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25 April 2009 @ 07:59 pm
Cameras  
When my canon elph's switch started to break, I got a DSLR, thinking it might be the only camera I needed. Now, with us bloging about taiko a bunch, I'd like something small and inexpensive that I can have sitting around the wings of a stage that I can take pictures with when I'm not drumming. This means I need something that is good in low light. I poked around the net and found out that fujifilm's CCDs are different in a way that makes them very good in low light AND they have software blur and motion stablization. So I decided to get one and try it out. The problem is the general quality isn't that good. I'm targeting something that can make good blog pictures in low light on a stage where I can't use a flash, which I think this camera does perform that with as little motion blur as possible, but will the bad quality make me regret getting it. Is perhaps nothing better than a unitasker?

I used the canon elph sd300 as a benchmark since I loved it (until the switch started flaking.) I set them both to 1600x1200, since you don't care about high resolution for a blog picture and because the fujifilm has a 12800 ISO it might use if it's set below 3Mpixil. I set the bottle swinging and took the photo at the same time with both cameras.

100% crop
CanonFujifilm

You can see it does what it says, the bottle is almost blur free, however...
Here are the scaled full sized images:


you an really see the graininess. Now here's the kicker. Here I've forced it to ISO400 AND gave it a flash.


and the 100% crop:


I really can't decide if it's worth it. Am I completely spoiled by the quality of the canon (which, when new was a different price bracket entirely)? Or am I right to think that even though the lack of blur is great, the general quality lacking even under the best conditions?
 
 
 
mathhobbitmathhobbit on April 26th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
I have no idea what's right for you, but if you end up with too many cameras I'm still looking for a cheap one.
In the end, I'll know, but on the way, I wondergorgo on April 26th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
Increased graininess is a problem with pretty much all digital cameras as you turn the speed up, sadly. Depending on what effect you're lookng for, you might take a look at some of the utilities for digital cameras, like Noise Ninja. Sometimes, adding a little blur effect can disguise grain and make the picture look a bit better.

It is a tough call between the two cameras. The Canon looks a good bit better, but the low speed seems like a killer for taiko photos.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on April 26th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Well it's more a question of returning the fuji or not. The canon is, sadly, not terribly usable, because it likes to fall into movie mode at random times.
Camilla Foxcfox on April 26th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
[this is actually monty sitting in front of Camilla's computer 'Poopervising']

Low light performance is all about sensor size and optics. Sensor size is the part the specific camera body contributes. All the fancy software processing in the world is not going to fundamentally improve the performance, just do a better or worse job momentarily hiding flaws. A small sensor camera running with too high an ISO is grainy and streaked. The big sensors hit the wall eventually too. No way around it. (although I've written a Gimp plugin designed to do DSLR-specific noise reduction, and it works better than anything that will be built into the camera. yay, infinite CPU. If you have a good noise filter like that, just turn the camera's noise reduction off entirely. It will do a poorer job, and the job is not reversible.)

Aside from finding the biggest sensor in the smallest body (I think the Panasonic microFourThirds Lumix G1 might still be at the top of that ratio right now), the only other thing you can do is stack the biggest possible 'light spigot' on the front. Big optics are *definitely* heavy.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on April 26th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
Ah, but a key constraint here is "small enough and cheap enough it can be kicking around the wings of a stage."
Monty Montgomeryxiphmont on April 27th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Right. "There's probably nothing that will really make you happire than what you've got." The Canon would look like the Fuji if it offered an ISO that high, and I suspect the Fuji looks alot like the Canon if the ISO is reduced (it would probably be interesting to try).
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on April 27th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
Ah, the trick is the cannon is broken-ish. The reviews actually claim the fuji performs 1 ISO better then most other cameras. (like a ISO 800 looks like a ISO400)

The last picture was taken at ISO400.
Monty Montgomeryxiphmont on April 27th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
but is that an inherent sensor improvement, or just better on-camera noise filtering? dpreview might say (and if it's just better on-camera filtering, I can beat anything that a camera offers onboard with the noise removal plugins I wrote).

Last time I looked at dpreview, the camera sensors varied almost none at all (aside from size) and it was all about the onboard image processing filters that distinguished one camera from another. If the fuji really does have that much better a sensor, it's definitely worth knowing about. ISO 12800? madness!
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on April 27th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
dpreview seems to have some market hype and not a real review right now, but they claim:

RPT is an umbrella term for the combination of cutting edge technologies such as the Super CCD sensor, Real Photo Processor and Fujinon lens,

though it' shard to know if that's ACTUAL real technology or hype.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08012407fujif100fd.asp