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Old Dec 2, 2010, 11:14 AM   #1
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Default Compact P&S features

The features/components that interest me include (not in any order):

*Zoom
*Low-light (indoor) prowess
*Wide lens
*High-speed

...among others. All while being able to fit in my pocket. Now having done my share of research on this, it's apparent that there simply is no camera in 2010, that has all those components, which is fine. My question though, is:

Which feature do you think will be making the biggest improvements, in terms of the near (2-3 years) future? i.e. Will we see 30x zooms? Will we see bigger/better sensors (that will allow better low-light performance)? Better battery life? Do you see something else that will be "the next big thing" in the compact P&S market?

And, along the same lines then, what features are pretty much "maxed-out" in terms of compact (pocketable) cameras? i.e. Does 10-15x seem to be pushing the limits of how much zoom can fit in your pocket?

The reason I ask all this is because I'm just gonna get a camera that has some of the features I want, and just complement my purchase in a couple years, with another compact P&S that brings the other feature that I want in my camera--but does so with a marked improvement (like, if bigger sensors are brought to the market in 2012, low-light pictures become markedly better)!
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 2:07 PM   #2
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Hi Alex here, I am new on this forum. I want to say a very warm hello to all my visitors.
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 2:20 PM   #3
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By "wide lens" I presume you mean "wide angle" as opposed to "fast"?

One of the closest cameras to your requirements is the Canon S95.
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 2:34 PM   #4
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Look at the Panasonic ZS7 (If you look though all of these examples you will change your mind about good cameras...the ZS7 is just one of many...the S95 is a rockin' little camera...some folks are shooting Concerts with Panasonic ZS3's...some folks are getting excellent BIF shots with Compact Camera's there are some very good cameras out there:
ZS7 lacking in low light somewhat, but can handle it also with a little finesse, has High Speed Burst Setting also, super at Macros:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...no-museum.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...-colorado.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...pider-zs7.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...-beez-zs7.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...rado-trip.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...sharpness.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...ss-camera.html
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 5:58 PM   #5
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Both zoom and sensor size are at their physical limits within these cameras and won't be progressing in 2 years or 10 years. Most manufacturers are switching over to CMOS based cameras so I think the current and continuing trend will focus on the benefits of these sensors, such as the ability to shoot Full HD video. However, these sensors offer inferior still IQ so the gains are going to come at a cost.

Like LTZ470, I have both the ZS7 and S95 and think they are the top 2 cameras (for different reasons) right now within their class. I consider the LX5 to be in a slightly different class due to its size (somewhere between the S95 and G12).
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 6:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveO View Post
Both zoom and sensor size are at their physical limits within these cameras and won't be progressing in 2 years or 10 years
I often see statements like this. Many Nikon devotees used to say that 12mp was the limit for quality pictures, so obviously Canon were at fault for breaking that physical limit. I haven't seen any of them making such rash statements since the D7000 came out.
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 7:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveO View Post
Both zoom and sensor size are at their physical limits within these cameras and won't be progressing in 2 years or 10 years. Most manufacturers are switching over to CMOS based cameras so I think the current and continuing trend will focus on the benefits of these sensors, such as the ability to shoot Full HD video. However, these sensors offer inferior still IQ so the gains are going to come at a cost.
You don't think that, if we are having this discussion in 2012 (supposing the world doesn't end that year of course ), that there won't be a profound feature introduced into the compact P&S market? i.e. 2010 seemed to be the year of compact megazooms. 2011, 2012, we won't see a push toward:

*low-light slaying pocket cameras?
*superb high-speed video (e.g. slo-mo in 720p)?

I gotta think that 2011 and beyond will continue to bring significant advancements to the marketplace. (BTW, I do know about the ZS7. I *personally* have a problem with Panasonic at present, and I also don't want/need GPS. The camera also decidedly lacks a "fun" factor, and I've also read reports of bad indoor quality.)
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 8:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbj7 View Post
I often see statements like this. Many Nikon devotees used to say that 12mp was the limit for quality pictures, so obviously Canon were at fault for breaking that physical limit. I haven't seen any of them making such rash statements since the D7000 came out.
Nothing was physically stopping anyone from upping the MP. It was merely a decision call. On the other hand, squeezing a larger sensor and a telescoping lens into a pocketable camera has its physical limitations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roaddawg31 View Post
You don't think that, if we are having this discussion in 2012 (supposing the world doesn't end that year of course ), that there won't be a profound feature introduced into the compact P&S market?
I didn't say that. You asked about a longer zoom and bigger sensor. However, no I don't think there will be any phenomenal breakthroughs in the next couple years in these cameras. CMOS is the new thing in these cameras and still very much in its infancy. It took them a couple years just to get the backlit CMOS sensors from camcorders into pocket cams. Now they need to try to work with this technology to get the most out of it.

The aim within the industry right now is "all-in-one." These pocket cams are focusing more on video and using tricks like stacking to improve low light output quality. They are putting better lenses and better image sensors in phones now. Heck, Panasonic already has a Lumix line of phones in the works.

Another feature that I think you will see making its way into more cameras soon is 3D of some kind. Panasonic is a giant in the industry and 3D is their baby. Just like they did with AVCHD, I think they will push 3D. Whether it will catch on or it I don't know but considering how much time and money they have put into 3D, I think they'll do their darnedest to push it forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roaddawg31
i.e. 2010 seemed to be the year of compact megazooms. 2011, 2012, we won't see a push toward:

*low-light slaying pocket cameras?
*superb high-speed video (e.g. slo-mo in 720p)?

I gotta think that 2011 and beyond will continue to bring significant advancements to the marketplace.

You have to understand the physical limitations though. All the wishing and research in the world cannot change the physical limitations of certain things. The modern automobile was created over 100 years ago and you still can't get 100mpg in a gasoline-powered car. Time, money and positive thinking still can't change scientific limitations. To achieve this goal, they had to turn their attention towards hybrids and electric cars.

Low light pics are a similar situation. In order to improve low light image quality, you need to gather more light. We do this via the sensor and the lens. Well the sensor and lens are already at or near extremely near their physical limits. If you make the sensor bigger, you need to make the lens bigger. Now the camera is bigger. So no, you physically will not be able to squeeze much more out of these cameras and still have them remain the same size. You will always be forced to choose between zoom and sensor size in this form factor.

Now in terms of speed, I certainly think cameras will be able to obtain higher bitrate video. However, you can only go so far with a CCD sensor in terms of speed and again, this will never change. CCD sensors are simply not fast enough. This is one of the reasons why manufacturers are heading towards CMOS.

So I am not saying that there won't be advances, I am simply saying that the zoom and sensor size are physically limited from advancing and remaining in the same pocketable form factor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roaddawg31
(BTW, I do know about the ZS7. I *personally* have a problem with Panasonic at present, and I also don't want/need GPS. The camera also decidedly lacks a "fun" factor, and I've also read reports of bad indoor quality.)
Well if you want to let one experience sway your judgment, that's certainly you're right. Panasonic is and has been #1 in build quality for a few years running. As for their service, well I think everyone's service sucks these days.

The ZS7 does have poor indoor quality but so do all of the long zoom cameras you are considering. Agreeably, the ZS7 is a little worse than CMOS-based cameras. You need the sensor and/or the brighter lens if you want to shoot anything aside from a still object in low light. There's no way around it. No camera in its class has a better lens though.

The ZS6 is the same camera sans the GPS btw. usually "fun factor" refers to ease of use and honestly the camera coudln't be any easier to sue. The auto mode is one of, if not the, best in class.

I am no Panasonic fanboy though. I am quite partial to the color output of Canon and Nikon.
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Last edited by FiveO; Dec 2, 2010 at 11:51 PM.
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 10:44 PM   #9
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Your last two quotes were wrongly attributed to me.....

You say "the sensor and lens are already at or near extremely near their physical limits" but don't explain why you believe this to be so. You also say "In order to improve low light image quality, you need to gather more light" but miss the obvious alternative, which is to increase sensitivity to the same amount of light. The route that all camera manufacturers are in fact following. I don't find your arguments convincing - you may be right in your assumptions, but they seem to be just that - assumptions.
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 11:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbj7 View Post
Your last two quotes were wrongly attributed to me.....
I'm sorry, copy/paste accident. I will fix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbj7 View Post
You say "the sensor and lens are already at or near extremely near their physical limits" but don't explain why you believe this to be so.
Well now you are quoting me entirely out of context. I stated that they were at or extremely near their physical limits in terms of remaining pocketable. I believe this to be so because it is so. There are a number of sources on the web that can explain this in better detail than I can here. Here is one that explains it in a fair amount of detail. Here is another, which actually has a small box at the top that explains it in quite simple and concise terms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbj7 View Post
You also say "In order to improve low light image quality, you need to gather more light" but miss the obvious alternative, which is to increase sensitivity to the same amount of light. The route that all camera manufacturers are in fact following. I don't find your arguments convincing - you may be right in your assumptions, but they seem to be just that - assumptions.
Although I find your tone a bit offensive and don't believe it is my job to educate anyone when they could easily do so themselves, I'll answer in the hopes that it will at least help some people better understand the technical issues at hand here.

First, there is the issue of sensitivity. Sensitivity can't simply be increased without penalty and this is quite evident in all P&S cameras. The size of the sensor can contribute to the amount of noise in the image because the photosites on a small sensor are closer together than those on a larger sensor and thus can interfere with each other. Sure you can increase the sensitivity without increasing the sensor size, but you will increase the noise as well.

Some manufacturers have went the way of pixel binning to deal with this issue but then you end up with a very soft 2.5MP image on a 10MP camera. They haven't actually solved anything; all they did was use a trick that will get you an image that is mainly only suitable for posting on your Facebook page. Others have gone the way of image stacking which does indeed provide much improved results for still image, low light photography - but it also hasn't fixed anything.

I have no doubt that companies will continue to come up with innovative new ways to improve low light pictures but none of these tricks actually solve the problem. I stand by what I said and hopefully you have read and understood the information at the links provided and now understand why I stated what I did.

If you still have your doubts, well that's your business. It certainly doesn't bother me if someone wants to sit around and wait for the impossible to occur. Denial isn't something new. These same kinds of posts were being made on countless photography forums 5 years ago and perhaps some of those people are still waiting for that camera they were convinced would come. Did it come? No, of course not.
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