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Old Mar 23, 2007, 12:37 PM   #1
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ok. . . i am aware that the "ultra-zoom" comparos have been done to death, but I havent come across discussions which would help me with 2 specific questions that popped up as i read various reviews.

1) i really would like to get the panasonic fz50. but have realized that almost everyone unanimously agrees that it has considerable noise above ISO 200.

often this is blamed on the fact that 10MP have been crammed into a small sensor.

so would reducing the MP to say 6MP help the noise issue or is the sensor inherently noisy?

but thenagain fujif6500fd(6000) with amazing (relatively) noise performance has a 1/1.7" sensor vs 1/1.8"for the pany. is it the resolution or the sensor size ?

2) i am really impressed with the 6500fd but i am put off by the lack of optical image stabilization.

but catch 22 for me is 6500 without IS can get a somewhat blurr free picture but cranking up ISO and hence noise comes in.

the pany has IS but even a slight ISo crank for a faster shutter speed gives bad noise probs. . . . .

ultimately which one seems to be a better compromise wrt to the above 2 issues specifed. . . . also how would the Oly 550 compare here in this regard?

hope you'll can shed some light. . .
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Old Mar 23, 2007, 1:24 PM   #2
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ultimately which one seems to be a better compromise
Pretty much sums up the mega-zooms, they are all a compromise to some extent. Which one can you live with? In what environment will you do most of your shooting?

so would reducing the MP to say 6MP help the noise issue or is the sensor inherently noisy?
Can be either - as a general rule the more pixels you cram into a sensor the higher the noise.......but as you noted it's not a hard & fast rule.

Really it comes down to picking a camera that comes closest to matching your needs, compromise as best you can.

My .02 - unless you really need the low light performance there are better overall performers than either unit - i.e. the Canon S3.
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Old Mar 23, 2007, 2:01 PM   #3
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The fundamental noise factor is the size of the pixels in the sensor. Cram more into the same space and all else equal noise output of the sensor goes up. But all else is not exactly equal. The processing engines in cameras use noise reduction algorythms which reduces the appearance of noise. Again overly aggresive algorythms can reduce the detail and color depth.

Steve's conclusion on the 8MP FZ30 was that the noise wasn't any more "horrible" than the rest of that class camera and DID NOT increase wildly at the slightest increase in ISO. The applicability of Steve's conclusion to the FZ50 is a question mark but people were saying the same things about the FZ30 and Steve didn't find them justified.

Steve rated my super-zoom (Z612) a little more harshly than the FZ30. My personal experience is that the noise at ISO 400 on the Z612 has about the same visual effect as shooting Kodacolor 400 in a 35mm camera so I really don't hesitate using ISO 400 when I need it.

Having used optical IS I'm not inclined to give it up for anything short ofa camera that, on its own inititive, negotiates photo assignments for me with National Geographic.

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