nniicckk: I am sorry, but this entire test/preview comes across as badly orchestrated.
A phone camera is not a telephoto. The zoomed in daylight picture of Big Ben is a test of resolution, not of the benefits of larger pixel size. In this case, the camera with more pixels to spare will show a sharper picture when you zoom in.
The same goes for the low light building picture. You are cropping away a large part of the image, so it isn't just a test of sensor noise, but also one of resolution.
If you really want to test the sensor, compare it in a scenario where camera phones are commonly used and currently suck. Take a badly lit scene in a pub and see which sensor handles it better. Focus on low light urban portraits, for instance, the ubiquitous peace sign drunk pics people take, and see which phone camera does better.
Just to clarify, I have no skin in this review. I see HTC bucking a meaningless megapixel trend and would really like to know if it gives me anything.
I agree a few typical social media examples compared at the same size would be good. The question for some smart phone users will be whether the trade off of lower detail in good light is worth the better performance in some of the typical low light social situations. In any case it would be a good excuse to spend an afternoon in the pub whilst actually "working" !!
daciangroza: with every new iteration of smartphone from major manufacturers my respect for what apple are doing with object design is growing. aside from the form factor, which is a given, i think nokia are the only ones that are actually original in their design. that being said, this phone looks beautiful and i hope they got the flat bevels better than on the iphone 5, where they chip and scratch very easily. the relatively low megapixel count in the camera sensor sound very good to me.
HTC have had aluminium uni-body designs at least since the Sensation which I think came out a long time before the iPhone 5. The sensation was a so called "pebble" design which I personally prefer to theses more angular recent designs.
PS Kudos to HTC for the 4MB camera and not going down the traditional marketing path of bigger is better. Lets hope the move is one that manifests itself in the results. Looking forward to seeing some analysis of the results.
duqov: Can somebody point me to a website/formula where I could calculate which aperture I need if I want: 1) 1/2.3 sensor, 2) equivalent of 85mm FF view angle and 3) equivalent of 85mm FF, f=2.0 depth of field? Would it be about f=0.2? How big would such glass be? Still smaller than FF 85mm f=2.0 Why is nobody making such things?
A 15.4mm lens at f2 has a minimum front lens diameter of just 7.7mm. This lens, of course, has the same depth of field as a 7.7mm f2 lens on a 35 mm camera. i.e. the depth of field will be enormous.
This web site doesn’t have 1/2.3" sensors, but for a 1/2" sensor it suggests you would need f0.4 to get the equivalent depth of field on such a lens.
This would mean a minimum front lens diameter of around 38mm .. doesn't seem too bad! However, I suspect the very wide f0.4 would introduce some other constraints and could push the diameter or length further. I’m not an expert, so everyone please chip in if you know how this works in real life!
One thing this does reinforce is how hard it is for companies to market the trade off between aperture, lens and sensor size cos it seems few people fully understand it.
I am not sure about how to calculate the length of the equivalent lens, but there is a simple relationship between the minimum diameter required for the front lens element (d), the actual focal length of the lens (l) and the fstop (f)
d = l/f
So an 85mm lens at f2 must have a front lens diameter of at least 42.5mm.
The focal length used in the calculation must be the actual focal length rather than the often quoted 35mm equivalent.
On a 1/2.3" sensor the actual focal lengths are approx 5.5 times smaller than the 35mm equivalent, so 85mm becomes an actual focal length of 15.4mm.
Altruisto: This camera really makes sense. Though I wanted a pocketable camera, I never jumped on Canon S** series because it was useless in low light when you zoomed a bit. Sensor technology has evolved in a way that 1/2.3 sensors are quite as good as the bigger 1/1.7 until ISO400. In fact most modern sensors are good enough noise wise until ISO400. The sensor used here is probably the one in SX50, which is really good until ISO800. So what you gain when increasing marginally the sensor size is negligeable with what you gain when increasing the aperture, at least until ISO400 (which I wouldn't surpass in a compact anyway). I'm more keen on such a camera when I consider a compact, as If I accept to put a camera in a bag, I'd go the mirrorless route, and when I want really shallow depth of field in portraits it would be my DSLR. For pocketable cams, it seems to be the new kid on the block.
Agree with the S Series comment. I bought the S110 and love using it, but you are spot on when you say it suffers in low light when zoomed. The faster "long end" aperture of this Olympus makes a lot of sense. Wish it had been around before Xmas!
kadardr: This camera type is a dying species (let`s say it is the" small sensor expert camera", which is as much a bs as the "enthusiast compact"), whatever and however the producers and fans try to resuscitate and reresuscitate them. In the future they might become collectors` items like chinaware or post stamps, or just disposable. Cannot see any development strategy and so future for them. Diversification and niche specialization could be a direction, no signs of those yet.
It will be interesting to see how this latest battle evolves, but as sensors get bigger lens sizes grow non-linearly. This makes it harder to provide wide aperture low light capabilities without increasing camera size.
Sony has pushed the envelope, but there may still be a market for compact cameras that trade sensor size for faster apertures across a wider zoom range.
Either way I'm glad Sony is pushing the market in new directions and can't wait to see what the competition will do when they have had time to properly respond.
One problem as highlighted by Olympus' Toshi Terada is that many people don't get f stops so these cameras will be hard to market. Luckily DPReview readers are well versed in these matters!
wootpile: Where is the OLY EPL-5 review? Pleeease....
.. and the XZ-2 too please!!
tiberiousgracchus: Great list DPR keep up the excellent work....wow this thread is just pure comedy.
It is a classic thread! There's one side of me that says "guys just stop posting and go out and take some photos with whatever camera you have" and another side of me that just can't help coming back for another look!!
Barney, thanks for the early look at these real world samples, though I have to say I preferred the slightly more "zany" style of your LX7 preview ;-)
Looking forward the full review. Any news on when it will be ready?
Brilliant!!! Thanks for the early view of the Studio Comparison Images!!!
Hope you can get your hands on the Olympus XZ-2 soon to add that into the mix!!
tom1027: You can tell by the comments on this camera there are lots of people who don't have a clue what they're talking about.. So many complaints about the sensor size and comparisons to the RX100. If this camera had a larger sensor, they could not have this lens. Sure the RX100 has a big sensor, but at what cost? F/4.9 at 100mm? I'd take the LX7's or XZ-2's sensor and lens combination any day over the RX100. Unless your pixel peeping or printing poster size pics, you're not gonna notice a difference from that big sensor.For those who get hard over big sensors, why wouldn't something like the GF5? The sensor's twice as big as the RX100 and the cam isn't much bigger with the power zoom lens...Bottom line is, it just doesn't make that much sense to put a huge sensor in a camera this small. They will definitely sell lots of them, because so many fools think all that matters is a bigger sensor, but I wouldn't want one until they figure out how to build a better lens for it.
mosc ... you raise a good point. Everyone is so hung up in sensor size that they forget to think about the sensor size/pixel density/ lens interaction. But for many the physics won't be important. Instead it will be real world samples compared at the same light levels and at the same on-screen or printed magnifications. Unfortunately reviews are so hung up on comparing at the same ISO level and 100% "pixel" views that its very hard to make these real world comparisons. Personally I would like to see comparisons off different cameras using the same shutter speed, their max apertures and a variable ISO with the objects in the image at the same size on screen. Too much to hope for I guess!
David0X: I picked one up today and I must say I'm pretty impressed. I've shot a studio scene at various ISOs. Given the form factor I think the ergonomics are pretty good too.
Quick thoughts - http://www.davidhume.net/p7700/
David ... thanks!! Great information and good to see the samples!!
European English User Manual now available:
marike6: The LX7 is actually a really nice camera that is not getting a whole lot of attention because of the Sony RX100. The thing is, the LX7 may have a smaller sensor, but the lens is much, much faster, and more interesting for portraits. And the LX7 (and the D-Lux 6) has all the video goodness of the RX100: 1080/60 progressive and even a 720 120 fps which is awesome for super slow-mo. All around an excellent camera.
Agreed Panasonic do know how to create some great cameras, but I think its a reasonable guess that Leica and Panasonic collaborate on these models that are due for re-branding. Why not .. Leica has been building some pretty good cameras for a few years now and I guess they picked up a some useful tips along the way. Either way this looks to be a camera with great promise. Can't wait to try one!
Camediadude: Price? I could use a good chortle ...
€700 EUR / $900 USD / £600 GBP according to LetsGoDigital
Does anyone know if the Leica version has anything additional to offer over the Panasonic LX7 to justify the additional cost .. other than the little red dot!
I think it comes bundled with Adobe Lightroom?
Agreed the LX7/Dlux6 looks to be an interesting camera no doubt partly due to Leica's influence. Compared with the RX100 I am interested to see which works best in low light ... big aperture or big sensor. From what I have seen so far I'm not totally convinced the RX100 with its big sensor/big pixel count would win in a head to head.
TJGKG: I had the P7000 and while it took OK pictures, the AF was terrible as were the write times. But that was two years ago. Now cameras in this class have fast AF and larger sensors for better low light and higher IQ. This camera is nice but it is no longer competitive in the class.
@mosc - good point. I think for the 7700 and other small sensor compacts like the Panasonic LX7 not everyone understands the engineering trade off between sensor size and lens size! Keep the sensor small and you can get a bigger aperture without crazy lens sizes. In my view its a valid alternative strategy for tackling low light. Now we just need to see the comparisons from the recent crop of high end compacts to see which strategy is the best.
Sam Carriere: I am sure this is a good competent camera, but Nikon and Canon just don't seem to get it. The models that capture people's imagination these days are the ones that try to reimagine the same-old same-old -- like the Fuji X10 or the Sony RX 100 or even the NEX series, for all their shortcomings. I can't conceive of where the market is for this good, competent camera, in a field already so crowded with other good, competent cameras.And by the way, does anyone ever actually USE an articulated screen?
I used a swing out screen on my old Olympus C5050 and miss it like crazy. I particularly miss it low level shooting .. especially on wet days!! I also find I now take less pictures of my kids from their eye height which seems so much more natural!
Oddrain: So far reviews have tended to focus on the noise levels at the same ISO levels, but with this camera trading chip size for a faster max aperture it would be great to see comparisons showing the recent crop of enthusiast cameras simply doing their best in the same lighting conditions. It would make an intriguing group review to see how the various strategies compare! DPReview .. any chance of a low light shoot out between the following:
Panasonic LX7Olympus XZ-1Canon Powershot S100FujiFilm X10Sony Cybershot RX100
It looks like "expertreviews" set the ball rolling with this comparison against the Sony Nex-F3 and the Panasonic GF5. With its wider aperture the LX7 shoots at ISO800 whilst the others are at ISO3200. The results speak for themselves.
acid592: Some members wrote as if f value is related to sensor size (if i understand right). I think f 1.4 always gets in more light than f 1.8 independent of the sensor size. Right?
If I remember my physics correctly, the minimum diameter for the front lens is equal to the focal length divided by the f-stop so wide aperture means bigger lenses. Also, with large sensors it is necessary to have longer actual focal lengths to get the same angle of view in 35mm terms. Putting these together means that a bigger sensor equals a bigger lens, especially if you want a wide max aperture. Keeping the sensor small has inevitably helped Panasonic have a wider max aperture by keeping real focal length down.
Now, wider aperture when taking photos = lower ISO which will keep noise down in you shots. So this small sensor wide aperture strategy from Panasonic should help to keep noise levels down in low light.
Is it as effective as a bigger sensor-narrower aperture .. who knows. Lest hope DPReview will run the tests to show us!