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Old Jun 24, 2010, 4:25 AM   #1
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Default Does higher megapixels balance out lower optical zoom?

Hi there,
I am an ex film SLR user, whose beautiful old Nikon has languished in the cupboard for the last six years in favour of a Panasonic Lumix x 6 optical zoom. I'm a keen birdwatcher though, so I'm about to upgrade to either the Fuji Finepix HS10 with the 10mp and x30 optical zoom, OR a Canon Powershot SX20is with 12mp and X20 optical zoom.
Two questions:
Does the higher mp in the Canon mean that you will be able to compensate by using cropping on the final image without loss of resolution,or is it best to go with the x30 of the Fuji ??
(I am leaning towards the Canon, but the Fuji has a lot to offer).
AND second question: Is that cat out of the bag re a new Canon Powershot release date?
Thank you
Judy
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 7:14 AM   #2
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What you're talking about is tantamount to implementing digital zoom in post processing, and the actual difference between 10MP and 12MP isn't that much. If you'd crop a 12MP image, you'd probably crop the same image from a 10MP camera.

And remember that, at that range, the difference between a 20x zoom and a 30x zoom isn't all that much anyway. At their maximum telephoto settings, the HS10 and the SX20 have angles of view of 3.3 and 4.3, respectively, and the difference isn't really very much.

If all you look at is zoom ratio versus resolution, the two cameras are actually well matched, but for what you want to do, I'd suggest that you would benefit more from the Fuji's ability to capture 10 frames per second, than from anything the Canon has to offer.

But I don't know much about P&S digicams, and so defer to mtclimber in that area. There maybe (and likely are) other considerations that are at least equally important, and she is far more likely to be familiar with them than am I.
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 7:41 AM   #3
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TCav, I concur with all your angle and MP findings. And, will concede that the difference between 10 and 12 MPs isn't much. In fact, in the case of MPs on the small sensors, less is better IMO. However, the difference between 20x and 30x is VERY substantial. I've owned (and still own) and compared digicams at those ranges. The most recent being the Olympus SP570UZ (20x) and the Fujifilm HS-10 (30x) and while looking at solid printed specs may not seem significant, the difference in the user's hands most certainly are. If the difference were as insignificant as you suggest, I would not have plunked down $500 for the HS-10 over keeping my already-paid-for SP570. Add the triple IS and other very innovative features, not to mention what I consider great IQ, and the difference between the SX20 and and the HS-10 is VERY apparent.

Don't mean to start any wars. Just stating what I have encountered in actual use.
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 8:34 AM   #4
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The difference between the HS10's 3.3 angle of view, and the SX20 IS' 4.3 angle of view, is only 30%.

The difference between the SX20 IS' 4000x3000 resolution, and the HS10's 3648x2736 resolution, is only 10%.

While the Canon's higher resolution doesn't necessarily compensate for the Fuji's greater zoom, the differences aren't as great as some of the other features and capabilities (or lack thereof) in the two cameras.

My point is that some might believe that the difference between 20X and 30X is 10X, but in this case the actual difference is only 1.3X. And while the Canon's greater resolution does compensate for the difference somewhat, that difference alone should not be the deciding factor when choosing between the two. Other features and capabilities that distinguish them from one another, should play a bigger role in Judy Cooper's selection.

And to be clear, Canon's optical image stabilization and Fuji's sensor shift image stabilization are excellent technologies, but digital image stabilization is a technology that is adequate for video but works poorly for high resolution still images, and increasing the ISO so the camera can use a faster shutter speed is not such a hot idea, especially on a small image sensor.
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 8:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
The difference between the HS10's 3.3 angle of view, and the SX20 IS' 4.3 angle of view, is only 30%.

The difference between the SX20 IS' 4000x3000 resolution, and the HS10's 3648x2736 resolution, is only 10%.

While the Canon's higher resolution doesn't necessarily compensate for the Fuji's greater zoom, the differences aren't as great as some of the other features and capabilities (or lack thereof) in the two cameras.

My point is that some might believe that the difference between 20X and 30X is 10X, but in this case the actual difference is only 1.3X. And while the Canon's greater resolution does compensate for the difference somewhat, that difference alone should not be the deciding factor when choosing between the two. Other features and capabilities that distinguish them from one another, should play a bigger role in Judy Cooper's selection.

And to be clear, Canon's optical image stabilization and Fuji's sensor shift image stabilization are excellent technologies, but digital image stabilization is a technology that is adequate for video but works poorly for high resolution still images, and increasing the ISO so the camera can use a faster shutter speed is not such a hot idea, especially on a small image sensor.
And, my point being: All this is fine - on paper. Can't argue with specs and I'm not about to. But, in actual use, there IS a huge difference. Not just a slightly noticeable difference as suggested by the figures you provide.

I don't pretend to be anywhere near expert in this area. And, I'm no math whiz, for sure. But, I know what I see through the viewfinder and in my images.

Just my 2 cents... or dime... or, ok - let's shoot for a buck.
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 10:04 AM   #6
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Judy-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased that you dropped by.

When you consider the Canon SX-20, please be aware of the fact that the SX-20 will most probably be replaced with a new camera sometime around October 2010. In it current status the SX-20 has a few warts, and technology has passed it by as well. So, that is something that you should factor into your present decision process as well. The introduction of the Fuji HS-10 created a huge change in the sup zoom camera category.

Not only does Canon have to create a replacement camera, but Sony has to do so as well to replace their aging HX-1 model all within the same time frame. You have received excellent information from TCav, and Gary Toth about the technical aspects, so that is an issue that I need not address.

If it is convenient, I would suggest you wait for the new models that will be coming from Canon and Sony. If you want to move ahead, I would seriously look at the Fuji HS-10, as it represents the latest and the best technology available right now in the super zoom category.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 2:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy Cooper View Post
Hi there,
I am an ex film SLR user, whose beautiful old Nikon has languished in the cupboard for the last six years in favour of a Panasonic Lumix x 6 optical zoom. I'm a keen birdwatcher though, so I'm about to upgrade to either the Fuji Finepix HS10 with the 10mp and x30 optical zoom, OR a Canon Powershot SX20is with 12mp and X20 optical zoom.
Two questions:
Does the higher mp in the Canon mean that you will be able to compensate by using cropping on the final image without loss of resolution,or is it best to go with the x30 of the Fuji ??
(I am leaning towards the Canon, but the Fuji has a lot to offer).
AND second question: Is that cat out of the bag re a new Canon Powershot release date?
Thank you
Judy
Hi Judy,

>> Does the higher mp in the Canon mean that you will be able to compensate by using cropping on the final image without loss of resolution <<

Here's a comparison between the SX20is max resolution image and the HS10 max resolution image.



As you can see, there isn't much difference between the SX20IS' 12.1 MP image and the HS10's 10.3 MP image. So zooming by cropping the SX20IS' image will only yield a small benefit.

On the other hand, using the 30x optical zoom of the HS10 will have three benefits:

1. You can frame exactly what you want in your image for less work in post.

2. Exposure will be based on the HS10's zoomed image as opposed to the SX20IS's image with stuff that will be cropped out anyway.

3. Will be easier to place spot focus on your subject for best focus using the HS10's zoomed image.

I would go with the HS10 with your concerns in mind.

Sky

Last edited by skylark; Jun 24, 2010 at 2:33 PM.
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 3:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post
Here's a comparison between the SX20is max resolution image and the HS10 max resolution image. ... As you can see, there isn't much difference between the SX20IS' 12.1 MP image and the HS10's 10.3 MP image. So zooming by cropping the SX20IS' image will only yield a small benefit.
That doesn't really address Judy Cooper's concerns. She wants to know if she can crop the Canon's 12MP image to simulate the extra zoom of the Fuji. The Canon's image sensor isn't any larger than the Fuji's, contrary to what your diagram seems to show. It's the same size, but the image is broken up into finer pixels. By cropping the Canon's 4000x3000 pixel image down to the Fuji's 3648x2736 pixels, some of the Fuji's extra zoom can be simulated, but only about 10% of the 30% difference can be compensated for in this way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post
On the other hand, using the 30x optical zoom of the HS10 will have three benefits ...

2. Exposure will be based on the HS10's zoomed image as opposed to the SX20IS's image with stuff that will be cropped out anyway.
This is also a little misleading, since using center weighted metering, common when shooting at longer focal lengths, would prevent any differences.
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Old Jun 24, 2010, 3:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
That doesn't really address Judy Cooper's concerns. She wants to know if she can crop the Canon's 12MP image to simulate the extra zoom of the Fuji. The Canon's image sensor isn't any larger than the Fuji's, contrary to what your diagram seems to show. It's the same size, but the image is broken up into finer pixels. By cropping the Canon's 4000x3000 pixel image down to the Fuji's 3648x2736 pixels, some of the Fuji's extra zoom can be simulated, but only about 10% of the 30% difference can be compensated for in this way.

This is also a little misleading, since using center weighted metering, common when shooting at longer focal lengths, would prevent any differences.
Different views for Judy to consider. That's why these forums are great.

Best regards,
Sky
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