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Old Jan 6, 2005, 12:29 PM   #31
blr
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CVonV wrote:

very good camera that one... pity the video and lcd isn't as good as the W1. Otherwise it kicks it in every other regard imo.

Yes, I wish the video had a 640x480 mode. It is still Ok for showing on smaller TV sets, it records at 30 fps so it's smooth and not overcompressed. i took some clips just the other day and on a 19 inch screen from about 3 meters they looked good, although no question the w1 is better. The screen is indeed smaller 1.8" but it has the same pixel count as the much bigger w1 screen. It's sharper and easier to see outdoors. It is also protected behind a thick clear plastic plate unlike the w1s. For simply showing pictures to your friends it's not as good, as a picture taking and judging aid it is perhaps better. You can enlarge up to 8x, good for inspecting focus and even noise.

I'd say if Ricoh upgrades the video to [email protected] card limited, adds some form of semi-manual exposure control, say exposure priority, makes it an USBmass storge device and perhaps boost the flash a bit they will have a killer compact. I'd easily pay 100 Euro more for a package like this. As it is now it is still a good competitor not my dream ultra compact but closer than most.
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Old Jan 7, 2005, 7:53 PM   #32
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blr wrote:
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I'd say if Ricoh upgrades the video to [email protected] card limited, adds some form of semi-manual exposure control, say exposure priority, makes it an USB mass storge device and perhaps boost the flash a bit they will have a killer compact. I'd easily pay 100 Euro more for a package like this. As it is now it is still a good competitor not my dream ultra compact but closer than most.
BLR, thanks for the description of the Ricoh mate! How's the shot-to-shot lag (with flash), focus times and first shot time? And how many shots do the NiMH's and Li-Ion last? Is exposure priority available only on DSLR's? I've never heard of that before, only aperture and shutter priority. And also, do you mean it needs drivers when connecting to XP? It's USB 1.1 not 2 right? Oh and add a 2.5" screen to that list and it'll definitely be the best Do you have a website with some samples? Sorry about all the questions it's just that I haven't found a review of that camera yet. Thanks again mate

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Old Jan 8, 2005, 7:31 AM   #33
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CVonV wrote:
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BLR, thanks for the description of the Ricoh mate! How's the shot-to-shot lag (with flash), focus times and first shot time? And how many shots do the NiMH's and Li-Ion last? Is exposure priority available only on DSLR's? I've never heard of that before, only aperture and shutter priority. And also, do you mean it needs drivers when connecting to XP? It's USB 1.1 not 2 right? Oh and add a 2.5" screen to that list and it'll definitely be the best Do you have a website with some samples? Sorry about all the questions it's just that I haven't found a review of that camera yet. Thanks again mate
CVonV, if you go over to the Ricoh forum here, you'll see my short review of the camera (under new Ricoh camera thread) together with a downsized image I posted and the discussion that followed.

I'll answer your questions briefly, since this is a Sony forum if you want we can discuss morein the Ricoh forum. Flash recycle times are about average 3-6 sec depending on the distance to subject. I haven't used the Li-Ion pack, it is not included but with two 2300 mAh Kodak (Sanyo) AA cells the battery life is excellent, somewhere in the 300 shots range with LCD on. Sorry about "exposure priority" I mean aperture priority. Yes, it does need drivers for XP, it's nota mass storage class device and its USB 1.1.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 4:12 PM   #34
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The W1/P100 has two faults. The first one is if you press the shutter release too fast, the camera will take picture even while proper focus is still being attempted and not yet achieved resulting in completely blur image. Solution is to first half-press the shutter release and wait for the green focus confirmation to appear. This fault happens to me fewer than 10 times per 1000 pictures.
That may be the reason for a good many blurred W1/P100 pics, but other reports on this forum indicate that it's not the whole story, that some W1/P100/P150s are prone to false focus lock, especially in low light (I imagine that subject contrast plays a role too). I'd be very interested to know how widespread this problem is - whether it's confined to the odd bad batch, or a weakness of these models. I'm thinking of buying one, you see. I know they're getting a bad press here but I haven't found a competing product that meets my criteria: fast, pocketable, good optical quality (I have a particular aversion to purple fringing!), good video, AV out, good low-light capability, budget 200 pounds sterling, maybe 250 at a push.

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The second is a serious one which is the default too aggressive noise reduction system resulting in images with all fine details being removed or flattened. Pictures with facial details, hairs or small leaves, leaves' details and grasses look so blurry or flattened that I thought my eyes were myopic and got sick of it and stopped using the camera for a while. Not until recently, did I find out how to fix this problem. Not by turning up the Sharpness setting to High - doing so seems to make the pictures appear to have more fine details, but those actually are fake and distorted details (this fooled me as the solution for a while). The pictures are so harsh and too contrasty, have too much sharpenning halo and facial details are still plainly flattened.

It turns out that turning down Sharpness setting to Low actually lowers the image noise level, therefore reduces the effects of the noise reduction system.
I have done a little experiment confirming that setting Sharpness to Low substantially reduces the offending anti-noise processing. I'm not entirely convinced about how this works - I follow your reasoning, but I would have (naively) expected sharpening to happen after noise reduction. Maybe the "Sharpness" setting is a shorthand for "Sharpness and general munging". Anyway, here's what I did...

Imaging Resource has a series of 3 P100 pics of the same scene at different sharpness levels, on this page:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/P100/P1PICS.HTM

- scroll down about halfway to where it says "Sharpness series", just below the "Far-field test". I downloaded these three images and used an Unsharp Mask (USM) to bring the Low & Normal sharpness ones up to about the same sharpness as the High. I won't post my results here as the original images are copyright, but try it yourself, it's more fun that way! The area of the image where the noise reduction (NR) artifacts really show up is the grass in the foreground. Look at the grass area bottom right, just in front of the little tree, viewing the images at 100%. The untreated low-sharpness pic is very soft and the high-sharpness one seems to bring out a fair bit of detail, but you'll notice that it's blotchy: there are spits and spots of sharpness amidst blobs of blur. Now do the USM on the low-sharpness pic: I used radius 1, amount 1.5 on The Gimp (imaging tool on Linux), but see what works for you. I found that this produced a much better result than the in-camera sharpening: it brings out detail in the grass uniformly, with none of the blotchy artifacts. In other words, just as TNT says. The normal-contrast pic, when gently USM'd to bring it to similar sharpness, is intermediate between the other two.

I'd be very interested to see how well this works with skin and hair detail, which seem to suffer particularly badly from the overenthusiastic NR - see the facial portraits on the same Imaging Resource page. Can anyone provide an example, with the same subject shot at different sharpness settings and all other factors equal? Ideally post crops of unresized images.

Gosh, what a long post, and it's my first one! I'll try to be more concise in future!

Dave
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