of taste really. Both P72 and s230 have compromises.

So, if you can, buy the A70.
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Old Apr 14, 2003, 4:57 AM   #9
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get the A70 or the Minolta 414
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Old Apr 14, 2003, 10:00 AM   #10
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Olá, Carlos!
Novamente, muito obrigado por sua gentileza... again thanks a lot for taking the time and replying. I'm sure a LOT of people will benefit from your analisys of these cams...

As usual, i got a couple of questions, not related to the camera itself, but more to the terms. So, if you or anybody else could help me out with these technical terms, i'd appreciate it. :-)


I've been reading SOOOO many reviews on the last 2 weeks, that i jumped from "totally illiterate in digital-photography" status to an "almost basic knowledge" one... but still some blanks need info...

- I guess know what a "shutter speed" is. Its the speed of the actual mechanism that "opens and closes" so the light and photographed image can "enter" the camera to sensibilize the CCD, right?? less light, you need more speed, more light or moving targets, you need less speed. But i really dont know how to interpret these " 15 - 1/2000 sec"....

Does it means the shutter speed ranges from 15 seconds of being open to 0,0005 seconds (or 1/2000 of a sec)?????

In that case, which one should be better: a 1/2000, a 1/1500 or a 2/1000???? Sorry, this is really ancient greek to me....


Aperture: All f2.8/8.0 except for the s230 (2.8/4.0)

Question 2: what is an "Aperture"?? and how do i interpret, what can i understand from a "f2.8/8.0" information? what does that means in pratical terms.... You said "The wider the available aperture range, the better. ", so I supose the number after the "/" should be bigger in that case....

thank you very much again!

muita PAZ e muita saude para voce e os seus!

marcelo
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