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Old Nov 27, 2005, 10:39 AM   #1
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:?I have been looking at a digital camera for over 6 months, and am more confused now than I was before...I know we want one with about 6-7 Meagpixels as ww will be cropping [I tried cropping my brother-in-laws 5 MG Sony's pictures and was Not very happy]. We think it's between Nikon/Canon/Fuji? looking for someone using the Nikon L1 or similar...how is it? What about theP1? Anyone with the Canon 550? Or 450? I would like to hear from people who are using these cameras. Thanks.
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Old Dec 4, 2005, 5:37 PM   #2
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If you want high-quality pictures you can crop from, then don't get a pocket-sized digital camera. They take grainy pictures and their lenses are not so sharp. Get a medium-sized or a big-lens digital camera if image quality if your number one priority. There are photo comparisons at


that show that you can crop pictures from a 2MP big-lens Fuji and get more acceptable results than you would cropping pictures from a compact 5MP Casio. Also, some big-lens 3MP cameras capture about as much detail, and are more crop-friendly, than some new 8MP compacts.

Canon's compacts, and the Fuji Z1, actually have pretty good image quality for compact cameras, but if you'll want to grop a lot, then a bigger camera really will make for better results.
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Old Dec 11, 2005, 10:43 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info...the site was very helpful too!
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Old Dec 11, 2005, 2:19 PM   #4
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You seem to be going for the most bang for your buck pixel wise, and that isn't the right approach for what I think you are trying to do.

If you crop to a size that gives you effectively a 2X zoom from an 8Mp camera you end up with 2Mp of image. A 2X digital zoom does the same thing except some cameras resample back up to 8Mp – you still just have a 2Mp image. You can see that you run out of pixels fast cropping to make up for not having a sufficient optical zoom. And there isn't a lot of extra capability to crop or digital zoom going from 5 to 7 or 8 Mp.

Of the two cameras you mentioned, the L1 with a better optical zoom would give you better crops of distant objects than the higher pixel P1 because of the better optical zoom. Noise would probably be similar because the P1 has a larger sensor to go with the higher pixels.

You probably want to look at a camera with a longer zoom. The Olympus C-765 is very compact with a 10X optical zoom and is priced about the same online as the P1. The Olympus 770 is a little larger and cheaper with 10X optical. You didn't mention movies, but the Fuji S5100 has good movies and seems to be in your price range. The camera I would recommend would be the Panasonic FZ5. It is less expensive than the P1 online and has a 12X stabilized lens. The stabilization gives sharper images handheld in many lighting situations. It is the only long zoom in the price range you seem to be considering that is both on Steve's Best Cameras list and also "Highly Recommended" by dpreview. It isn't as compact as the 2 Olys, but it is light and compact for a super zoom camera. Butterfly has it for a little under $340 delivered.

If you want something really compact in a long zoom camera the Nikon S4 looks promising. It has a 10X optical zoom in a really tiny camera. Steve already has it on his Best Cameras list and hasn't even finished the review. That would tell me it is probably competent, but I would still want to see some good reviews. One downside is that it doesn't have an optical viewfinder and acquiring and following moving targets might be a little difficult at 10X. The LCD is large but not very high in definition. It is selling online for a little less than the P1.

This is an example of cropping/digital zoom versus optical zoom I happened to have online from another discussion. The zoom shot is from a 4Mp FZ10. The cropped/digital zoom shot is from a 5Mp Oly C50. The results wouldn't be much better from a 7 or 8Mp camera. I won't clutter the board with both the crop and digital zoom from the Oly. They are indistinguishable.

Crop from 5Mp camera:

Crop from 12X optical zoom:

This is the 3X Oly image so you can see the area cropped.

If you want high-quality pictures you can crop from, then don't get a pocket-sized digital camera. They take grainy pictures and their lenses are not so sharp. Get a medium-sized or a big-lens digital camera if image quality if your number one priority.
The camera companies seem to be making great efforts at putting good lenses on compact cameras. My guess is they sell a lot more compact cameras and the competition is the greatest in that area. Pixel density doesn't necessarily favor the larger cameras either. The 6Mp Fuji and 7Mp Sony 1/1.8 sensors are especially good for noise and are in several compact cameras. The very large Panasonic FZ30 has a smaller sensor with more pixels as an example. Most of the super zooms have a high pixel density and more noise than some compacts.

You choose some pretty extreme examples. The LX1 has the highest noise I have seen on a current camera and the noise seems to degrade detail even at ISO 80. I'm guessing the 5Mp Casio is one of the S series with their transparent ceramic technology. Jeff at DCRP recommended to avoid the S500 because of poor image quality and Steve knocked the same lens on the S100. It is probably the least desirable lens on a current name brand compact.

Resolution is a combination of pixels and lens quality. If resolution is high then noise isn't degrading the image. Here are some resolution charts. Some compacts and sub-compacts take very sharp images. The Fuji F10 will blow most large prosumer cameras out of the water for noise and few beat it in resolution. The DSLRs will obviously blow everything out of the water for noise and dynamic range, but the tests were done with fixed focal length lenses at their best aperture for resolution. It just gives a comparison of how some of the compacts are doing for resolution.

Very small cameras tend to have softer corners. But I find that significant only if you are copying documents. I has a Pentax S4 for a while and never took a picture I felt the soft corners affected the imgage. And the S series Pentaxs probably have the softest corners of the lot.


Large super zooms:


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Old Dec 16, 2005, 8:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info and your opinion...it is/was very helpful.
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