Worse F number in some newer digital compact models..

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by HDRshy, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. HDRshy

    HDRshy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hi, I have a predictably newbie question. I'm looking to buy a good compact digital camera. Of course I understood that the lower the F number, the better, for less than optimal light conditions, particularly for handheld shooting outdoors, without a flash nor a tripod.

    But looking at some product lines, I can't understand why, for example Canon in its 3xx HS Digital compact line, made the Elph 330HS camera with f3.0, and the later models have been designed with worse F numbers - 340HS, 360HS and SX720, for example.

    Could it be that in recent years manufacturers have found alternate ways of achieving the same effect of a low F number? or are those newer cameras just designed to be cheaper? in short, is there some more dominant factor to look for as light sensitivity criteria, instead of the F number, such as better ISO range or sensor size? (as some have suggested to me, for example, that the increased resolutions make up for poor optical zoom capability).

    Many thanks for any advice...!


     
  2. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    18,491
    Likes Received:
    4,823
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Technically, the f number is simply a mathematical ratio, so technology cannot change it without actually changing either the focal length or the aperture, which is how the f number is figured.

    They do, of course have differing technologies, which can be said to produce better photos at less than optimum conditions, such as low light.

    If I were to begin my search for a good compact camera, I would visit several review sites, and read and compare specs. Some websites seem to favor the cameras that are given/loaned to the reviewer, so you should try to gather your information in an unbiased way. If I found that the same camera got one of the top three ratings on several different sites, then I would have more confidence in the reviews being offered.
     
  3. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    19,267
    Likes Received:
    14,709
    Location:
    Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    F number worse.... hmmmmmm....
    Respectfully, you do not have a clear understanding of what you want to buy or what your looking at or maybe you just didn't communicate it well. If the sensor sizes are all the same, what differentiates them? I would never buy a camera based on the F number.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,695
    Likes Received:
    491
    Lenses with "worse" f numbers, as you put it, are smaller, lighter and cheaper. They require less correction of optical aberrations. They can be simpler as well. If you want a faster lens be prepared to pay more for it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    48,229
    Likes Received:
    18,870
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    THIS ^^^^^^^^^^ ! Yes, agreed. The lower the cost at retail, the lower the specifications of the lens and camera. In recent years, there's been a loss of sales in compact cameras; seven years ago compacts were selling well. After having been on a big sales upswing, compact sales have declined evere since the iPhone and other smart phones hit, and camera makers have been scaling down the prices and features as sales and revenue have dropped like a stone.

    Ten years ago, there were high-end compacts that were in fierce competition with other models from multiple makers, and sensor performance at elevated ISO levels was ABYSMAL, so faster-aperture lenses were a good idea, and people wanted them, and would pay for them, but sensor performance has increased substantially among severeal makers, and now it is no longer critical to have a fast-aperture lens. And besides, the market just cannot support higher-end compacts in a wide-ranging way. Only a select few high-end compacts are left in today's market.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    41,401
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    FWIW - f/2 (1/2 a pie) is a way bigger number (and a way larger lens aperture)
    than f/16 (1/16th of a pie) is.

    O!M!G! - FRACTIONS
     
  7. PaulWog

    PaulWog No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,153
    Likes Received:
    188
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You're better off comparing specific models of compact cameras, rather than individual specs. However, *do* make sure to avoid any articles that compare photograph quality in a poorly constructed way.

    The end result is what matters. A faster aperture doesn't inherently mean better or worse picture quality.
     
  8. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,898
    Likes Received:
    394
    - If you think older cameras are better ... great ! Get them for cheap on the used market.

    - F-number is worthless if you have to stop the lens down because its bright sunlight and the camera cant have high enough shutterspeeds. Which isnt rare with compact cameras at all.

    - Low f-number is expensive to realize in a lens. That means image quality is likely to suffer in return.

    - Larger sensor trumps f-number, by far. Larger sensor means the noise at base ISO will be less. Meaning more fine details will be possible to record. Thus, twice as large sensor with half as big f-stop ? HUGE WIN for image quality.

    - You talk about compact cameras of extremely low quality, to which I frankly never pay attention to, because frankly they are a complete waste of money. Use your damn smartphone for quite a bit better image quality, already. So I apologize if I'm on the wrong track with this posting about them, I really have no idea whats going on there. Though I know that the demand for this type of camera has drastically reduced - so very likely they have to cut cost in order to compensate for the increased production cost due to the smaller series.
     
  9. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,898
    Likes Received:
    394
    You're wrong.

    Its a square measurement.

    I.e. its the diameter of the aperture hole, divided by focal length. Being the diameter, and the hole being two dimensional, its square.

    Thus its not 1/2 of a pie vs 1/16 of a pie, i.e. 1/8.

    Its instead 1/(2*2) of a pie vs 1/(16*16) of a pie, i.e. 1/64: f/2 is 6 stops = 64 times brighter, than f/16.

    f/2 is twice the light of f/2.8 = 1 stop
    f/2.8 is twice the light of f/4
    f/4 is twice the light of f/5.6
    f/5.6 is twice the light of f/8
    f/8 is twice the light of f/11
    f/11 is twice the light of f/16

    As you can see: 6 stops.
     
  10. HDRshy

    HDRshy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Many thanks for all your replies.. it would make sense that the latest smartphones are better or near in quality to those cameras I mentioned...I will consider all the advice here. (Of course the latest smartphones cost many times more than any of those cameras I mentioned). I was looking for the best bang for the buck for about $150 or so, that would fit in a pocket. I know it is not in any way close to a serious photography product. Just something that I can drop without needing resuscitation...
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    48,229
    Likes Received:
    18,870
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    I bought a used Nikon S570, a 12-megapixel shirt-pocket sized digital with a 5.0mm to 25.0mm f/2.7~6.6 zoom lens for $10 about 60 days ago at a thrift store. It was made in 2009, and was a very well-reviewed $199 camera back then. It DSCN0075_2000x.JPG DSC_1715_2000x-2.JPG is smaller than a pack of cigarettes in every dimension. VERY nicely made, GOOD battery life too! I shot it during a snow even we had early this year, and finished, screen-ready .JPG images made with it were practically indistinguisable from those made with a Nikon D2x d-slr and an 80-200mm Nikon zoom lens or a 100-300mm f/5.6 Ai-S Nikkor zoom lens.
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page