iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions
Mikedigi
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Whoops - error in last post
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

I wrote:

. . . . With the FZ200, 5mp EZ gives me 37.5x zoom and a 5mp file.  iZoom at 37x or 48mp or whatever between 24x and 48x gives me a 12mp file. . . . .

I meant:

iZoom at 37x or 48x or whatever between 24x and 48x gives me a 12mp file.

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Ronomy
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 11, 2013

DoctorJerry wrote:

Nice comparisons BUT for me I would rather try EZ ZOOM first.  The extended range youreducing just cropping out the central portion of the sensor ( goingdown from 12 mp to 8 or 5mp) gives better results than any of the digital zoom variations in my opinion.

I used 3mp and 5mp EZ Zoom a lot with my FZ8 and FZ38 and that was my start point for looking at iZoom.

With the FZ200, 5mp EZ gives me 37.5x zoom and a 5mp file.  iZoom at 37x or 48mp or whatever between 24x and 48x gives me a 12mp file.

That would be meaningless if it gave inferior quality, but the iZoom pics I have shown here compare very favourably with the 24x normal zoom pics, it seems to me.

It seems that it does not just insert extra pixels, the iResolution is said to balance noise and sharpening. But I don't know the technology of it.

Mike

My problem with EZ zoom is when less than 24x you files are a lower res than the sensor. Why throw away resolution when you have izoom to keep using 12MP from 25mm to 600mm? Plus you get cropped raw files with izoom if you want to shoot raw.

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Detail Man
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Ronomy, Apr 11, 2013

Ronomy wrote:

DoctorJerry wrote:

Nice comparisons BUT for me I would rather try EZ ZOOM first.  The extended range youreducing just cropping out the central portion of the sensor ( goingdown from 12 mp to 8 or 5mp) gives better results than any of the digital zoom variations in my opinion.

I used 3mp and 5mp EZ Zoom a lot with my FZ8 and FZ38 and that was my start point for looking at iZoom.

With the FZ200, 5mp EZ gives me 37.5x zoom and a 5mp file.  iZoom at 37x or 48mp or whatever between 24x and 48x gives me a 12mp file.

That would be meaningless if it gave inferior quality, but the iZoom pics I have shown here compare very favourably with the 24x normal zoom pics, it seems to me.

It seems that it does not just insert extra pixels, the iResolution is said to balance noise and sharpening. But I don't know the technology of it.

Mike

My problem with EZ zoom is when less than 24x you files are a lower res than the sensor. Why throw away resolution when you have izoom to keep using 12MP from 25mm to 600mm?

EZ Zoom uses sensor-cropping in combination with optical zoom, and only in some situations down-samples the recorded images. I-Zoom and Digital Zoom use the sensor-cropping and up-sample the result to larger pixel-sizes.

Up-sampling does not restore sensor resolution lost due to sensor-cropping, whatsoever ...

What counts is which approach is reducing loss of sensor resolution the least by minimizing sensor-cropping for the same composite Zoom Factor. Reduced sensor resolution is worse than down-sampling - because it limits the image-data gathered in the first place, whereas down-sampling is able to include the image-data gathered by the image-sensor (in the process of interpolation followed by anti-alias filtering followed by decimation to lower pixel-resolution).

Plus you get cropped raw files with izoom if you want to shoot raw.

Granted. It's too bad that Panasonic does not allow the same for EZ Zoom (and Digital Zoom?).

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 12, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

. . . . What counts is which approach is reducing loss of sensor resolution the least by minimizing sensor-cropping for the same composite Zoom Factor. . . .

I have always avoided digital zooms and I was expecting to find that iZoom was less usable than EZ.

To my surprise, I am impressed by this particular iZoom and I would imagine that the iResolution concept has made the difference.

Theoretically, digital upsizing sounds like a bad idea, but here it seems to be rather well implemented.

Certainly, several birders are using iZoom and are liking it, and in their application, poor results would be obvious and unacceptable.

Mike

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Ronomy
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 12, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

Ronomy wrote:

DoctorJerry wrote:

Nice comparisons BUT for me I would rather try EZ ZOOM first.  The extended range youreducing just cropping out the central portion of the sensor ( goingdown from 12 mp to 8 or 5mp) gives better results than any of the digital zoom variations in my opinion.

I used 3mp and 5mp EZ Zoom a lot with my FZ8 and FZ38 and that was my start point for looking at iZoom.

With the FZ200, 5mp EZ gives me 37.5x zoom and a 5mp file.  iZoom at 37x or 48mp or whatever between 24x and 48x gives me a 12mp file.

That would be meaningless if it gave inferior quality, but the iZoom pics I have shown here compare very favourably with the 24x normal zoom pics, it seems to me.

It seems that it does not just insert extra pixels, the iResolution is said to balance noise and sharpening. But I don't know the technology of it.

Mike

My problem with EZ zoom is when less than 24x you files are a lower res than the sensor. Why throw away resolution when you have izoom to keep using 12MP from 25mm to 600mm?

EZ Zoom uses sensor-cropping in combination with optical zoom, and only in some situations down-samples the recorded images. I-Zoom and Digital Zoom use the sensor-cropping and up-sample the result to larger pixel-sizes.

Up-sampling does not restore sensor resolution lost due to sensor-cropping, whatsoever ...

What counts is which approach is reducing loss of sensor resolution the least by minimizing sensor-cropping for the same composite Zoom Factor. Reduced sensor resolution is worse than down-sampling - because it limits the image-data gathered in the first place, whereas down-sampling is able to include the image-data gathered by the image-sensor (in the process of interpolation followed by anti-alias filtering followed by decimation to lower pixel-resolution).

Plus you get cropped raw files with izoom if you want to shoot raw.

Granted. It's too bad that Panasonic does not allow the same for EZ Zoom (and Digital Zoom?).

There is no change in how much of the sensor is used while in EZ.  If you set it to 5MP when you are at 25mm your throwing away resolution.  Your using the same 12MP of the sensor and the camera is downresing it to 5MP.  So the entire range of 25mm to 600mm you are throwing away resolution.  I would rather use izoom.  At least your looking at the full 12MP from 25mm to 600mm.  Above 24x you are cropping in the EZ and izoom setting.  The only difference is instead of going up to 12MP it goes down to 5MP until it hits 5MP area of the sensor which is 37.5x zoom.

What might be useful with EZ is the downresing may help clean up noise but your still throwing away resolution in the primary optical zoom range with is 25mm to 600mm.  That never changes.  EZ doesn't add any more optical zoom...your just cropping the sensor.

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Rodger1943, Apr 12, 2013

Rodger1943 wrote:

When I had my FZ150 I did the same comparison between the two zooms and in fact the digital zoom gave a better result than the izoom. You can see the result here on my Flickr page

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62434662@N05/6917447484/in/photostream

Hi Roger, I have just been looking at the link - very interesting.

In this thread you say "the digital zoom gave a better result than the izoom", but on Flickr you say "Despite the handbook claiming that the extra optical zoom doesn't lose image quality, it suffers in comparison to the digital zoom, which is supposed to lose image quality."

This seems to equate iZoom with Extra Optical Zoom.

Anyway, we seem to agree that iZoom as implemented on the FZ200 may be more helpful than EZ (aka EOZ). The EZ at 46.9x gives a 3mp file, the iZoom at 48x gives a 12mp file.

This upsizing fakery ought to give us a heap of junk, but, it seems, it does not.

Mike

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Rodger1943
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 12, 2013

I made a mistake on my Flickr site when I called it extra optical zoom, it wasn't, it was izoom. So to clarify that, on the FZ150, the izoom gave inferior results to digital zoom. On the FZ200 I could see no discernable difference between the two, one was as good (or bad) as the other, however if you use digital zoom you still have the problem of the zoom levels skyrocketing into the stratosphere with a very small push of the zoom lever. As a result of that I tended to stick with izoom as its limited to 48x at 12mp, so it can't suddenly jump to something like 58x or 74x at the mere touch of the lever.

All that other stuff is very technical and I for one can't understand any of it. Ha!

I think the important thing here is that if you are happy with the results that izoom gives, and I am, then use it.

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Re: Re-shoot with better set-up - 100 ISO
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 12, 2013

I think that in these examples the izoom looked better at 48x than the upsized 24x image.

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Re: My re-shoot included 400 ISO . . .
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 12, 2013

In these examples, I can't really pick a winner.

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iZoom on LX5 varies according to aspect ratio.
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 12, 2013

In 1:1 the LX5 zoom range is 24... 141mm, so it seems to be maximised to make best use of the available sensor area.

In all other aspect ratios its 24...120mm.

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Detail Man
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 12, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

. . . . What counts is which approach is reducing loss of sensor resolution the least by minimizing sensor-cropping for the same composite Zoom Factor. . . .

I have always avoided digital zooms and I was expecting to find that iZoom was less usable than EZ.

To my surprise, I am impressed by this particular iZoom and I would imagine that the iResolution concept has made the difference.

Have a look at this image recorded by tinpusher on a LX5 in "Intelligent Auto" mode (which uses "i-resolution"):

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/36754973

The DPR (in-post-quoted) image display system is currently on the blink - but a link to this particular DPR Gallery image should (at least) display:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/5935060925/photos/653226

Note the horrible looking detail smearing in the trees along the perimeter of the lake. Note Panasonic's statement:

LUMIX's new Intelligent Resolution Technology automatically identifies parts with outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation areas, and optimizes the edge emphasis on the outlines and detailed texture areas while using the Venus Engine noise reduction process to make the soft gradation areas smoother.

http://www.panasonic.asia/lumix/philippines/features/ir_technology/index.html

It appears that "i-resolution" not only slectively sharpens - it also selectively smears fine details. In the case of tinpusher's image, it appears that low exposure fine foliage detail that may well have been pixelated by the limited resolution of the LX5's image-sensor was interpreted by the "i-resolution" processing as a "soft gradation" area. The results are (IMO) really wretched and troubling.

Theoretically, digital upsizing sounds like a bad idea, but here it seems to be rather well implemented.

So, Panasonic has defied physics ? Rather tricky of them to pull information out of no information.

Certainly, several birders are using iZoom and are liking it, and in their application, poor results would be obvious and unacceptable.

I have not seen the examples that you have seen - but it seems clear that they had better hope that pixelation (which will be more prevalent using a cropped image-sensor) does not add together with low exposure areas such that the "i-resolution" processing interprets those areas as "soft gradation areas". Non-linear sharpening that only works in good light on subject-matter that lacks significant amounts of very fine details seems to me like a potential recipe for trouble.

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 12, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

I have not seen the examples that you have seen - but it seems clear that they had better hope that pixelation (which will be more prevalent using a cropped image-sensor) does not add together with low exposure areas such that the "i-resolution" processing interprets those areas as "soft gradation areas".

I appreciate your comments, as always.

The "examples that I have seen" are my own tests under the heading "Re-shoot with better set-up - 100 ISO" on Page 2 and the 2nd message where I used 400 ISO.

The iZoom images are better than the Normal zoom 24x images upsized 2x in FastStone Resize/Resample.

Non-linear sharpening that only works in good light

I was at f2.8 and 1/15 sec (100 ISO) and 1/60 sec (400 ISO), using the tripod and all the usual precautions, so those seem reasonable test conditions to me.

I am not about to use iZoom, in the field or indoors, at 800-1600 ISO, but if I did, it might hold up anyway - I don't know.

on subject-matter that lacks significant amounts of very fine details seems to me like a potential recipe for trouble.

Well, I had 15-foot distance, fur, feathers, cloth weave texture, a good range of colours including red (the most likely one to bleed) and some background shadow for nasties to incubate.

So iZoom on the FZ200 looks pretty good to me and I shall use it, with caveats, and I think that the fact that birders are using it is highly significant.

Mike

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Detail Man
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Ronomy, Apr 12, 2013

Ronomy wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

Ronomy wrote:

DoctorJerry wrote:

Nice comparisons BUT for me I would rather try EZ ZOOM first.  The extended range youreducing just cropping out the central portion of the sensor ( goingdown from 12 mp to 8 or 5mp) gives better results than any of the digital zoom variations in my opinion.

I used 3mp and 5mp EZ Zoom a lot with my FZ8 and FZ38 and that was my start point for looking at iZoom.

With the FZ200, 5mp EZ gives me 37.5x zoom and a 5mp file.  iZoom at 37x or 48mp or whatever between 24x and 48x gives me a 12mp file.

That would be meaningless if it gave inferior quality, but the iZoom pics I have shown here compare very favourably with the 24x normal zoom pics, it seems to me.

It seems that it does not just insert extra pixels, the iResolution is said to balance noise and sharpening. But I don't know the technology of it.

Mike

My problem with EZ zoom is when less than 24x you files are a lower res than the sensor. Why throw away resolution when you have izoom to keep using 12MP from 25mm to 600mm?

EZ Zoom uses sensor-cropping in combination with optical zoom, and only in some situations down-samples the recorded images. I-Zoom and Digital Zoom use the sensor-cropping and up-sample the result to larger pixel-sizes.

Up-sampling does not restore sensor resolution lost due to sensor-cropping, whatsoever ...

What counts is which approach is reducing loss of sensor resolution the least by minimizing sensor-cropping for the same composite Zoom Factor. Reduced sensor resolution is worse than down-sampling - because it limits the image-data gathered in the first place, whereas down-sampling is able to include the image-data gathered by the image-sensor (in the process of interpolation followed by anti-alias filtering followed by decimation to lower pixel-resolution).

Plus you get cropped raw files with izoom if you want to shoot raw.

Granted. It's too bad that Panasonic does not allow the same for EZ Zoom (and Digital Zoom?).

There is no change in how much of the sensor is used while in EZ.

What particular camera model(s) are you discussing ? I found the implementation of EZ Zoom in the LX3 to be rather different from its implementation on the FZ30 and FZ50. Have you verified the amount of optical zoom used by looking at the Focal Length in the EXIF portion of the image-file meta-data ? Since the display of the Zoom Factor has zero digit resolution to the right of the decimal place, how were you able to determine the exact Zoom Factors (i.e., the Zoom Factor could be anything between 1.0 and 2.0 when the display shows "1.0" and anything between 2.0 and 3.0 when the display shows "2.0").

If you set it to 5MP when you are at 25mm your throwing away resolution.

True. That is why I do not myself use modes that sensor-crop at all (or that down-sample). I understand the desire to see the target "bigger" in the preview - and the metering may not be different - but less photo-sites are available to the CDAF system to perform accurate AF ...

Your using the same 12MP of the sensor and the camera is downresing it to 5MP.  So the entire range of 25mm to 600mm you are throwing away resolution.  I would rather use izoom.  At least your looking at the full 12MP from 25mm to 600mm.  Above 24x you are cropping in the EZ and izoom setting.  The only difference is instead of going up to 12MP it goes down to 5MP until it hits 5MP area of the sensor which is 37.5x zoom.

I understand and acknowledge your point there. Better that such things occur at full zoom only.

What might be useful with EZ is the downresing may help clean up noise but your still throwing away resolution in the primary optical zoom range with is 25mm to 600mm.  That never changes.

Down-sampling shifts both the desired signal and the undesired noise downward in spatial-frequency. It can in some cases appear to improve the Signal/Noise Ratio in cases where the visible noise is high spatial frequency relative to the signal, and as a result of down-sizing is less visible due to print/display resolution limits and/or the visual acuity of the viewer.

Down-sampling does, however, combine information from multiple photo-sites into single photo-sites - something that is not the case for individual photo-sites on a cropped image-sensor. Up-sampling by interpolation adds no additional image-data at all (as well as creating artifacts). Up-sampling does not itself cause aliasing - but its use can magnify the effects of aliasing that occurs at the photo-site level (relative to the image-frame size as a reference).

EZ doesn't add any more optical zoom...your just cropping the sensor.

Correct. The same is also true of "i-Zoom" and "Digital Zoom" - so they are all the same where it comes to photo-site resolution on the image-sensor. I am no fan of the down-sampling that EZ Zoom modes perform myself (and do not use them). However, sensor-cropping (while decreasing the FOV) reduces resolution in even more significant ways, and having that sensor-cropped image-data up-sampled is rather silly, given that the image is quiet likely to be displayed at pixel-dimensions that are themselves (even) lower than the sensor-cropped pixel-dimensions.

All re-sampling adds some artifacts. Up-sampling only to then later down-sample seems undesirable.

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Rodger1943, Apr 12, 2013

Rodger1943 wrote:

I made a mistake on my Flickr site when I called it extra optical zoom, it wasn't, it was izoom.

Styoooooopid boy . . . never get to heaven now!

So to clarify that, on the FZ150, the izoom gave inferior results to digital zoom. On the FZ200 I could see no discernable difference between the two, one was as good (or bad) as the other, however if you use digital zoom you still have the problem of the zoom levels skyrocketing into the stratosphere with a very small push of the zoom lever. As a result of that I tended to stick with izoom as its limited to 48x at 12mp, so it can't suddenly jump to something like 58x or 74x at the mere touch of the lever.

Exactly - field experience is the most important.

All that other stuff is very technical and I for one can't understand any of it. Ha!

I'm just pretending.

I think the important thing here is that if you are happy with the results that izoom gives, and I am, then use it.

As I said above, "So iZoom on the FZ200 looks pretty good to me and I shall use it, with caveats, and I think that the fact that birders are using it is highly significant."

Thanks for all your comments Roger, they are influential.

Now then, how about some Swallows diving at terminal velocity?  You've done Gannets.

Mike

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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 12, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

. . . . I am no fan of the down-sampling that EZ Zoom modes perform myself (and do not use them). . . . . .

My main experience of EZ was with the FZ8, and EZ was a simple 3mp (in my case) crop, and very good for a small bird through branches with spot focus (not that I am a real birder).

I got the same image by cropping to 3mp on the PC.

So it maybe did not do what it said on the tin, but the birders liked it, and so did I.

Mike

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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 12, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

. . . . I am no fan of the down-sampling that EZ Zoom modes perform myself (and do not use them). . . . . .

My main experience of EZ was with the FZ8, and EZ was a simple 3mp (in my case) crop, and very good for a small bird through branches with spot focus (not that I am a real birder).

I got the same image by cropping to 3mp on the PC.

So it maybe did not do what it said on the tin, but the birders liked it, and so did I.

Well, just because I personally consider all methods that utilize sensor-cropping to be "for the birds" does not mean that you may not be more than happy with typical results. My interest is in the technical details. Each set of eyes carries with them their own individual preferences and tastes.

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Mikedigi
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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 12, 2013

Detail Man wrote

Well, just because I personally consider all methods that utilize sensor-cropping to be "for the birds" does not mean that you may not be more than happy with typical results. My interest is in the technical details. Each set of eyes carries with them their own individual preferences and tastes.

LOL . . . well in a way, EZ and iZoom are "for the birds" - the ones sitting in amongst branches, where even spot focus can have problems with max normal zoom.

Technically speaking, the simple FZ8 EZ is impeccable, it's the same pic cropped.

Mike

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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 12, 2013

I plan to take photos of birds that may be as far as 100m with my FZ200 tomorrow morning.  I usually use Shutter Priority mode.  I cannot find anything for EZ when in SP mode but found iZoom.  If I select iZoom, is the 12MP RW2 file unmodified if I zoom beyond 24x?  I've only tried optical 24x but distant birds occupy too few pixels to make good web photos.  Do you think turning on iZoom and going to 48x might slightly improve my chances to get a useable distant bird image.  I know there's no substitute for getting closer but occasionally that's not an option.

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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to larrewl, Apr 12, 2013

larrewl wrote:

I plan to take photos of birds that may be as far as 100m with my FZ200 tomorrow morning.  I usually use Shutter Priority mode.  I cannot find anything for EZ when in SP mode but found iZoom.

In P, A, S, M modes, in Record menu or Quick Menu, you get EZ by adjusting Picture Siize to 5mp (37.5x) oe 3mp (46.9x).  It's an in-camera crop, so you get a 5mp or 3mp pic respectively.

For iZoom, no doubt you have found it under iResolution.  Range is 25-48x and file size is 12mp.

Many birders and I myself (though not a real birder) prefer iZoom for the reasons discussed at length in this thread.

If I select iZoom, is the 12MP RW2 file unmodified if I zoom beyond 24x?

Sorry I only shoot JPEG so I don't know.

I've only tried optical 24x but distant birds occupy too few pixels to make good web photos.  Do you think turning on iZoom and going to 48x might slightly improve my chances to get a useable distant bird image.  I know there's no substitute for getting closer but occasionally that's not an option.

Yes, the higher magnification helps both you and the camera to see and focus on a small target.

When branches are in the foreground the narrowed field of view helps you to dodge branches, whether in standard or smallest central AF aim point.

Mike

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Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to larrewl, Apr 12, 2013

larrewl wrote:

I plan to take photos of birds that may be as far as 100m with my FZ200 tomorrow morning.  I usually use Shutter Priority mode.  I cannot find anything for EZ when in SP mode but found iZoom.  If I select iZoom, is the 12MP RW2 file unmodified if I zoom beyond 24x?  I've only tried optical 24x but distant birds occupy too few pixels to make good web photos.  Do you think turning on iZoom and going to 48x might slightly improve my chances to get a useable distant bird image.  I know there's no substitute for getting closer but occasionally that's not an option.

EZ is just what you get automatically when you decrease the picture size from the default 12mp value to some lower value. It's a sensor crop (when you save as JPG). When you save as JPG+Raw, it's a remapping of the full sensor to a smaller number of pixels, so you don't get more than "24x" on the display.

With iZoom (which I think is a good choice) the JPG uses the cropped sensor and upsamples it to 12mpx if the displayed zoom is >24x. Under those conditions the .RW2 contains the cropped file - so you get a 2k by 1.5k raw image if you're at 48x.

Sherm

 sherman_levine's gear list:sherman_levine's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
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