"Sports" Lens vs. Zeiss Lens (Canon PowerShot A620)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jules Vide, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. Jules Vide

    Jules Vide Guest

    I've posted here several times looking for help in a situation that
    couldn't be helped. I needed high resolution photographs--*big*
    dimension, high resolution photographs--with a 4.1 HP camera.

    Yesterday I bought a Canon PowerShot A620. It's a 7.1 and cheap ($249
    usd). The clerk at the chain retail store where I bought it seemed
    reluctant to sell it to me because it didn't have a Zeiss lens. He
    said it was a "sports camera." I don't really know the difference
    between football and soccer, and I definitely don't need a camera for
    anything remotely sports-related.

    I need it for nature photographs, high resolution nature photographs.

    I've read reviews here on this Usenet group, and one person says only
    ignoramuses (such as myself) fall for the high pixel count cameras,
    when camera sensors aren't geared to accommodate high pixel size.

    I told the clerk that depending on what I learn from my 'net research,
    I may return the camera today. I'd like to know if I can take high
    resolution photographs with a 6.1 camera, and if anyone could recommend
    a 6.1 camera whose features make it more desirable than a 7.1 or

    I would also like to know exactly what is so desirable about a Zeiss
    lens IF YOU'RE AN AMATEUR. Thank you very much, as always.
    Jules Vide, Jul 3, 2006
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  2. First what exactly do you mean by the term "high resolution nature
    photographs?" Are you talking about scenic or landscape photography which
    you wish to print very large, say greater than 8x10? Are you talking about
    wildlife photography where even with a long focal length lens cropping will
    come into play?

    Next, you have to realize that it is not just the quantity of the pixels
    which count, but also the quality. The smaller the sensor, the smaller
    number of receptor sites per pixel, leading to greater noise. For example,
    my 6MP Nikon D70 blows away my 7MP Casio Z-750. But, I can't stick my D70
    in my pocket like I can the Z-750.

    If you mean scenic/lanscape photos you can always stitch images together to
    get higher resolution no matter what camera you are using. If you mean
    wildlife photography, there is no substitute for long focal length lenses,
    the faster, lower f number, the better.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Jul 3, 2006
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  3. Jules Vide

    J. Clarke Guest

    Define *big*. 8x10? 11x17? 16x20? Poster size? Wall murals?

    How closely will they normally be viewed? Arm's length? 3 feet? Across a
    room? From the highway?
    Zeiss makes very sharp lenses. If you need high resolution then Zeiss is a
    good option, but Canon also makes good lenses, as do many others. The
    basic problem is that if you want *big* high resolution photos then you may
    be in the domain of medium or large format, depending on how you define
    *big* and "high resolution".
    J. Clarke, Jul 3, 2006
  4. I think the salesman was using the term Zeiss as a figure of speech, as in
    Panasonic cameras which use Leica-designed lenses.

    Zeiss and Leica were noted for their superb optics in the sixties, and
    indeed still are, but there are many cheaper high-pixel-count cameras which
    have inferior optics/sensors and will not produce the quality of print you

    IMHO the perfect digital camera has yet to be invented, but we are getting
    there, gradually, and it isn't going to be cheap when it arrives. I regard
    pixel-counting as a guide, but only a guide, and unfortunately the ideal
    digital camera will almost certainly come from one of the big-name makers,
    and will therefore be expensive.

    Your Canon lens will probably suffice for what you use it for, and you would
    not notice any difference if the lens was a Zeiss or Leica, it's all to do
    with marketing, says he, proudly fondling his Panasonic FZ30!
    Dennis Pogson, Jul 3, 2006
  5. Jules Vide

    Jules Vide Guest

    Mr. Ruf, Could you possibly take a look at the specs on the Canon, on a
    review site of your choice, and tell me if this has a "long focal
    lens?" (Sorry for the top posting.)
    Jules Vide, Jul 3, 2006
  6. Jules Vide

    Roy G Guest


    You need to define what you mean by "big" and "high resolution".

    You new Canon A620 is an everyday sort of camera. It is not a "Sports" or
    any other specialised thing.

    You were being subjected to Sales Speak, as you were when he went on about a
    Zeiss lens. If that was built in a German factory, which only produced
    lenses, and was owned by Zeiss, then it would be worth having.

    Zeiss Lenses were not famous for outstanding designs, it was the
    craftmanship and build quality which made them superior.

    The 140mm (Equivalent) focal length lens can not be considered "Long"
    nowadays, it is only 4x its shortest length. Quite a few cameras have 10x
    or 12x lenses, and go up to 400mm ( Equivalent)

    Roy G
    Roy G, Jul 3, 2006
  7. The A620 goes to a maximum focal length of 140mm. I wouldn't call that a
    long lens. If you need a long lens, for wildlife off in the distance or
    similar, consider the Canon S3IS or one of its competitors like the
    Panasonic FZ7 or Sony H2. You'll lose a megapixel (those are all 6 MP
    cameras), but you'll get about 3 times the optical zoom power.

    The question you should be asking is "what kind of pictures do I like to
    take". Once people get an idea of your range of photographic interests,
    we can start recommending models. The A620 is, by all accounts, a
    thoroughly decent camera, but it may not be optimal for your needs.

    Daniel Silevitch, Jul 3, 2006
  8. I guess there were higher "spiffs" on the Sony cameras...
    Darrell Larose, Jul 3, 2006
  9. Jules Vide

    D Russell Guest

    I can highly recommend the Sony H2, 12x optical zoom, as someone pointed out
    is about 400mm by 35mm standards. With it's fully auto mode being very
    capable and easy to use, but also with optional full manual control, you
    have to chance to learn more "bells and whistles" as you grow more
    comfortable with the camera.

    I like to always have my camera with me, and for many years used a 2MP
    canon, because it was cheap enough to take anywhere, and small enough not
    to worry about. The Sony is a little larger, but still fits into a quite
    small camera bag, which is easily belt mountable and thus unobtrusive.

    My only bug bear at the moment, is the constant whirring noises the camera
    makes when turned on, seems some motor is constantly going. Before anyone
    jumps in, it's not auto-focus, or zoom motors, just some internal system. I
    should email Sony to query it sometime. It doesn't register on video, and
    thus I don't consider it a major problem.

    D Russell, Jul 3, 2006
  10. Jules Vide

    Jules Vide Guest

    Thank you for clarifying and articulating my problem. I need a camera
    that will take landscape photographs that will give me 300 DPI for a 6"
    x 9" book cover.

    The sharpness or specificity of, say, a moose in the distance (or even
    Rocky the Squirrel) isn't a concern. Frankly, I didn't want to buy
    another digital camera within less than a year at all (I currently own
    a 4.1, whose resolution falters at just about 6 x 9, 300 DPI). I
    posted two days ago about trolling the Internet for high resolution
    autumn images; this is what I bought the camera for. I do not need to
    see the vein in every deciduous red or golden leaf.

    But as long as we're on the subject of print size, if any salesman or
    saleswoman with integrity sold me the 4.1 a year ago, they would have
    told me you can't take 8 x 10 portraits without turning the subject
    into an object of ridicule, what with the watermelon-head effect and
    all. So I'd like my combined "spend-age" of $400+ to have been worth
    the ability to take a decent portrait--as well as some melancholy
    autumn forest images.

    (BTW, if anyone can recommend a site with melancholy autumn forest
    images, where the download doesn't cost more than a new digital camera,
    I'm still interested.)

    Thank you again.
    Jules Vide, Jul 3, 2006
  11. Jules Vide

    Jules Vide Guest

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, because you address an
    ignorance I should rectify before returning/refunding the A620 becomes
    moot. Someone on another newsgroup (involving camcorders, not digital
    cameras) said that any optical "promise' over 10x is gaudy "beads for
    the natives" even if other mutually dependent features of a camera are
    top of the line. This poster claimed that only a very very VERY
    expensive camera can successully tackle optical zoom above-and-beyond

    I think what I really need is a good online primer detailing exactly
    what those features are, because I do realize that megapixel count is
    bells-and-whistles for digital morons such as yours truly.
    Jules Vide, Jul 3, 2006
  12. Jules Vide

    Bartok Guest

    I own both a Canon A620 and I have a Carl Zeiss lens on a Sony camera. Both
    cameras are very good. The A620 is sooooooo good my friends do the WOW!
    thing when I show them a 8X10 picture. The Zeiss lens in on an older Sony
    camera and I still use it for certain things since it has an f2.0 rating
    it's really fast and I can also use it for infrared photography. The Zeiss
    lens is great, but does it render better photos than the Canon? No. Is the
    Canon a "Sports" camera? No, it's a great all around camera that is now
    lower in price. Maybe the salesman didn't have as much vig in the Canon as
    in something not marked down. I think this is a vigorish question. Ask the
    salesman what the spiff is on the unmarked camera.
    Bartok, Jul 3, 2006
  13. Not at all. If you look at some of the detailed reviews of e.g. the
    Panasonic FZ7 (or the Canon, or the Sony), you'll find that the lenses
    typically perform quite well over the entire zoom range. Yes, if you pay
    big big bucks for professional-quality SLR lenses, you can do better,
    but the superzooms are pretty good.

    I have an FZ5 (predecessor to the FZ7, and they use the same lens), and
    I don't have any trouble getting sharp pictures all the way to the 432mm
    (aka 12x) limit of the zoom.

    Daniel Silevitch, Jul 3, 2006
  14. Jules Vide

    J. Clarke Guest

    In that case you need a minimum of 2700 pixels horizontally by 1800
    vertically. Just about any current production digital camera can do that
    under some circumstances--what you get for more money is a wider range of
    circumstances under which it can do it.
    I still don't really understand what you're on about with "watermelon head
    effect", if you are getting distortion such that subjects' heads appear
    elongated that is not in the camera, that is in your post-processing, most
    likely you are stretching the image to fit the frame instead of cropping it
    to fit.
    Have you gone through flickr.com? Once you find an image you like what
    you'll pay for it depends on the photographer and on your negotiating
    J. Clarke, Jul 3, 2006
  15. Jules Vide

    Jules Vide Guest

    No, this was what the clerk called the inability of a smaller
    pixel-size camera to take pictures that are both large *and* clear.
    Not to sound pathetic, but after reading most of the responses on this
    thread, I went to www.howstuffworks.com and started reading about
    digital cameras. I'm apparently not mistaken in believing you *do*
    need a larger pixel-size camera to take 8 x 10 portraits where the
    person whose portrait is being taken is centered in a way you'd see in
    traditional (film-based) portrait-sittings.
    I just found that site within the hour, and now I recall
    creativecommons. Thanks again. Whoever you are, you're a virtual
    repository of electronics knowledge.
    Jules Vide, Jul 3, 2006
  16. Jules Vide

    J. Clarke Guest

    You need to start ignoring sales clerks and start paying attention to what
    you are seeing. If you can describe this "watermelon head effect" perhaps
    someone can help you deal with it, but it is not a term that is known to
    anyone in the industry other than your sales clerk. If you can post an
    example of it somewhere then maybe someone can advise you.

    You should rather than looking for "larger pixel size" instead try shooting
    at different distances and different angles.
    I don't see where larger pixel size is necessary for portraits--larger pixel
    size generally is of benefit at high ISOs, and for formal portraits you
    have complete control of the lighting, so there is no need for high ISOs.
    Further, portraits generally benefit from some degree of softening, so you
    don't even need high resolution all that badly for portraits.

    As far as the portrait being centered in a particular way, that is entirely
    up to the photographer and has nothing to do with the camera unless it has
    a really, really _bad_ finder design.
    J. Clarke, Jul 4, 2006
  17. I think you and the OP may be talking about different things. The OP seems
    to be talking a pixel count, not sensor size, as pixels themselves have no
    size associated with them. I brought up the idea that all pixels aren't
    necessarily the same. I much prefer the 6mp results of my older D70
    compared to my 7mp tiny Z-750. But they are designed with different
    compromises in mind, the Z-750 being about the size of a pack of
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Jul 4, 2006
  18. Jules Vide

    Roy G Guest

    Hi all.

    I think the "Watermelon head" refers to an earlier posting where someone, (I
    suspect this poster), was complaining about Pixel count causing this effect
    in prints.

    What I believe is really happening, and I explained this in the previous
    thread, is that "Big Head" portraits are being taken on a 12x9 format

    They are being sent off, unedited, for printing at 10 x 8 or 6 x 4. The
    resulting Auto Cropping is cutting off the top and bottom of the image,
    leaving only a Big Face, without most of the hair and neck. This he is
    calling Watermelon.

    It has nothing to do with Pixel count or Pixel size, but he appears to be
    listening to a Shop Assistant who seems to know even less than the average

    Roy G
    Roy G, Jul 4, 2006
  19. Jules Vide

    GMAN Guest

    What the hell gives these retail dorks the right to withhold the sale of an
    item that a customer requests? Most salesmen i see at retail stores anymore
    are arrogant little tweener zitfaced freaks with Peter Brady affros.
    GMAN, Jul 6, 2006
  20. Jules Vide

    y_p_w Guest

    Of course one of the problems with that much zoom is that
    camera shake will have a greater effect.

    I've tried the max zoom on my S1 IS and now my S3 IS. The
    image stabilization helps a bit, but I could probably get
    better results by using a tripod or monopod. However - I
    can definitely say there is a usable zoom range all the
    way up to the max, and maybe a limited amount of digital
    Again - it can depend on how steady the photographer is.
    There are also tradeoffs in producing an inexpensive
    high-zoom lens, but I find my Canon S3 IS produces usable
    shots. A Canon EF 70-200 F4 on a 20D would probably be
    much better for maybe $1700, but I got mine for about
    $400. I can get good outdoor zoom shots, but a pricier
    setup can get really good shots.
    y_p_w, Jul 6, 2006
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