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Old Jan 6, 2006, 10:48 AM   #1
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Hi folk,

My camera is breaking up fast, and a very (very very) kind relative has offered to get me another one. Another kind friend is helping me check out the bucket loads of info available. I will be getting a point and shoot, but hopefully a good one.

I'm wondering about my priorities. I want a nice sharp lens.. I'm thinking it might also be a good idea to get a point and shoot that can take in RAW information. I do a lot of photo-editing, and really want to bump up the quality of the pix I take. (okay, so that bit isn't hard :lol.

I would be interested to know how much stress others place on RAW & quality...

If anyone has a point and shoot to die for quality-wise, it would be very good to know about that too...

Best wishes,

Caroline.
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 8:04 AM   #2
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Caroline-

When Canon introduced the G-6 model they included a raw image feature. Likewise, Olympus and Fuji have included the raw image feature on the SP-310/SP-350 and the S-9000.

Most folks here in the USA are not using the raw image feature much at all in the point and shoot genre of cameras, I believe due to the extra amount of time spent in post processing and the lack of good software to handle their particular image format.

MT
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 8:36 AM   #3
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The other issue with raw in P&S cameras is write speed. I have a Sony DSC-V3 as a backup camera that can use RAW format. It takes the camera several seconds to record a RAW image, and renders burst modes and continous shooting ability useless. I think you'll find that other P&S cameras that can record RAW images will give similiar results. Don't get me wrong, I love RAW (and only shoot in RAW with my Nikon DSLR), but RAW recording in P&S cameras actually reduce functionality (IMO). The other thing to consider is the size of RAW files, and if you shoot exclusively in RAW, you will want to get the largest card you can afford, at least 1 GB.
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 9:19 AM   #4
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Several companies offer RAW support in the point and shoot field:

For Fuji, besides the S9000 that MTclimber mentioned, the E900 and S5200 also supports RAW. it takes about 11 seconds (e900), 6 seconds (s5200), and 9 seconds(s9000) to write RAW to memory card. And you cannot use burst mode. Olympus recently announced the faster H-xd card, which from my rough calcuations, should cut the write by at least a couple seconds.

The Panasonic LX1 and FZ30 offers RAW as well

The Canon G6 (pretty much dinosaur but stilll good), and Canon Pro 1 has RAW support. Can't recall off my head on the G6, but with the Pro 1 you can use burst mode in RAW.

The Kodak p850 offers RAW, and you can actually shoot in burst mode in RAW because its file size is small.

I enjoy the benefit of have the RAW option, but you really can only use it when you have all the time in the world to frame your shot and you have lots of memory card. The post-processing part does not bother me as much, especially when you realize you can get a good quality 8x10 print from an iso1600 shot on a camera that cost just $300, the time spent on post-processing is well worth it.

Of the cameras I mentioned, I only have real-world experience with the Pro 1 and S5200, so I have to say I am partial to the S5200, however it does not have the sharpest lens or best picture, the Pro 1 has amazing clarity, but it's pretty heavy the plastic filter adapter is still a joke on this prosumer cam, but for outdoor nature photography or indoor flash /tripod photography, the Pro 1 is amazing if you do not plan to take any high iso shots to freeze action in lowlight.

The S5200 does not do anything the best, but it performs everything good enough, so it's very versatile in all kinds of settings.

curtis

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Old Jan 7, 2006, 10:22 AM   #5
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Curtis-

What software are you using to process your S-5200 shots? I am not happy with the included software.

MT
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 2:23 PM   #6
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Canna W wrote:
Quote:
If anyone has a point and shoot
I think you're meaning fixed lens non-SLR digicams.
(actually few high end non-SLRs are less point&shoots than most low end/consumer DSLRs)



curtisfun wrote:
Quote:
...and Canon Pro 1 has RAW support. Can't recall off my head on the G6, but with the Pro 1 you can use burst mode in RAW.
I don't know can you call 0.7 frames per second as burst...
I can do almost same with KM A2 in "single shot" mode while burst mode takes three shots at 2.5 fps. Buffer can store three RAWs and write time for full buffer is about 13 seconds with fastest cards and you can take new shots at rate in which shots in buffer are stored to card.
Otherwise A2 is very similar to Canon Pro 1 (very propably inspiration for Pro 1 came from Minolta's prosumer line, even zoom range is same 28-200mm) sensor is exactly same but instead of Canon's button zoom it's mechanical in KM, A2 has IS which enables two-three stops longer shake free shutter time and two control dials+superb control layout. Also A2 has very high resolution EVF, 922 000 pixels which is 4x resolution compared to all other EVFs/LCDs of digicams.
While noise levels of this sensor aren't good at higher ISOs RAW+right processing could give much better results... in camera processing isn't so good.
Nevertheless those are apparently still quite usable without extra efforts...
Quote:
ISO 100: The noise was virtually indistinguishable even when viewing at 25"x19" in size.
ISO 200: Noise is detectable in smooth areas at 25" wide but not at 16" wide on the A2.
ISO 400: The A2 shows clearly visible noise at 25" wide. At 16" the noise is barely detectable. At 12" and below, noise cannot be seen.
ISO 800: Noise is now visible at 16" wide and above and disturbing at 25" wide for the A2.

Visible noise levels at various print size show that the A2 is perfectly suited at ISO 200 (or less) up to 25" wide and at ISO 800 up to 12" wide. This demonstrates that even though the A2's noise levels are higher at all ISO sensitivities, for most common print sizes (up to 9"x12"), its full ISO range remains very usable.
http://www.neocamera.com/feature_dslr3.html

A2's dumbed down "successor", A200, whose controls are now at level of other such cameras and same with EVF has slower burst speed.


But before thinking about certain camera it would be important to know what you would photograph with it.
Is it general nature and landscape photography with architecture and such or is it wild animals?
Unless you're shooting lot of wild animals/birds those longest teles of "ultrazooms" (10-12x zoom models) aren't very usefull and they sacrifice best part of wide angle for making that very long tele possible.
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 3:22 PM   #7
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mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
Curtis-

What software are you using to process your S-5200 shots? I am not happy with the included software.

MT
Hi Mtclimber,

Since I use Mac, my choice is probably a little different than yours if you use pc. But my current workflow for RAW is to catalog and sort out the keepers using the Finepix Viewer, then I batch process the keepers in a free RAW converter named Rawker, it's a Mac frontend for Dave Coffin's popular dcraw. I usually set the curve to linear so no highllights and shadows are clipped. After that, they are batch process with a custom action in Photoshop CS to correct color, sharpness and tonal curves. I use Imagenomic's Noiseware professional for NR.

curtis

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Old Jan 7, 2006, 3:32 PM   #8
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E.T wrote:
Quote:
Canna W wrote:
Quote:
If anyone has a point and shoot
I think you're meaning fixed lens non-SLR digicams.
(actually few high end non-SLRs are less point&shoots than most low end/consumer DSLRs)



curtisfun wrote:
Quote:
...and Canon Pro 1 has RAW support. Can't recall off my head on the G6, but with the Pro 1 you can use burst mode in RAW.
I don't know can you call 0.7 frames per second as burst...
I can do almost same with KM A2 in "single shot" mode while burst mode takes three shots at 2.5 fps. Buffer can store three RAWs and write time for full buffer is about 13 seconds with fastest cards and you can take new shots at rate in which shots in buffer are stored to card.
Otherwise A2 is very similar to Canon Pro 1 (very propably inspiration for Pro 1 came from Minolta's prosumer line, even zoom range is same 28-200mm) sensor is exactly same but instead of Canon's button zoom it's mechanical in KM, A2 has IS which enables two-three stops longer shake free shutter time and two control dials+superb control layout. Also A2 has very high resolution EVF, 922 000 pixels which is 4x resolution compared to all other EVFs/LCDs of digicams.
While noise levels of this sensor aren't good at higher ISOs RAW+right processing could give much better results... in camera processing isn't so good.
Nevertheless those are apparently still quite usable without extra efforts...
Quote:
ISO 100: The noise was virtually indistinguishable even when viewing at 25"x19" in size.
ISO 200: Noise is detectable in smooth areas at 25" wide but not at 16" wide on the A2.
ISO 400: The A2 shows clearly visible noise at 25" wide. At 16" the noise is barely detectable. At 12" and below, noise cannot be seen.
ISO 800: Noise is now visible at 16" wide and above and disturbing at 25" wide for the A2.

Visible noise levels at various print size show that the A2 is perfectly suited at ISO 200 (or less) up to 25" wide and at ISO 800 up to 12" wide. This demonstrates that even though the A2's noise levels are higher at all ISO sensitivities, for most common print sizes (up to 9"x12"), its full ISO range remains very usable.
http://www.neocamera.com/feature_dslr3.html

A2's dumbed down "successor", A200, whose controls are now at level of other such cameras and same with EVF has slower burst speed.


But before thinking about certain camera it would be important to know what you would photograph with it.
Is it general nature and landscape photography with architecture and such or is it wild animals?
Unless you're shooting lot of wild animals/birds those longest teles of "ultrazooms" (10-12x zoom models) aren't very usefull and they sacrifice best part of wide angle for making that very long tele possible.
Well, compare to most non-dSLR, the fact that you can write RAW files in about a 1 second is already pretty good to me.

The A2 is indeed a good camera, too bad its successor A200 is not as good, I really missed the inability to use remote capture software on the A200, that is why I picked the Pro 1 for company at work because we take lots of product shots for our magazine.

curtis



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Old Jan 7, 2006, 6:58 PM   #9
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Thank you so much for all your help!!!

I will do more homework, and also check out the cameras mentioned. You really have given me TONS to think about. Thank you!



@ET

As you say - what I photograph is relevant....

Still life (not macros) This is my number one priority.

Pix inlow light - it happens all the time, & often when I can't use a tripod of any sort.

Pix with wide tonal ranges - I like to be able to bracket.





The following are very much less important...



People - not action as such - but a bit of reasonable follow-on here is nice.

Landscape



Finally, my cameralives in my tote bag & is with me all the time, so needs to be robust.

Thanks again for the help.



Caroline


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Old Jan 8, 2006, 11:27 AM   #10
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Whoops, change of mind. Reasonable macro facilities would be very very nice



Caroline
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