better big optical zoom or big megapixels?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JWBH, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. JWBH

    JWBH Guest

    My son just rang to ask my advice about buying a digital camera. This is
    funny since I know next to nothing.

    Which is the best bet, a Casio with an X3 optical zoom with 10 Megapixels;
    or the Casio with X7 optical zoom and 7.5 Megapixels?

    If the question has not been done to death before, out of the 'latest crop'
    of pocket sized digital cameras are 'as good as any' ? thanks.
    JWBH, Feb 27, 2007
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  2. JWBH

    Bucky Guest

    Without knowing the actual cameras, I'd go for the greater optical
    zoom. IMO, more than 5 mp in compact cameras doesn't make much of a
    Bucky, Feb 27, 2007
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  3. I wonder where this megapixel madness will end with pocket sized cameras as
    it's all just marketing for gullible consumers who equate megapixels with
    quality! If 4.1 megapixels is enough for Nikons £2000 professional DSLR
    (that gets you the body only, the lens is extra!) then I'm sure it's more
    than enough for these tiny cameras!

    cheers adrian
    Adrian Boliston, Feb 27, 2007
  4. JWBH

    if Guest

    All other things being equal, if they both use the same size sensor
    (which is quite likely) I'd go for the bigger zoom as the extra
    megapixels won't improve image quality because the smaller pixels will
    suffer worse noise, and probably disproportionately so.

    OTOH if the 10mpix camera has a physically bigger sensor to match, then
    it might well give better images due to the more modest zoom range being
    less of a challenge to the lens designers. But even so, if he expects to
    use the tele end of the zoom a lot the 7x model might still be better
    even if the lens is worse, since it would avoid using digital
    if, Feb 27, 2007
  5. JWBH

    lubecki Guest

    Given the choice between a 10 megapixel compact and a 7.5 megapixel
    compact that are otherwise similar, I would definitely pick the 7.5
    megapixel one. Stuffing too many pixels on a tiny sensor causes all
    kinds of problems and reduces image quality.

    Too many pixels means pixels that are too small, which means a reduced
    dynamic range, more noise, and a lower diffraction limit (which means
    pictures with no detail). More megapixels is NOT a good thing in
    compact cameras, no matter what camera makers' marketing departments
    want you to believe.

    lubecki, Feb 27, 2007
  6. JWBH

    Watcher Guest

    That argument makes absolutely no sense at all. It sounds like a
    FutureShop droid trying to sell a P&S camera.

    The Nikon D2H is not the same as a P&S 4 megapixel toy.
    Watcher, Feb 27, 2007
  7. Call him back and find out if he is intending to do wildlife, sports and
    things like that. He might want to look at 12X optical zoom (or more).

    Megapixels have become almost meaningless unless one also looks at noise,
    dynamic range and other related factors.
    Charles Schuler, Feb 27, 2007
  8. JWBH

    ray Guest

    I would think that whether a bigger zoom with less resolution is 'better'
    would depend a lot on what he plans to use it for. IMHO 10mp is overkill
    anyway - I recently bought a Kodak P850 - 5mp with 12x zoom. I plan to do
    a fair amount of wildlife photos at long distances.
    ray, Feb 28, 2007
  9. OK what is important. Is it most important to be able to take images
    from a greater distance or is the issue the quality of the final image?

    First remember that 3X optical only means that the difference between
    the widest setting the the longest is 3X. It may mean that the entire range
    is wide angle or it may mean the entire range is very long telephoto. The
    imaging capability of the sensor may also vary so one camera with a 7.5 meg
    sensor may perform better than another with 10 meg sensor. Sensors also
    come in different physical sizes so you also need to factor that into the

    To make any kind of sense of the comparison, you need to really know
    what you want the camera to do and it is best to take some actual images
    with both cameras under conditions that simulate what the camera will be
    used for.
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 28, 2007
  10. JWBH

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Go for the optical zoom over megapixels. First, given a fixed sensor
    size, adding more pixels usually only makes for more noise, and second,
    optical zoom (assuming a good quality lens) will give you a larger image
    size on the sensor, which means more light on the sensor, and a better
    picture in the end.
    Ron Hunter, Feb 28, 2007
  11. JWBH

    POHB Guest

    A big zoom range means more opportunities for distortion and probably
    a slower lens. Back in the days of film ( ahem ) I bought a compact
    camera with a huge zoom, but the image quality at long focal lengths
    was rubbish in anything but the brightest sun because of camera
    shake. OTOH it might be great.
    POHB, Feb 28, 2007
  12. POHB wrote:
    Remember that there are cameras with f/2.8 lenses at the 432mm focal
    length (e.g. Panasonic FZ20), and many cameras offer image stabilisation
    (such as most Panasonics, the Canon S2/S3 IS) and others). They make the
    long zoom a most usable and useful feature. The Panasonic with its Leica
    lens offers excellent image quality.

    David J Taylor, Feb 28, 2007
  13. JWBH

    Yoshi Guest

    I don't buy my watches from Nikon, and I don't buy my cameras from Casio.
    Seems to work out so far.

    Yoshi, Feb 28, 2007
  14. JWBH

    Trev Guest

    But you dont know who Nikon buy there bits from.
    Trev, Feb 28, 2007
  15. JWBH

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Cameras, even P&S, with zooms above 6x often have IS as well. I
    recommend IS IF you intend to use the zoom in less than ideal
    conditions. Good glass is good glass, and bad is bad, regardless of
    what captures the image. I would go with the better zoom as it offers a
    better chance of getting a good image with more flexibility.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 1, 2007
  16. JWBH

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Discarding a product choice just because of the brand name without
    justification in fact, is pretty self-defeating.
    Casio happens to make pretty good digital cameras.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 1, 2007
  17. And my Leica underwear is far too big and heavy. ;-)
    Richard Polhill, Mar 1, 2007
  18. JWBH

    Fred Guest

    It's called name snobbery, and is very unbecoming.

    Owning several makes of digital camera, including a couple of Canons, I
    chanced purely by accident upon the Kodak P880 recently, which is an
    excellent bridge camera. I was never even aware of it until recently, simply
    because of the power of brand persuasion.

    Having previously associated the name Kodak with quality film manufacture, I
    hadn't realised that there were some real gems in their camera range as
    Fred, Mar 1, 2007
  19. Nah, my Lycra camera is extremely flexible.


    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
    the meaning of "discussion" with "digression".
    Michael J Davis, Mar 1, 2007
  20. The true metric to compare is the product of the zoom ratio times the
    square root of the number of pixels. The reason for the square root is
    that the zoom ratio is expressed in linear dimensions, and the number
    of pixels is an area thing.

    Another way to prevent having to take the square root is multiply the
    zoom ratio by the number of pixels in the horizontal direction. Just
    stick with the same metric once you start comparing.
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Mar 1, 2007
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