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Move up to an SLR for this project?

 
 
Jim
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      03-11-2007
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> I'm starting a major project in
> which I'll shoot a lot of landscape
> images in raw format, archive them,
> and process them in various ways.
> I bought an Olympus SP-350 for the
> proof-of-principle stage of this
> project because it was the cheapest
> that produced raw-format images and
> also worked with a freeware time-lapse
> controller, which, as it turned out,
> I didn't use.
>
> But so far the SP-350 has met my needs in
> terms of flexibility and control (except
> for zoom convenience, which I complained
> about in another thread). Given that the
> Olympus SLRs have about the same megapixels
> as the SP-350, I would move up -- to any
> make of SLR, for that matter -- only if I
> knew that an SLR would produce obviously
> better images, for reasons of optics or
> whatever. Has anybody here had any experience
> with both species of camera to have an
> opinion on this?
>
> --
> Charles Packer
> http://cpacker.org/whatnews
> mailboxATcpacker.org
>


This is my experience with this point, I have owned a Nikon CP8700 (8MP)
for several years and I now have a D80 (10MP).

The D80 delivers images that are sharper and crisper. This fits in with
the conventional wisdom. The 8-10 MP difference is not much.

But the difference between the two cameras shrinks quite a bit if your
work flow includes an editor with some sort of sharpening, I use unsharp
mask in the GIMP editor but they all work and a bit of gamma and or
color tweaking.

An issue you don't mention but might consider is how the camera handles
- can you get "in sync" with it? I tried a Pentax before I settled on
the Nikon and it handled a little better than the Nikon - a number of
the common operations were easier & more natural on the Pentax. You
want to be able to be consistent with the camera you end up with for
this job.

Jim




 
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MarkČ
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      03-11-2007
J. Clarke wrote:
> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>> On Mar 10, 10:54 am, "Don Stauffer in Minnesota"
>> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>> I would say that landscape photography is one of the least likely to
>>> need an SLR. The SLR is more of a must for things like macro
>>> photography, where you must see the actual optical focus to view the
>>> depth of field, and to eliminate viewfinder parallax.
>>>
>>> With landscape photography, you usually are not worried about depth
>>> of field, and you are far enough away that parallax error is no
>>> concern.
>>>
>>> Yes, a more expensive camera may have better optics, but that is not
>>> an SLR vs non-SLR issue. Admittedly with an interchangable lens SLR
>>> you have more flexibility in what lens you use. But in daylight
>>> landscape photography you generally can use a tripod, and medium
>>> aperture settings, which does not stress lens performance.

>>
>>
>> This is what I was wondering about, whether an SLR
>> would make a enough of a difference in landscape
>> photography to make it worth the money. I'll be
>> using a tripod, it will be daylight (always close to
>> noon, in fact), and the trees I'm shooting will
>> be a couple of hundred feet away. The only concern
>> I have is sharpness. I'm basically satisfied with the
>> sharpness I've got, but I don't want to miss out on
>> the opportunity to improve it if it can be done.
>> The SP-350's narrowest aperture is F8. Suppose I had
>> an even narrower aperture and I compensated with
>> longer shutter time. Isn't that supposed to
>> compensate for any deficiencies of the lens?

>
> Smaller aperture gives you more depth of field, not more sharpness.


I'm not sure that's necessarily true.
Most lenses perform best, sharpness-wise, when stopped down 2 to three stops
from wide open. This has nothing to do with DOF. You could be shooting the
same flat target, and you'll almost invariably get sharper results when
stopped down a bit.

I suspect this would also be true with small-sensor cameras, since it's a
lens characteristic, and not a sensor characteristic.
--
Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
www.pbase.com/markuson


 
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mailbox@cpacker.org
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      03-12-2007
On Mar 11, 11:46 am, Jim <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> But the difference between the two cameras shrinks quite a bit if your
> work flow includes an editor with some sort of sharpening, I use unsharp
> mask in the GIMP editor but they all work and a bit of gamma and or
> color tweaking.
>
> An issue you don't mention but might consider is how the camera handles
> - can you get "in sync" with it? I tried a Pentax before I settled on
> the Nikon and it handled a little better than the Nikon - a number of
> the common operations were easier & more natural on the Pentax. You
> want to be able to be consistent with the camera you end up with for
> this job.


I won't rule out sharpening by software if I
can "legitimize" it to myself in the context of
what I'm doing, but I'll cross that bridge when
I come to it.

The handling issue is turning out to be a factor.
I want the exact same zoom for each scene, which
I'll be shooting on successive days. The way I get
this with the SP-350 is to zoom to maximum focal
length and then give the spring-loaded lever a
predetermined number of quick pushes to back out
that number of steps and no more. I'll be able to
decide in the next few days whether this is
practical.

--
Charles Packer
http://cpacker.org/whatnews
mailboxATcpacker.org

 
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mailbox@cpacker.org
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      03-12-2007
On Mar 11, 10:35 am, "J. Clarke" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> Smaller aperture gives you more depth of field, not more sharpness. For
> a small sensor point-and-shoot you probably want to be shooting at
> around f/4, for an APS-C DSLR around f/8. Beyond that you start losing
> sharpness again due to diffraction.
>


Interesting. I had assumed that there was no lower limit to aperture,
thinking that the less area of the lens to contribute to distortion,
the
better.

--
Charles Packer
http://cpacker.org/whatnews
mailboxATcpacker.org

 
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David J Taylor
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      03-12-2007
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> On Mar 11, 10:35 am, "J. Clarke" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>> Smaller aperture gives you more depth of field, not more sharpness.
>> For a small sensor point-and-shoot you probably want to be shooting
>> at around f/4, for an APS-C DSLR around f/8. Beyond that you start
>> losing sharpness again due to diffraction.
>>

>
> Interesting. I had assumed that there was no lower limit to aperture,
> thinking that the less area of the lens to contribute to distortion,
> the
> better.


It's why a lot of the small-sensor cameras have a smallest opening of f/8.
This, coupled with the limited maximum opening, reduces the range of
apertures available. Of course, some recent DSLR zoom lenses have maximum
openings of f/5.6 at the tele end, so are similarly restricted in
range.....

Cheers,
David


 
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Scott W
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      03-12-2007
On Mar 12, 12:39 am, (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> On Mar 11, 11:46 am, Jim <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > But the difference between the two cameras shrinks quite a bit if your
> > work flow includes an editor with some sort of sharpening, I use unsharp
> > mask in the GIMP editor but they all work and a bit of gamma and or
> > color tweaking.

>
> > An issue you don't mention but might consider is how the camera handles
> > - can you get "in sync" with it? I tried a Pentax before I settled on
> > the Nikon and it handled a little better than the Nikon - a number of
> > the common operations were easier & more natural on the Pentax. You
> > want to be able to be consistent with the camera you end up with for
> > this job.

>
> I won't rule out sharpening by software if I
> can "legitimize" it to myself in the context of
> what I'm doing, but I'll cross that bridge when
> I come to it.
>
> The handling issue is turning out to be a factor.
> I want the exact same zoom for each scene, which
> I'll be shooting on successive days. The way I get
> this with the SP-350 is to zoom to maximum focal
> length and then give the spring-loaded lever a
> predetermined number of quick pushes to back out
> that number of steps and no more. I'll be able to
> decide in the next few days whether this is
> practical.


It would seem that a DSLR with a fixed focal length lens would be
perfect for what you are looking at. The cost is really getting
pretty low for a setup like this.

Scott

 
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