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Old Mar 10, 2005, 12:03 PM   #11
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montana500 wrote:
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But couldnt an 8 megapixel camera with a 4x zoom get a good shot of that player by zooming in photoshop without losing too much detail?
The only way to compare quality is by keeping the pixel density constant. So at say 300 pixels per inch, if you zoom in 10X optically, that will result in an image that is 10 times as wide and 10 times aslong as at wide angle, still at 300 ppi. On the other hand, if you double the number of pixels, say 4MP to 8MP, the length and width of the image increase by a factor of only 1.4, which is the square root of 2, the multiple of pixel increase -- all this staying at constantpixels per inch, which is your reference for detail.

So, the answer is thatfor 8MP with 4x optical zoom, your maximum magnificationis 1.4 x 4 = 5.6X. At the same ppi, the 4MP camera gives you 10X. Therefore increase in MP does not yield significant magnification for detail, only the ability to print larger pictures at the same pixel density.

So considering the 6.6MP/4X camera, the maximum magnification compared to the S5100 at no zoom would bethe square root of 1.65 (thefactor of increase of 6.6MP over 4MP) which is 1.28, multiplied by4 (the optical zoom) resulting in5.1X.

That make sense?



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Old Mar 10, 2005, 7:18 PM   #12
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yeah I think that does make sense. Based on your comparison at quality pixel levels the e550 will give you a max 5.1x zoom, while the 5100 will give you 10x at the same quality.
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Old Mar 10, 2005, 9:10 PM   #13
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Exactly.
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Old Mar 10, 2005, 10:19 PM   #14
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Now here is an interesting twist, if you will:



the e550 review by Steve indicates that he recommends using the digital zoom on the e550, which he never does on other cameras. He says the fuji uses some internal processing that crops the image without quality loss, as long as you are not using the 12mp fine mode. So at 6Mp you can have an extra 1.4 zoom, and at 3 megapixels you can have an exta 2x. So 5.4x at 6 MP, 6x at 3MP, and I think 7 or 8 x at 2 MP.

Does this change your scenario?
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 11:42 PM   #15
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montana500 wrote:
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Now here is an interesting twist, if you will:



the e550 review by Steve indicates that he recommends using the digital zoom on the e550, which he never does on other cameras. He says the fuji uses some internal processing that crops the image without quality loss, as long as you are not using the 12mp fine mode. So at 6Mp you can have an extra 1.4 zoom, and at 3 megapixels you can have an exta 2x. So 5.4x at 6 MP, 6x at 3MP, and I think 7 or 8 x at 2 MP.

Does this change your scenario?
No, it doesn't change my scenario, and I'll explain why. In addition to Steve's review I read the DCRP review and discovered what I expected--that with this CCD all photos are extrapolated up to 12MP and then cropped or reduced accordingly. So go to the sample pics and look at the 12MP images in full size--this is the quality Steve was talking about that is maintained when using the digital zoom. But this 12MP is extrapolated, so to begin with it's fuzzier and noiser.

When reduced to the size of a 6MP image, the quality looks fine, but then when you use the digital zoom, it zooms in by 1.4 times (square root of 2, 12 being twice as much as 6) and crops back to the size of a 6MP image, just like you would do in photo software. For 3MP, it zooms in on a 12MP image by 2X (square root of 4, 12MP being 4 times 3MP) and crops back to a 3MP size. And likewise 2.5X for 2MP as 2.5 is the square root of 6. The irony is that you'll get your equivalent zooms to an ultrazoom camera. Remember, this number is multiplied, not added to the optical zoom. So for a 4MP image you will have a 4 x 1.7 or 6.8X zoom-- the number you were looking for as it turns out. For 3MP it will be an effective 8X and for 2MP it will be an effective 10X. BUT...those magnifications will be at the quality of that extrapolated 12MP. Is that acceptable to you?

Also keep in mind that the anything less than 12MP has high JPG compression--remember it's an extrapolated 12MP image, reduced in size, then a lot of information thrown out to reduce the file size, and with some resulting compression artifacts.

Howard



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Old Mar 13, 2005, 2:12 AM   #16
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hakaplan thanks for the great post!



I will have to print out the pictures from Steves review from the e550, 5100, and Canon a95 to compare compression. I think it really shows up on the larger pints. I used a Fusji s3100 which I really enjoyed, but in some blue sky landscape 8x10's you could see compression artifacts between the sky and the mountains on some of the photos, almost a "fake" looking thing. I assume this is what you are referring to.



So what you are saying about the e550 is you can have a 6x zoom at 6 megapixels, and a 6.8x zoom at 4 megapixels, and 8x at 3mp? I wouldn't mind that as long as the pitcures are comparable to the Fuji s3100 and the compression was not too bad. I was not planning on using the 12 MP mode in the Fuji anyway due to the expense of the XD cards and the large file sizes. This makes it tempting to go for the A95, but it has a pretty weak zoom. The whole point of this is to get some shots for a web site and have fun in some of the national parks/wilderness areas.



It's between the three cameras I mentioned. One thing that upsets me about the s5100 is the vignetting that shows up in alot of the photos. I wonder how you get rid of that fromyour photo.



Thanks for taking your time to reply. Much appreciated!
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Old Mar 14, 2005, 5:00 PM   #17
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Montana,

Is there a specific reason you've narrowed your choice down to those three cameras? I'm not trying to push my camera, but I'll tell you what influenced my decision and give you a few thoughts that went through my head during my decision process. I am also shooting mostly outdoors, and I have found that an ultrazoom camera is so much fun and offers so much flexibility and opportunity for creativity that I'm glad that I purchased it, and I think I would have a hard time going back to a 3X or 4X zoom. Most standard zooms in the same price range offer more extensive manual setting ranges, but I think the UZ is worth the tradeoff. Just my opinion.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I actually liked the feel of the S5100 in my hands, but the zoom lever was unworkable with my glasses and using my left eye. I ended up getting the Olympus C-755. It's the predecessor to the C-770, and differs only insignificantly from it. In fact, I like the fact that it's larger because it's easier to grasp. Olympus is selling them cheap on ebay. The only significant difference between it and the s5100 is that for shutter speed it tops out at 1/1000, but gives you more on the slow end--15 seconds. Unless you're following a leaping gazelle or a cheetah, I don't see the lack of 1/2000 as crippling. It has no vignetting, and produces beautiful, sharp, well saturated pics.

Another ultrazoom I was considering was the Canon S1-IS, which is only 3MP, but has image stabilization. IS is not critical when shooting outdoors in daylight, but nice to have. And lately I have been comparing 3MP and 4MP images and there isn't a whole lot of difference. The camera felt really nice in my hands, but at that time I was hung up on 4MP.

I looked at Steve's pix of the Minolta Z series and didn't like what I saw, so I eliminated that, although the reviews state that they are the fastest of the UZs. Panasonics are too expensive, except for the FZ3. Although I liked the zoom lever around the shutter (exactly where it should to be), the location of the shutter itself was off and forced me to shift my grip in order to press it. If I can't hold and shoot the camera comfortably, all the features are worthless IMO. I hear that the new FZ4 and 5 have the shutters repositioned. And then there's also the Kodak 6490.

(Incidentally I have nothing against Fuji. My first digital camera was a DX-7, and I also have a Fuji film camera. )

So you have other choices for ultrazooms--is there a reason you've ruled them out?

Howard

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Old Mar 15, 2005, 7:09 AM   #18
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haka thx again for a good reply.



The reason I have narrowed it down to those few cameras is I have found as an amatuer in Glacier National Park and the Yellowstone area they take really good pictures in auto mode. Right now im not really interested in messing with settings, etc. MY friend has the A80 and I had the Fuji s3100 3 MP 6x optical and found both to take really nice pitcures.



What drew me into the e550 was Steve saying the digital zoom was effective and he recommended it, plus the 6 Megapixels and wide angle lens. This is huge because I wanted a camera with a 6x zoom, to at least match what I got used to with the Fujis3100 which I really enjoyed, but I also wanted a good bump in megapixels. The e550 can take 8x zoom photos at 3 megapixel which I consider way cool because I was very happy with the 3mp photos of the 3100. And even cooler is the 6.8x mode at 4 megapixels, which would give me a high res shot at even more zoom than the s3100 I used, but i na compact camera size.



However, I did not know about this 10x zoom 4 MP Olympus. That camera looks REALLY nice, and is now in my list. Only problems is it is around 100$ more new than the e550, and the ones on ebay are all factory refurbs. That is an awesome camera though! I may wait a couple months for prices to drop on these camers since wont really be using them until the summer anyway. Maybe the Olympus will drop in price.







So thx for letting me know about the Olympus. As you said, a decent zoom adds alot to the fun factor, especially outdoors. I was very happy with the 6x zoom in the S3100, and even used it as a sort of binocular. With a 10x zoom I can only imagine how close you could get to wildlife. We saw a grizzly family up on a mountain that were only visible with really good binoculars. Not sure a 10x zoom could of gotten to them but it would have been nice.





Now it is between the e550 and the Olypmus c-750(55).
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 9:27 AM   #19
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clarfications:

the camera I was happy with in Glacier and Yellowstone was the Fuji s3000 3 MP, not the 3100 ( which is 4x).

again the key to this is Steve's recommendation of using the digital zoom on the e550. If he can really vouch for no image quality loss other than in camera cropping(like in his review), that is very cool. Most other cameras digital zooms cause blur and just look like crap.

So on the e550 at 6 megapixels you could have a 5.6x zoom, almost exactly the Fuji s3000 optical zoom, but at an increase of3 megapixels! Dropping down to 4 megapixels on the e550 gives yo ua 6.8 zoom with no image quality loss other than a decrease in pixels. So now you are ahead of the s3000 zoom and at a higher megapixel count. If you want to go to 8x zoom you will be looking at 3 megapixels, so you wil be getting probably s3000 quality at 8x, which is very cool. And if you *really* need 10x you can shoot an eagle or such at 2.5 mega pixels.

I would prefer this style of zoom to using photoshop because this allows for proper framing of the subject one would think.



Now, add in the fact the camera only uses 2 AA batteries, is compact, is super fast, has 6 megapixels in macro mode and 4x optical zoom(5.6x with digi)and a wider standard lense and I think you have a heck of a versatile camera for alot of situations. I hope Steve is correct about the zoom, and until I hear from him otherwaise Iwill assume so.



So it's definitely between this e550 and the Olympus c750 you mentioned. I like that camera alot.
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 9:29 AM   #20
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The Olympus C-765 is very similar to the 770, but cheaper. You can a new one for about 300 bucks online. It lacks a hotshoe for external flash, and records Quicktime movies not MPEG-4. But its users seem to really like it.
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