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Author Topic: G7 killer  (Read 22688 times)

John Camp

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G7 killer
« on: January 25, 2007, 01:44:26 pm »

I didn't know what was the appropriate forum for this, but since Michael reviewed the G7 and there was a long discussion about the missing RAW on this one, I post it here...

The Askey forum has a news note on a new Olympus P&S, the SP550, which has an 18x (!!!) zoom lens -- 35mm equivalent of 28-504 -- with image stabilization, which it probably desperately needs at the long end. Anyway, the length of the zoom made me laugh. Other stuff is pretty interesting: 7.1 mp chip, which meant that they stayed clear of the MP race, and some of the 7 mp chips have been really good. Also, it has RAW. If the high ISO capability is there, and it could be (has settings for ISO 50-5000) with the slightly larger pixels of the 7mp chip, and if the glass is up to Olympus' higher standards...it could be a contender.

On the downside: electronic view finder.

JC
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larsrc

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G7 killer
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2007, 02:24:53 pm »

Quote
I didn't know what was the appropriate forum for this, but since Michael reviewed the G7 and there was a long discussion about the missing RAW on this one, I post it here...

The Askey forum has a news note on a new Olympus P&S, the SP550, which has an 18x (!!!) zoom lens -- 35mm equivalent of 28-504 -- with image stabilization, which it probably desperately needs at the long end. Anyway, the length of the zoom made me laugh. Other stuff is pretty interesting: 7.1 mp chip, which meant that they stayed clear of the MP race, and some of the 7 mp chips have been really good. Also, it has RAW. If the high ISO capability is there, and it could be (has settings for ISO 50-5000) with the slightly larger pixels of the 7mp chip, and if the glass is up to Olympus' higher standards...it could be a contender.

On the downside: electronic view finder.

JC
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97518\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The CCD is a 1/2.5", so I'd take the ISO 5000 with a big grain of salt.  Also, the IS is CCD-shift rather than lens element, so it's effects would be less at that really extreme range.  The 15fps feature is interesting, though.  I wonder if it combines with the ISO 5000?

I'm sure it'll be a success, though.  It has all the high numbers and right buzzwords.

-Lars
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Ken Tanaka

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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2007, 10:01:23 pm »

The "downside" is not the electronic viewfinder;  it's the size and bulk of the thing.  You might as well carry a small dslr.  It might turn out to be a nice camera for the post p&s / pre-dslr market but slipping it into a pocket would present a challenge.

My G7's secure.
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- Ken Tanaka -
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John Camp

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G7 killer
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2007, 11:56:01 pm »

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The "downside" is not the electronic viewfinder;  it's the size and bulk of the thing.  You might as well carry a small dslr.  It might turn out to be a nice camera for the post p&s / pre-dslr market but slipping it into a pocket would present a challenge.

My G7's secure.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97582\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It is a chubby little thing; it's 4/10s of an inch longer, 3/10s taller, but almost an inch an a half thicker. It's not for the pocket but I think it might be okay for a briefcase. Main question will be image quality. I'll stick with my G7 as well. Wonder if somebody could hack a RAW option?  

JC
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BJL

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G7 killer
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2007, 05:51:10 pm »

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The CCD is a 1/2.5", so I'd take the ISO 5000 with a big grain of salt. ... The 15fps feature is interesting, though.  I wonder if it combines with the ISO 5000?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97527\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The ISO 5000 and the 15fps are both at lower resolution than the full 7MP, so some kind of down-sampling or binning are used. That could make the ISO 5000 useful to salvage situations where only small images are needed (for web pages or 4"x6" sized prints?) under low light conditions.
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Ray

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G7 killer
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2007, 07:16:27 pm »

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Also, the IS is CCD-shift rather than lens element, so it's effects would be less at that really extreme range.  [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97527\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

According to the news item at Dpreview, the camera boasts a 'Dual Image Stabilisation". Does this mean a combination of optical IS and sensor shift, something that was considered unworkable in another thread here recently, or does it mean a combination of optical IS and 'pixel' shift, which video cameras tend to use, or are these concepts one and the same?

It's perhaps interesting to note that at the widest aperture, at the longest reach of 500mm, F4.5, such a tiny sensor produces an equivalent DoF on 35mm format of f27.

With a zoom lens such as the 100-400 IS and 1.4x extender on the 5D (a slightly greater reach than the SP-550, but not by much) F27 produces shots almost as sharp as the sharpest apertures of f11-f22.

I would expect any half decent 35mm lens to be very much diffraction limited at f27. For the SP-550 to produce sharp results at 500mm, the lens would have to be diffraction limited at f4.5. It is very doubtful that it would be.
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Tim Gray

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G7 killer
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2007, 08:01:53 pm »

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According to the news item at Dpreview, the camera boasts a 'Dual Image Stabilisation". Does this mean a combination of optical IS and sensor shift, something that was considered unworkable in another thread here recently, or does it mean a combination of optical IS and 'pixel' shift, which video cameras tend to use, or are these concepts one and the same?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98195\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

My recollection is that the "dual" is a reference to the ccd shift (fine) and that b.s. about futzing with the ISO (not fine).
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Ray

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G7 killer
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2007, 08:23:37 pm »

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My recollection is that the "dual" is a reference to the ccd shift (fine) and that b.s. about futzing with the ISO (not fine).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98203\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The specifications shown on Dpreview clearly state that IS is optical.
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larsrc

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G7 killer
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2007, 10:08:54 am »

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My recollection is that the "dual" is a reference to the ccd shift (fine) and that b.s. about futzing with the ISO (not fine).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98203\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm pretty sure that's the case, too.  The description "Enjoy double protection against camera shake with Dual Image Stabilization. Even at high magnifications or when capturing fast-moving objects, this technology ensures results are significantly sharper" also seems to indicate this, as lens shift would do nothing for fast-moving objects.  DPReview's own description calls it CCD-shift stabilization.

-Lars
« Last Edit: January 30, 2007, 10:10:20 am by larsrc »
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Ray

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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2007, 07:34:48 pm »

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I'm pretty sure that's the case, too.  The description "Enjoy double protection against camera shake with Dual Image Stabilization. Even at high magnifications or when capturing fast-moving objects, this technology ensures results are significantly sharper" also seems to indicate this, as lens shift would do nothing for fast-moving objects.  DPReview's own description calls it CCD-shift stabilization.

-Lars
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98303\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Where's the 'dual' and where's the 'optical'. It's fair to mislead in advertising, apparently, as long as you don't tell blatant lies.
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Tim Gray

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G7 killer
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2007, 08:22:42 pm »

Here's a link to Phil Askey's rant on this topic...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0701/07010501...abilization.asp
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Ray

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G7 killer
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2007, 09:18:58 pm »

Quote
Here's a link to Phil Askey's rant on this topic...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0701/07010501...abilization.asp
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98412\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Tim,
The rant does not address the SP-550's claim of optical image stabilisation. The specifications clearly state this lens has optical image stabilisation. We all understand what that means. If they go further and claim 'dual' image stabilisation, which they have done, then we might wonder what this means.
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Tim Gray

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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2007, 10:29:00 pm »

It doesn't say dual OPTICAL stabilization.   The marketing types are claiming there are 2 ways to stabilize 1: CCD shift and 2: automatically bump up the ISO.   They're just using double speak to say there are 2 ways to reduce camera induced blur, with one being the amazing technique of increasing the shutter speed - WOW how's that for innovation.  Phil's rant is directed at the marketing hype claiming that bumping up the ISO is some kind of stabilization.  

Regardless of the shadiness of the practice surely there's no mystery surrounding what they mean after you cut through the hype.

Or maybe your issue is their claim that ccd shif is "optical"?
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Ray

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G7 killer
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2007, 11:13:31 pm »

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It doesn't say dual OPTICAL stabilization.   The marketing types are claiming there are 2 ways to stabilize 1: CCD shift and 2: automatically bump up the ISO.   They're just using double speak to say there are 2 ways to reduce camera induced blur, with one being the amazing technique of increasing the shutter speed - WOW how's that for innovation.  Phil's rant is directed at the marketing hype claiming that bumping up the ISO is some kind of stabilization. 

Regardless of the shadiness of the practice surely there's no mystery surrounding what they mean after you cut through the hype.

Or maybe your issue is their claim that ccd shif is "optical"?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98438\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Of course the specs do not say 'dual optical stabilisation'. There would seem to be no point in that. You either have optical image satbilisation or you don't. Reading the Dpreview specs, they mention optical image stabilisation. Elsewhere they mention 'Dual image Stabilisation'.

I'm simply putting 2 and 2 together. Is it dual or not? If it's dual, then it's dual because it combines optical with some sort of CCD shift. If it doesn't, then what is it?
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John Sheehy

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G7 killer
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2007, 04:40:08 pm »

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I'm simply putting 2 and 2 together. Is it dual or not? If it's dual, then it's dual because it combines optical with some sort of CCD shift. If it doesn't, then what is it?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98446\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I just can't imagine sensor-shift and optical IS working together; there is just too much detail in communication needed to keep them both from correcting the same thing!  Two corrections  = 1 error.

Most likely, one of the "stabilizations" is just high-ISO and fast shutter speeds automatically selected when there is a lot of camera movement for the focal length; more than the mechanical IS alone can combat.
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BJL

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G7 killer
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2007, 05:25:02 pm »

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Most likely, one of the "stabilizations" is just high-ISO and fast shutter speeds automatically selected when there is a lot of camera movement for the focal length; more than the mechanical IS alone can combat.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Indeed, with a possible additional wrinkle of binning to control noise.
Olympus gives the details at [a href=\"http://www.olympus-europa.com/corporate/presscentre_presscentre.cfm?artID=41256904004CCF43AEDC67BB51548D5CC125726C006032B1]http://www.olympus-europa.com/corporate/pr...125726C006032B1[/url]

In summary, the two modes are
a. sensor shift stabilization
b. Selection of high ISO speeds (probably using "BrightCapture Technology" to control noise in exchange for reduced resolution; see below).

Some of us "serious photographers" might get snooty about it, but having auto-exposure modes that choose ISO speed in the way that they traditionally choose shutter speed and/or aperture seems a perfectly reasonable strategy to help control motion blur in "point and shoot" operation of a digital camera. It is basically a recognition of the new reality that digital cameras have three readily adjustable exposure parameters rather than just the two of a film camera.


Here is a description of BrightCapture from http://www.dpreview.com/news/0601/06012602olympus_720sw.asp
Quote
BrightCapture Technology ... is also brought into play to improve picture results in certain scene modes where, as well as increasing ISO values and adjusting the shutter speed, the output of the CCD is read as Super Pixels. This means that information from every single one of the pixels on the CCD is used, but read out in blocks of nine as Super Pixels, each of which has an average reading of the nine pixels that it is comprised of. After the picture has been taken, this Super Pixel information is expanded to a higher resolution by Olympusí TruePic algorithm. When dividing the CCD into blocks of nine pixels, an average colour and brightness reading is calculated. This Ďaveraging outí eliminates any extraneous noise within the block and makes colour gradation from one Super Pixel to the next smooth and natural.
Ignoring the interpolation to a "higher resolution", this sounds like binning to allow increased ISO to come at the cost of reduced resolution rather than increased noise.
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Ray

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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2007, 06:48:39 pm »

In that case, it certainly is misleading to describe a choice of high ISO as 'optical image stabilisation', but not of course wrong. High shutter speeds do stabilise the image and the image is of an optical nature.  
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howiesmith

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G7 killer
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2007, 06:56:26 pm »

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High shutter speeds do stabilise the image and the image is of an optical nature.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98624\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

High shutter speed does not stabilize an image.  Maybe the reference is to a tripod socket.
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Tim Gray

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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2007, 07:16:50 pm »

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In that case, it certainly is misleading to describe a choice of high ISO as 'optical image stabilisation', but not of course wrong. High shutter speeds do stabilise the image and the image is of an optical nature. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98624\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The ccd shif is the OPTICAL stabilization, the ISO is the second non-optical stabilization, so there are 2 ie "dual" stabilizations happening, one is optical and one is not.
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Ray

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G7 killer
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2007, 10:47:53 pm »

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High shutter speed does not stabilize an image.† Maybe the reference is to a tripod socket.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98625\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Howie,
I've always found that, lighting conditions and high ISO performance permitting, high shutter speeds tend to stabilise the (captured) image.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2007, 11:12:02 pm by Ray »
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