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Author Topic: Digital P&S cameras...the BEST so far...  (Read 19631 times)
mrleonard
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« on: May 20, 2008, 06:55:35 PM »
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I have now owned and used the Panasonic LX2, Canon G9, and Ricoh GX100...

I havent yet tried the Sigma DP1..but the plethora of bad reviews make me have second thoughts of buying one.

Some of my thoughts and comparisons:

Ricoh GX100

Strengths:
24mm Wide-angle
adjustable EVF viewer a GREAT add-on
Hotshoe

Weaknesses:
Flimsier build quality/possibilty of easily breaking
Not as 'clean' user interface

Canon G9

Strengths:
Familiar interface and many advanced features
Great Macro capabilities
Strong build quality
Hotshoe

Weaknesses:
Larger Size
35mm minimum wide angle

Panasonic Lumix LX2

Strengths:
28mm wide and TRUE 16:9 aspect ratio
Strong build quality

Weaknesses:
No EVF or Viewfinder
No hotshoe
Prompts outrage by jackjohn

There are many more if you want to get really technical. Just a broad overview here.

They ALL have quite similiar (I think,quite good) image quality,and NOISE problems above low ASA. I prefer a P&S having a wide lens...it seems better suited to this,as you are often shooting street and interior.

Ideally...I would LOVE an amalgam of the three in this:

EVF viewer and 24mm of GX100
advanced features /interface and MACRO of G9
16:9 aspect ratio and size of LX2
Strong build of the LX2/G9


Overall I prefer the LX2....as the GX100 is too fragile and the G9 is too big,and it costs less.
Hopefully the right mix will appear soon!
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Plekto
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2008, 07:45:49 PM »
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The Fujis with the dual sensor technology are by far the best because they have an almost film-like cushion as far as exposure goes.   You get better dynamic contrast and smoother images since it does little or no noise reduction in camera but instead takes the two images(raw) and blends them to make one HDR and then does the adjusting.(the images look noticeably cleaner for bad lighting conditions)

It's not a high resolution DSLR, but for a P&S camera, what it does is quite amazing.

The Sigma is similar by having a film-like sensor, but the SD-14 is pricey and not a P&S camera.  And 4.6 actual MP is too low to really look good, IMO - you need 8MP worth of actual sensor locations at least to resolve finer details.

ie - the Sigma looks exactly like film.  Just like you're shooting that crummy APS film or 110 in a pocket camera.  Better than digital?  Absolutely.  Too low resolution to be useful?  That, too.  Real shame, actually.

Anyways, a link about both cameras.
http://www.dcviews.com/reviews/Sigma-SD14-...-S5-samples.htm

Note - the SD14s color is correct - the Fuji needs a bit of rebalancing/adusting on most shots.  I think it's because they have it set to emulate Fuji film's color balance.  But that's easy to set up once and batch apply/process it back to correct values.

This is for comparing the sensors, really, not the cameras - they now make P&S cameras with the same technology as the S5.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_CCD
The real trick is to shoot in dual sensor and not HDR mode.  You lose half of your resolution, but you gain the effects of a closely bracketed shot with blending.  Moires and jaggies nearly disappear entirely.  

http://www.kenrockwell.com/fuji/s5/dynamic-range.htm
Look at the dynamic range (the most relevant part of the entire horribly long "review")  

Yeah, I *KNOW* it's idiot-boy's site, but if you dig past the blather and look at the sample pictures, it's a fairly good analysis.  Because you can now get the same sensor in a pocket camera - which puts it in a different light.  ie - the S5 may be a mediocre DSLR in many ways, but stuff that technology in a pocket camera...
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jeffok
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2008, 09:58:51 PM »
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Quote
I have now owned and used the Panasonic LX2, Canon G9, and Ricoh GX100...

I havent yet tried the Sigma DP1..but the plethora of bad reviews make me have second thoughts of buying one.

Some of my thoughts and comparisons:

Ricoh GX100

Strengths:
24mm Wide-angle
adjustable EVF viewer a GREAT add-on
Hotshoe

Weaknesses:
Flimsier build quality/possibilty of easily breaking
Not as 'clean' user interface

Canon G9

Strengths:
Familiar interface and many advanced features
Great Macro capabilities
Strong build quality
Hotshoe

Weaknesses:
Larger Size
35mm minimum wide angle

Panasonic Lumix LX2

Strengths:
28mm wide and TRUE 16:9 aspect ratio
Strong build quality

Weaknesses:
No EVF or Viewfinder
No hotshoe
Prompts outrage by jackjohn

There are many more if you want to get really technical. Just a broad overview here.

They ALL have quite similiar (I think,quite good) image quality,and NOISE problems above low ASA. I prefer a P&S having a wide lens...it seems better suited to this,as you are often shooting street and interior.

Ideally...I would LOVE an amalgam of the three in this:

EVF viewer and 24mm of GX100
advanced features /interface and MACRO of G9
16:9 aspect ratio and size of LX2
Strong build of the LX2/G9
Overall I prefer the LX2....as the GX100 is too fragile and the G9 is too big,and it costs less.
Hopefully the right mix will appear soon!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=196890\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'd have to agree-- the Panasonic LX-2 is, for me as well, still the best overall "serious" P&S camera. I don't find the lack of an EVF or viewfinder a negative... in a P&S camera this feature is almost unuseable anyway given the size. Lack of a hotshoe is a negative shared by most P&S cameras, however I use it primarily for landscapes in daylight so I don't feel deprived.
The true 16:9 format is really unique and the quality of the images at low ISO's is fantastic.
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DonWeston
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 07:56:40 AM »
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I'd have to agree-- the Panasonic LX-2 is, for me as well, still the best overall "serious" P&S camera. I don't find the lack of an EVF or viewfinder a negative... in a P&S camera this feature is almost unuseable anyway given the size. Lack of a hotshoe is a negative shared by most P&S cameras, however I use it primarily for landscapes in daylight so I don't feel deprived.
The true 16:9 format is really unique and the quality of the images at low ISO's is fantastic.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=196930\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I did my last trip to Portugal with a 5D and G9, and did great. While the G9 image quality is not up to the 5D, it is great for a variety of shots and easier to hand and explain to someone to take a snap, esp. for a family trip. I have no doubts that some day, be it 5 yrs from now, more or less, a G12 or LX5 will more than equal the 5D of today....one has to wonder whether with the mergence of other tech, whether anyone will HAVE to carry a bulky camera, and really how many but few of us diehards will need a 5D size camera then, let alone a Nikon D or Canon 1D series.....
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dalethorn
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 08:28:43 AM »
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I just don't see the point of using a toy camera for interiors or landscapes, or anything else where (obviously) a more serious camera is likely to be available.  Where the P&S comes in handy is those places where the big camera isn't - on walkabouts that aren't intended as a photo walk, at someone's wedding when you're not the hire, etc.  In those cases, I've found the long zoom to be infinitely more useful than the wide angle, since with wide angle the small details are hopeless lost in noise anyway.
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jerryrock
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2008, 12:41:16 PM »
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This topic is just too subjective. With everyone wanting to defend their purchase or brand loyalty we have to ask the question; Best for what purpose? The point & shoot camera line fills a large niche from beginner to amateur and even pro photographers. They come in various sizes and shapes ultra-portable, stylish, shock and waterproof. Sensor sizes, raw capability, zoom lenses, flash, battery life, and feature sets all vary.

Best for what purpose?  Best for indoors, outdoors, travel, camping, snorkeling, hiking, birding, sports, people, macro, low light, image quality?
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Gerald J Skrocki
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dalethorn
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2008, 02:01:50 PM »
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The point of these posts is to share info and also educate casual lurkers in our midst.  By posting specific counter arguments instead of laundry lists, I hope I'm doing that.  I'd like to read informative rebuttals.
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The View
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2008, 03:17:35 PM »
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I have now owned and used the Panasonic LX2, Canon G9, and Ricoh GX100...

I havent yet tried the Sigma DP1..but the plethora of bad reviews make me have second thoughts of buying one.

[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Why do you think that?

The review on this site here

[a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sigma-dp1.shtml]http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/came...sigma-dp1.shtml[/url]

calls the image quality "remarkable" and the lack of the camera in "functioning as a camera" which I understand the reviewer hat issues handling it.

But if you look at the image comparisons between the Sigma, the Canon G9, and the Ricoh, the Sigma has the best picture.

Even though there isn't as much "luminance detail" as the reviewer stated (and that "detail" from the other cameras looks more like noise to me) the rendition of the white blossom has a wonderful light and beaming quality, while still providing detail and glow on the green leaves. These leaves drop into the darkness with Canon, and the Ricoh handles it quite well, too.

I also thought of the Canon image in this comparison as being boring, characterless, and not even sharp.

While I'm not interested in buying a P&S at this time, the Sigma looks like a very interesting camera to me. And it also has good design. So has the Ricoh (looks like a really great camera to me), but the design of the Canon is just the usual average P&S design.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 03:23:25 PM by The View » Logged

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The View
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2008, 03:29:07 PM »
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I have two reasons why I would not buy the Sigma.

1. No optical viewfinder. (same in Leica D Lux 3/ Panasonic lx2)
2. fixed focus lens  ( equals 28mm in full frame) makes it unsuitable for portrait.


I guess my favorite would be the Ricoh gx100. It really looks like a great piece of photographic pocket equipment.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 03:32:00 PM by The View » Logged

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mrleonard
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2008, 05:48:31 PM »
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Image quality isnt everything....if so then the DP1 would be the clear winner. But the camera is completely useless on so many levels...so unless you are shooting bright daylight landscapes and nothing but, then I would pass. Myabe if it cost like $300.

I got the GX100 the other day...and while I love the 24mm and the evf...the build quality is a bot flimsy,and I feel I have to be 'precious' with it as opposed to my LX2 which is solid and sturdy.
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Plekto
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 07:15:42 PM »
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I just don't see the point of using a toy camera for interiors or landscapes, or anything else where (obviously) a more serious camera is likely to be available.  Where the P&S comes in handy is those places where the big camera isn't - on walkabouts that aren't intended as a photo walk, at someone's wedding when you're not the hire, etc. 

This was part of why the Fuji amazes me.  The ability to retain data and dynamic range on par with full size SLRs with better optics and sensors is fantastic.  Usually when you have a P&S camera, you're pulling it out without loads of timing, usually no tripod, and often the light is not optimal.   It's really hard to make unrecoverable shots with the Fuji, and that's why it edges out the Sigma in my book.

The Sigma is just... best sensor technology to date.  It's a confusing and hopeless mess, though.  Foveon needs to get off of its rear end and license the technology to Sony or someone who makes digital backs.  Imagine a Sony/Minolta with a 12MP(actual 12 million locations)... I'd get one the microsecond it came out.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2008, 09:03:06 PM »
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Jack
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The View
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2008, 02:05:37 AM »
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Beautiful, John. You've quite a nice choice of animals to shoot there in Florida.
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Deserts, Cities, Woods, Faces - View of the World.
JohnKoerner
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2008, 11:36:25 AM »
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Beautiful, John. You've quite a nice choice of animals to shoot there in Florida.



Thanks

Honestly, that is the reason I moved to Florida is because of the diversity of wildlife ... it truly is "a florid" state  

I was actually born and raised in your neck of the woods, just outside L.A., but after visiting Florida and seeing just how lush the vegetation is, and how many different kinds of critter are here, it just brought out the kid in me -- and so I moved here -- and every day is a new adventure in the garden

This is a shot I got the other day of a click beetle ... trying to figure out what to do right before a rainshower hit ...



[span style=\'font-size:14pt;line-height:100%\']Eyed Click Beetle[/span]



Enjoy,
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2008, 11:39:33 AM »
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I have also gone through my fair share of "serious" compacts, like the ones mentioned above. All have their strenghts and weaknesses, but I am at a point where I have given up. I had high hopes for the DP1, but really, albeit the high image quality for general landscape/travel photography (of which I do some), the clumsy interface/poor LCD/slow technology was a real letdown. I had hopes that the DP1 would combine the present day available handling/ergonomics, with better image quality from its larger sensor. Unfortunately, albeit being a step in the right direction, it is not there yet.

All the others, are a combination of useful and frustating aspects simultaneously. Even the touted Fujis have succumbed to the pixel race. And for instance, the latest F100fd has dropped aperture and shutter priority modes. Why? Of course, it now has 12 Mpixels...

The new Panasonic FX500 is compact and has the above mentioned modes, but it combines it with a touching LCD interface... why can't we have just a solid little camera a la DP1, but with the useful technology that is already available today? I just don't get it. For example, Canon puts 28mm focal range in the Ixus series, but not in the upper series compacts.

It seems that we have too many brands actually, and they are just going around this business a bit like headless chickes, trying to suck the profit while it lasts. By now, for sure the compact camera market has to be saturated, so why models every 6 months? Just give us serious shooters a serious little camera; I want a digital compact that performs like the Contax T2/T3, Leica CM, Rollei AFM35, and the like.

Any one?
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2008, 03:14:14 PM »
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Funny how this rumbles on.

There aren't many that allow you to shoot raw, so that narrows it down to 3 (I think) for my uses. Other may have a different view.

They all have different strengths in terms of focal length range.

They all produce surprisingly good IQ at low iso, that rapidly declines (in dslr terms) as the iso rises. However, I have uses for that and am probably not alone.

They have different interfaces and other ergonomics (e.g. will they really fit in a jacket or allow an ovf to be attached...)

Perceived build quality may or may not be an indicator to survival in the wilds


Best bet is to go to a shop or two and try them all, then buy your favourite.

I've got one and it currently is getting used every day. Some pictures are even nice.

Mike
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oldcsar
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2008, 03:22:55 PM »
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I compared reviews of the LX2 and G9 prior to buying the G9... the LX2 seems to be a fine camera as well...

With respect to the G9, I do not regard the 35mm wide end as a fault- it suits my particular purposes. The extra reach combined with the 1cm focusing gives it an edge over similar compacts with a 28mm wide end with 1cm focusing.

The 16:9 aspect ratio of the LX2 is unique, but such a ratio doesn't seem to be advantageous except for displaying in-camera photos on an HDTV... this is something I never use, so I question the benefits of a native 16:9 sensor (unless people enjoy such a ratio, but I don't... it would force me to crop more than I'd like when outputting the photo for certain print sizes.

The G9 is bigger than compacts like Ricoh and LX2, without question. However, it's still smaller than superzooms or DSLRs. Its brick-like build quality feels and looks better to me... the LX2 looks like a toy (Fisher Price? Nintendo? ) by comparison... if and only if the LX2's image quality were better than G9's (the G9's RAW resolution as well as lighter handed JPEG noise reduction than the LX2) would I buy an LX2. The G9 has more megapixels (which many have complained about regarding its sensor size), but it also has a larger sensor than most compacts (although the DP1 has a far, far bigger one). To be fair, both the LX2 an G9 have sensors with similar size, which are bigger than sensors typically found in superzooms and lower-end compacts.

Also, I have heard that some Panasonic sensors have poor ISO amplification, where better results can be obtained by shooting at lowest ISO and pushing the exposure through Camera RAW. Can anyone confirm or disprove this for the LX2? I'm interested in the subject.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 03:42:36 PM by oldcsar » Logged

dalethorn
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2008, 03:54:50 PM »
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We're very lucky that cameras like the G9 exist at all.  Eventually as digital markets become saturated, the Big Firm bean counters will consolidate the products and kill off odds-and-ends like the G9.  Look at small computers for example - all toys - no attempt anywhere to produce anything state of the art.  In 1987 I bought a Honda CRX-HF all-gas car that got 62 mpg on the highway, and could carry a living room sofa in the hatch.  Not any more.  Digital cameras are in the early stages, but the writing is on the wall.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2008, 04:00:15 PM »
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I can't confirm anything about the Pana LX2, but I've shot RAW with the FZ50 for 2 years, and I get really good results from low-light pics at 100 ISO.  It seems very likely they'd be using the same engine.
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mrleonard
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2008, 08:04:47 PM »
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the LX2 looks like a toy (Fisher Price? Nintendo? ) by comparison... if and only if the LX2's image quality were better than G9's (the G9's RAW resolution as well as lighter handed JPEG noise reduction than the LX2) would I buy an LX2. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197295\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

er..ok..You OBVIOUSLY haven't tried or held an LX2 as there is NO WAY it is built like a toy. It is solid metal...very good build quality. The fact it has a lenscap also means one less part to break (btw..is it me, or isnt it always the retractable lens cover the first  to get damaged,stuck,broke). I OWN and have used the LX2,G9,and GX100....and the image quality of the 3 is the same and/or negligable(using RAW..in jpeg the LX2 is lousy..but why shooit JPEG with these when the whole reason for this comparison is that they shoot RAW).

As i've said..the overall winner ,to me, is the LX2.It has its shortcomings over the others...but the others shortcomings are worse ..
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