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Marketing and the megapixel problem

High end compacts = too many megapixels!
12 years ago, June 12th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #38338  
I just sold my D200, didnt fancy lugging it across Africa. Planned to buy a high end compact with decent video capability but seems to be very hard to find one without way too many megapixels onto a tiny sensor.

Was initially interested in the G9, then I read about the noise issues and decided to wait for something better. Anyone out there reccommend a nice compact with creative potential and good video?

Back when cameras were 1 OR 2MP it mattered but this MP war is getting silly! Reply to this

12 years ago, June 13th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #38504  
B Posts: 97
Just bought an Olympic stylus 1030SW shock proof, waterproof to 10m, 8 mp, 2gb memory... 350$ Aus...

And I like it!!!!!!!

Takes macro, video with sound and an enormous amount of features we are yet to dioscover Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 3 Msg: #38829  
B Posts: 5,195
Hi Paul - do you have any links to these articles?

I did a fair amount of research on the G9 and didn't read anything about noise issues - in fact the G9 had one of the lowest noise levels at ISO800 that I've seen on dark shots.

I do agree that in general - once a camera gets to around 10 MegaPixel - choosing one over the over based on 10 vs 12 isn't the most important thing.

One thing that has some choosing a 12 megapixel camera over anything else is that historically - stock photo agencies would only accept images 11mp or higher - important to anyone that is interesting in potentially going professional. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #38838  
Ali, check out the dpreview on the G9, they tend to be on the ball. I also shot with one myself and found it very noisy above any more than 100ISO.

Heres an interesting article on the megapixel issue: 6megapixel

I've also done a lot of research on the high-end compacts and have yet to find one tht ticks all the boxes, ideally 6-8MP, decent video, manual control, 28mm wide end etc etc. Anything more than 8MP squeezed onto a small sensor is going to be noisy.

Blonk - I had a look at he stylus, its an interesting camera! Good value for money I think.

Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #38843  
B Posts: 5,195
Agreed dpreview are very good and have an excellent review of this camera - but I didn't read anything that suggested that there is a "noise issue"; dpreview - canon G9

IQ-wise the G9 is about as good as it gets in a compact camera (at low ISO - once you get to ISO 400 the gap between most decent cameras is very narrow), and physically it puts virtually everything else to shame.

These are compact cameras - at the moment they will all have the same limitation until a leap in sensor technology takes place - comparing the results to DSLRs isn't really sensible (the article on 6mpixel.org explains nicely why).

My experience is that my ISO 800 underwater shots (Canon Ixus 800is ) in a dark cave dive in Brazil were terrible compared to the shots from the divemasters camera - Canon G9 also at ISO 800. The Canon Ixus 800is is a 6mp camera - I don't think going back to older models will be the answer.

So... the decision is over which compact - with the same limitations - to choose - or back to a DSLR?

Reply to this

12 years ago, June 17th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #38923  

* Some shadow noise visible even at ISO 80, Noise Reduction effects start to creep in and smear detail from about ISO 125
* ISO 800 and 1600 so noisy (and soft) it's almost pointless, ISO 3200 very low resolution

The sensor technology is already there SigmaDP1, certainly dont think they need to take a "step back" just produce a camera with a decent sensor (like the dp1) with sensible MP. The big manufacturers dont want to do this as the general consensus with the public is more MP = better. Releasing a G10 with less than 12MP would be a big risk.

Yeah, we are nowhere near DSLR level for speed and the ability to shoot at high ISO. But I dont fancy lugging a DSLR and laptop all the way across Africa! Its defo a compact for me, DSLR is quite in your face for street photography, nights out etc. For the average traveller I think compact is the way to go. Yes, you wont get the high IQ of the DSLR, but how much easier is it to carry and use a compact? I feel if I brought a DSLR I would be taking the same photo hundreds of other people have. But I can see the argument for having one.

Quite interested to hear other opinions on this. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 17th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #38961  

12 years ago, July 27th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #43195  

I'd be really interested to know what the outcome of your research was. Have you bought a new camera yet?
Presently I'm in the same boat as you. I was on the verge of buying a DSLR (seriously considering the new Sony Alpha 350) but have recently decided that it just wouldn't be practical for lugging around with me and have therefore decided to seek a top spec compact instead.

The article you posted a link to was very interesting. I think it summed up the market perfectly - there isn't one manufacturer that offers those with an interest in pursuing more creative control over their photography a compact that ticks all the right boxes.

I've been reading your's and Ali's comments about the G9 with particular interest and was intrigued that you both draw different conclusions from the same review. Personally, I love dpreview and find it's reviews to be extremely thorough, but occasionally, having finally made it to the end of the review, I'm left wondering what exactly their conclusion has been as there is a tendency to contradict or wash over earlier statements they have made.

Another site I like is dcviews.com as it has a huge database of cameras and offers links, in most cases, to several reviews.

I didn't like the G9 at first because I also took the noise issues from the dpreview article and was disappointed by the lack of a 28mm lens but the more I read about it, the more I realise that by purchasing a compact you are making a compromise: choosing portability over image quality at higher ISO:

"For ultimate image quality with compact cameras it is best to keep ISO levels as low as possible to avoid noisy or grainy images. The Canon G9 is no exception in this area. Images taken at ISO 80 or 100 are simply superb with plenty of detail and nice colours, but when you get to higher ISO levels, quality definitely starts to suffer. ISO 1600 or 3200 on the Canon G9, or any other compact for that matter, should only be used when there are no other options available, such as using a tripod or flashlight." dcview.com review

Once you can accept the limitations that a compact has, I think it sounds like the G9 is definitely a contender:

"Although the Powershot G9 does have a green Auto mode, where all important decisions are made for you by the camera, it is not really meant for the point-and-shoot enthusiast... this camera is really too advanced for snapshots only. The serious photographer... will certainly find the Canon G9 to be a worthwhile investment and a true photographic tool... the G9 enables you to use your creativity to the full... we feel it would be ideally suited to act as a handy addition to your DSLR kit with all the control of a DSLR, without the discomfort of its size and weight." dcview.com review

"The G9 continues the traditions of this line, offering a slew of manual functions, great image quality, blazing fast performance, a durable exterior, and class leading specs (12-megapixels, 6x optical zoom, Canon's OIS, Face Detection AF, etc.), not to mention plenty of automatic controls for beginners. The addition of RAW mode is very appreciated... we feel offers a good value for those who want all of the control over the exposure process of a dSLR, but don't want to carry around a bulky camera bag with lenses, etc. Therefore, the Canon PowerShot G9 is a worthy adversary in the prosumer category (if not the top contender)...", www.steves-digicams.com

"The PowerShot G9 is a solid high-end camera, though it won't be replacing your digital SLR anytime soon. It offers a full set of features, both automatic and manual, and throws them into a well-built, expandable body. If you keep the ISO as low as possible you'll get some nice photos out of the camera, though a D-SLR will wipe the floor with the G9 at higher sensitivities. I...recommend the PowerShot G9 to anyone who wants a high-end camera without stepping up to a digital SLR." from dcresource.com who noted earler in his review that: "...Lots of noise reduction above ISO 200 (in low light) and ISO 400 (in good light); useless ISO 1600 and 3200 settings." www.dcresource.com

I think however that this conclusion from Cameralabs sums up the G9 and the compact market perfectly:

"...the G9 offers probably the best manual control of any compact in a form factor you can squeeze into most pockets. Couple that with a good lens, superb build quality, respectable images at lower sensitivities, support for RAW, decent face detection, a neat time-lapse video feature, and best of all, a flash hotshoe, and you’ve got a camera which will still greatly appeal to enthusiasts. The relatively slow performance and lack of wide angle in the current climate prevent us from awarding our Highly Recommended rating, but the G9 still comes Recommended.

Ultimately there remains demand for a highly capable top-of-the-range compact, and while the PowerShot G9 misses out in some key respects, it’s still a lot closer than anything else on the market.", www.camerlabs.com

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12 years ago, July 30th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #43592  
This is an interesting thread.

Last year I had a Kodak Z740 5MP 10x zoom camera and took it all around south america. It was a great wee thing, slightly biggger than a normal compact, but way smaller than an SLR. I got a whole bunch of nice photos with it that where in all but the most challenging of lighting every bit as good as my friends Nikon SLR. Alas the camera got a couple of lens scratches (the lens cover on the Kodak has an annoying habit of falling off) that started to affect the picture quality for shots into light so I 'upgraded' to a Kodak ZD710 8MP 10x zoom. Well in actual fact the camera body is identical, the lens claimed to be superior and the price (£95) was half what I'd paid 3 years earlier for the original camera. Great I thought.... Well I've just got back from another trip and looking at my photos I can see all the effects in the 6megapixel article posted. Noise levels in sky etc are higher and the photo edges are less sharp. Just wish I could refurb the original camera now!

Reply to this

12 years ago, September 9th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #48300  
Well after a bit of research I decided to wait until after Photokina Sept '08 before buying. Looks like some interesting announcements will be made: a new "micro four thirds" format for one. Ill be taking an old CASIO Exillum with me to Italy.
I'm still very tempted by the Panasonic LX3 though: HD video, manual control, great lens. Reply to this

12 years ago, September 10th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #48326  
My attempts at compact went waaaayyyyy out the window.

I bought a Panasonic TZ5 which is excellent - we've got some really crisp pictures out of it. Unfortunately, having gone for the compact option, I saw a second hand Canon 20d that was too good a price to turn down. One camera bag, several lenses, batteries, filters etc. later and my hand luggage feels like it weighs more than my rucksack! Still, I'm having a lot of fun coming to terms with SLR life - experimenting with different lenses, exposures and filters - and while I get used to using an SLR and get to know my camera the Panasonic does a great job of making sure I still get the shots I want with relative quality.

Oh and the video on the TZ5 is superb... Reply to this

12 years ago, November 10th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #54187  
N Posts: 4
Great camera is the Canon TX-1. It is about the size of a pack of smokes. It is 7 MP but I bought it for it's video capability. It shoots 1280x720p. That's low end HD. It's an easy crop down to 4:3 standard TV format.
I even think it would broadcast OK. Reply to this

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