New cameras worse than old ones?

cupax

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I don't know if I have a wrong view on the world, but I have a feeling that newer cameras have worse pictures than old ones. Here I mean cameras with less pixels have sharper pictures with less noise. I think this makes some sense, since if you put more pixels on a same chip size, they have to be smaller so they need more light, resulting in needing of higher ISOs, noise compression and exposure times. If you reduce pixels on a high pixel camera it will just use a smaller part of it's chip, so the picture will not be better. (I'm not sure about all that, I'm just guessing here).

I'm writing this because I just returned a brand new Panasonic TZ3 which was a big disapointment because of very dull, non sharp pictures. And looking back to my photo albums I realised, that from all cameras I've had my favorite is still my first, a FujiFilm 2600, a 2MP compact camera. Yes maybe it wasn't the best "natural" camera, but I love it's sharpness and strong, almost cartoonish colors.

So since I never print my pictures, never do any post production (so I don't care about pixels), where can I find a camera that has less noise possible, as sharp as it can be and have strong colors?
 

usayit

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I still think that technology moves forward at enough rate that in general the newest cameras are an improvement.

In terms of film cameras, hell yeh.. the older ones were generally built better.
 

Sideburns

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You are kinda off...
The only reason your old pictures look better to you is probably because the jpeg gets over saturated and whatnot in the camera before you get to it. That's all.

I think most GOOD cameras...the picture is kind of boring when it comes out of the camera most times. However, after post processing, it shows the true potential.

If you want the sharpest camera with the best potential for a nice picture, you want an SLR. Canon, Nikon, Pentax...whatever. Pick one that feels nice in your hand and get it.

You WILL post process if you want good pictures. There's really no way around this other than buying a crappy point and shoot that overdoes the picture when it saves the jpeg.
 

Big Mike

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Yes, you are somewhat right that cramming more pixels onto a tiny chip will give you more digital noise and maybe other problems...but the image should still be sharp.

There are plenty of factors at work here. The processor in the camera will have a lot to do with the noise levels...this technology is improving all the time.
The quality of the lens is a big factor.

A big part of the problem is that most digital cameras have sensors that are still very small.

Digital SLR cameras have sensors that are much bigger than 98% of digital camera. This allows for an image with less noise. Most lenses for SLR cameras are better than a typical digi-cam lens...but you can also use top quality lenses with are much better.
 

Garbz

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Could also be with the increase in sensor resolution when you zoom to 100% you are gradually showing more and more lens limitations. Imagine how blurry the Hassleblad H3D would be with the kit 18-55mm from Nikon on it.
 

adolan20

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Could it be that camera sensors have gotten smaller as society is looking for a smaller camera that is "pocketable?"
 
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cupax

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I see most of you are professionals or at least prosumers. I'm not, I don't need a SLR but a point'n'shoot pocket size camera that requires no postprocessing.

Here are some test photos so you judge:
(All photos are taken in full automatic mode with auto flash, 100% cutout - no resampling)

Panasonic TZ3:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/TZ3_tree.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/TZ3_jesus.jpg

FujiFilm S5100:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/S5100_tree.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/S5100_jesus.jpg

My good old FujiFilm 2600:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/2600_table.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/2600_chicago.jpg

Comparing the TZ3 and S5100 (both 10x optical zoom) they produce a lot of noise but the S5100 is way more balanced and sharp, while the TZ3 is just awfull.
Then I look back at my 2600 (died on me a few years ago), at the party table picture that is just wonderful, especially if you consider it was made in a dark room.
 

Alex_B

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didn't have a look at those images, but from personal experience with friend's cameras I seem to see a trend that some follow up models of cameras 1 or 2 years old have more noise and overall IQ looks worse.

this is the price you pay for smaller sensors & smaller lenses (even p&s cams are smaller than they used to be) and more MPs.
 

JerryPH

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I personally don't think that true. I gave my mother my old 3.2MP Kodak and look at her pics and mine side by side of the samce scene. Honestly, no comparison. Now... looking back at pics of my old Kodak 1MP vs the 3.2MP, well, in my cases technology definately moved forward and pics improved visibly. If I throw the Nikon E8800 into the fray (its not really a P&S), it is even better. I am happily now doing things with my D200 that I have never done before. Kinda ironic, though, but I am also now SO MUCH MORE critical of my pictures than I ever was. In the olden days, I was happy that I could make out what I took a pic of... now I pixel peep, post process and in general do a lot more than before to get the same level of satisfaction... but thats not the camera's fault, just mine as I grow in this hobby.

I don't see the trend you are, but I did look at your pics, and I basically think you are comparing apples and oranges. A newer poorer quality camera against an older better one, nothing more than that. Not all newer cameras are better... but the vast majority definately are.
 

pm63

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I see most of you are professionals or at least prosumers. I'm not, I don't need a SLR but a point'n'shoot pocket size camera that requires no postprocessing.

Here are some test photos so you judge:
(All photos are taken in full automatic mode with auto flash, 100% cutout - no resampling)

Panasonic TZ3:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/TZ3_tree.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/TZ3_jesus.jpg

FujiFilm S5100:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/S5100_tree.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/S5100_jesus.jpg

My good old FujiFilm 2600:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/2600_table.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/2600_chicago.jpg

Comparing the TZ3 and S5100 (both 10x optical zoom) they produce a lot of noise but the S5100 is way more balanced and sharp, while the TZ3 is just awfull.
Then I look back at my 2600 (died on me a few years ago), at the party table picture that is just wonderful, especially if you consider it was made in a dark room.

Yeah, this makes your point. That TZ3 is TERRIBLE, an absolute disgrace, I don't blame you for return. The old Fuji is indeed the best by a long way. I love the old school Dorito packaging on that old pic! :)

JerryPH might be right though. Personally I don't know enough to comment on this.
 
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cupax

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I spoke with a digital photography expert and he pointed me to one model - Fujifilm F30/F31fd. Looking at the test photos I can say that it is just incredible and beats any more expensive camera in the compact class. The secret? An ultra sensitive chip (iso3200) instead of more pixels. Judge by yourself - check out the blue skies in the sample photos at 100%: no trace of noise at all:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_reviews/fuji_f30_samples.html

And yes, is again a Fuji and it has (only) 6MP. Too bad is out of production.
 

table1349

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I see most of you are professionals or at least prosumers. I'm not, I don't need a SLR but a point'n'shoot pocket size camera that requires no postprocessing.

Here are some test photos so you judge:
(All photos are taken in full automatic mode with auto flash, 100% cutout - no resampling)

Panasonic TZ3:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/TZ3_tree.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/TZ3_jesus.jpg

FujiFilm S5100:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/S5100_tree.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/S5100_jesus.jpg

My good old FujiFilm 2600:
http://www.cheppadorro.com/2600_table.jpg
http://www.cheppadorro.com/2600_chicago.jpg

Comparing the TZ3 and S5100 (both 10x optical zoom) they produce a lot of noise but the S5100 is way more balanced and sharp, while the TZ3 is just awfull.
Then I look back at my 2600 (died on me a few years ago), at the party table picture that is just wonderful, especially if you consider it was made in a dark room.


I can take the same three cameras that you have and get the exact opposite results. You ARE NOT shooting the same thing with the same settings. Per the Exif data the TZ3 was shoot with an ISO of 400. The S5100 was shot at an ISO of 200 and the 2600 was shot at an ISO of 100.

That is like having a race between a KIA and a Corvette and removing 4 of the Corvettes spark plugs. Try setting the cameras to the exact same settings and try your test again. Point and Shoot cameras are known for having poor high ISO performance.

All three cameras were set up differently from the factory as well. P&S cameras shooting .jpgs are set to do in camera processing. This is something you can change in the camera to your liking. Once you have everything on as level a playing field as possible then you can do a true test comparison.

Good luck.
 
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cupax

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Try setting the cameras to the exact same settings and try your test again.

Yes, I tried also setting them manually. The result was, that the TZ3's picture at ISO100 was very underexposed/dark, so unusable as well (and you can't set manually the exposure time).

And I'll repeat, that I don't want to do any postproduction and don't want to setup the camera manually before each photo. The Fuji 2600 was just that and it worked perfectly, the TZ3 doesn't.

What I want to point in this thread is, that the photo companies are just increasing the "selling point" pixels while sacrifising the picture quality. Then who really needs 12M pixels to print vacation pictures from a supercompact camera?

The Fuji F31 is an existing proof that this shouldn't be like this. Is way better to have a super sensitive chip with less pixels than a very slow/noisy chip with more pixels. I sooo wish they would still produce them but I bet it didn't sell well with "only" 6MP for the year 2007.
 

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