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Are They Pro quality image wise???


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#81 echeng

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:36 AM

How fast is fast, how high is high, when does it no longer matter--for me---we crossed that threshold this year and I no longer care. I now care about small size, low impact, small footprint, versatility, minimal travel size and weight. The IQ benchmark for me has been passed and exceeded as the printing equipment, projecting equipment and display equipment I have at my disposal is the greater limiting variables than my choice of camera format.

You're right that it totally depends on what you're satisfied with. I shoot a lot of fast subjects in wide angle. Would a G11 or S90 have worked for my last two trips? Absolutely not. Chaining a wide-angle adapter onto existing optics degrades image quality, and shutter lag and small buffers would make it hard to capture the action as necessary. Having a small camera would have been great for swimming, though. Some of my best dolphin shots were taken when I took a tiny Seatool housed Digital Rebel. Those images were better simply because I could keep up with the dolphins and position myself properly, whereas I could not when I was lugging a Seacam with SuperDome.
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#82 crawdad

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:09 PM

One thing that I find interesting, many stock agencies will not accept submissions from compact cameras, even those with 12mp and higher, yet will accept those from a 6 or 8mp SLR.

So for those of us who submit to certain stock agencies, we have no choice but to use an SLR.


Excellent point, if a person were to be dealing with, sharing or selling images to an agency then it makes sense to comply with their standards, like them or not, good point.
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#83 TheRealDrew

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:11 PM

You're right that it totally depends on what you're satisfied with. I shoot a lot of fast subjects in wide angle. Would a G11 or S90 have worked for my last two trips? Absolutely not. Chaining a wide-angle adapter onto existing optics degrades image quality, and shutter lag and small buffers would make it hard to capture the action as necessary. Having a small camera would have been great for swimming, though. Some of my best dolphin shots were taken when I took a tiny Seatool housed Digital Rebel. Those images were better simply because I could keep up with the dolphins and position myself properly, whereas I could not when I was lugging a Seacam with SuperDome.



Exactly, different tools for different things, coupled with expectations and goals. I was happy when I went to dSLR for UW after holding out for a bit. As all things, a bit of bigger pain to carry and set up, but it made shooting more enjoyable. (One of the big things was RAW with decent buffer/write speeds and shutter lag.) The only big game changer lately, for me, is how video has been added. Being able to carry just one camera for some things has been nice. I have done that on a couple of non-diving trips and was able to get the video and stills I wanted. Now if they can only make a nice, light, weatherproof 17-200 or 17-250 EF lens that performs reasonably well. I am not asking for too much, it doesn't have to be faster than f-4 ;)

#84 crawdad

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:26 PM

Funny, I don't see any PRO QUALITY images being shared in this thread! OK, there are a couple images, but not from those who purport to be hooked on vision and art.


Shots I might like you would find disagreement with and rest assured, until there is some universal yard stick, and there isn't and never will be, your vision might be pedantic and tired to my eyes, no insult intended at all, just fact, we all have different tastes and MP count or even IQ is not my defining criteria.

I am so tired of technically correct images that say nothing to me and an SLR is not the determining factor to the relevance of a photo. Art is another undefined concept, perhaps that is what makes it art but I don't think it is the brush or the camera. The Mona Lisa would have been superior had it been painted with fingers and sticks on burlap, some exaggeration allowed.

The thread asks are they pro quality, since aside from the excellent point made concerning stick trade, words like "pro" and amateur and pro quality are without value. If your statement is that only a dSLR can take pro quality photos or capture the art of human vision, you are wrong, and, I will just tell you so.

This is a P&S/Compact forum, BTW, if we are happy with our substandard equipment, why does it matter.
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#85 cor

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:28 PM

A few years ago desktop computers (dSLR) were the go to machines, when clock speed (Image Quality) got crazy beyond the point of using it as a comparison tool (the human requirement) then miniaturization (lap tops) will be the next move (EVIL and Micro and HQ P&S). Lap top computers run programs today that a desk top a few years ago would struggle with

And laptops now struggle with the raw power that desktops provide. My 8 CPU, 16GB memory, 4TB disk, dual graphical card desktop can run circles around my laptop. I do serious image work on my desktop, not on my laptop. This is a cycle that will continue for many years to come.

Will we be having this argument, which I guess it is, five years from now when the dSLR has 40MP and the whatever other class there is of camera has 38.5MP and both are fast as lightening with low noise and easy handling?

You seem to think that camera manufacturers will simply lie down and give up on innovating (and making money). In 5 years time maybe 40MP will be the default, and all cameras will have that. But then maybe they will have added quantum storage to my SLR, and it can hold 18 hours of 4096p video. Camera manufacturers will do whatever they need to do to make more money, and that will include differentiating their product portfolio so they can cover the market from 'cheap' to 'expensive'. While the big fad now is video on SLRs, some other fad will be available on cameras in 5 years that make it impossible for pros to move to cheap cameras because someone will demand the output of that latest fad. Just like clients now are starting to demand HD video along with images.

There will always be a market for the whole customer range.
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#86 TheRealDrew

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:45 PM

This is a P&S/Compact forum, BTW, if we are happy with our substandard equipment, why does it matter.



The original post in 2005 was asking to compare dSLR & P&S. Nothing had been posted since last July, then you mentioned the G11 etc and that DSL is going to die. Of course that will lead to discussions ;) I do not think people are trying to say you (or anyone) is using substandard equipment, and alot of the people responding also carry P&S and use them. But there are still some differences that can affect shooting.

No one is trying to dismiss how important the person handling the camera is to the whole process nor are people trying to say a P&S cannot be a perfect choice. And if your (meaning any of us you) camera does what you want it to do in terms of performance, printing and the rest that is fine. But measuring and answering the pros & cons so that people making a decision when asking for advice is needed and to not do so would not be in the best interests of people looking for information. If you go through other threads on the subject there are countless examples of the discussion.

#87 Drew

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 01:49 PM

Again, I guess we don't read each others post. I clearly stated that "pro quality" was an ill defined concept. If you can define it for yourself fine, what if I don't agree with your definition?

As mentioned several times in this thread, there are technical definitions and requirements made by agencies for reproduction on print etc. It is not some individual arbitrary level set by individuals, but by professionals for professionals as a guideline for submission to the print publication arena, based on many criteria such as pixel density/sensor size, lenses, resolution etc. That is why "professional quality" is set, since those are the criteria set by the requirements of the publishers.
That said, if you have an image that captures a special moment (eg: the picture of the jet which crashed in DC for national newspapers were taken from an iPhone), then obviously it will be printed in newspapers and magazines. However as a guideline by stock agencies and even publishers, they want APS-C DSLR. Now you can argue till you're blue in the face that's not right etc, but so it stays.
I have a friend who owned one of the bigger underwater stock agencies and he use to tell me that 4-6mp from a DSLR was all that was necessary for most print in reality. Then the agencies and publications changed the minimum from 6 to 12mp DSLR, so even he had to upgrade his cameras to follow suit.
There are always exceptions and compacts certainly have a place for the professional. Take Alex Majoli, who shot for newspapers with 4-6 P&S in hand for the Iraq war coverage, yet he has DSLR gear for his other photography needs. A few companies have made APS-C sensor compacts like the DP1/2, and Leica even went all the way with a 35mm sensor X1. Do they believe in the hype or you think there's some truth in what is expected from cameras?
The internet has changed how certain publications can function, and the demands on image quality is very different for that media. Take the ViDSLR which has taken the PJ/newspaper roles and shaken it up. Now the local PJ can cover the story in stills, shoot a newscast with a reporter for the web and even broadcast in 1080p (look at Dan Chung at the Guardian UK website for eg.) Now I think even a few compacts offer 1080p H.264 but the quality is mush and again unacceptable for anything more than a 320p low res internet reel. And don't get me started on broadcast video and those requirements ;)

You guys, some of you, are hooked on numbers and specs and not vision and art.

That's just part of the professional grind as it were. Art and vision are subjective, the guidelines for professional print quality are not. Then you have to realize that much of the visionary art we see in publications are taken by those same cameras which have to adhere to those rules.

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#88 whaleshark

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 07:30 AM

May 30, 2010.
This thread started 5 years ago but I'll try to add some current info about P&S cameras that are being sold today and a few that have been made in the last 4 or 5 years.

The best digital cameras for UW allow manual control of exposure so you can set shutter speed to sync with the flash and set aperture for distance. Without manual settings most cameras shoot in auto mode. The typica; P&S camera sets ISO, SS and f-stop for the available light. Because there's often enough available light for a simple P&S pocket camera to take a picture without flash the camera won't fire it's flash much. In Auto mode with any camera you get slow shutter speeds with blurred fish because you need a faster SS to stop action. You also get a bluish tint to everything because the primary light source is available light, which is mostly blue below about 10 feet.

With only about 2 or 3 exceptions (Olympus EPL-1, Canon G-11 and Nikon P9000), the best P&S digicams for UW photography aren't being made anymore. Whatever you get make sure it has manual controls so you can control the on-board flash, not just auto exposure, aperture priority or shutter priority. With that control you'll be able to get color back into the UW scene, within the distance limit of the built-in flash or a slave strobe for more powwer. With that kind of control you can add a slave strobe later when you're ready to add more light and more range to the camera.

People buying the current (2010) P&S UW cameras try to add a decent slave strobe to them for more true colors and enough flash to stop fish action. But no matter what they do they can't get enough light into their UW photos because the auto mode adjusts exposure for the available light and shuts the flash down early.

Here's an example. A good friend of mine took one of these typical inexpensive P&S in a plastic housing on a dive club trip to Curacao recently. Those of us with exposure control got good results. His photos, with his bargain P&S in Auto mode and a $1000 Inon slave strobe, weren't nearly as good as a what people got who had the same strobe because his camera doesn't allow manual control of exposure and flash.
Another buddy has a better camera, the Olympus C-5060. That's a 5 year old P&S camera that still outperforms everything on the market today (except the EPL-1). But for a long time his photos were mostly blurred fish shots and filled with blue light (no red, yellow or orange). Once he understood UW flash he got great results by taking the camera out of Auto mode. He set ISO to the minimum, stopped down the aperture to f/5.6 and set the shutter speed at 1/125th second. That forced the camera and slave strobe to provide more flash and fill the frame with light.

With few exceptions, most of what's being offered today by Canon, Olympus, Nikon or Panasonic are simple P&S with no manual exposure or flash control. The best off-the-shelf UW camera and housing sold today may be the new Olympus Pen EPL-1 micro 4/3 camera in a new Olympus UW housing. The Canon G-11 in a Canon housing, or much better, the same G-11 in the Ikelite UW housing is one of the few P&S cameras that will allow you to get decent photos using an UW strobe. And there's also the Nikon P9000 that offers manual control of flash. Even if you're not buying a fancy UW strobe now, you want to be able to control the built-in flash and have the option to advance to a more powerful UW strobe in the future.

I have what is probably the best UW P&S camera ever made for UW, the Olympus C-8080 P&S bridge camera in an Ikelite housing. The lens is super bright and sharp, the sensor is a decent 2/3" CCD, the camera will record images in RAW and it offers complete creative control of exposure and flash. Cameras in a rugged Ikelite housing allow using Ikelite strobes in direct connection to the hot shoe and TTL camera control of the strobe for correct UW exposure.

Another UW P&S option with manual control that is still available used is an Olympus C-5060 or the C-7070 in an Olympus housing. Or the slightly older Olympus C-50 and the Olympus C-5000 in Olympus UW housings. The Canon A610 or 620 in a Canon housing offers manual exposure control too. Of all of the great Olympus Camedia C-series cameras, the C-8080 is the best P&S camera Olympus made. At least until they released the new Olympus Micro 4/3, EP-1, EP-2 and EPL-1. The Olympus C-8080 compares well to the Nikon Coolpix 8800 and the Canon PowerShot Pro1. A good friend has the C-7070 in an Ikelite UW housing and that's probably as close as it gets in image quality to the C-8080 in an Ikelite housing. The Ikelite housing is still better than all of the UW housings offered by any of the camera makers because it's rugged, some of the models offer a dome port for wide angle, Ikelite offers great service for all of their housings and if the camera has a hot shoe you can add Ikelite strobes to them with direct, TTL control of the strobe. If the camera has manual controls but no hot shoe you can still use slave strobes from Ikelite, Sea and Sea or Inon.

The C-8080 has worked so well for me that I have a hard time letting go of it, but I've recently upgrade to an Olympus E-330 DSLR with real-time Live View in an Ikelite housing. So I'm selling the C-8080 (June, 2010).
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#89 divengolf

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 04:41 PM

With only about 2 or 3 exceptions (Olympus EPL-1, Canon G-11 and Nikon P9000), the best P&S digicams for UW photography aren't being made anymore.


Do you mean the Nikon P6000, not P9000? I cannot find the P9000 on the Nikon product list. I have a P5100, the earlier version of the P6000, and it has full manual control as does the P6000.

#90 james

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 08:11 AM

I think that the Canon S90 (I have one and love it) is light years better than any digicam I have used before. For underwater it is great because in addition to being a small point and shoot, it also has fully manual controls, and functional command wheels.

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#91 crawdad

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:02 AM

I agree with James (and I am also a James). I think this "are they pro-quality" is becoming an artificial argument. It may have been with merit some years ago but no longer. I have presented photos in times past that were scanned from a Nikon FM or my Nikonos III and mixed them with photos from a simple Oly 770SW/Canon A570 and nobody knew any different during the presentation.

The current crop of "super" P&S may soon be a thing of the past with the new EVILS looming over the horizon and the M4:3 and newly announced M4:3 fisheye lens. But at this time the Canon S90, G10, G11 series cameras pack a lot of capability into a travel friendly package and frankly, having shot a EP-1 for a day (surface only) my S90 renders equally fine images, perhaps better color and is actually a more responsive camera and as small as the new M4:3 are the housing that Oly made (for the ELP-1) does not really take advantage of the full potential of the small format--yet.

Take the S90, if you are shooting with one of several wide angle lenses or fisheye lenses the DOF is so great you can go to manual focus and preset, this speeds the camera shutter response up since there is no auto focus lag, I notice a similar result with the new ELP-1. I can shoot in continuous mode with manual focus as fast as my D2000 strobes can cycle for example tracking a turtle or other marine life or action.

For professional use by photographers who make their living with a camera and publishing or projecting at large scale the dSLR is still king, for everybody else, they could do just as well and possibly better with an advanced P&S. It is really the image and the story the image presents, not the sensor size or the MP count or other technical aspects.

The future of dive travel or any travel is going to be very restrictive on the amount, size and weight of luggage and gear. It is not just the small footprint in the water, more important is the ability to carry on, here is an S90, FIX90 housing, all cables, butterfly clamps, arms, two D2000 strobes, batteries, charger, fisheye lens , tray with two handles, ready to shoot, all in a small carry on case:

Posted Image

Which assembles into this:

Posted Image

All of the "pro-quality" in the world will do you no good if you cannot get it to the dive site or have to wrestle with a huge, unwieldy case full of heavy, large gear. I have noticed also several ex-professional photographers now use advanced P&S, of mind is the Jerry Greenburg statement from the article in Alert Magazine where it specifically states he prefers the S&S DX-1 which he has had a custom rear door made.

Are they "pro quality" and I think my answer is that I don't care any more, the threshold beyond which I can tell the difference for normal, casual, amateur level photography has been crossed. More important is versatility, portability, footprint in the water and during transport, price etc.

James/Nemrod/Crawdad

Edited by crawdad, 06 June 2010 - 10:07 AM.

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#92 renep

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 04:08 PM

With the new 4/3 coming (Sony nex5 for instance) the mention of mirrors will soon make us nostalgic.

The Sony Nex5 shoots at iso 3200 as well as my G10 can does at iso 200. The body of the Nex5 is the size of the Canon S90.

This tread should be saved for its historical value. :B):

Edited by renep, 06 June 2010 - 04:08 PM.

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#93 echeng

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 07:24 PM

The future of dive travel or any travel is going to be very restrictive on the amount, size and weight of luggage and gear. It is not just the small footprint in the water, more important is the ability to carry on

Presumably, your "pro" is being paid for his work, which means that he or she can afford to get equipment to a particular destination. I see a lot of people paying thousands of dollars for gear and thousands of dollars for a trip somewhere, and it confuses me that they then make such a big stink over trying to get 100 lbs of gear to a destination.

Pick the system that has the right image quality for your requirements! It isn't a weight issue.
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#94 loftus

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:01 AM

With the new 4/3 coming (Sony nex5 for instance) the mention of mirrors will soon make us nostalgic.

The Sony Nex5 shoots at iso 3200 as well as my G10 can does at iso 200. The body of the Nex5 is the size of the Canon S90.

This tread should be saved for its historical value. :B):

The Sony Cameras are APC sized, larger sensor than 4/3.
For me the main issue with P&S and present mirrorless systems is shutter lag. I'm not attached to mirrors for their own sake, but until the responsiveness of P&S cameras equals my DSLR, my DSLR will always be preferred over my P&S for any serious shooting. The other thing I cannot do without for serious shooting is a viewfinder, again for giving me the ability to track and frame action far more responsively than a screen.
Camera size and weight is important for travel and convenience, but small size can also become a disadvantage with regard to the number of control buttons and access to controls. For speed of use it's often a disadvantage to delve into menus - for example the EV and Focus Lock buttons on DSLR's.
I don't think DSLR sized cameras will be going away even if their mirror is removed.

Edited by loftus, 07 June 2010 - 04:08 AM.

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#95 james

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:38 AM

Agreed.

I think this is a debate about "one size fits all" vs. "specific tool."

A digicam is great because it does "one size fits all" meaning you can shoot macro and fisheye on the same dive. But we all know that in the end, one size fits all really only fits the "regular" sized people :-)

DSLR's or whatever you want to call them - are a specialty tool, and if used as intended an image from an SLR will beat the pants off an image from a digicam.

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#96 crawdad

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 11:51 AM

Presumably, your "pro" is being paid for his work, which means that he or she can afford to get equipment to a particular destination. I see a lot of people paying thousands of dollars for gear and thousands of dollars for a trip somewhere, and it confuses me that they then make such a big stink over trying to get 100 lbs of gear to a destination.

Pick the system that has the right image quality for your requirements! It isn't a weight issue.


Not entirely the cost issue but carry on goes with me, stuff in a baggage compartment who knows where it may wind up or when.

We can fabricate issues on both sides of the coin forever and as mentioned, for historical regard, the EVILS will in time make the whole argument obsolete.

BTW, the Canon S90 is quite a bit smaller than the proposed (and very appealing) Sony EVIL products. And, right now, in side by side shooting, the S90 is just as responsive as the Oly ELP-1 for all practical purposes so the promise of these new formats is yet to be achieved, one step at a time they will get there.
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#97 Juliane

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 07:41 PM

Digital images can be sharpened and manipulated to increase visual quality. So if a digital image is displayed that as been manipulated at say 6x8 inches in size ask to see the same image at 12x18 inches in size at least in print format.