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Zoom vs lots of pixels

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Anonymous
March 23, 2005 5:09:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance shots,
and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a 4/5MP with
a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I have taken the
picture?

I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer a
small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that 90% of
the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.

TIA
Bob B.

More about : zoom lots pixels

March 23, 2005 5:23:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I tested this a couple of days ago, here's what I did:

Camera 1: Fuji 4900 6x zoom, 2.4Mega Pixel

Camera 2: Canon S410 3x zoom, 4Mega Pixel

I used the Canon 3x + digital zoom to zoom to 6.4x to compare to the Fuji
using a tripod.

The Fuji had a much better picture.

Evad



"Bob B." <bobb@sphinx.com> wrote in message
news:bobb-8F2F02.14095623032005@individual.net...
>I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
> typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance shots,
> and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a 4/5MP with
> a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I have taken the
> picture?
>
> I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer a
> small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that 90% of
> the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.
>
> TIA
> Bob B.
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 8:40:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bob B. wrote:
> I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
> typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance shots,
> and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a 4/5MP with
> a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I have taken the
> picture?
>
> I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer a
> small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that 90% of
> the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.
>
> TIA
> Bob B.

I have a 4mp camera with a 4X zoom. I would rather have a 3mp with a 6x
zoom. Better optics makes for a better picture. One problem is that
beyond 6mp, the sensors become much more expensive, and in order to
compensate, and reach a marketable price point, manufactures have to
choose between sensor quality, and lens quality. It is a lose-lose
situation.
One thing is certain, the best image you can get onto the sensor will be
an advantage, regardless of the sensor. I certainly do favor the 4x
zoom over ANY 3x zoom, even if I had twice the pixels.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
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Anonymous
March 23, 2005 10:05:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Ron Hunter wrote:


> One thing is certain, the best image you can get onto the sensor will be
> an advantage, regardless of the sensor. I certainly do favor the 4x
> zoom over ANY 3x zoom, even if I had twice the pixels.


Someone correct me on this if need be..
but I always assumed that a larger zoom
factor (max focal length / min focal length)
made a lens harder to design and correct.

As a corollary, then, for a given price,
I'd expect better optical quality from
a 2:1 zoom than a 4:1 zoom.


rafe b.
http://www.terrapinphoto.com
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 11:02:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

rafeb wrote:
>
> Ron Hunter wrote:
>
>
>> One thing is certain, the best image you can get onto the sensor will
>> be an advantage, regardless of the sensor. I certainly do favor the
>> 4x zoom over ANY 3x zoom, even if I had twice the pixels.
>
>
>
> Someone correct me on this if need be..
> but I always assumed that a larger zoom
> factor (max focal length / min focal length)
> made a lens harder to design and correct.
>
> As a corollary, then, for a given price,
> I'd expect better optical quality from
> a 2:1 zoom than a 4:1 zoom.
>
>
> rafe b.
> http://www.terrapinphoto.com
>
Yes, of course. Adding zoom usually adds price. Is this not consistent
with your observations?
I value the extra zoom factor, having had both 3x and 4x. The latter
gives much greater freedom to frame a shot.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 2:20:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Evad" <evad@dodgeit.com> wrote in news:3ae8ilF65juk2U1@individual.net:

> I used the Canon 3x + digital zoom to zoom to 6.4x to compare to the
> Fuji using a tripod.
>
> The Fuji had a much better picture.

Of course it did.

"Digital Zoom," translated from marketingjargonspeak, means "royally screw
up image."
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 3:56:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
>typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance shots,
>and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a 4/5MP with
>a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I have taken the
>picture?

You'll do much better with the 5MP/3x lens combination.

-Joel

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free 35mm lens/digicam reviews: http://www.exc.com/photography
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 4:10:30 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>Camera 1: Fuji 4900 6x zoom, 2.4Mega Pixel
>
>Camera 2: Canon S410 3x zoom, 4Mega Pixel
>
>I used the Canon 3x + digital zoom to zoom to 6.4x to compare to the Fuji
>using a tripod.

The OP asked about optical zoom, not digital zoom. What you're really
comparing is 3x optical at 2.4Mpix vs 3x optical at 4MPix. Of course
the 4MPix looks better.

-Joel

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free 35mm lens/digicam reviews: http://www.exc.com/photography
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 4:21:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>One thing is certain, the best image you can get onto the sensor will be
>an advantage, regardless of the sensor. I certainly do favor the 4x
>zoom over ANY 3x zoom, even if I had twice the pixels.

I think you've misunderstood how enlargements get made from digital
files. To get the best possible final print, what you want is the
most information in the original digital file.

If you have a 4x zoom lens projecting onto a 3MPix camera, you end up
with 3Mpix of information of a certain image.

If you have a 3x zoom projecting onto a 5MPix camera, you end up with
the same image projected over 75% of the area. But 75% of that 5MPix
sensor containts about 3.75MPix, or 1.25 as much information as the
3Mpix camera.

So the 5MPix gives you a better image, even though it only has 3x, not
4x.

-Joel

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free 35mm lens/digicam reviews: http://www.exc.com/photography
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 4:21:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman wrote:
>>One thing is certain, the best image you can get onto the sensor will be
>>an advantage, regardless of the sensor. I certainly do favor the 4x
>>zoom over ANY 3x zoom, even if I had twice the pixels.
>
>
> I think you've misunderstood how enlargements get made from digital
> files. To get the best possible final print, what you want is the
> most information in the original digital file.
>
> If you have a 4x zoom lens projecting onto a 3MPix camera, you end up
> with 3Mpix of information of a certain image.
>
> If you have a 3x zoom projecting onto a 5MPix camera, you end up with
> the same image projected over 75% of the area. But 75% of that 5MPix
> sensor containts about 3.75MPix, or 1.25 as much information as the
> 3Mpix camera.
>
> So the 5MPix gives you a better image, even though it only has 3x, not
> 4x.
>
> -Joel
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Free 35mm lens/digicam reviews: http://www.exc.com/photography
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ONLY if the 5mp sensor it as good a quality as the 3 mp sensor, and ONLY
if the lens is of the same relative quality.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 10:59:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

a 3x zoom which is equivalent to what in a film camera?
It could be 28mm x 4 = 112mm
or
38mm x 3 = 114mm
same thing.
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 11:27:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bob B. wrote:
> I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
> typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance
> shots, and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a
> 4/5MP with a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I
> have taken the picture?
>
> I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer
> a small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that
> 90% of the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.

Go for optical zoom.

The zoom factor refers to linear scale, but the number of pixels to area
so, using your broad brush figures:

3MP camera with 4X zoom lens

replace 4X zoom with 3X zoom, need square (4/3) as many pixels i.e. 5.3MP
to provide the same number of pixels over the given image.

If you want a long zoom in a compact camera take a look at the Panasonic
Lumix DMC-LZ1 / DMC-LZ2:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0502/05020806panasoniclz1l...

which include a 6X zoom, 37 - 222mm equivalent, with image stabilisation
to enable you to make full use of the zoom.

Cheers,
David
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 12:26:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <cSu0e.4353$Ab.75@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
"David J Taylor"
<david-taylor@blueyonder.co.not-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk> wrote:

> Bob B. wrote:
> > I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
> > typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance
> > shots, and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a
> > 4/5MP with a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I
> > have taken the picture?
> >
> > I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer
> > a small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that
> > 90% of the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.
>
> Go for optical zoom.
>
> The zoom factor refers to linear scale, but the number of pixels to area
> so, using your broad brush figures:
>
> 3MP camera with 4X zoom lens
>
> replace 4X zoom with 3X zoom, need square (4/3) as many pixels i.e. 5.3MP
> to provide the same number of pixels over the given image.
>
> If you want a long zoom in a compact camera take a look at the Panasonic
> Lumix DMC-LZ1 / DMC-LZ2:
>
> http://www.dpreview.com/news/0502/05020806panasoniclz1l...
>
> which include a 6X zoom, 37 - 222mm equivalent, with image stabilisation
> to enable you to make full use of the zoom.
>
> Cheers,
> David

Somehow I missed the DMC-LZ1/LZ2, thanks. They may be just what I am
looking for, especially since this discussion seems to indicate there is
not a consensus about the answer to my original question.

Bob B.
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 1:57:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bob B. wrote:

> I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
> typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance shots,
> and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a 4/5MP with
> a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I have taken the
> picture?
>
> I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer a
> small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that 90% of
> the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.

There's been lots posted on this.. But I'd like to clear one thing up.

Zoom is expressed as 'X times', but the 'times' does not refer
to the magnification power of the lens. As a matter of fact,
there's *no* way to determine the magnifying power of a lens
knowing only the zoom rating. Zoom is probably one of the
most misunderstood aspects of digital camera lenses.

With binoculars, 8X means that they bring the image 8x closer.
The X refers to the power of the binoculars. The same does *not*
apply to the zoom of a lens.

With lenses, the X refers to the *range* between the focal
lengths. The zoom of a lens is determined by dividing the maximum
focal length by the minimum focal length.

A lens that adjusts from 28mm to 84mm will have a zoom of:

84mm divided by 28mm = 3X zoom

To find the binocular equivalent of a 35mm lens, the general
rule of thumb is to divide by 50 (50mm being roughly what our
eyes see).

In the example above our 28mm to 84mm lens will have a maximum
magnification of 84mm divided by 50 = 1.68X The lens is 3X, but
it will only bring things 1.68 times closer.

Lets look at two 10X zoom lenses:

28mm to 280mm (280 / 28 = 10x)
38mm to 380mm (380 / 38 = 10x)

The 280mm lens will have a magnifying power of 280 / 50 = 5.6X
The 380mm lens will have a magnifying power of 380 / 50 = 7.6X

Both lenses are 10X zooms, but one will have more magnifying
power. This is an important thing to consider when looking for
a camera with 'reach'. Look for maximum focal length, *not*
zoom.

(Note.. this only applies to the 35mm equivalent of a particular
lens. Most digicam lens manufacturers show the 35mm equivalents
in their camera data).


Now my thoughts on lens magnification (not zoom :-) vs megapixels.

There ISN'T much difference between 3 and 5 megapixels. Here
are some typical image sizes from the Canon lineup :

3MP = 2048 x 1536
5MP = 2592 x 1944

A 5MP camera only gives you an image that's 544 pixels wider and
408 pixels taller.

If you're thinking that cropping a 5MP image taken with a low
magnification lens will be the same as a 3MP image taken with
a higher magnification lens.... In most cases, it won't :) 

If you want to get close.. Look at the maximum focal length first.
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 3:02:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Jim Townsend" <not@real.address> wrote

(50mm being roughly what our
> eyes see).
>

Jim,

I've been told by a couple of professional photographers that 55mm is close
to what our eyes see. FWIW.
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 3:03:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Fifty Hertz wrote:

>
> "Jim Townsend" <not@real.address> wrote
>
> (50mm being roughly what our
>> eyes see).
>>
>
> Jim,
>
> I've been told by a couple of professional photographers that 55mm is close
> to what our eyes see. FWIW.

This can start a huge thread of it's own. I didn't want that so I made
sure I used the terms 'rule of thumb' and 'roughly' when I made reference
to 50mm :-)

For quick field calculations, 50mm is generally 'close enough'.
Anonymous
March 24, 2005 6:15:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Just a quick note. Some cameras us a combination of optical zoom and digital
zoom. They are not the same thing. Digital zoom just crops some of the
pictures in the center of the digital sensor and can have much lower quality
than a optical zoom which is all in the lens.


--
John Passaneau
Penn State University
jxp16@psu.edu

"Bob B." <bobb@sphinx.com> wrote in message
news:bobb-71A549.09264324032005@individual.net...
> In article <cSu0e.4353$Ab.75@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
> "David J Taylor"
> <david-taylor@blueyonder.co.not-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk> wrote:
>
> > Bob B. wrote:
> > > I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
> > > typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance
> > > shots, and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a
> > > 4/5MP with a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I
> > > have taken the picture?
> > >
> > > I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer
> > > a small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that
> > > 90% of the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.
> >
> > Go for optical zoom.
> >
> > The zoom factor refers to linear scale, but the number of pixels to area
> > so, using your broad brush figures:
> >
> > 3MP camera with 4X zoom lens
> >
> > replace 4X zoom with 3X zoom, need square (4/3) as many pixels i.e.
5.3MP
> > to provide the same number of pixels over the given image.
> >
> > If you want a long zoom in a compact camera take a look at the Panasonic
> > Lumix DMC-LZ1 / DMC-LZ2:
> >
> > http://www.dpreview.com/news/0502/05020806panasoniclz1l...
> >
> > which include a 6X zoom, 37 - 222mm equivalent, with image stabilisation
> > to enable you to make full use of the zoom.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > David
>
> Somehow I missed the DMC-LZ1/LZ2, thanks. They may be just what I am
> looking for, especially since this discussion seems to indicate there is
> not a consensus about the answer to my original question.
>
> Bob B.
Anonymous
March 31, 2005 3:58:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 14:09:56 -0800, "Bob B." <bobb@sphinx.com>
wrote:

>I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
>typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance shots,
>and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a 4/5MP with
>a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I have taken the
>picture?
>
>I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer a
>small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that 90% of
>the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.

Bob,

you're looking for a good compromise, which is a very sensible
thing to do. I just want to add one simple fact to your
consideration, which is sometimes overlooked.

Let us compare a 4x zoom to a 3x zoom, assuming both have the
same comparable wide angle focal length.

3x is 75% of 4x, right? Right, but if you want to take the same
picture with the 3x zoom and cropping, you are not left with 75%
of the pixels. Instead you are left with the square of that,
i.e. 56% of the pixels.

This is the crux of the matter. For objects far away, a longer
zoom will usually beat more pixels.

I currently use a 12x zoom with 2 Megapixels, and you can check
the results at http://www.michna.com/kenya2004/ , if you like.
(For the web even the 2 Megapixels are far too many, so those
pictures are reduced to 800 x 600.) It's a Panasonic Lumix DMC
FZ1-2. Of course I will swap it for a similar camera with
considerably more pixels, but only when that becomes available
without getting much bigger and heavier (like the FZ10, 15, 20
series).

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
Anonymous
April 1, 2005 1:05:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Hans-Georg Michna" <hans-georgNoEmailPlease@michna.com> wrote in message
news:nqgn41hv1nhmlgggiop987jiteioad2av9@4ax.com...
> On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 14:09:56 -0800, "Bob B." <bobb@sphinx.com>
> wrote:
>
>>I am looking at moderately priced cameras - 3 to 5MP mostly, which
>>typically have 3-4X lens. I am interested in occasional distance shots,
>>and wonder what makes more sense - a 3MP with a 4X lens, or a 4/5MP with
>>a 3X lens, with which I can "zoom" by cropping after I have taken the
>>picture?
>>
>>I am trying to avoid getting a real long lens, because I would prefer a
>>small, light camera that is easy to carry, and I would guess that 90% of
>>the pictures I will take won't really need a big zoom lens.
>
> Bob,
>
> you're looking for a good compromise, which is a very sensible
> thing to do. I just want to add one simple fact to your
> consideration, which is sometimes overlooked.
>
> Let us compare a 4x zoom to a 3x zoom, assuming both have the
> same comparable wide angle focal length.
>
> 3x is 75% of 4x, right? Right, but if you want to take the same
> picture with the 3x zoom and cropping, you are not left with 75%
> of the pixels. Instead you are left with the square of that,
> i.e. 56% of the pixels.
>
> This is the crux of the matter. For objects far away, a longer
> zoom will usually beat more pixels.
>
> I currently use a 12x zoom with 2 Megapixels, and you can check
> the results at http://www.michna.com/kenya2004/ , if you like.
> (For the web even the 2 Megapixels are far too many, so those
> pictures are reduced to 800 x 600.) It's a Panasonic Lumix DMC
> FZ1-2. Of course I will swap it for a similar camera with
> considerably more pixels, but only when that becomes available
> without getting much bigger and heavier (like the FZ10, 15, 20
> series).
>

George, nice pictures but you didnt need a 12x zoom, you could have got most
of those shots with an ordinary 3x just by walking right up close within a
few feet of the elephants and lions and crocodiles, thereby saving money on
such an expensive camera. Also it would have helped get the background out
of focus by moving in really really close and using a wide aperture or even
macro focus on those rows of crocodile teeth.

--
Tumbleweed

email replies not necessary but to contact use;
tumbleweednews at hotmail dot com
Anonymous
April 2, 2005 3:08:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Thu, 31 Mar 2005 21:05:52 +0100, "Tumbleweed"
<thisaccountneverread@yahoo.com> wrote:

>George, nice pictures but you didnt need a 12x zoom, you could have got most
>of those shots with an ordinary 3x just by walking right up close within a
>few feet of the elephants and lions and crocodiles, thereby saving money on
>such an expensive camera. Also it would have helped get the background out
>of focus by moving in really really close and using a wide aperture or even
>macro focus on those rows of crocodile teeth.

Ha!

Tumbleweed, you go first.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
!