A few questions about digital camera

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by Diesmile, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Diesmile

    Diesmile Member

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    firstly i know little about digital camera, hence i am seeking help here.

    i am after a new P&S camera, with a budget around 300 dollars.

    now before i ask for suggestions, i want to know a little about optical zoom.

    most camera in my budget range only has 3X zoom, which may not be enough for me.

    because my current camera is Canon ixus 750 with 3 zoom (7.7-23.1mm 1:2.8-4.9). i found the zoom distance is pretty average or even hopeless in some cases.

    recently i went on a tour bus, and while i try to shoot certain far away object, i get tiny image on the longest zoom, while other ppl can get real close. as a result i want a better camera with better zoom.

    also can someone explain a bit about those values about zoom? so when i go to camera shop, i can understand them, maybe compare them?

    one more question is: during night shot, even with night shot mode on, with high iso on, image i took is really grainy and fuzzy (this is with sony DSC-T2), so only tripot is the way for night shot?

    last but not least, what camera do you recommend?
     
  2. TRG.dOinK

    TRG.dOinK Member

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    (7.7-23.1mm) - Focal Length
    7.7 to 23.1 is the focal length, shows its 3x zoom 23.1/7.7 = 3x. Focal length doesn't tell you much other than zoom size because each camera has different focal lengths due to design of lens/size of sensor. Your best to compare film equivalant values. EG: If a camera started at 24mm wide, a x3 zoom would have a range 24-72mm, whereas if it started at 36mm wide, a x3 zoom would have a range of 36mm-108mm, so the second camera would zoom in more than the first, but wont fit as much in when zoomed out.

    1:2.8-4.9 - Fnumber
    2.8-4.9 is the Fnumber. The lower the number, the bigger the hole in the lens, the more light it can let through. 2.8 is the biggest sized hole when zoomed out, and 4.9 is the biggest sized hole when zoomed in all the way. Generally speaking you want the Fnumber to be as low as possible to let more light into the camera (especially at low light).

    Alot of p&s camera's these days are wide angle and have bigger zoom.
    eg: 28mm-200mm (7.1x zoom), 25mm-300mm (12x) etc.
    Just look at the film equivalent values, not the focal length values.
    35mm is considered normal view, anything below is considered wide angle, anything above is considered zoom. (something along those lines)

    I prefer to go wide angle over more zoom, but each to their own.
    Also alot come with Image Stability/Vibration Correction to help reduce blur by moving the sensor or the optical lens. (Not high iso bs)

    Night time shots are difficult because there is low light, so the camera's set a high iso (high sensitivity), although when you do this you introduce whats called noise (grainy images). Sort of like when you turn your stereo full blast, it sounds crappy, well this just comes onto the image instead. Theres not much you can do about it other than buying a camera with a bigger sensor (dslr or 4/3rds). If you set the iso low, the exposure (time to take the photo) will be very long (seconds) and will require the subject to be still and the camera to be on a tripod. (Also note flash range for p&s are generally 2-3m, otherwise it just makes the image dark, so you'd turn flash off).

    I dont know what to recommend for $300.
    Panasonic have alot of good models out. (TZ series)
    Ricoh R series are nice too, but noisey ($300 might get an R8, 2yr warranty also)

    Note that most p&s's will struggle with noise at low light. Some do it better than others, but if you want really smooth images at night, you need a dlsr, daytime will be ok though :)
    Also never go near sand with any camera or you'll $$ to fix it. Also buy from Aussie dealers or you probably wont have warranty in Aus :)

    Hopefully this kinda made sensor, its 12am, crap got work 2moro, so tired, g'nite.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  3. OP
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    Diesmile

    Diesmile Member

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    that's some good infos, especially with the numbers part, now i understand completely.

    time for more research
     
  4. ch0c0

    ch0c0 Member

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    In your budget, i would suggest the Canon SX110IS. RRP is $399.

    10x optical zoom, 35mm equiv to 36mm to 360mm.

    The only down side is 35mm isnt very wide. The sort of general purpose stuff you want a P&S for is generally wide angle stuff.

    I would have already purcahsed this camera for myself if it was a little wider.

    A better option is the Panasonic TZ6. Its a bit more expensive, but does 25mm to 300mm in 35mm equivalent. RRP for this is 650.
     
  5. OP
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    Diesmile

    Diesmile Member

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    just want to double check, when you say a wide angle, what does it mean exactly?

    as if normal photo resolution ratio? like 4:3 compare to 16:9? or as in, the most zoom out position, the picture is can capture has a large scale compare to non-wide angel camera?
     
  6. pelmen

    pelmen Member

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    wide angle means you can get more in the shot. its not a display ratio term really (ie 4:3 vs 16:9). always compare the focal length in terms of "35mm equivalent" then you can compare cameras easier. telephoto is a narrower angle (which gives you a "zoomed in" shot) and the larger the focal length the larger the distant object you are photographing will be in the photo.

    you might want to consider instead of replacing your existing camera is to have second camera that can do the things your current one cant. so maybe look at ones with large focal length for the times you want to photo distant things and keep your current one for the wide angle shots.

    also there are a lot of point & shoot cameras which allow a converter lens to be attached that adds a multiplier factor to the cameras built in lens. usually it'll be something like a 0.8x wide angle converter lens and a 1.7x telephoto converter that is commonly available, but there are many others.
     
  7. TerminalVeloCD

    TerminalVeloCD Member

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    More precisely, 'wide-angle' describes a lens with a very short focal length (i.e. 35mm equivalent of f=35mm or less). Wide-angle lenses have a very wide angle of view which means that you will be able to fit more into the frame. In addition, wide-angle lenses distort the perspective so that the background will seem further away than it really is.

    Regards,
    TerminalVeloCD
     
  8. Jimboberella

    Jimboberella Member

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    This is a good guide +1 however as digital and become main stream and lens design computerised you can go wide to 10mm without too much distortion these days. I have a RICOH R7 which is a nice little camera (28-200mm) but does not cope with low light at all (f3.3-5.2)
     
  9. ch0c0

    ch0c0 Member

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    In really really really simple terms, think of wide angle as how far you can zoom out.

    Ie, you can zoom out further, to fit more in the shot.

    Lets say you were taking a photo of a beach. You want to try and get the whole thing in 1 shot. At 35mm, you may not get it all, but at 25mm or less, you might. 16mm (in 35mm equivalent) is really as wide as you can go without any funny distortion.

    I should also explain what people mean when they say 35mm equivalent.
    35mm is teh standard every day film that film cameras take. Digital cameras have a smaller "sensor" (ie, the bit in the camera that actually captures the picture), which is why the numbers on the actual camera are different. Converting the numbers to 35mm allows you to compare different cameras, which may have a different sized sensor.

    This is also what people mean when they talk about "cropped frame" or "full frame" digital SLR cameras.

    A cropped frame has a smaller sensor, usually by a factor or 1.5/1.6, whereas a full frame camera is the equivalent to a 35mm film camera.

    Ive tried to be as high level as possible, and explain what things actually mean for you :)
     
  10. OP
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    Diesmile

    Diesmile Member

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    thanks for the replies. so in a nut shell,

    a non wide angel camera can zoom in further than a wide angel camera? if they both have the same amount of zoom?

    although wide angel camera can capture more in a photo, but with a non wide angel, won't you achieve the same by standing further away from the object?

    in my case which i want a better zoom in camera, i need a long focal length, but a low fnumber, is this corrrect?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  11. ch0c0

    ch0c0 Member

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    oh i think i have just confused you.
    basically, the wider the angle, the further "out" the camera can go.
    The optical zoom number means how much further it can go based on the starting point.
    ie, camera 1 might start at 25mm, and 3x zoom, which means it goes from 25-75mm
    camera 2 could alos be 3x zoom, but start at 35mm, so it goes from 35-105mm

    you are right, you can achieve the same affect by standing further away, but the same can be said on standing closer to zoom in!

    The lower the f number, the more light the camera lets in, so yes, the lower the better.

    If you want to be able to zoom in, i would still look at the SX110 IS. 360mm is more than you should ever need :), and its pretty close to your price range. In fact, without a tripod you probably wont be able to get any decent shots anyway :)
    http://www.canon.com.au/products/cameras/digital_compact_cameras/powershotsx110is_specs.aspx
     
  12. OP
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    Diesmile

    Diesmile Member

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    i understand what u meant. what i meant was:

    compare 25-75mm camera with 35-105mm camera, they both have 3 optical zoom, but would 35-105mm camera zoom in more than 25075mm? ( as in bigger target photo)

    also regarding to photo quality, does mega pixel mean anything? or is it more to do with lens quality and processor?
     
  13. pec_tacular

    pec_tacular New Member

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    Forgive me if I've missed someone mentioning this here or if you've tried it but it might be worth trying 'night portrait' mode? Generally these have a slower shutter speed for ambient light backgrounds and a flash to freeze the subject? Might solve your ISO issues to some degree?
     
  14. mr_wrxman

    mr_wrxman Member

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    I'll try my hand at explaining (apologies if i make it worse).

    The first number in the range (e.g. 35 35 - 200mm) means how wide the photo can be at it's maximum. The wider it is the more you can fit in at once. The second number (200) means how far you can "zoom" into the photo.

    The amount of zoom (i.e. 3x, 4x, 10x) is the division of the second number to the first number. With my 35 - 200 example, that's 5.7x zoom.

    If you want to do big group shots or take photos of landscapes, look for a small first number, if you want to get close to your subject ("zoom in") look for a large second number.

    25 - 75mm vs 35 - 105:
    The second one will allow you get closer to your subject. But the first one will allow you get a wider picture.

    Also, the number after that, expressed as 1:2.8 - 4.9 or similar, the smaller the number the better, it lets in more light making for better night shots.

    Megapixels really mean nothing, all brands are pushing more megapixels to a point where it doesn't really improve image quality.
     
  15. OP
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    Diesmile

    Diesmile Member

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    but flash won't capture night landscape photos, like city view photos.

    and longer shutter speed may causes shaking image. i guess a tripod is the only answer, but i don't want to carry it around. :)
     
  16. VZey

    VZey Member

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    I can recommend a Panasonic FX38
    Around $310 and up online.

    • 10.1 Megapixel Camera for high quality images
    • 25mm LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT LENS with 5x Optical Zoom
    • Intelligent Auto Mode - Includes Mega O.I.S, Intelligent ISO, Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector, Intelligent Exposure, AF Tracking
    • 2.5 LCD
    • Venus Engine IV - High Speed, High Quality Image Processing LSI

    CNET
    Good Gear Guide
    DC User

    I love, it's small and compact. Took this shot in Thailand last year. Has a little PS work done.

    It's not going to take DSLR type shots though!
     
  17. OP
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    Diesmile

    Diesmile Member

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    i went to diamond camera shop in adelaide today, pretty impressed with fuji f200 model, a little pricey at 519 dollars, also the panasonic dmc - t26 model at 539 dollars.

    both pretty good, what do you guys recommend?
     

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