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Wider aperture lenses for compact cameras?

Started Feb 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Wider aperture lenses for compact cameras?
Feb 24, 2012

I use a DSLR for much of my photography, but often turn to a compact for social events or occasions where it is not convenient to carry something bigger.

Although great improvements continue to be made, the small sensors in these cameras still can't give the high ISO/low noise combinations that many of us would like to handle those low light situations we often find ourselves in. Of course the latest drive for extreme zoom ranges further exacerbates the need for faster shutter speeds and the high ISO settings that will bring noise into our photos.

Review sites such as DPReview rightly focus in on the high ISO noise issue and provide detailed analysis of camera noise characteristics often highlighting subtle differences between cameras.

However, the same emphasis is rarely given to maximum lens apertures. In my view these still have significant room for improvement and can do a lot to help obtain the faster shutter speeds needed without having to resort to noisy higher ISO settings.

So should review sites like this one be doing more to raise awareness of the benefits of wide aperture lenses for compact cameras and pressurize manufacturers to push the max aperture specs in the same way they have pushed zoom range and megapixels?

One way of doing this might be to compare compact camera images at different light levels rather than different ISO settings. This would allow cameras with wider apertures to show their advantage by using a wider aperture and less noisy low ISO settings for the same lighting conditions.

Sorry for the long post … let us know what you think!

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