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Old Jul 28, 2004, 3:50 PM   #31
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When comparing images from your older DSC-S85 (especially with indoor photos), you have to take into consideration things like lens brightness.

The lens design used in the DSC-85 was a very good one -- making it nice for indoor photos. It was extremely bright (f/2.0 at wide angle). I can remember when this lens first appeared on the DSC-S70. You see the identical lens design on the Epson PhotoPC 3000z, Toshiba PDR-70 and Casio QV-3000EX.

Of course, the Sony probably used different glass and coatings, but otherwise, the lenses on these models are identical. Keep in mind that it's a "Carl Zeiss" design, but made in Japan. So, multiple models using the same lens are not uncommon (even though the lens manufacturer may be labeled differently).

These cameras were very nice for indoor use. For one thing, the sensors used in these models had larger photosites for each pixel. This means better dynamic range and lower noise -- especially as ISO speeds are increased.

The lens brightness also comes into play, allowing lower ISO speeds for the same light levels. Keep in mind that f/2.0 is twice as bright as f/2.8

Also,a model like the Sony using a 5MP 1/1.8" CCD, with a 2.8 µm pixel pitch, is going to need more amplification of the CCD signal for equivalent ISO sensitivity -- not even taking lens brightness into the equation.

In contrast, your DSC-85 used a 4MP 1/1.8" CCD with a larger 3.1 µm pixel pitch. This CCD has lower noise characterics compared to the 5MP 1/1.8" CCD. Dynamic range also tends to be better from sensors with larger photosites. The larger the surface area for each photodiode, the better the fill factor.

Light is a digital cameras best friend.

With a subcompact camera model, using a high resolution sensor, you're going to have some tradeoffs. With the subcompact 5MP Sony models, they tend to increase ISO speed to 160 indoors. Because noise tends to be worse from this sensor (as compared to the 4MP 1/1.8" sensor that preceded it),this will also impact image quality. So, Sony does have some in camera noise reduction processes in this model. However, if you don't need the increased sensitivity (which will give you better flash range), you can always set it back to ISO 100.

You can't compare aSubcompact Camera using a 5MP 1/1.8" CCD with a tiny lens, to a largerCamera using a 4MP 1/1.8" CCDwith a larger, brighter lens.

You are comparing apples to oranges. The 4MP model with the brighter lens, and larger photosites for each pixel, is going to win in low light. You'll have lower noise, and better dynamic range.

You have to comparethe Sony W1to other models in it's class.

In order to geta higher resolution sensor, in a subcompact package, there are certain tradeoffs that you will need to accept.
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 6:33 PM   #32
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Jim C - Looking back at the picures it does appear I set the flash to forced off ( whilst using the program mode).

Excellent description of lighting conditions, etc aswell very useful and informative. I really want to stick with this camera as I really like it.

But I can't help thinking the pictures my old IXUS 400 took were slightly superior to the ones taken with the W1. Thats what makes me think I should sell the W1 and get a IXUS 500:?
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 7:17 PM   #33
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scooby snacks wrote:
Quote:
Jim C - Looking back at the picures it does appear I set the flash to forced off ( whilst using the program mode).

Excellent description of lighting conditions, etc aswell very useful and informative. I really want to stick with this camera as I really like it.

But I can't help thinking the pictures my old IXUS 400 took were slightly superior to the ones taken with the W1. Thats what makes me think I should sell the W1 and get a IXUS 500:?
That's what I figured (flash forced off).

Your old CanonS400used the Sony 1/1.8" 4 Megapixel CCD.

It'sabetter CCD for existing light photos, compared to the Sony 1/1.8" CCD used in models like the newer Canon S500, and Sony W1.

Ifyou look at some of the tests of simiilar models using both CCD sensors (Sony 4MP 1/1.8" CCD vs Sony 5MP 1/1.8" CCD), the 4MP models do better as ISO speeds are increased. One example is the Canon G3 versus the Canon G5. The lenses are identical. Yet, you have higher noise levels in the newer G5, which uses the newer Sony 5MP 1/1.8" CCD. That's a tradeoff of a denser CCD.

If you really need the extra resolution of a 5MP 1/1.8" sensor, fine. However, if you don't, I thinkmodels using the Sony 4MP 1/1.8" CCDare a better choice.

Unfortunately, most newer models in this class are using the higher(5MP) resolution sensor.

Heck, look at the new P150. It'll be packing 7.2 Megapixels into the same size sensor.

It's a "megapixel war".... The sad thing, is that most consumers will never print anything larger than about 8x10", so the extra resolution really isn't buying them anything (and can actually hurt them, if trying to shoot in lower light at higher ISO speeds). :-)

Of course, in camera noise reduction techniques are getting better. But, personally, I'd rather have a CCD that has a better signal to noise ratio to begin with. This trend of more and more megapixels into smaller and smaller sensors seems to be getting a little out of hand.


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Old Jul 29, 2004, 10:55 AM   #34
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Jim,

So there's not truth to either of these reviewers that also found issues with Sony's 'softness?

From Imaging-Resource
Quote:
"(It seems to have a very aggressive anti-noise system, which does indeed deliver low noise in flat-tinted areas, but which also tends to flatten-out fine subject detail in areas with low contrast, such as hair, grass, etc.)"
From the CNet review
Quote:
As with the P100, the W1's images were properly exposed but showed limited dynamic range, especially in the highlight end of the blue channel, which results in oversaturated images during post-processing and blown-out highlights. Despite the pedigree of the lens, images weren't as sharp overall as they should have been. Combined with excessive postprocessing on very detailed areas, such as grass, complex photos are suitable for only scaled-down screen display and on a case-by-case basis for prints as large as 8x10.



I follow what you are saying about light collection between the W1 and other cameras, size of the CCD element cells, etc. Is it your opinion that these reviewers too are confusing a 'soft' picture from this camera to one that isoverprocessed for sharpness from another?


You're right about this megapixel war. That's how I ended up getting the W1 at first, the lens, 5MP and that gorgeous LCD.I did choose a different camera (A80) and have been happier with the results, even though it is only 4MP





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Old Jul 29, 2004, 3:37 PM   #35
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I would respect Dave Etchell'sopinion (http://www.imaging-resource.com), but wouldn't put much faith in a review from CNET.

Dave did knock the Sony's noise reduction system(but gave it high marks for clean images). You can't really have one without the other with a sensor this dense, so everything's a tradeoff.:-) After all, what do most users complain about with these smallsensor models? Noise.

As fordynamic range and highlight detail, Dave found the opposite of the Cnet reviewer, simply by using the low-contrast setting:

"In my testing, the W1 did a very good job with dynamic range and highlight detail when I employed its optional low-contrast setting, a feature that I really like to see, given how common it is for digicams to lose the highlights when trying for "snappy" photos under harsh lighting."

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/W1/W1A.HTM


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Old Jul 29, 2004, 5:30 PM   #36
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So, this whole soft/blurry discussion really had/has me worried about the W1. I was pretty well all set to go with it. A little bigger than whatI wanted, but I had weighed all the pros and cons and decided this was the one.

Then this thread and another like it it DPReview, began to scare me off -- btw: Sony marketers if you are monitoring these threads, they are scaring people away, and if you are not monitoring you should be, but that's a different thread.

Anyway, I began surfing around and looking for the W1s replacement and I found two very important things 1) Nothing else combines all my 'must haves' in a small enough and cheap enough ($400 isn't cheap, but it's not $600) package. And 2) Alot of other camera brands/models have very similar posts!! blurry, poor pics, lousy indoor shots or outdoor shots - etc.

thanks to JimC for putting things in a bit perspective for me and perhaps others. Nothing is perfect and in the end it's personal opinion on quality, etc. As my wife suggested, I think I'm going to ....(quote from my luv) "JUST BUY THE DAMN THING AND SEE IF (YOU) I LIKE THE PICTURES IT TAKES!" I think she was just yelling out of love...

My two cents. I'll probably end up obessing a few more days and then buy the W1.


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Old Jul 30, 2004, 12:58 AM   #37
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Quote:
Nothing is perfect and in the end it's personal opinion on quality, etc. As my wife suggested, I think I'm going to ....(quote from my luv) "JUST BUY THE DAMN THING AND SEE IF (YOU) I LIKE THE PICTURES IT TAKES!"
Buy it from a vendor with a no restocking fee policy. Then, if despite your best efforts to find a good match, if you decide thatyou don't like it,you can return it for a refund. It's that simple.

All of these subcompact models have their strengths and weaknesses.What one user likes, another may not. It's up to you to decide which model fits you the best.

If you look for fault, you're going to find it -- with any camera model. If you look for strengths, you'll find those, too. As you said, none of them are perfect.
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Old Oct 23, 2004, 4:01 PM   #38
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Hello All,

This is my first post here although I have been reading the sony forums for some time on this site and I bought a SONY-W! after reading a few good user opionions of that on this site only.

I also agree that the pics taken by W1 are bit too soft compared to other cameras. and this problem sometimes makes a pic totally impactless. I wanna know that can the firmware updates be applied to already bought cams like mine . and is there any firmware updates available for W1 also. how is a firware updare installed on the camera hardware?

here are a few pics I took by SONY-W1 but i guess more sharpness would have added much more effect on these pics...

http://img15.exs.cx/img15/6269/DSC00215_Njpg.jpg
http://img15.exs.cx/img15/5025/DSC00250_Njpg.jpg
http://img48.exs.cx/img48/5272/wp5.jpg


cheers...
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Old Oct 28, 2004, 9:29 AM   #39
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Just wanted to chime-in on the W1's performance. The top pic is taken with a Fuji S7000 auto mode @ 6mp. Bottom pic is taken with the W1 auto mode @ 5.1mp. I'm no expert by any means, but the sony does lack a certain sharpness to the image. BTW, I know it's like comparing applesto oranges, but these 2 cameras are all I have to work with :|

I am happy with how compact and portable the W1 is, that's why I take itwith me whenever I step out of the house. "Bang for the buck" IMO. :-)


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Old Oct 28, 2004, 9:48 AM   #40
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I sold my W1. Just couldn't stand the softness, such a waste of resolution and good optics. I was naive enough to believe that Sony will take their customers seriously and will at least respond to the request of firmware upgrade. It's a shame because almost everything else on this camera was quite good, LCD, lens, manual exposure, good movie mode, AA compatible, good build, but all this couldn't make me keep the camera. I'm sad to say this, but I'll approach Sony cameras in the future with extreme caution.

I got the Ricoh Caplio R1 instead. Haven't done extensive testing but my first impressions are positive.
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