By Cliff Smith
Reviewed: 3 Dec 2008
My,my...another once-venerable line of quality-image cameras falls victim to the megapixel wars...Having large, non-crammed sensors in compact cameras is NOT an impossible task. But I guess it takes the brashness and guts of of an "upstart" like Panasonic, which doesen't have the same vested interests in old, established production lines and products, to act on the premise that sensors are NOT film, and do not need mirrors and all the fossil technology of yesteryears.Hopefully they'll put a nice, beefy sensor in a fixed-lens camera (the LX3 is a step in the right direction),and have the "old boy's club" doin' the hotfoot to play catch-up. (one can hope,neh?)
If only they could put up a camera with a high ISO performance of the F31fd model... Large, 10 Mpix SuperCCD HR sensor coupled with fast, wide-angle lens and manual modes - it would be a winner...
Clovis, don't forget that your "upstart" Panasonic is partnered with Leica, and camera brands don't come much more old-school than that. Also Panasonic has a long history of noise problems caused mainly by using tiny overcrowded sensors. In terms of high-ISO image quality, the best compact cameras I've seen recently have been from Nikon (S560) and Canon (IXUS 870 IS).Spider, I totally agree. Fuji needs to get out of the megapixel race and get back to what it does best; advanced sensors and high-ISO noise control. The F40fd was one of the best all-round compacts of the past couple of years; I'd love to see an updated version with the same high-ISO ability but faster performance and a better lens.
Cliff, obviously lensmaking is not just a science, but also an art no company can learn in a shot time.Thus the Panasonic-Leica and Sony-Carl Zeiss-Minolta symbionts.However, the fact that none of the established players have dared to remake their interchangeable-lens cameras from the ground up to adjust for what digital technology can offer (something Panasonic approached with the G1)can be reasoned out not only as a result of the conservative approach of photographers, but also as a reluctance to have to invest even more heavily in R&R so as to change the forward half of their DSLR's (mirror and such - thus the absence of usable live view despite the fact that sensors can be exposed to light at will...).Production lines, equipment, hardware...all that has been honed over decades, and one can understand the big boys wouldn't want to rock the boat any more than already was already being done by the digital revolution.However, the feeling I have is similiar to what happened in the 80's, when companies were invesing in refined and sophisticated vinyl players while the upstart Sony, in a partnership with Philips, was trying to popularize CD's...(yeah, I'm an old dude...)The fact that large-sensor interchangeable-lens cameras could have had motion capture, live view, no mirrors, and all the rest for quite some time now strikes me as a rather contemptuous attitude by the big companies (as well as the megapixel wars). Obviously such attitudes rely on consumer compliance, but as time goes by and a larger portion of buyers adquire more information about the possibilities of digital technology,manufacturers will have to change their mind-set to stay afloat.Image quality from Nikon,Canon,Fuji,Pentax...as well as Sony in their DSLR's are unquestionable.However, they could have so much more available beyond that...I strongly root for new approaches to camera-making and sensor use to shake things up enough to prompt a response from the big players.
Clovis said 'The fact that large-sensor interchangeable-lens cameras could have had motion capture, live view, no mirrors'Why are some people hellbent on turning a DSLR into a camcorder is beyond me. A DSLR is primarily for taking still pictures and to that end an electronic veiwfinder stinks in comparison to a decent DSLR optical viewfinder (let alone the best ones), and despite today's electronic bells and whistles a decent viewfinder is still one of the the most important aspects of a DSLR. EVFs no not have the clarity of optcal viewfinders, and suffer from lag and blackout inbetween shots during continuous shooting. Additionally a mirror facilitates the auto focusing systems on DSLRs which are infinitely better than the frustratingly slower systems using live view....and while live view is useful in certain aspects e.g. macro photograpy, it will never replace the 'connection' holding a viewfinder to your eye gives you on a DSLR when taking a still photograph. Motion capture on a DSLR is also a useful add-on for DSLRs. Of course it's nice to be able to take moving images using your expensive DSLR lenses and of course there is the convenience factor....but here's the other 'barrier' to it being a fully fledged movie camera - form. DSLR's are the creatures they are today as their form is ergonomically best suited to taking still photographs. Video cameras are the form they are today as they are best suited to taking moving images. A single piece of equipment wouldn't be as good as doing both. When I'm looking for the optimum tool to take still photos, I certainly wouldn't want 'added features' to compromise its ability to do so.That is why a DSLR still has a mirror.
Hi to all (apologize for my poor english)my long path in digicams started nine years ago (Nikon Colpix E950)passing for Oly C4040, Panasonic DMC-LC5, Canon EOS 300D, Canon EOS 400D+IXUS 40.My experience teaches me that in the light at the moment, the situation that may allow me to shoot a beatiful+meaningfull picture. The Camera is only a tool.Today I'm looking for my ideal camera (large sensor / standard lens / AV mode / few direct command / no menus)and mainly should be "pocketable". This last feature allows to have always with me the camera.I was happy to read about Sigma DP2 but up to now it seems to be only an idea to taste the market.Meanwhile do you think Finepix f60fd may be the right tool?Thanks
"...none of the established players have dared to remake their interchangeable-lens cameras from the ground up to adjust for what digital technology can offer..."The Olympus E-System would like a word with you. Also most of the major manufacturers offer lenses that are specifically designed for the smaller size of a digital sensor, such as Nikon's DX optics, or Pentax's smc-DA lenses.The new Panasonic G-system is an interesting and innovative concept, and I'm looking forward to getting one in for review next week, but I think it's a little premature to be ringing the funeral bell for SLR cameras just yet. I have to agree with Stewart; even the best electronic viewfinder is no substitute for an optical TTL viewfinder, and for that you need a reflex mirror.As for the comparison with the development of CD players, I'm also old enough to remember the 80s (and the 70s, and even some of the 60s), and as I recall, the first CD player was launched sometime in 1982, and by about 1986 Compact Disc was pretty much established as the format of choice for the entire music industry. Most of the mass-market hi-fi manufacturers were quick to spot a lucrative new opportunity, and were falling over themselves to dump their expensive, large and heavy vinyl disc turntables in favour of the cheaper to manufacture and easier to ship CD players. The record companies also accepted CD very quickly for much the same reason.
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