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Re: [Killietalk] Digital cameras
I'm glad to see something to really discuss in this thread. :-)
BizEcology at aol_com wrote:
I have an older Nikon Coolpix and it's great.
I have friends who really like their's, but when they complain about the
dread "purple fringe" and other image defects, I have to leave the room
or at least bite my tongue. Anyone paying several hundred dollars for a
name-brand camera doesn't need that kind of criticism, and if they are
happy with that kind of optical performance, it's perfectly fine with me.
I have even casually looked for an old Nikon 950, for myself, as that
was the last one I saw that had lens resolution almost as good as the
number of pixels, and it's a truly wonderful little pocket camera in
many, many ways.
I was working on a crime scene
investigation course for our agents and we've moved to digital cameras
recently. A 4 megapixel digital camera gives more than enough resolution for just
about anything you would want.
Don't be misled by marketing hype. Resolution in the final image is due
to the lens, first, then the sensor, and then the alogorithms that do
the Bayer conversion, etc. All interact, but the limiting one in most
3.3 and up MP cameras is the lens and it hasn't gotten much better as
they went to 4 and 5 MP P&S cameras. Really *good* 5MP cameras are now
clearly better than film for most uses. Unfortunately it takes too much
glass to be in any small P&S design.
A fast lens with good resolution takes too-large glass to fit in a shirt
pocket, and there are some fundamental optical reasons for that. Add
zoom and they grow big really fast.
Most of the major camera brands have good
That is not borne out by either the reviews or by independent tests.
Canon and Olympus *have* put some very good lenses on consumer cameras.
Sony has come up with some that were even better, eventually selling the
designs to Oly. Several have bought designs and mfg. license from Carl
Zeiss and the improved results are fairly obvious.
I would stick with a camera company (Nikon, Canon) rather than a computer
or electronics company (Sony, Panasonic) because everyone gets the same
digital elements, but camera companies know optics better.
Nikon and Canon would be my choice, along with Fuji (Nikon body), for a
high-end camera (thousands of dollars). They know camera *bodies* and
ergonomics of small cameras better than most. In the consumer arena,
they have not always done well, and Sony and Olympus have both beaten
them in quality for the buck.
The worst camera I ever bought was from a company famous for its imagery
expertise -- Ricoh. Generalities are hard to make stick in this area.
Remember that optical zoom is the only zoom that counts. Digital zoom just
That, too, is no longer really quite true. Kodak and Fuji have both come
up with better digital zoom than the early crap that was worse than
cropping in Photoshop. Some digital zoom appears to be getting almost
decent, but the jury is still out. It will take better lenses than most
folks will afford for the final results to be any good, I suspect.
If I wanted film, I usually picked either Kodak or Fuji (usually Fuji).
For a camera body, when they were usually separate from the lens, I
picked Olympus and Canon, only because Nikon was a tad too expensive for
what you got.
Lenses, I usually bought from a specialty lens maker, like Vivitar,
Zuiko, Sigma, etc. but did find some special uses for Nikkor (Nikon's
Digital cameras are 98% computer, and 2% camera, so it pays to watch who
makes what in the electronics area. Sony has been an electronics company
from the days of the first transistor radios, and made the vast bulk of
the ccd sensors (and chip sets) for the first couple of generations of
consumer digital cameras. Their dominance of the video camera business
made them very expert at the tradeoff in lens design vs algorithms to
get acceptable images. That was not lost when they moved to still
digital cameras, but their marketing was for stink in that area (rare
Keep in mind that the objective of a digital camera is about the same as
a film camera -- to get a good picture. From there, things come apart
fast. A digicam is a computer with a lens on the world. That means a
host of features and confusion for the first-time buyer. The obvious
dominance of the Point and Shoot film cameras caused the early digitals
to go pretty much that way. Only higher-end models gave the control and
flexibility of the nearly-forgotten 35mm SLRs.
Only recently have we started to see cameras that are digital from the
ground up. The latest in this trend is the Sony 828, coming out next
month. It would never have been realizable as a film camera.
Fortunately, it is a strong move away from imitating a 35mm P&S camera.
We live in interesting times.
Wright Huntley -- 760 872-3995 -- Rt. 001 Box K36, Bishop CA 93514
Mencken's maxim—every election is a sort
of advanced auction of stolen goods.
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