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Old Oct 25, 2004, 10:58 AM   #1
ir
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Could the Nikon CP 8800 be a better camera than it is? This is going to sound like a rant on the much discussed topic of more-Mega-pixels-is-better, which I guess it is. I know this is beat to death, but I'd just like some manufacturers to listen.

I really like what I'veread about the Nikon CP 8800 so far, with some exceptions. First, the lens. It does seem like a pretty good lens, but I can't help wishing for something a bit brighter--say f/2.4-4.5 instead of f/2.8-5.2. Although I'm guessing that Panasonic was only able to achieve a constant f/2.8 on the FZ-20 because that camera has a tiny 1/2.5" sensor to shine light on, and that this is a more difficult feat with a 2/3" sensor. Maybe I'm wrong on this point, so comments are welcome.

Also with the lens, 35mm is not very wide. I would get much more use from a 28mm wide angle than from the 350mm telephoto. Having said that, I don't mind buying a wide angle adapter lens to make up for this. I would be dismayed, however, if, like some cameras, the adapter precludes the use of the flash because it becomes partially blocked out. I suspect this is not the case with the 8800, but I don't know yet. And there's always the hot-shoe.

The second issue I have is, of course, the sensor. Why do we need 8MP's? The file sizes are likely to be huge, the noise unnecessarily high, almost nobody makes 12x16 inch prints, and with a 350mm lens, cropping may not be such an issue. Who doesn't think that a 5 or 6 MP sensor of the same 2/3" size would be much better, provided there was a significant and corresponding reduction in noise? A camera with a stabilized 350mm f/2.4-4.5 lens, a 5-6MP 2/3" sensor that takes pictures that have no discernable noise at ISO 50 or 100, barely noticeable noise at ISO 200, and is still usable at the normally useless ISO 400--wouldn't that be great?

But they just can't bring themselves to do it. They are building cameras not to take great pictures, but to meet a certain minimum standard. After that it's all about the numbers that get splashed on shelf displays at Best Buy (and Futureshop here in Canada). How could a manufacturer try to sell a 5-6MP camera for the same price as its competitors are selling otherwise comparable 8MP cams? They aren't willing to take the risk. In the end, it's all about specifications and less about picture quality. Engineers I'm sure have a mandate to continue cramming more pixels onto sensors as long as they meet what seems to be an industry standard acceptable image quality.

In the end, I guess it's our own fault as consumers. Probably most who actively read these forums understand a little of what's behind the numbers, but many people walk into a store and have only the specifications to go by, and the salesperson making a commission isn't about to try and talk them into aless expensivecamera. I just get very dismayed when every camera I look at seems to fall short on some critical issue where it doesn't need to at all.

A dSLR setup may not be right for me for several reasons, so I really want to like the 8800, and I'm hoping that when Steve posts his review the images are miraculously clear of noise, very sharp, and have true colors. My fingers are crossed.

ir
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Old Oct 27, 2004, 6:37 AM   #2
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ir

What I have certainly come to learn is that megapixels is only half the story, the other being sensor quality and size.

Two examples of cams I own.

Minolta Dimage XG takes better pics at 3mp than a Sony DSC 85 at 4mp

Kodak DX7590 takes every bit as good of quality and clarity pics at 5mp as my Nikon CP8800 does at 8mp. What I paid for on the Nikon and got was more options and a cam I would not grow out of as fast.

Terry
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Old Oct 27, 2004, 8:43 AM   #3
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That's exactly what I'm looking for, trtjazz--a camera that is very flexible, and a good performer in varied conditions. But along with it, I have to take whatever comes with the latest rush of specifications. A keeping up with the Joneses situation. Mostly, I like the improvements and the feature-rich cameras that are coming out. It's just that with the most important thing, image quality, it seems like there is an acceptable threshold beyond which the specifications become more important.

I've half convinced myself to go the dSLR route when the time comes, even if I give up some of the fun and convenient features of the prosumer models (video capability [purists, please don't flame me, it's fun sometimes] and no lenses to buy and carry around [I know, this is both aplus and a minus]). They know that market, and they know that image quality is king.

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Old Oct 28, 2004, 11:55 AM   #4
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If we needed further evidence of the technology and numbers race being much more important than the actual pictures they produce, check this out:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0410/04102601sharp8mp.asp

Hell, why didn't they make it a 1/2.5" sensor? I'm sure they are busy working on the engineering required to do so. Why not a press release that says they've created a sensor that is virtually noise free up to ISO 400? Oh, right, that wouldn't sell as good.

:angry:

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Old Oct 30, 2004, 1:45 PM   #5
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trtjazz wrote:
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ir

What I have certainly come to learn is that megapixels is only half the story, the other being sensor quality and size.

Two examples of cams I own.

Minolta Dimage XG takes better pics at 3mp than a Sony DSC 85 at 4mp

Kodak DX7590 takes every bit as good of quality and clarity pics at 5mp as my Nikon CP8800 does at 8mp. What I paid for on the Nikon and got was more options and a cam I would not grow out of as fast.

Terry
I am in good company by the sounds of this discussion. Primarily why I want 8 mp as opposed to the five I currently have in my minolta 7i, is for cropping. When you say you get as good a picture at 5 mp as the Nikon...Are you saying that even cropping the 5 mp the same amount as the 8 mp, the results (using the same pic shot w/both cameras) are the same??? If that IS the case then maybe I'll think a little harder about getting the Canon 20D. I have taken my 7i into the store and attempted to shoot the same scene w/each camera. I took the flash card out of the Canon and put it into the Minolta, and shot the same shot. Then brought them home to compare and crop. Because there were a zillion people milling around in the store, and I was trying not to take up too much of the salesperson's time, I didn't check to see if the Canon's shot was clear and focused. I found out it wasn't after I got the card unloaded. So I am going to do this experiment again. This is the same thing I want to do with the Nikon, but I cannot find one anywhere here in Calgary. I realize there are other issues besides pixel count but to my way of thinking they have all been factors which contribute (noise, anti shake etc.) to a good noticeable result, before cropping can even be considered. But in any case if there were no advantage to be gained by a powerful 10X zoom, and an 8 mp crop area, I will happily (unhappily) wait until some one manufatures a camera that can produce these resullts. I hope you have some thoughts to share on this. Thanks and best regards,

KennethD
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Old Oct 31, 2004, 7:17 PM   #6
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I'll toss my two cents in. I currently have a 3.1MP cam, and it's almost always fine for 4x6 and 5x7 prints, even with moderate amounts of cropping. I have to be more careful going up to 8x10.

What I look at is the pixels per inch that will be available to make the print with. I try not to go too much below 200 ppi. If you do severe cropping, then more MPs is an advantage. I know there are times when I've thought 6 would allow me to do things I can't with 3. You will certainly be able to crop more from an 8MP image than a 5MP image and still have sufficient pixels remaining for a quality print.

However, I consider the quality of the image to be more important. I don't like it when sharpening brings up the noise, and I don't much care for the pasty, smudgedlook noise reduction algorithms give to a picture. And if you have a long zoom lens like the CP 8800's 350 mm (in 35mm equivalent) then you are more likely to be able to fill the frame with your subject and not have to do severe cropping. This is why I said, especially with a lens like that, I'd rather have a lower resolution sensor if it gave better quality pictures.

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Old Nov 4, 2004, 10:13 PM   #7
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There must be something wrong with your dsc-85 that was one of the best cameras i have ever owned .I had a minolta dimage xt and the image quality from it was'nt even in the same league as the sony.All the Dimage pics i've seen have a video look to them.
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Old Nov 5, 2004, 7:33 AM   #8
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You could get a Minolta A1. They're probably still available and have 5Mp and 28-200mm. But I still think the 8Mp works better than 5Mp and the noise level isn't really any different. Sensor quality is gradually improving. You can obviously set it to lower resolution if you want so why not get an A2. You'll find the EVF is in a different league from the 8800.
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