Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"

Started Mar 28, 2012 | Discussions
Kirppu
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Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
Mar 28, 2012

The old story when some one asks about what camera would be "good" got me hunting for the decent point and shoot camera which I never found or which is never buildt
So I tought I would share my toughts with you.

Basic Specifications:
Sensor type of 1/1.7" which is in mm something between 6,5 - mm wide
Aspect Ration of the sensor 4:3
Fixed lens.
Zoom range from 7x and above.
Focal length equal to 35mm starting from 24-28mm
Image stabilization of sensor shift or optical, but not without.
Video capabilities 1080p 30fps
Announced in the last 15 months
Price tag under 500$ or 500€

Bonus specifications:
PASM mode
RAW support
Accessory port
Hot shoe

Margin specification, (not missed and can live without)
Touch screen
EVF or OVF
AE/AF lock

But I really got hard time finding fixed lens camera that fulfilled the basic specifications and the only really out of 'ordinary' spec in my opinion is larger than average 6,2mm wide sensor.

So I'll ask why manufacturers doesn't start using marginally larger sensor in all of their compact cameras when it really starts to enchange the image quality after the 1/2.5" (6,2mm) mark in my opinion.

I don't see that growing the sensor by millimeter or so would affect the lens size much and it can't be manufacturing costs affecting to the manufacturers desissions.

Oh here's a nice forum talk about the sensor type/size history.
http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13135

My opinion is that many people are searching a camera like that and don't forget the zoom range I know there's few good alternatives under the mentioned zoom range of 7x and above.

But I challenge you to search a camera matching the basic criterias

ps: This is just my personal opinion so don't be offended.
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Henry Falkner
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 28, 2012

It might pay you not to get fixed on sensor size.

Last year we started seeing P&S cameras with small Back-Side-Illuminated CMOS sensors. These have larger sensor elements, because the wiring is behind them, not between them.

Also, each element gets its own analogue to digital conversion, whereas with CCDs A/D conversion is done in rows of pixels at a time. That is where the vertical white streaks come from when videoing scenes with bright lights (including white shirts).

My BSI-CMOS sensor P&S is the Olympus SZ-30MR, because I like long zooms in a pocket camera. While I will retain my SP-570UZ 20x zoom bridge camera as well as my 10x zoom Stylus 9010 pocket P&S, both with CCDs in them, I will not buy another camera with a CCD in it, large or small.

I do feel that the amount of pre-processing done in my SZ-30MR could be knocked back a bit, to reduce the appearance of artifacts with low-contrast subjects. But now I spend considerably less time with post-processing on pictures from the SZ-30MR than I did with the pictures from my older SP-570UZ and Stylus 9010.

This year, BSI CMOS sensors are appearing in a wider range of sub-compacts from SONY, Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, Fuji and Olympus, as well as in a couple of bridge cameras.

These two recent SZ-30MR samples have been reduced from just under 16MP to 1.9MP, and they have been compressed considerably as well.

But I hope they will demonstrate to you that the BSI CMOS technology gives you the improvement in detail, contrast and sharpness that you expect a larger CCD sensor may give you.

Henry

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Ken Sills
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Henry Falkner, Mar 28, 2012

Henry, your post is really good information. Will a digicam with 1/2.3 BSI CMOS give me as good IQ as my XZ-1 with 1/1.7? I guess it all depends on the lens.

I'm going on safari to South Africa in several weeks with my XZ-1 but am missing a long zoom. I have an older Lumix FZ28 that has the zoom and is pretty decent but find myself lusting after the newer super zoom compacts.

Ken

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MarioV
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 28, 2012

Have a look at the Nikon P7100.

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Henry Falkner
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Ken Sills, Mar 29, 2012

Ken Sills wrote:

Henry, your post is really good information. Will a digicam with 1/2.3 BSI CMOS give me as good IQ as my XZ-1 with 1/1.7? I guess it all depends on the lens.

I cannot comment on the XZ-1 - never played with it. Nigel has both SZ-30MR and XZ-1, I think. If you can get him to come out of the woodwork, his opinion should be useful.

I'm going on safari to South Africa in several weeks with my XZ-1 but am missing a long zoom. I have an older Lumix FZ28 that has the zoom and is pretty decent but find myself lusting after the newer super zoom compacts.

I would try to get the SZ-30MR cheap, or the SZ-31MRih if it comes out in time for your trip. If the sensor in the SZ-31 is indeed an update with less noise, the pre-processing just might produce fewer artifacts with low-contrast subjects. Fewer artifacts also might help with the focussing at the long focal lengths. I am speculating.

The FZ-28 has a CCD of the same generation as that in my SP-570UZ, and HD720p video, with a useful 18x zoom. So it is not dead yet by some margin.

Henry

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Kirppu
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Henry Falkner, Mar 29, 2012

Henry Falkner wrote:

It might pay you not to get fixed on sensor size.

...
.

But I hope they will demonstrate to you that the BSI CMOS technology gives you the improvement in detail, contrast and sharpness that you expect a larger CCD sensor may give you.

Henry

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Well of course the sensor size isn't everything but I just wanted to ask would it really have any negative effects?

In example why not but 1/1.7" sensor to lets say Fujifilm FinePix F550 EXR, what would have been different. Maybe a little shorter focal range or 14x zoom. Why not use marginally larger sensor with same technology if it doesn't really have any real impact to the camera desing.

Heck they make cameras like Fujifilm FinePix SL300 with basic compact sensor. I don't know but I claim that even marginally larger sensor would make a noticable difference to the IQ and yes probably decreasend the zoom range a tiny bit.

First thing that comes to my mind is that they are milking the consumers. "Buy this neat super zoom, but if you want better hop on to the m4/3 or APC club" Even when you don't need it.

And my claim is based to the fact that cameras like Canon PowerShot G12, S95 and Oly XZ-1 do make better images with margnally larger sensor. Yes they also have good lenses but still, increasing the sensor size even a bit is always good thing it seems.

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Henry Falkner
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 29, 2012

If my maths is right, a 1-1.7 sensor is almost as big as 2/3 - and both SONY and Fujifilm had super zooms with a 2-3 sensor. They were big, and not enough people wanted them. The SONY R1 is still raved about by enthusiasts that own them, but production ceased in less than six months.

Fujifilm still lists the S200EXR from 2009 with a 1-1.6 sensor and 14.3x zoom. It weighs almost two pounds, and it is bigger than my Olympus SP-570UZ

Henry

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Kirppu
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Henry Falkner, Mar 29, 2012

Zoom adds weight of course. But I don't think the weight is an issue if the outer measurements are inside "compact" super/travel zoom size.

I also tried the math and was tumbed how "somewhere in between here and canada" the sensor type sizes are.

dpreview tells this
1/1.7" ratio: 4:3 diag. in mm 14.941 and w:7.600 h:5.700

BUT if you calculate it.
http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13135

sqrt(7,6² + 5,7²) = 9,5mm diagonal which is not even close to the 14,941 if you don' use ratio of 1,5 (read link above)

14,941mm/1,5=9,96067mm diagonal which still has error of

(9,96067/9,5-1) x 100=4,849 about 4,8% that's total bull*when we talk about mathematical accuracy of the sensor type sizing

I just used the 1/1.7" as an example. Sensor type I was pointing was more close range of w:6,5-7,0mm which is 1/1.62 I think... thanks for the inaccuracy of the categorizing system of inches.

Didi this clear my opinion in any way?
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Kevdog
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Change one, they others change
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 29, 2012
  • Sensor Size

  • Zoom Range/Size of Zoom Lens

  • Aperture

All three are related. Change any one and at least one of the other 2 needs to change.

The XZ-1 chose sensor size and aperture, but then zoom is limited (3x)

The SZ-30 chose Zoom Range (30x?), so sensor size and aperture are more limited

m4/3 makes the zooms bigger, even the 14-42 pancake (with less range than the XZ-1) is much larger and much slower (f3.5 vs f1.8) but with a sensor 8x bigger than the XZ-1.

Sensors keep improving, so the quality of each of the ranges of sensor size keeps going up. So every few years you can get the same quality in a smaller camera.

The E-M5 now matches many of the older ASP-C cameras. The newer ASP-C and full frame cameras are getting incredible detail. The XZ-1 bests many prosumer and DSLRs of 5-8 years ago.

It's a good time to be a photographer!

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Henry Falkner
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 29, 2012

Kirppu wrote:

I just used the 1/1.7" as an example. Sensor type I was pointing was more close range of w:6,5-7,0mm which is 1/1.62 I think... thanks for the inaccuracy of the categorizing system of inches.

Did this clear my opinion in any way?

Yes, it did.

But did you look at the Fujifilm S200EXR with its 8x6mm CCD?
http://www.dpreview.com/products/fujifilm/compacts/fujifilm_s200exr

Henry

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Kirppu
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Henry Falkner, Mar 30, 2012

Henry Falkner wrote:

But did you look at the Fujifilm S200EXR with its 8x6mm CCD?
http://www.dpreview.com/products/fujifilm/compacts/fujifilm_s200exr

Henry

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Yes I did find it, but it's getting quite old released 2009 that's about three years ago. The sensor technology gets better and better every year so I don't believe ininvesting to "old" technology. Beside I bet those are quite hard to find these days...

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Kirppu
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Re: Change one, they others change
In reply to Kevdog, Mar 30, 2012

Kevdog wrote:

  • Sensor Size

  • Zoom Range/Size of Zoom Lens

  • Aperture

All three are related. Change any one and at least one of the other 2 needs to change.

The XZ-1 chose sensor size and aperture, but then zoom is limited (3x)

The SZ-30 chose Zoom Range (30x?), so sensor size and aperture are more limited

m4/3 makes the zooms bigger, even the 14-42 pancake (with less range than the XZ-1) is much larger and much slower (f3.5 vs f1.8) but with a sensor 8x bigger than the XZ-1.

Sensors keep improving, so the quality of each of the ranges of sensor size keeps going up. So every few years you can get the same quality in a smaller camera.

The E-M5 now matches many of the older ASP-C cameras. The newer ASP-C and full frame cameras are getting incredible detail. The XZ-1 bests many prosumer and DSLRs of 5-8 years ago.

It's a good time to be a photographer!

Well I'll keep shooting my every day and occasional photographic needs with my XZ-1 untill some nice 1/1.6" sensor 7x compact zoom camera with PASM modes comes around

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Knight Palm
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XZ-1 zoom range is 4x (28-112mm equivalent)
In reply to Kevdog, Mar 30, 2012

Kevdog wrote:

The XZ-1 chose sensor size and aperture, but then zoom is limited (3x)

Actually, it's 4x (6-24mm & 1:1.8-2.5)

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LesK
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 30, 2012

Nikon p7100 only misses the video spec

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Knight Palm
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Why not let the XZ-2 get a 10x zoom!?
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 30, 2012

Kirppu wrote:

Well I'll keep shooting my every day and occasional photographic needs with my XZ-1 untill some nice 1/1.6" sensor 7x compact zoom camera with PASM modes comes around

Well, the Canon G1X has a 15.1-60.4mm lens (28-112mm equivalent) but rather slow having F2.8-5.8 aperture.

Why not let the XZ-2 get a 10x zoom with a fully reach of 60mm as well, which would correspond to 280mm equivalent on the 1/1.63" sensor. A bit better aperture given the smaller sensor should do.

P.S. Let the XZ-1 retain the 4x lens, which is the heart of the XZ-1. Swap the CCD for a FSI-CMOS for better video though.

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Kirppu
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Re: Why not let the XZ-2 get a 10x zoom!?
In reply to Knight Palm, Mar 30, 2012

Knight Palm wrote:

Kirppu wrote:

Well I'll keep shooting my every day and occasional photographic needs with my XZ-1 untill some nice 1/1.6" sensor 7x compact zoom camera with PASM modes comes around

Well, the Canon G1X has a 15.1-60.4mm lens (28-112mm equivalent) but rather slow having F2.8-5.8 aperture.

Why not let the XZ-2 get a 10x zoom with a fully reach of 60mm as well, which would correspond to 280mm equivalent on the 1/1.63" sensor. A bit better aperture given the smaller sensor should do.

P.S. Let the XZ-1 retain the 4x lens, which is the heart of the XZ-1. Swap the CCD for a FSI-CMOS for better video though.

4x is fine, XZ-1 supposed to be pocketable camera and if it grow even a bit it won't be. ( My opinion. ) I would like to see something in between XZ-1 and Fujifilm F550 let's say focal range of 24 - 165mm and sensor larger than average w6,5-7,0mm. Many times I have welt that just a little bit more would have been what I needed. Plus I'm kind of typical user who don't want to carry extra gear or lenses but wan't everything in one packet. That would be ideal for me, don't about the majority of the market.
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echelon2004
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Panasonic fz150 too big for you?
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 30, 2012

I got one to bring on vacations, pretty good camera.

Not better than xz-1 in good light at the overlapping range, but not that very far from.

Sensor size smaller than you want but at those sizes it really doesn't matter much, control over dof is not on the agenda either way
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Kirppu
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Re: Travel zoom compact camera with sensor type near 1/1.7"
In reply to LesK, Mar 30, 2012

LesK wrote:

Nikon p7100 only misses the video spec

Correct, few of the few.
Thanks for the reminder, that kind of got trough my filter.

On thing that also make sme wonder.. how many of fixed lens user really use the OVF? If the fixed lens camera is their main camera and they don't have any prior backroung from interchangeable lens cameras.
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Kirppu
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Re: Panasonic fz150 too big for you?
In reply to echelon2004, Mar 30, 2012

echelon2004 wrote:

I got one to bring on vacations, pretty good camera.

Not better than xz-1 in good light at the overlapping range, but not that very far from.

Sensor size smaller than you want but at those sizes it really doesn't matter much, control over dof is not on the agenda either way
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But I have fixation that it does width 6.1 mm vs 7.0mm with same sensor technology and I convinced that there is noticeable difference in noise if the lenses have the same speed. But this just my fixation.

For now I'm not searching for camera for myself. Just wondering why no manufacturer hasn't really hopped to the sensor size war. Like the whole compact line with sensors larger than average would be frontpage news on dpreview.

How about what would be the situtation if the XZ-1 sensor would be 6.1m wide?
Would it be still the same pocket rocket...

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Homl
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Re: Change one, they others change
In reply to Kirppu, Mar 30, 2012

A fast, good quality 7X zoom is rare even for DSLRs.

It is not going to happen for a compact at a price that won't cost you an arm or a leg, or both.

Bummer that everything is a compromise.

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