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Old Thursday 25th January 2007, 14:34   #1
Alan G
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Super Super Zoom

Olympus anounce a new 18x (!) zoom camera today:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0701/07...mpusp550uz.asp

Be interesting to see how it performs?
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Old Thursday 25th January 2007, 14:48   #2
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Would be a lot lighter to humph [carry] about .
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Old Thursday 25th January 2007, 16:11   #3
normjackson
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dcresource "first look" here :
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ol...ew/index.shtml
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Old Thursday 25th January 2007, 19:08   #4
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On paper it certainly looks very good indeed with IS0 sensitivity up 5000 (!), "BrightCapture Technology" for low light, good close focus, optical image stabilisation, competitive pricing and so on. One thing though, does the wide angle starting point of the lens mean that the 'real world' magnification will actually be x18? I'm an utter novice when it comes to technical issues, but I recall being told the the claimed magnification of such lenses isn't always what it seems, John
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Old Thursday 25th January 2007, 19:35   #5
Keith Reeder
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Hi John,

the 18x value come from the fact that it will zoom from 28mm to 504mm: 504/28 = 18.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 06:54   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cantelo
I'm an utter novice when it comes to technical issues, but I recall being told the the claimed magnification of such lenses isn't always what it seems,
Yes, there often marketing tricks at work with "zoom" figures given for cameras. There are two ways to think of "zoom" - true optical zoom that yields increased magnification and resolution, and fake apparent "zoom" defined by the frame size. Often camera companies will claim that simple cropping of the frame size is "zoom", when there is no optical zoom involved and no increase in resolution. This is the dreaded "digital zoom" and what Panasonic terms "EZ" mode. These are cropping modes, instead of zoom. They can be useful, but should NOT be confused with true zoom. (If you crop down to a single pixel you can claim something like 50000x zoom!) Shame on them!

As Keith said above, the optical zoom of this model appears to be a genuine 18x. There are probably the usual digital "zoom" cropping mode beyond that, as well.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 07:34   #7
John Fleet
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According to the DC review:
'There will be support for conversion lenses, both wide and telephoto. The wide lens (WCON-07) will lower the focal range to 19.6 mm, while the tele lens (TCON-17) boosts it to a whopping 856.8 mm!'

-- so my TCON-17 can live on!
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 08:56   #8
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Vs Sony Alpha

This gives me an interesting problem. I am in the market for a DSLR but don't have the funds to buy what I REALLY want (champagne ideas-beer money).
I had just about decided on the Sony Alph 100 with a Sigma zoom-say 70-300/400. Now this comes out.
The only draw back I can readily see with the Olympus is the lower pixels 7,000 as against 10,000 for the Sony.
I was also going to say the maximum length of 500mm but if you can convert to 865mm ??
I certainly like the idea of being able to carry it around as any other 'small' digital because I combine bird watching with walking.
Can anyone see any problems or reasons to prfer one above the other ??

Last edited by David Smith : Friday 26th January 2007 at 09:00.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 10:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Smith
This gives me an interesting problem. I am in the market for a DSLR but don't have the funds to buy what I REALLY want (champagne ideas-beer money).
I had just about decided on the Sony Alph 100 with a Sigma zoom-say 70-300/400. Now this comes out.
The only draw back I can readily see with the Olympus is the lower pixels 7,000 as against 10,000 for the Sony.
I was also going to say the maximum length of 500mm but if you can convert to 865mm ??
I certainly like the idea of being able to carry it around as any other 'small' digital because I combine bird watching with walking.
Can anyone see any problems or reasons to prfer one above the other ??
A DSLR is going to have much better resolution and image quality for the same equivalent focal length. You have to balance features, image quality, portability and affordability according to your own needs....
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 11:48   #10
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Thanks for that. I am now going to show my ignorance:-
I assume DSLR stands for digital single lense reflex. Is the Olympus not classed as a DSLR even though it is a fixed lense ? If so, why should the resolution etc be less ? I can understand that 'low end' P&S would normally be lesser quality but should this automatically be the case for the Olympus and if so would the difference be obvious to the eye.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 11:53   #11
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Well, it appears that Olympus finally got it right! I've been wanting to replace my C-750 for awhile now and have been very tempted by the Canon S3IS. But I kept waiting to see who would come out with what. I'm glad I waited! Hope it tests as good as it looks.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 12:53   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Smith
Thanks for that. I am now going to show my ignorance:-
I assume DSLR stands for digital single lense reflex. Is the Olympus not classed as a DSLR even though it is a fixed lense ? If so, why should the resolution etc be less ?
I'm a camera novice as well, and I'll admit that part was actually speculation on my part. There isn't any law that says that a point-and-shoot HAS to perform less well than a DSLR, but the DSLR is a larger more expensive camera which is usually built with higher quality components, more sensitive sensors, and fitted with larger higher quality lenses. Some slight edge in performance would be expected for the same equivalent focal length. Nevertheless, if the camera is designed well and used properly the differences could be so small you wouldn't care.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 15:02   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cantelo
One thing though, does the wide angle starting point of the lens mean that the 'real world' magnification will actually be x18? I'm an utter novice when it comes to technical issues, but I recall being told the the claimed magnification of such lenses isn't always what it seems, John
What others have answered already is accurate - the lens really is 18x. The misleading part comes in when the public assumes that 18x means 18 times more magnification than your eye view. As you surmised in your question, the actual highest magnification is NOT 18x normal view because it starts at wide angle, not at normal view.

This is not really the camera maker's fault or them trying to lie. It is just how folks incorrectly interpret the info.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 15:10   #14
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the human eye sees things at a camera equivalent of 50-55mm...so 504mm in this 18x Olympus talk is approx 10x mag to the human eye. The Panasonic FZ50 is not too far behind (420mm) about 8x. And yes, it's the difference between the wide angle (28mm) and telephoto (504mm) that creates the 18x. The FZ50 starts at 35mm...so it's a 12x.
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 15:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp_rattler
the human eye sees things at a camera equivalent of 50-55mm...so 504mm in this 18x Olympus talk is approx 10x mag to the human eye. The Panasonic FZ50 is not too far behind (420mm) about 8x. .
In this not subject to the sensor size - e.g the 50-55mm is with a 35mm sensor. could well be wrong (I usually am!)
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Old Friday 26th January 2007, 22:22   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Smith
Thanks for that. I am now going to show my ignorance:-
I assume DSLR stands for digital single lense reflex. Is the Olympus not classed as a DSLR even though it is a fixed lense ? If so, why should the resolution etc be less ? I can understand that 'low end' P&S would normally be lesser quality but should this automatically be the case for the Olympus and if so would the difference be obvious to the eye.
Regards
Dave
The difference in image quality between a digital SLR and a superzoom camera like the Olympus, is the size of the sensor and therefore the size of the individual pixels. Small chip camera like the Olympus have much smaller pixels and that leads to more noise and less accurately recorded light. The larger sensor and larger pixels of a digital SLR tend to much higher image quality. There is much more to image quality than the number of pixels and many small chip cameras have in fact put too many pixels on their small chips and negatively affected image quality. Small chip cameras can still take great pictures (I use one myself) but they have their limitations (usually they need good light) that have to be regonized.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2007, 00:14   #17
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Thanks RAH & Swamp Rattler - this was what I rather inarticulately wanted to point out. It certainly looks a fine camera, but I don't think it's time to upgrade my Panosonic FZ30 yet (that Leica lens is very good!), John
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Old Saturday 27th January 2007, 13:24   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy C
In this not subject to the sensor size - e.g the 50-55mm is with a 35mm sensor. could well be wrong (I usually am!)
No, you are mixing up the specifications of DSLR lenses, which are interchangeable, with the specifications for FIXED-LENS cameras ("point-and-shoots"; "super-zooms").

When the manufacturer specifies the mm for a fixed-lens camera, it specifies it in 35mm camera terms - i.e. it does the conversion to the 35mm equivalent for you. For example, with my Fuji E900, the specs say it has a 32mm-114mm lens. But, in fact, if you look closely at the camera, the lens really says "7.2. - 28.8mm", which is pretty meaningless. The 32-114mm spec has already been converted to 35mm equivalency for you, to be more meaningful.

So, you may wonder, why don't lens manufacturers do the same thing with lenses for DSLRs? Why do they specify the real numbers and require you to do the conversion (e.g. multiply by 1.6 or whatever)? Well, the answer is that the lens can be used on different cameras, and since they don't know what you'll be using it on, they have no choice but to give you the actual numbers.
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