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Old Jul 7, 2005, 12:05 PM   #11
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Jim --

Do you think the Fuji F10 at ISO800 will let me take a pic similar to the sample from my DSC-S70? I'll be leaving for California next Thursday ;-)

Also, since the Fuji didn't fare too well in auto mode, when we just set it to "Natural Light" and took a pic, does this imply I'll have to do manual settings? (Taking pics on a ride -- which was just "click, click" with the old Sony -- might imply changing settings continuously to adapt to the light levels from scene to scene, no?)

I guess what I'm asking is:

Is it possible to get a smallF2.8 camera with high ISO to get the results I want, or do I really need a camera with F2.0 like my old Sony? (Sounds like my W1 might work if it could go to ISO800, which it can't.)

CompUSA no longer carries the G6 ("sold out") and Best Buy doesn't even list it, so I guess that one is out. The 828 is appealing only due to it's zoom and NightVision mode (which could be alot of fun on the dark rides), but it's freakin' huge.

Is there any modern equivalent of the DSC-S70 that you know of?


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Old Jul 7, 2005, 12:17 PM   #12
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allenhuffman wrote:
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Is there any modern equivalent of the DSC-S70 that you know of?
Only the G6 is still using this lens design.

Some historical info most people are not aware of (I'm very aware of it since I boughtan Epson PhotoPC 3000z when it was first introduced).

Look at the lens on the Sony DSC-S70, and compare it to the lens used on the Canon G2, Epson PhotoPC 3000z, Toshiba PDR-M70, and Casio QV-3000z.

They are all using the identical lens design, and the same Sony 3MP 1/1.8" CCD). These lenses most likely came from the same assembly line (with slightly different coatings for the Sony, as required by the arrangement to use the Carl Zeiss label).

The actual focal length of the lens on these models was 7-21mm, rated at f/2.0 on the wide angle end and f/2.5 on the full zoom end.

Sony continued to use this lens design through thenewer DSC-85 model, but they dropped it with the newer DSC-V1. The other manufacturers also dropped it with newer models, except for Canon.

Canon decided to refine the original lens design beginning with it's G3 model, and changed it to a7.2-28.8mm lens rated at f/2.0 on the wide end (same as the original design), but stopping down to f/3.0 on the full zoom end. However, keep in mind that the zoom is longer with the refined design. So, brightness at equivalent focal lengths is virtually identical to the original lens design used in your DSC-S70.

They further refined the design in the G6 (with different lens coatings to minimize chromatic aberrations/purple fringing). It's the only model left with a lens like this, and it evolved directly from the lens designed for your DSC-S70.


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Old Jul 7, 2005, 12:46 PM   #13
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Very interesting.

So what are the advantages of the new lenses? There must be some reason to move away from the old.

What is "Aperature Priority" versus "Shutter Priority"? Aperature seems to be the F stops we've been talking about, and shutter seems to be the speed (time the shutter is open?)

Other that increased image noise, is there any reason why a higher ISO (800, 1600) at f2.8 can't do the same (image brightness-wise) as my old S70? (I'm going to try the Fuji F10 again, and see if a manual ISO setting does what I want.)

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Old Jul 7, 2005, 1:53 PM   #14
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allenhuffman wrote:
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Very interesting.

So what are the advantages of the new lenses? There must be some reason to move away from the old.
Users want small cameras they can carry around in a pocket, and there is no "free lunch".

As a general rule, the smaller the camera, the more compromises you're going to make (lens brightness, ergononics, control layout, flash strength, optical quality of the lens, etc.).

Manufacturers are simply responding to consumer demand, and most consumers want higher megapixels in smaller packages (meaning smaller sensors with higher noise levels and lenses that are not as bright).

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What is "Aperature Priority" versus "Shutter Priority"? Aperature seems to be the F stops we've been talking about, and shutter seems to be the speed (time the shutter is open?)
Aperture Priority allows you to select the desired aperture (within the lens' available choices for the focal length/amount of zoom you're using), and then the camera's autoexposure selects the correct shutter speed to properly expose the iimage.

Shutter Prority allows you to select the desired shutter speed, while the camera selects the correct Aperture (within the lens' limitations) for proper exposure.

But, Autoexposure (without any other modes like Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority) is going to select the largest available aperture (smallest f/stop) anyway in low light.

So, you don't really gain anything by having these modes in existing light conditions like you're trying to shoot in. If you tried to select a shutter speed too fast with Shutter Priority Mode, you'd get an underexposed photo.

You'd be surprised at how many times someone posts that they are getting totally black photos when they try to set the shutter speed to a fast value on a model that lets you set shutter speed (not understanding that the shutter must stay open long enoughto properly expose the image). ;-)

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Other that increased image noise, is there any reason why a higher ISO (800, 1600) at f2.8 can't do the same (image brightness-wise) as my old S70? (I'm going to try the Fuji F10 again, and see if a manual ISO setting does what I want.)
That should work about as well as your Sony.

But, make sure you keep it near the wide angle end of the lens. It stops down to around f/5 at full zoom (it's more than twice as bright at the wide angle lens setting, losing a lot of light as you use more zoom).
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Old Jul 7, 2005, 2:05 PM   #15
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A dumb question...

Is there a reason you need a new camera?

Unless you need prints larger than 8x10", or your existing camera has some limitation you can't get around, I can't see where you're gaining anything with a newer model. The generation of cameras using this 3MP 1/1.8" CCD and this specific bright lens design (used in your Sony DSC-S70, Canon G2, Epson PhotoPC 3000z, etc.) are hard to beat in low light compared to most newer non-DSLR cameras.

Your Sony DSC-S70 has an exceptionally sharp, exceptionally bright lens, using one of the better sensors (IMO anyway)designedfor non-DSLR Digital Cameras (and I've owned several cameras using the Sony 3MP 1/1.8" CCD).
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Old Jul 7, 2005, 2:51 PM   #16
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Sadly, I sold my S70 quite some time ago. All three of its batteries were needing to be replaced, which was going to cost about $180, and I had three 64MB memory sticks and needed more.

I stumbled across the Casio EX-4 (the US model w/o video) at CompUSA and was amazed at how small and fast it was. I read some reviews and decided to buy it. We 'tested' it at the store by doing side-by-side shots with my S70 and the Casio. It seemed awesome, and my S70 was sold on e-Bay. I loved everything about the Casio until it went with me to Disneyland and I found how poorly it did indoors. (At the time, it never dawned on me to zoom in to the captured image and look at the details.)

Six months after that, before another trip to Cali, I started looking into cameras again, and decided to go back to Sony since the old Sony worked so well. I read reviews and even "tested" the W1 at CompUSA by taking it into their breakroom, turning the lights off, and shooting a pic of the Coke machine. It looked bright and crisp, so... I sold my Casio and took the W1 to Disneyland.

I soon realized it wasn't much better, but at least it had manual modes. I compensated by taking pics with the camera on a trash can, against a wall, etc. This severly limited the images I could take, and was useless in a moving ride vehicle, so the last three trips I've made have had a severe lack of photos to add to my gallery. (I have over 20,000 theme park photos I've taken for my website. My other site has over 26,000 but those are outdoor events.)

So, knowing what I now know, I would have kept the Sony at least for use indoors, and got another camera for general outdoors stuff. (S70 was too slow to take pics of a parade without missing floats!)

So my delima: Do I just deal with reality and give up having indoor pics, or do I spend $1000 on something like a SOny F828 or $600 on a Canon G6 (if I can find one!), or even more on a DSLR. (I know zero about DSLRs; I'm really just a point and shoot guy.)

[I omitted the part where I started researching one-shot VR mirror attachments, like www.0-360.com and www.surroundphoto.com. That caused me to search for cameras that could be used with them, which is why I also own a Coolpid 5400 that I picked up for $229 after rebate. It's too slow and bulky for anything else, but a G6 would work with that, and maybe do everything else I need.]

I think if I founda store with a G6 I could try, I might just go that route.

I've learned so much in the last 48 hours. THanks, Jim!


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Old Jul 7, 2005, 3:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
So my delima: Do I just deal with reality and give up having indoor pics, or do I spend $1000 on something like a SOny F828 or $600 on a Canon G6 (if I can find one!), or even more on a DSLR. (I know zero about DSLRs; I'm really just a point and shoot guy.)

Well... for reasons I discussed in my earlier post about it,I would not recommend the DSC-F828 for low light conditions. The 8MP 2/3" sensor is too noisy in this model to make the use of ISO 400 practical in low light.

The ISO numbers may also be "fudged" abit (it's ISO 400 is more like ISO 320 compared to the older DSC-F717).Some tests have found thatthe DSC-F828 is around 1/3 stopless sensitive than the DSC-F717 at the sameISO speed setting, and around 2/3 stopless sensitive than the CanonDigital Rebel.

Not only is ISO 400 noisy on this model, it's not as sensitive as the settings indicate.

What's your budget, and how much size/weight are you willing to stand?

Take a look at the Pentax *stDS and *stDL, the Canon Digital Rebel XT, and the new Nikon D50. I suspect Konica-Minolta will be launching a new entry level DSLR model very soon, too.

These are the smallest and lightestDSLR models now. They are all available for under $1,000.00 including azoom lens.

But, factor in that you'll want a brighter lens for existing light (the "kit" zoom lenses are not that bright).

I'd go witha prime versus zoomto keep size, weight and cost down when you need to shoot in lower light conditions.

A 50mm prime (non zoom) is probably about right for most shots (although a little wider prime may be desirable, too). You can find very bright f/1.4 to f/1.8 50mmlenses at reasonable prices (50mm primeswith apertures available starting out brighter than f/2.0 are available for under $100.00 in Minolta, Canonor Nikon Lens mount), without their size being too cumbersome. You may also want to shop around for something like a 35mm f/2.

You'll have a focal length multiplier (a.k.a., crop factor) with a DSLR model (since the sensor is smaller than 35mm film). You need to multiply the actual focal length of any lens by either 1.5x (Nikon, Konica-Minolta, and Pentax DSLR models) or 1.6x (Canon entry level DSLR models) to get the 35mm equivalent focal lengths.

So, a 50mm lens on a camera like the Digital Rebel XT would have the same angle of view as an 80mm lens on a 35mm camera (1.6 x 50mm = 80mm).

Take a look at some of these models in a store to see how they fit you from a size/weight perspective using both the included zoom lens, and a small, fast (a.k.a., bright) prime lens for lower light conditions.



Quote:
I think if I founda store with a G6 I could try, I might just go that route.
Yes... Make sure to try out any camera you consider in a store first. There are pros and cons to any choice (size, weight, speed of operation, noise levels, flexibility, features, ergonomics, cost, etc.).
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Old Jul 7, 2005, 11:09 PM   #18
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allenhuffman wrote:
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I took a look at the Fuji tonight at a local Best Buy (after reading tons of reviews). We took the camera into their TV area (about as well lit as my livingroom) and used Natural Light mode, but it still produced images about as blurry as my current Sony.It's odd.
Very odd! Allen, I just want to say that I recently bought a Fuji F10 precisely because of its low light capability, and I'm very pleased with it. In my opinion, it should be capable of matching the performance of your old Sony.

One thing that occurs to me is that the Sony may have been significantly larger than the F10 and some of the compact cameras you're comparing it to. Is it possible that you haven't found a good way to hold the smaller cameras? A bad grip will add to the camera's motion and limit its low light capability.
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Old Jul 7, 2005, 11:20 PM   #19
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Robb, I am certain that the smaller size is bound to be affecting the photos (which is one thing that disappoints me in the video realm; my Digial8 is about as small as I want to go with a camcorder, and all the newer units are about half its size!). I am certainly going to take another look at the F10, and maybe buy one before my trip next week. I'm sad it may not be able to do the "point, click" I was so spoiled with, but I can manage small manual settings if that's the only way it can be done ;-) (And I'm looking for deals on a Canon G6...)
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Old Jul 7, 2005, 11:21 PM   #20
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P.S. - Do you have a sample that is around ISO 400 (or more) at 1/30th shutter?
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