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Old Feb 5, 2006, 3:35 PM   #11
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LOL..Sorry.. yes.. I did meanmarketing.. not R&D.. lol.. 'more sells'.
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Old Feb 5, 2006, 4:11 PM   #12
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There are high Mp cameras that do fine in museums.

I have found that the manufacturer's claims of 3 f-stops for still subjects using true optical stabilization isn't far off the mark. So the shot you need ISO800 for without stabilization can be shot at ISO100 with it.

There are some cameras with excellent in-camera noise reduction. Fuji is currently the leader there. The Fuji F10/F11 will take shots at ISO400 that will probably look better than your 2Mp images if viewed at the same size. Other cameras in the Fuji line have better than average noise reduction, but aren't up to the F10.

The new Sony T9 is a tiny camera that has both decent noise at ISO400 and optical stabilization. It would do great in museums.

The Panasonic FZ20 maintains its f2.8 with zoom and has stabilization. A little zoom takes out barrel distortion you get with most cameras at wide angle. For your A95 you might download the free PTLens. It works as a plug-in with most editors – even the freeware Irfanview. It reads the EXIF and automatically removes barrel distortion for the focal length. The A95 is in the profiles. http://epaperpress.com/ptlens/

Sensor makers have been making small strides as well. The 7Mp 1/1.8 Sony sensor has at least as good if not better noise than the same sized 5Mp sensor in your A95. They can't completely overcome the density problem, but the images are a lot better than if they were still using 2Mp technology in 7Mp sensors.

And there is always noise reduction software. The Neat Image demo doesn't expire and is considered freeware for non-commercial use. It will do a nice job on the ISO 400 shots from your A95. You can make a much nicer large print from an A95 ISO400 shot than from your 2Mp Nikon if you apply a judicious dose of Neat Image.

I'm among the unwashed masses that want more pixels. I have a wide format printer and like large images for the wall. The best 13 X 19 I can get from a 7Mp image is around 160 PPI. I have both the Genuine Fractals plug-in and actions for stepped interpolation, but any upsample method doesn't make up for not having enough pixels.

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Old Feb 5, 2006, 4:40 PM   #13
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slipe wrote:
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I'm among the unwashed masses that want more pixels.* I have a wide format printer and like large images for the wall.* The best 13 X 19 I can get from a 7Mp image is around 160 PPI.* I have both the Genuine Fractals plug-in and actions for stepped interpolation, but any upsample method doesn't make up for not having enough pixels.
Unless target moves you could use panorama stitching software for getting more megapixels than you need...
Actually most cameras are so lacking in wide angle that using those would be normal even without such high MP need.
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Old Feb 5, 2006, 4:50 PM   #14
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E.T wrote:
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Unless target moves you could use panorama stitching software for getting more megapixels than you need...
Actually most cameras are so lacking in wide angle that using those would be normal even without such high MP need.
I have done that for years. Now that I have found I can do it with continuous mode with no further ado I use it even more. With the camera held vertically I end up with a 4:3 of over 10Mp, and I get more for a 13 X 19 which is wider.

The only problem is that it doesn't work for some shots. I don't usually hang scenery on the wall. Group shots work fine with stitching, but some things work only with a single shot.

My first digital was a Minolta D7i, and my main reason for choosing it was the wide angle. I was disappointed that I couldn't find a pocket camera with wide angle at the time, but all was well after I learned to use the pano mode to simulate wide angle.

All that said, I could still use more pixels if the manufacturers can do it with reasonable noise.

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Old Feb 5, 2006, 5:31 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the information. I just want to check I've understood one basic point.

I combined the information in the posting by Monza76 with what I found on the useful site http://www.photo.net/equipment/digital/basics/

From this I worked out that the sensor of the Nikon has an area of 21.2sqmm and the sensor of the Canon an area of 38.16sqmm.

With the Nikon the 21.2sqmm is shared among 2m pixels, and with the Canon the 38.16sqmm is shared among 5m pixels.

Therefore each Nikon pixel gets a larger piece of sensor area than each Canon pixel. Therefore (for reasons I don't need to understand) each Nikon pixel gives a cleaner result.

Therefore the Canon is intrinsically noisier. At ISO400 this is noticeable. At lower ISO any extra noisiness is not enough (for me) to notice.

I hope that's right. If it is, then I have one question: How come sensor size is rarely given within the technical specification of cameras? Could it be because the great majority of consumer-oriented non-SLR cameras nowadays all have the same size: 38.16sqmm (just my guess)?

The reason all this is interesting for me is that I want to learn enough from this comparison of my son's new camera with my own old camera in order to choose a better new camera for myself.

Slipe's posting is full of interesting things which I still need to work through. So I'll be back. Thanks.
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Old Feb 6, 2006, 5:30 AM   #16
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In his valuable posting Slipe raises three (for me) immediately relevant concepts:

· in-camera optical stabilisation, so that if your hand shakes a bit you still get a sharp image

· in-camera noise reduction (irrespective of how sharp or blurred the image may be, reducing the noise in it)

· software to clean up a noisy image after it is on your computer.

For the moment I want to home in on the first: optical stabilisation.

I can get a 40% success rate photographing in art galleries at ISO400 with a camera that doesn't have optical stabilisation.

I'd be delighted if I could buy a camera with optical stabilisation to achieve a 40% success rate at ISO100.

From what Slipe and others say, this should be feasible. But I'd like to get more certainty. And are there not different techniques of optical stabilisation? Surely some must be more effective than others. Has anybody studied this topic or know of any articles about it?
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Old Feb 6, 2006, 6:36 AM   #17
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A (good) low megapixel camera will have less noise at full size than, say a 7mp camera at full size.
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Old Feb 6, 2006, 3:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
I hope that's right. If it is, then I have one question: How come sensor size is rarely given within the technical specification of cameras? Could it be because the great majority of consumer-oriented non-SLR cameras nowadays all have the same size: 38.16sqmm (just my guess)?
The sensor size is given in the specs for most reviews. They have chosen a sensor size notation that doesn't make much sense without a conversion table. This is from dpreview.


There are many different sizes. Your 1/1.8 sensor might be the most common, but there are enough different sizes that the majority aren't that size.

I'm sure you are smart enough to not accept simplistic statements regardless of how loud they are shouted. Steve said in his conclusions of the Canon A200 that the image quality was noticeably better than many other 2Mp cameras, so we aren't talking about a keychain camera. It packed 2Mp into a 15.3 sq/mm sensor. Compare that with the Olympus C8080 with 8Mp in a 58.03 sq/mm sensor. The Oly has about the same pixel density in the sensor, but it has lower noise at high ISO because of improvements mostly in noise reduction algorithms. Displayed 100% the Oly image is effectively blown up 4X and it still has lower noise at higher ISO. For any given output size for both, the C-8080 blows the A200 away.

I already gave the example of the 5 and 7 Mp Sony sensors of the same size with the 7Mp giving at least as good noise at 100% even though the pixel density is higher. That is technology improvement and not noise reduction in specific cameras that use the sensors.

And the Fuji F10/F11 will blow many good lower pixel cameras away at ISO400, even at 100%.

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And are there not different techniques of optical stabilisation? Surely some must be more effective than others. Has anybody studied this topic or know of any articles about it?
I know of only two methods for true optical stabilization. Minolta developed a system that stabilizes the sensor for their prosumer cameras and were able to transfer the technology to their DSLRs, so that any lens you added was stabilized. All other brands I know of stabilize an element in the lens.

I haven't seen a current comparative test of the stabilization efficiency of various cameras. Reviewers usually comment on the effectiveness in specific camera reviews, but most seem to be similar in performance. There was an older article that didn't cover any current cameras that found the stabilization pretty close among brands of non-DSLRs.

Another thing to add to your list is a good burst mode as already mentioned. I often use the burst mode in marginal light and often get at least one sharp image even though the shutter speed is too low to handhold even with stabilization. An eyelevel viewfinder and good technique also help.

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Old Feb 6, 2006, 7:07 PM   #19
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About burst mode

I understand the term ‘burst mode' to mean that I can hold the button down and get, say, five shots of the same picture in an art gallery. Afterwards I can pick out the sharpest and delete the rest.

If that is ‘normal' burst mode then the Nikon I have at the moment has a much better form of burst mode (for my purposes). It automatically decides which one is the sharpest out of the, say, five shots I have taken, and stores only that one. So I am spared the task of sorting through all the shots to pick the sharpest. I find this very very useful. It saves a great amount of tedious work.

Nikon's marketing brochures give the impression that this feature is unique to their cameras. I thought thiswas unlikely, yet Ihaven't noticed anything like it mentioned for other cameras.

But why not? It's such a useful feature that I'd have thought most cameras would have it.

So I'm seriously puzzled about this.


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Old Feb 7, 2006, 12:37 AM   #20
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I had a 5MP 3x zoom camera with no optical stabilization, which I returned promptly for the S1IS which has stabilization and more zoom. I'm really shaky.
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