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Thread: Importance of lens quality?

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    Importance of lens quality?

    Would like to read your opinion on ranking which is most important (advanced Point & Shoot Cameras): Lens quality or Sensor Size or Mega Pixels? Is the Canon G12 a better camera than a Canon SX40 HS?

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Hi OhShoot,

    I imagine you'll get various opinions on this but I'll give you mine for what it's worth. Others may disagree.

    I would not choose one camera over another because it had some more megapixels. Just about all modern cameras have more than enough Mp to satisfy most of us most of the time. Interesting to note that the Canon G12 has less Mp than the G11 did, as Canon thought it better to go for improved low-light performance than improved resolution. There's a clue.....

    Way back around 2003 I was using a Nikon D1 SLR which, if I remember right, had only 2.2Mp (yes really!) and the pictures from that camera were printed in many books and magazines and some were even exhibited at 16x20". So my suggestion is that you should rule the megapixel count out of your decision process. It's not nearly as important as the manufacturers and marketing people would like you to think.

    More emphasis is being placed these days on sensor size and thus photosite size. In its very simplest form, larger photosites means less noise. This is why camera manufacturers (of serious cameras) are now less inclined to cram every possible pixel into the area of the sensor and trade off pixel-count against larger photosites to give better low-light and noise performance. (Nikon D700 a good example) So in that way, sensor size is an important aspect to consider. Sensor size of course determines certain other characteristics of photography such as depth of field etc but I'm assuming that you'll already be familiar with all that.

    Lens quality is of course important but you need to ask yourself what you will be doing with the pictures. Depending on your aspirations of how and where the pictures will be shared or displayed, you may be able to give yourself a bit of latitude on lens quality too. (Is that heresy? Any arrows coming for me yet? ) The environment and the lighting direction and many other things will dictate just how perfect your glassware needs to be. If you are shooting on nice bright days with the light behind you, almost any modern lens will yield a pleasant result. If you are shooting action on stage in night-clubs on the edge of darkness with spotlights pointing down your lens, well then you'll need to have the best of optics. I'd vouch that for most of us, most of the time, the glass we're using is way better than we really need. In ideal conditions it's amazing what even cheap lenses can do. I've seen pictures from iPhones that really surprised me! However take the same equipment into tricky situations and the deficiencies soon come to the fore.

    I would also suggest that you factor other things into your choice when choosing your ideal camera, such as size (G12 is not small!), weight, battery life, general ergonomics and usability (think hard about that one), availability of service centres where you live etc. Some of the 'best quality' cameras can be downright awkward to use in the field. I include my own Fuji X100 in that category. So don't get entirely hung up on technical issues. Give great thought to the overall package and ask yourself; "could I live with this for the next 5 years?" or even "Could I forgive this thing for the next 5 years?"

    I hope some of that helps.

    marty

    www.marty-johnston-photography.com

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Marty,
    Hope you get this reply.
    Thanks for your reply.

    I took a look at all your photos. I'm very impressed with your photos.
    I believe you said you use an Fuji F100?
    So many of your photos are so colorful. And, scene composition is excellent.
    Hope to chat with you in the future. I'm new to this web site. I feel fortunate that I came in contact with you.

    I live in Missouri, USA. I'm 70 years old; and, I like photography. I started out with a Kodak Retina III S, back in the early 60's. Later, I bought an Olympus OM 2 with a 50mm f2.8 lens. Both have been great cameras. Good lenses and the metering system in the OM 2 is outstanding. But, now that my eyesight isn't so good, I'm enjoying using the auto focus cameras.

    Do you ever shoot photos in RAW format? Hope to receive a reply from you.

    Best regards from OhShoot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty View Post
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 20th February 2012 at 11:26 AM. Reason: simplified reply

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Hi "OhShoot",

    (btw: it'd be really nice to know your first name)

    If we knew what you wanted to shoot, it would help us give better advice.

    Of the three factors you mention, I'd rate MP last, lens quality middle and sensor size first, but I know that a desired larger sensor size, for greater DoF control is almost unattainable, especially if you want small physical size (as I did when recently choosing a P&S go everywhere camera).

    I'd also put RAW shooting and manual controls high on the list, but I think you already have those as criteria, judging from your models proposed.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by OhShoot View Post
    Marty,
    .... Hope to receive a reply from you.

    Best regards from OhShoot.
    Hi OhShoot,
    Thanks for your friendly note and also for your kind words about my pictures!. I have replied to you by private message. I hope you get it ok.
    marty

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Marty,
    Send reply.
    I'm having trouble learning how to communicate on this web site.
    I enjoy chatting with you. I would like to tap into your extensive photography knowledge.
    You can reach me by sending an email to: MOD EDIT - e-mail address. PM sent to poster to advise against use of e-mail addresses on forum.
    Last edited by Donald; 20th February 2012 at 06:50 PM.

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Marty:

    Great original response! Being more of a novice at photography, but learning as much as I can, your response confirmed my thoughts on what's important to consider in a modern camera.

    Thanks.

    Dr Bob

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by OhShoot View Post
    Would like to read your opinion on ranking which is most important (advanced Point & Shoot Cameras): Lens quality or Sensor Size or Mega Pixels? Is the Canon G12 a better camera than a Canon SX40 HS?
    First, I fully agree with comments from previous responders, but rather than just repeat what has already been said, I'm going to directly address your question about the G12 vs. the SX40 HS. Keep in mind that this is my opinion, based on how I weigh the various factors and how I use a camera... others may reach a completely different conclusion based on their own criteria. There is no "correct" answer here, only informed opinions.

    Personally, I would (and did, actually) choose the G12 for a couple of reasons. The G12 has a larger CCD sensor with fewer Mpx, while the SX40 has a smaller CMOS sensor with higher Mpx. The differences in sensor size, type, and pixel density all count in favor of the G12 for higher image quality with less noise in the shadows and in low light situations. In other words, the G12 sensor has greater dynamic range without noise problems. Personally, I'll vote for pixel quality over quantity every time.

    I also vote for the G12 lens over the SX40, though the decision here is more tenative. I really haven't been impressed with what I've seen from any "super-zoom" lens (I consider any range greater than 10x a super-zoom), though I admit I have no experience with the SX40. On the other hand, the SX40 is probably a better choice for many action shots, since it can capture up to 10 fps for an 8 frame burst, and it's slightly larger, which generally makes a camera easier to handle, and the larger controls are easier to manipulate. Neither the G12 nor the SX40 are really shirt-pocket cameras, but the SX40 is nearly twice the weight of the G12.

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by OhShoot View Post
    Would like to read your opinion on ranking which is most important (advanced Point & Shoot Cameras): Lens quality or Sensor Size or Mega Pixels? Is the Canon G12 a better camera than a Canon SX40 HS?
    This is like asking what's more important on a car: Tires or engine?. The car won't work without both. What matter is that the system components are matched for the intended application (Compatible and matched in capacity) so that no single component limits the performance, otherwise the extra capacity of the rest of the system is wasted.

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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Mario,
    Good advice. That makes sense that a major manufacturer of quality cameras would match the component features together into a good or excellent camera. Too many choices is my problem. Of the cameras that have an articulated LCD, which DSLR's do you like?

  11. #11
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    Re: Importance of lens quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by OhShoot View Post
    Marty,
    Send reply.
    I'm having trouble learning how to communicate on this web site.
    I enjoy chatting with you. I would like to tap into your extensive photography knowledge.
    You can reach me by sending an email to: MOD EDIT - e-mail address. PM sent to poster to advise against use of e-mail addresses on forum.
    Just for the record.... I have now emailed you 6 times to the email address you originally posted here and responded to both of your current CiC aliases by private message. Having not heard back I think you are indeed having some comm's problems!

    Always happy to help! - marty

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