Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?

Started Apr 29, 2012 | Discussions
Santraginus
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Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
Apr 29, 2012

I am new to this forum and lurked quite a bit during the past couple of weeks.

Here is my problem, and I did not find enough information to enable me solving it by myself:

I have a finepix S200exr and I am quite happy with the photos that I can take with this camera. But since I am about to do a big trip to California, I am looking forward to shooting lots and lots of landscape... So I think that a bit more in terms of wide angle would come in handy.

Two weeks ago I ordered a HS30. Impressive zoom range, impressive wide angle, impressive ease of use and speed, compared to the s200exr.

But I found the HS30 lacking in image quality. Even when I used it in 8mp mode, under best light conditions, substantial tweaking of settings, image quality did not match the quality I am used to from the s200. After spending an entire weekend with both cameras, I decided that I won't be able to squeeze the level of IQ out of the HS30 that I am used to getting from my trusted s200.

The HS30: back it went to the shop.

But I am still uneasy. So, to all you experienced photographers: Would upgrading to a x-s1 make me happy in terms of wide angle, zoom range, ease of use and image quality? I am seriously thinking about buying one, but since the trip will start in 10 days, I won't have much time to really try that camera out and compare.

Will image quality surpass what I get from the s200? And if it 'only' equals it... is speed and especially the wide angle range worth it?

Looking forward to your words of wisdom.....

FujiFilm FinePix S200EXR (FinePix S205EXR) Fujifilm X-S1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-S2
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wymjym
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 29, 2012

the XS1 will surpass your 200exr in every manner except for image quality. I do not feel that it will even match it. I currently have/use the XS1 and had a S100fs.

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DS21
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 29, 2012

Santraginus wrote:

I am new to this forum and lurked quite a bit during the past couple of weeks.

Here is my problem, and I did not find enough information to enable me solving it by myself:

I have a finepix S200exr and I am quite happy with the photos that I can take with this camera. But since I am about to do a big trip to California, I am looking forward to shooting lots and lots of landscape... So I think that a bit more in terms of wide angle would come in handy.

Two weeks ago I ordered a HS30. Impressive zoom range, impressive wide angle, impressive ease of use and speed, compared to the s200exr.

But I found the HS30 lacking in image quality. Even when I used it in 8mp mode, under best light conditions, substantial tweaking of settings, image quality did not match the quality I am used to from the s200. After spending an entire weekend with both cameras, I decided that I won't be able to squeeze the level of IQ out of the HS30 that I am used to getting from my trusted s200.

The HS30: back it went to the shop.

But I am still uneasy. So, to all you experienced photographers: Would upgrading to a x-s1 make me happy in terms of wide angle, zoom range, ease of use and image quality? I am seriously thinking about buying one, but since the trip will start in 10 days, I won't have much time to really try that camera out and compare.

Will image quality surpass what I get from the s200? And if it 'only' equals it... is speed and especially the wide angle range worth it?

Looking forward to your words of wisdom.....

If you are looking at the image quality primarily, the only Fuji to surpass the S200EXR is S100fs, which is of course only available as used. The X-S1 could work with large radius sharpening in post processing, but you will have to be careful with exposure, it has less dynamic range (easier to blow highlights). If you were not happy with HS30 IQ, most likely you will not be happy with X-S1 as well, your standards are higher then current crop of cameras can provide. Maybe you can look at Canon SX40, if you don't mind motorized zoom.

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Santraginus
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to DS21, Apr 29, 2012

DS21 wrote:

If you are looking at the image quality primarily, the only Fuji to surpass the S200EXR is S100fs, which is of course only available as used. The X-S1 could work with large radius sharpening in post processing, but you will have to be careful with exposure, it has less dynamic range (easier to blow highlights). If you were not happy with HS30 IQ, most likely you will not be happy with X-S1 as well, your standards are higher then current crop of cameras can provide. Maybe you can look at Canon SX40, if you don't mind motorized zoom.

Thanks for your message.

Hmm... Well, that's what I was thinking about. It seems like many people who really like the x-s1 did not own the s100 or s200 or are looking more for all the additional features besides IQ.

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PAUL TILL
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 29, 2012

I have to sat the wide end is not one of the X-S1 strong points, you might be better off getting a used S100FS, I know it's older than the S200EXR but it's a much better camera.

Below is an animated GIF from the X-S1 at the wide end, it takes a lot of sharpening to bring the images into focus.

The Gif shows 2 seconds sooc and 2 seconds sharpened using USM:

Amount 200%
Radius 1.0
Threshold 3

Then saved at 50% size.

Paul.

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PAUL TILL
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 29, 2012

Santraginus wrote:

Hmm... Well, that's what I was thinking about. It seems like many people who really like the x-s1 did not own the s100 or s200 or are looking more for all the additional features besides IQ.

Just to let you know I have owned the S100FS & S200EXR and currently own the X-S1. I would still choose the X-S1 over the other two any day, if I had to have one of the others it would be the S100FS, the S200EXR just never seemed to perform like I was hoping, I was expecting a lot more due to it having the F200's sensor in it.

Paul.

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DS21
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 29, 2012

Santraginus wrote:

DS21 wrote:

If you are looking at the image quality primarily, the only Fuji to surpass the S200EXR is S100fs, which is of course only available as used. The X-S1 could work with large radius sharpening in post processing, but you will have to be careful with exposure, it has less dynamic range (easier to blow highlights). If you were not happy with HS30 IQ, most likely you will not be happy with X-S1 as well, your standards are higher then current crop of cameras can provide. Maybe you can look at Canon SX40, if you don't mind motorized zoom.

Thanks for your message.

Hmm... Well, that's what I was thinking about. It seems like many people who really like the x-s1 did not own the s100 or s200 or are looking more for all the additional features besides IQ.

I forgot to add that S100fs does have a slightly wider view then S200EXR, 28mm as opposed to 30.5mm of S200, and it is noticeable and helpful in landscape shooting. But if you know and like your S200EXR, important trip is not the best time for experimenting with the new camera.

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Santraginus
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to PAUL TILL, Apr 29, 2012

PAUL TILL wrote:

I have to sat the wide end is not one of the X-S1 strong points, you might be better off getting a used S100FS, I know it's older than the S200EXR but it's a much better camera.

Below is an animated GIF from the X-S1 at the wide end, it takes a lot of sharpening to bring the images into focus.

The Gif shows 2 seconds sooc and 2 seconds sharpened using USM:

Amount 200%
Radius 1.0
Threshold 3

Then saved at 50% size.

Paul.

Thanks once more. Beautiful shot - and it makes deciding still a bit harder.

But your opinion that the wide angle is not a particular strenght of the x-s1 sounds reasonable. The extremes of a zoom range are generalls not supposed the positions of best performance, as far as I noticed in postings for different cameras...

So maybe I'll stick to my s200 and work a bit harder on shooting landscape with limited wide angle... And wait a bit longer for an ultimate replacement for my s200.

In your opinion, is there really much of a 'practical difference' between 30.5 and 28mmm in wide angle (i.e. s200 versus s100). I am a little hesitant to buy a used, and pretty old camera now, and the images from my s200 are quite all right for me.

It's a pity that I can't stand motorized zooms any more... And I am not yet ready to go beyond a bridge camera.

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Billx08
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 29, 2012

Santraginus wrote:

. . .

In your opinion, is there really much of a 'practical difference' between 30.5 and 28mmm in wide angle (i.e. s200 versus s100). I am a little hesitant to buy a used, and pretty old camera now, and the images from my s200 are quite all right for me.

The lenses used by S100fs and S200EXR are pretty much the same. The reason that the S200 starts at 30.5mm is because its sensor is slightly smaller than the S100's sensor, so it's "cropping" a bit more of the lens's projection than the S100. This slightly smaller sensor doesn't seem to have hurt the S200's high ISO performance, but it's resolution is much lower than you can get from the S100. The sensor size is only a tiny factor in this. A much bigger factor is that the layout of EXR sensor CFAs (Color Filter Array) insures that the resolution of the S200 when shooting L size (12mp) will be significantly less than 12mp Bayer sensors, such as is used by the S100. The actual resolution of the S200 in 12mp mode varies depending on the subject it's capturing, but it's generally somewhere around 8mp.

It's a pity that I can't stand motorized zooms any more... And I am not yet ready to go beyond a bridge camera.

Because of size and weight, to avoid the noisy DSLR mirrors, price, or something else?

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Rachotilko
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In reply to Santraginus, Apr 29, 2012

Well, there are wide-angle converters. I do not have any experience with them, but I guess buying one with 58mm thread would not be such a lost investment

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Santraginus
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Billx08, Apr 29, 2012

Billx08 wrote:

Santraginus wrote:

. . .

In your opinion, is there really much of a 'practical difference' between 30.5 and 28mmm in wide angle (i.e. s200 versus s100). I am a little hesitant to buy a used, and pretty old camera now, and the images from my s200 are quite all right for me.

The lenses used by S100fs and S200EXR are pretty much the same. The reason that the S200 starts at 30.5mm is because its sensor is slightly smaller than the S100's sensor, so it's "cropping" a bit more of the lens's projection than the S100. This slightly smaller sensor doesn't seem to have hurt the S200's high ISO performance, but it's resolution is much lower than you can get from the S100. The sensor size is only a tiny factor in this. A much bigger factor is that the layout of EXR sensor CFAs (Color Filter Array) insures that the resolution of the S200 when shooting L size (12mp) will be significantly less than 12mp Bayer sensors, such as is used by the S100. The actual resolution of the S200 in 12mp mode varies depending on the subject it's capturing, but it's generally somewhere around 8mp.

O.K., thanks for enlightening me on this.... So there must, due to physics, be a considerable difference between the s200 and the s100.

In terms of speed and handling, is there much difference? Is the s100 slower has it a much different handling than the s200?

It's a pity that I can't stand motorized zooms any more... And I am not yet ready to go beyond a bridge camera.

Because of size and weight, to avoid the noisy DSLR mirrors, price, or something else?

The mechanical zoom: I like it solely because I like to handle a mechanical adjustment much better than handling a switch.

And the DSLR path.... I'm not ready yet because of the costs and the amount of stuff I'd have to carry around with me. I do a lot of hiking, love the ability to shoot macro, landscape and everything in between, and want to avoid carrying too much bulk and weight.

But sometimes in the future, there will be a safari trip to Africa. And for that trip, I will get a DSLR... At least, I think that I will get it a couple of months beforehand, to have enough time for getting familiar with it.

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Santraginus
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Re: Suggestion
In reply to Rachotilko, Apr 29, 2012

Rachotilko wrote:

Well, there are wide-angle converters. I do not have any experience with them, but I guess buying one with 58mm thread would not be such a lost investment

What I read about converters was not too encouraging in terms of image quality. Lots of sharpness issues. Btw, it would have to be a 67mm thread.

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Rachotilko
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In reply to Billx08, Apr 29, 2012

S100fs was NOT equipped with Bayer patterned sensor. Of course, it was not EXR either. It was honeytomb patterned SuperCCD HR.

You might be interested in this diagrams: http://www.dpreview.com/news/2008/9/22/fujifilmEXR . There are two filter array patterns displayed on the page, left one is SuperCCD HR, the other is (SuperCCD) EXR. Neither of them is Bayer. Both of them are honeycombed, both produce final image by combinig two images rotated 45 degrees relative to vertical axis

This was the reason why RAWs from s100fs were actually composed of 22 Mpixels (containing two rotated 11Mpix images). The count of actual physical photosites was however only 11 millions. It sounds a bit mysterious, but it was Fujifilm's peculiar way of performing the demosaicing step, with claimed (and often notable) improvements over Bayer in terms of either resolution or noise. Many believe that this magic was behind the spectacular results achieved on F31fd, s6500fd, s100fs. A special configuration of SuperCCD (designated SR and designed to improve DR) was used on Fuji DSLRs.

EXR is doing things somwhat differently as opposed to SuperCCD, yet there are similarities.

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silps
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 30, 2012

I had an s200exr and I wasn't happy with the image quality so sold it and got an X10 which has superb image quality, far ahead of the s200exr. So why not get one to go alongside your s200exr? Use the s200 when you need the telephoto zoom and the x10 for everything else.

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Billx08
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Re: Wrong
In reply to Rachotilko, Apr 30, 2012

Rachotilko wrote:

S100fs was NOT equipped with Bayer patterned sensor. Of course, it was not EXR either. It was honeytomb patterned SuperCCD HR.

Sorry, but it's you that's wrong. The SuperCCD sensor uses the same Bayer CFA used by all other Bayer sensors. The main difference is that the rows and columns are rotated by 45 degrees. The Bayer layout is still used by the SuperCCD sensors, with each red photosite surrounded by four blue and four green photosites as immediate neighbors, and each blue photosite also surrounded by four green and four red neighbors, and finally, each green photosite surrounded by two red, two blue and four green neighbors. Rotate it and you have the same layout used by Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax sensors.

You might be interested in this diagrams: http://www.dpreview.com/news/2008/9/22/fujifilmEXR . There are two filter array patterns displayed on the page, left one is SuperCCD HR, the other is (SuperCCD) EXR. Neither of them is Bayer. Both of them are honeycombed, both produce final image by combinig two images rotated 45 degrees relative to vertical axis

The diagram on the left (of the conventional SuperCCD color filter array) demonstrates exactly what I described above. The "honeycomb" has nothing to do with the positioning of the individual photosites. It refers to the shape of each individual photosite, which was neither square nor rectangular, but octagonal in nature, and eventually this non-rectangular photosite design was used in the S3Pro, which allowed Fuji to place smaller R photosites into the gaps between the larger S photosites that the octagonal shape allowed. But even these sensors, as well as the older SuperCCD sensors were topologically identical to Bayer sensors. The break with Bayer came with the EXR sensor design, which placed sibling pairs of photosites under the same color filter, allowing the easy combining of the pair into a single large photosite, but caused resolution limitations when demosaiced into high resolution images where the sibling pairs were no longer treated as a composite photosite.

First I want to notice that this test is only relevant for the Fuji S2/S3/S5pro cameras. For other brands of cameras, the results will typically be completely different, and most of the software described here works very well for those other cameras. This is a very Fuji-specific issue. Different parts of this test are not the same age, and there have been improvements to both Adobe's RAW loader and dcraw as far as I can tell.

The problem is that most camera raw loaders mess up royally when they try to decode the Fuji S2pro, S3pro and S5pro images. This is because Fuji's SuperCCD is not a normal bayer pattern. It is uncertain whether the sensors are really just "rotated 45 degrees" as commonly belived. The sensor array of the S2 is said to have the layout displayed to the right. The S3 and S5 use variations on this theme.

http://www.robotplanet.dk/photo/fuji-raw-format/

Don't forget that the EXR design didn't exist when this web page was written, but the SuperCCD sensor it describes was still Bayer in design, although atypical due to the rotation and any other minor differences not disclosed by Fuji. Most of these other differences were probably in the algorithms used to demosaic the (RAW) photosites.

This was the reason why RAWs from s100fs were actually composed of 22 Mpixels (containing two rotated 11Mpix images). The count of actual physical photosites was however only 11 millions. It sounds a bit mysterious, but it was Fujifilm's peculiar way of performing the demosaicing step, with claimed (and often notable) improvements over Bayer in terms of either resolution or noise. Many believe that this magic was behind the spectacular results achieved on F31fd, s6500fd, s100fs. A special configuration of SuperCCD (designated SR and designed to improve DR) was used on Fuji DSLRs.

This I agree with this almost completely, and would just add that the SuperCCD SR started with the S3 Pro. The S1 Pro and S2 Pro were much simpler SuperCCD designs, little different than the sensors used in some of Fuji's older P&S cameras such as the 4700z which interpolated its 2.4mp SuperCCD sensor's output into a 4.3mp image.

EXR is doing things somwhat differently as opposed to SuperCCD, yet there are similarities.

I think that it would be more accurate to say "as opposed to SuperCCD SR", since the SuperCCD SR and the EXR sensors both provide hardware support for expanded dynamic range and the older SuperCCD sensors don't.

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Billx08
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Re: Suggestion
In reply to Santraginus, Apr 30, 2012

Santraginus wrote:

Rachotilko wrote:

Well, there are wide-angle converters. I do not have any experience with them, but I guess buying one with 58mm thread would not be such a lost investment

What I read about converters was not too encouraging in terms of image quality. Lots of sharpness issues. Btw, it would have to be a 67mm thread.

Correct, and I found when I used two different Sony 1758 teleconverters (1.7x, 58mm) with the HS10, that the more expensive 1758 which used much larger glass elements, actually performed significantly worse than the smaller, cheaper TC. That's because the TCs are not generic in nature, but are designed for specific focal lengths, distance between the lens and the TC and other factors. In other words, they're designed to be used with specific cameras, and if you mount them on another similar camera, they may work well or they may produce poorer images. I had read some test pages that showed the more expensive 1758 TC ouperforming the cheaper one, but the tests were done using a different camera, not my HS10.

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Rachotilko
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The quote ...
In reply to Billx08, Apr 30, 2012

Here's a quote from the link you provided:

'This is because Fuji's SuperCCD is not a normal bayer pattern. It is uncertain whether the sensors are really just "rotated 45 degrees" as commonly belived.'

The answer to the quote's author's "uncertainty" is: SuperCCD are two Bayer patterns. The resulting image is composed from two images. That's why SuperCCD (even non SR ones) RAWs contain twice the number of pixels. This is where the "interpolation" of older Fuji cams came from. So it's not only a rotation thing, and the article you linked proves just that: it is not enough to rotate the image (as some misinformed RAW converters do) in order to fully reconstruct the SuperCCD image. The proper procedure is to produce two images, and combine them.

And this is exactly what EXR's HR mode does: it takes two Bayer patterned images, each rotated, and combines them. In fact it is very similar to what SuperCCD (non SR) does.

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Michel Aristegui
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Re: Upgrade from S200exr to x-s1?
In reply to DS21, Apr 30, 2012

I'm a little puzzled by all those complaints about image quality. All reviews bar one insist on the excellent image quality of the camera. The French magazine 'Chasseur d'images', whose tests are highly regarded, found the lens to be very good using DxO software. To be honest, they found a slight loss in quality at the extreme end of the focal range, but not much to complain about. So this camera should output perfect 12x16 prints, with adequate post processing.

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Billx08
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The quote ... that you misunderstood
In reply to Rachotilko, Apr 30, 2012

Rachotilko wrote:

Here's a quote from the link you provided:

'This is because Fuji's SuperCCD is not a normal bayer pattern. It is uncertain whether the sensors are really just "rotated 45 degrees" as commonly belived.'

You're still wrong. You're conflating "not a normal Bayer" with "not a Bayer". That's as wrong as hearing someone say "That 8 foot tall person is not a normal human" and thinking that they meant "That 8 foot tall person is not a human".

The answer to the quote's author's "uncertainty" is: SuperCCD are two Bayer patterns. The resulting image is composed from two images. That's why SuperCCD (even non SR ones) RAWs contain twice the number of pixels. This is where the "interpolation" of older Fuji cams came from. So it's not only a rotation thing, and the article you linked proves just that: it is not enough to rotate the image (as some misinformed RAW converters do) in order to fully reconstruct the SuperCCD image. The proper procedure is to produce two images, and combine them.

Now you show that you deserve even less credit than I gave you. You're now admitting that the SuperCCD is actually a Bayer sensor, but the interpolation algorithm logically splits the photosites into two sets, which could be done with any Bayer sensor. But each of these sets contain 1/2 of the sensor's photosites, and this isn't really true for the SuperCCD design, it's the way Fuji treats the EXR sensors.

And this is exactly what EXR's HR mode does: it takes two Bayer patterned images, each rotated, and combines them. In fact it is very similar to what SuperCCD (non SR) does.

And with a 12mp EXR sensor, each of the Bayer components contains only 6mp's worth of photosites, rotated or not. It doesn't matter if the processing uprezzes the initial image to 12mp, 24mp or 48mp (to smooth away the "stairstepping"). The HS10 remains a 10mp Bayer sensor and the HS20EXR remains a 12mp sensor made up of two overlapping (but slightly offset) 6mp Bayer sensors on the same silicon substrate. This is similar in a way to the SuperCCD SR sensors, but all of these sensors are quit different compared with any EXR sensor.

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xoio
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Such a shame.....
In reply to Billx08, May 2, 2012

I was actually enjoying the technical debate between you two.....
Until that is,.. i read..
" Now you show that you deserve even less credit than I gave you"...

By having this cheap personal pop, you ruined what was otherwise, and should have remained, a 'respectable' & interesting debate.

Incidentally i own the S100fs myself, I recently tried the X-S1 &, apart from the advancement in features, I was disappointed with the overall resolving power.

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