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Old Apr 2, 2003, 8:24 PM   #1
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Default DSC-P72 - tons of red/green noise in dark environments?

I purchased this camera originally for my parents assuming that it was a point and click camera. That does not seem to be the case. Perhaps I am just being very picky about things, but this particular model (or maybe all of Sony's line) appears to be very susceptible to scenes that have dark areas in it. Here are some samples (~1 MB each, so they're HUGE):

www.crimetank.com/misc/DSC00200.JPG Look at the cars on the right side. The bumpers are noisy. And you can tell especially from the minivan's tinted windows. That's supposed to be shiny and a solid but instead it looks noisy.

www.crimetank.com/misc/DSC00202.JPG if you look at the bathroom window (smallest window on bottom row) of our house on the wall, it's very blurry. The edges are not well defined at all.

www.crimetank.com/misc/DSC00207.JPG is a very dark picture so the noise is very prnounced. The windows have specks on the glass throughout.

www.crimetank.com/misc/DSC00215.JPG looks okay, but check out the bottoms of the doors where once again, there are specks/noise.

These pictures were all taken with the settings of the camera on automatic as well as having the flash on automatic. I have more samples available.

I have asked my sister who has a Canon Powershot S30 (also 3.1MP) to send some samples of pictures from dim environments, and the noise in her pictures is nowhere near as high as on the Sony DSC-P72.

Looking at the samples from Steve's articles, they look fantastic. However, that does not appear to be the case with the samples I have taken. My sister has suggested that it is something built into Sony's image processing algorithm that causes it to attempt to compensate for some of the darkness of the image.

I think she is right. I took a few pictures with the flash off and the specs show up much more as if the camera is trying to make up for low luma data.

Any ideas? Perhaps I am expecting too much of the camera? I'm considering at this point to take this camera back for a refund and get a Canon S30 instead even though it costs more.

Thanks a lot.
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Old Apr 6, 2003, 9:47 PM   #2
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Hello hello all 50+ people who have viewed this thread and maybe clicked the links.

Today I took the camera out for a real honest-to-god test run to see how it would hold up under better lit conditions. I'm afraid I've been pretty hard on the camera putting it in downright hostile lighting environment. Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been very good in NYC lately.

In any case, the pictures are linked at the end of this post.

It appears that the P72 has SOME difficulty in discerning what is and isn't the object that you want focused since it uses a multi-point autofocus feature. As a result, often times things that are supposed to be sharp and in focus without the noise appear blurry and noisy.

Under well lit environments and an object that is clearly intended to be focused, the camera does remarkably well. The following are miscellaneous photos I took throughout my day. I was having a fieldday with the camera. These pictures were all taken with automatic settings for everything, including auto flash.

As you can see, the pictures came out rather nicely. I didn't upload any of the 'bad' pictures because there's already examples of the 'bad' ones posted from above.

Enjoy! And I hope this has been both informative/helpful to anyone reading this.

These pictures are quite large, ranging between 1.1 to 1.4 megabytes each. It is on a fast host though so if you have broadband it should not be a problem.


Of particular note is www.crimetank.com/misc/DSC00285.JPG which is a shot I took out of the side window of my cousin's car while cruising down an expressway at about 60MPH. It's a very good picture considering that.
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Old Apr 9, 2003, 1:14 PM   #3
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Most digicams now use an ISO speed setting of "auto" so unless you select and lock in a given ISO speed the camera will use higher (noisier) ISO settings to compensate for lower light levels. The higher ISO lets the camera work in lower light but it drastically increases the image noise, especially in shadow areas.

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Old Apr 9, 2003, 3:11 PM   #4
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Steve, thanks for the reply.

I'm almost certain that you're right. I forgot to mention in my earlier postings that I had forced the ISO setting to Auto, 100, and 400 to see what would happen, and 400 does indeed have much more noise as a result.

However, it would seem that in addition to that, forcing the focal point to center as well as forcing the metering to single-point aids greatly since maybe 95% of the shots I take have the "target" object dead center.
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Old Apr 17, 2003, 6:52 PM   #5
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Technical note regarding the links above: I had to delete the photos I was running out of webspace. If you want to see them for whatever reason, email and I will be more than happy to provide them to you.
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Old May 11, 2003, 11:44 PM   #6
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Are you happy with the camera now? We are still debating whether or not we should return our P72 and try something else. We found that the focus did not appear as sharp as when we compared it to the same picture taken with an Olympus (can't remember the model, but it was over $1000 3 years ago). The lighting in the room was also not too good.
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Old May 12, 2003, 9:04 AM   #7
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I recently bought an HP 5550 printer that does photo printouts, and let me tell you, things look excellent printed out. Overall, yes, I am satisfied with the camera. On a side note, I'm even more satisfied because after having purchased the camera itself for $300 + tax (not including accessories), I found out Sony had a $50 rebate, so I really got the camera for about $250! :-)
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Old May 12, 2003, 7:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by invar
Steve, thanks for the reply.
However, it would seem that in addition to that, forcing the focal point to center as well as forcing the metering to single-point aids greatly since maybe 95% of the shots I take have the "target" object dead center.
Yeah, I do that too. I always use center AF. I do this with my 35mm SLR as well. If the thing I want to focus on isn't at the center, I hold focus on it and recompose the picture so it looks the way I want it to. I also use center metering a lot, but I also sometimes use evaluative metering. Either mode will sometimes produce a picture that's too dark or too light.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 1:13 PM   #9
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Default P72 has serious problems. I'll vouch for that.

I went and bought another one of these cameras to verify if something is wrong with my camera, or if there is a 'defect' in the product, and the new camera behaved in exactly the same way!!!!!! Glitch in camera software?
Here is how to recreate the problem.

The problem is that the camera chooses to low on an ISO when zoomed in 3X. I can alleviate the problem by manually setting the ISO. On a bright sunny day, zoom in to 3X, shoot at a subject approx 10' away, subject should be in direct sunlight. Behind subject have bushes, or a dark house, or trees, or even just shadows. The background can be close or far, either way the camera will give the 'shake' warning as it seems to be choosing ISO 100!!!!!!!I have now switched to a Canon A60 and it does not have this problem in the exactly the same conditions, so there is definitely something wrong with this model of camera. (I tested the cameras side by side) The problem only seems to arise if the camera is zoomed in. As this is a 'point and shoot' camera, it should be making the correct choice of ISO, I should not have to force it.

The camera also takes terribel low light photos. (lots of noise) The Canon does way way better. I believe that the reviewers have all done us all a big injustice by saying this camera is good. The problem is that the test shots most reviewers do dont challenge the camera's 'brains' very much. They really need to start testing the point and shoot cameras with some real world conditions, that challenge that cameras ability to make correct decisions when in AUTO mode. I know that I dont wanna screw with the camera settings, I want to capture life as it happens, not try to pause life while I change the ISO, etc. on my camera! I know I am gonna be out about $100 after I dump this junk for $100 less than paid.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 4:06 PM   #10
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I cant negate that this camera has much more noise in low light and shadows conditions, but in all other aspects is better than oly c350/d560 which i had 2 weeks.And the noise problem- i found nice pluglin into PS or PsP and it remove digital noise quite good.And definitely u CANT see noise in 10*15 photos or in 800*600 on screen.
I was thinking about canon a60/70.But there is much more - than + for canon.
first and most important for me-it hasnt mass storage.
it has 4 AA bat.
problem with strips on LCD
very bad, bad designed cover glass on the LCD...
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