Monday, July 21, 2008

New compact camera

Update: it is irritating that sensor sizes are always given in arcane language that nobody understands. In this case "1/1.63-inch CCD sensor". What the hell does that mean? It sounds like it's pretty big. But the lens is only a 5-13mm zoom, which makes the diagonal of the sensor 9mm. A quite small sensor. This limits what we can expect from this camera.


A new Panasonic compact camera looks interesting. It has a larger sensor than most compacts, a quite wide zoom, and claims to be aimed at the market for connoiseurs and to have good low-light capabilities, for instance the F:2.0 lens is very unusual for a compact. It certainly has a premium price, £400*, so it will be interesting to see if the picture quality and usability lives up to that.
* Some sources predict a price in the states of $500. If this is so, I am importing one, given the current two-for-one aspect of the dollar/Sterling!

Even if it doesn't, it's gratifying to see different companies trying for a good high-end compact camera, we're sure to get there some day.

... Lordy, it seems some people already have the camera. And it also seems that the image quality is really good, at least in good light. Other samples are more dubious, having noise suppression smear at merely 125 ISO. Not great.

"... the LX3 boasts its highest resolution in the sensor's native 4:3 format, although 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios are also available at a reduced resolution. A new 'Multi-Aspect Mode' also allows photographers to capture an image in all three aspect ratios simultaneously."

... One imagines this is for photographers who don't own a computer for cropping.

Bruce helps out:
"... the LX3 boasts its highest resolution in the sensor's native 4:3 format, although 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios are also available at a reduced resolution."
This is misleading. The sensor is oversize, which means each aspect ratio can use the full 24mm circle of light. For example, 16:9 images are wider than 4:3, but not as tall. Panasonic first used this oversize sensor trick in the TZ3.
Panasonic explains on this page.

On that page is a link to a couple of sample pictures. One of them, looks like a New Orleans street scene, is interesting in that it has a lot of very dark shadow areas, which I tried to lift in Photoshop, and I must say it responded well, got less noise and "mud" than many pictures from larger cameras. A good sign.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, July 21, 2008   7 comments links to this post

7 Comments:

At 22 Jul 2008 00:02:00, Anonymous Bruce said...

"... the LX3 boasts its highest resolution in the sensor's native 4:3 format, although 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios are also available at a reduced resolution."

This is misleading. The sensor is oversize, which means each aspect ratio can use the full 24mm circle of light. For example, 16:9 images are wider than 4:3, but not as tall. Panasonic first used this oversize sensor trick in the TZ3.

Panasonic explains on this page:

http://panasonic.net/pavc/lumix/lx3/high_image.html

 
At 22 Jul 2008 01:17:00, Blogger Bert said...

A much more sensible feature set than that of the DP-1. Zoom & IS with no compromise on lens quality will make this a very serious option.

Let's hope they got the rest of the package right too. Too short a battery life or some other stupid choice could still have been made elsewhere in the design... will definitely follow the reviews.

 
At 22 Jul 2008 11:43:00, Blogger eolake said...

I agree. The zoom great enhances flexibilty (a wideangle is not great for portraits for one thing), and IS is just de rigeur by now.

 
At 22 Jul 2008 19:26:00, Blogger Final Identity said...

I'm pretty sure that the image is of Orleans at Royal, smack in the center of the French Quarter, out the back of the Cathedral. You can look it up on your favorite internet mapping program. It's definitely New Orleans, ain't it?

 
At 22 Jul 2008 22:42:00, Blogger eolake said...

Update: it is irritating that sensor sizes are always given in arcane language that nobody understands. In this case "1/1.63-inch CCD sensor". What the hell does that mean? It sounds like it's pretty big. But the lens is only a 5-13mm zoom, which makes the diagonal of the sensor 9mm. A quite small sensor. This limits what we can expect from this camera.

 
At 23 Jul 2008 18:33:00, Blogger BlankPhotog said...

Another "compact camera" strategy is to just buy another DSLR and call it your "everywhere" camera. There's a decent used market... When you buy a 3-5 year old Canikon DSLR for under $300, your level of worry about camera damage and longevity disappears!

 
At 23 Jul 2008 18:44:00, Blogger eolake said...

They're great, only you can't put them in your trouser pocket and forget about them.

 

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