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Old Feb 4, 2005, 10:16 AM   #51
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I haven't been able to view lukester's pics, I'm getting 404 Not Found errors when I try to view the full-size images.

However I took a look at the test images in the megapixel.net review mentioned above and I was very impressed by the detail captured by the FX7 on the still life shot. I compared the crop of the wide-angle still life with the equivalent images from the Sony P100, P150, W1, Canon A95 and even the G6. Look at the detail in the texture of the cloth and the old envelope. The Sonys turn the table cloth into a milky sea, the Canons catch some of its detail but the FX7 really brings out its texture. Now there may be an element of luck here, there's a lot of depth in this scene and it's shot at maximum aperture, so maybe only the FX7 happened to focus exactly on the plane shown in the crop.

What I think these images show is the different approaches to noise reduction applied by the different manufacturers. It's difficult to process out noise without losing fine detail, especially repetitive, fine textural detail. The FX7 images show higher noise than the others but retain more texture detail. (The FX7's sensor probably generates more noise than the other 5MP cameras to begin with, due to its 1/2.5 inch size; the others I believe use 1/1.8 inch sensors.)

I have no axe to grind for the FX7 - I don't own one and I have a Sony P200 on order. After seeing those test images, and various others from other sites, I've been generally impressed. The OIS is a fantastic feature to have in my view, especially if you don't have the steadiest hands. I'd be interested to hear users' comments about how well this works.

If the FX7 had a VGA 30fps movie mode, I would probably buy one. The movie clips I've seen (at Steve's and DCRP) aren't very impressive, so I'll probably stick with the Sony. But if Panasonic bring out a new model with good movies, more manual exposure control and an optical viewfinder, I'll be taking a very close look.

Re: the issue of ISO 400 on auto, personally this wouldn't worry me a lot as I would just set ISO manually, but if this camera is over-eager to jump to ISO 400, that would seem to be a strange design decision given the camera's higher than average noise levels. HoneyBun had a different experience though; could it be that Panasonic changed the firmware at some point? Lukester, did the FX7 choose ISO 400 even on shots well within the flash's range?

Dave
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Old Feb 4, 2005, 11:19 AM   #52
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I took the pictures down a long time ago.

Yes the camera always chose a higher iso for indoor flash photos, even within rage of the flash. Sometimes it chose 300. Which is weird because that isnt even a choice to choose manually. No it does not capture more detail. If my shots were up you'd see that the extreme noise, cancelled out any detail in the shots. One shot showed a stereo, and with the canon the display could actually be read, and the black of the case looked black. With the FX7 the noise was so extreme that the black took on a softer dark greyish color, and the display could not be read.

The movie mode isnt any better when it comes to light sensitivity, making it nearly useless indoors. (unless your indoors is WELL lit)
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Old Feb 4, 2005, 12:55 PM   #53
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I have an FX7 that I have been very happy with, and I believe there is an easy fix for Lukester's concern.

Go into SCN (Scene) mode on the main wheel on top of the camera. Set "Portrait" as the scene mode, and make sure the camera is in the mode that always uses the last setting used.

I tried three different flash modes (auto, red-eye reduction, and forced-on) and in all the modes the FX7 defaulted
to ISO 100 on shots taken in my office.

So next time you shoot indoor pix of the kids, set the camera to Scene instead of Simple (the Heart) or normal mode and you should get an ISO 100 setting automatically.

You should not have to re-set this even after turning the camera off/on. As long as the wheel menu on top is in Scene Mode, ISO 100 will probably be the default setting.
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Old Feb 4, 2005, 1:06 PM   #54
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That is a great solution! I'm glad you posted it. Unfortunately I returned the camera a long time ago. If Panasonic tech support had been as familiar and competent with the camera as you are I might have been more happy with my purchase.
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Old Feb 4, 2005, 7:54 PM   #55
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lukester01 wrote:
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No it does not capture more detail.
Are you saying that in the example I was discussing, namely the wide-angle still life shots in the megapixel.net reviews of FX7 vs P100, P150, W1, A95 & G6, I am mistaken in stating that the FX7 captures more texture detail? Have you looked at them?

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If my shots were up you'd see that the extreme noise, cancelled out any detail in the shots. One shot showed a stereo, and with the canon the display could actually be read, and the black of the case looked black. With the FX7 the noise was so extreme that the black took on a softer dark greyish color, and the display could not be read.
Right, we're discussing two different things here. You're comparing an FX7 image taken at high ISO, with a Canon image taken at low ISO. Naturally the Canon image will show more detail. I have followed the argument about the FX7's choice of ISO, but that's not what I was discussing in the main part of my post. It's a different issue, independent of the ISO choice issue with which you started this thread.

What I was comparing was images from different cameras at similar ISO. In my view the FX7 shows more visible noise in these images than the other cameras. And my point was that, in image processing, there's a trade-off between noise suppression and preserving fine detail - an uncontroversial point. Panasonic appear to have opted in the FX7 for relatively gentle noise suppression, and while this results in some visible noise at low ISO, the flipside is that it preserves what I view as a very impressive level of detail in these low ISO images.

For another example, see the harbour shot in Steve's reviews of these cameras. If you view the images full-size or bigger and look at the blue hut on the far left, you'll see that the FX7 clearly shows the separate vertical panels making up the wall of the hut. In the equivalent images from the reviews of the Sony P150 and Canon A95 and G6, you can't see the panels, the wall looks like a smooth surface. The little FX7 really has no right to be challenging the G6 in any area, given the price difference and the compromises inherent in sub-compact camera design. For it to beat the G6 in a test of resolution, and edge resolution at that - albeit an isolated example, not a systematic comparison - strikes me as remarkable. No doubt the G6 trounces the FX7 in many other comparisons, but the FX7 shouldn't be able to land a punch on it, and in this case it does, IMO.

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The movie mode isnt any better when it comes to light sensitivity, making it nearly useless indoors. (unless your indoors is WELL lit)
Useful to know that the movie mode doesn't cope well with low light, thanks.

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Old Feb 5, 2005, 8:21 AM   #56
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I can only agree with 'most everyone else here -- choose a lower ISO setting and let the camera handle the rest.

Or dig out the old Box Brownie -- the original "point and shoot".

I have an LC40 that has much the same idea indoors, but a bit of experimentation soon showed how to get around it.

BTW, whilst we're being picky: Some-one with a B.S degree (I've seen other interpretations put on b.s -- even been accused of it myself...) should definately know how to spell "definitely".
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 11:37 PM   #57
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I have developed a new opinion on the fx7. I had it for 4 months now, still think it is a great camera! but, compared to my friends Canon sd300 and my new sd500, the picture in the same lighting conditions seem to be a bit better with the Canon, the fx7 just seems to be more noisy in low light.

I now have the sd500 and would consider it worth the extra money, and the sd400 should be comparable camera.
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 12:25 AM   #58
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Problem is the FX7 is not edible, the FZ1 FZ1v2 mmm delicious.

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Old Apr 19, 2005, 12:30 AM   #59
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A lot of people with the same problem have found that chaining the FX7 to their truck and dragging it 2 miles seems to help it's light abilities:arrow:
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Old May 5, 2005, 1:15 AM   #60
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Probably a bit late here, but if there seems to be a lot of noise on the FX7 then what about the FX2? Its 1 megapixel less with everything else the same, so shouldnt that mean less noise ??
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