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  #16  
Old 12 Feb 2010
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That's an amazing price for a camera that's £400 everywhere else. I too am looking at the canon S90. I like my images to be punchy straight out of the camera and the Canon provides this in Vivid, BUT, at £280 for a SLR size sensor compact it may be worth a punt, mmm... Nice find.
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  #17  
Old 13 Feb 2010
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Sensor sizes are only important in relation to how many megabytes they are expected to handle. A smaller sensor will generally give good quality with less megabytes - and for the purpose of the picture (something that hasn't been mentioned, but more than likely to be web-based) will be more than good enough. Things to look for are battery life (AA's are preferable in compacts) and an ease and familiarity of handling. Just my thoughts.
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  #18  
Old 13 Feb 2010
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Horses for courses. If you want to take a few holiday snaps then a cheap point-n-shoot is perfect. On the other hand, I enjoy photography and have pictures blown up to approx A2 size round my house. To make it worth doing enlargements of that size you need a quality camera. A normal point-n-shoot does not capture the level of detail necessary to enlarge that far, nor does it have enough manual control to capture the right image in the first place. DSLRs and a few top end compacts will also allow you to save the raw output from the light sensor rather than converting it to jpeg in the camera which gives more options for adjusting the picture later on. This saves getting home and finding that a really good shot has been ruined by an incorrect exposure.

The DP1s arrived today. I took it out in my pocket while walking the dog and took a few shots on the moors up the road. I found it very easy to control and it gave excellent pictures, easily as good as my pentax DSLR. Looks like I won't be needing the 7 day return.
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  #19  
Old 14 Feb 2010
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Rossi, I'd be interested in hearing how you get on with the handling of this camera and the image results after you've used it for a bit as I'm considering one at that price. You don't happen to know how long that deal will last do you?
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  #20  
Old 14 Feb 2010
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Correct me if I'm wrong as I may be completely off the mark here, but isn't it a fixed lens camera that uses software to boost picture size? And it seems you'd have to stay at one focal length to get the full benefit of the chip. Is that true? Don't mean to piss on anyone's fireworks.
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  #21  
Old 15 Feb 2010
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It is a fixed lens camera so to get the full benefit you need to zoom with your feet. As you suggest, using digital zoom does reduce quality. The flip side of this is the greater quality gained from a fixed lens over a zoom. For most purposes a zoom is fine but a prime lens gives reduced distortion and chromatic abberation (normally seen as a purple fringe around high contrast areas).

As for software to boost image size, it is actually the opposite. Without wanting to get too techie, the bayer type sensor in all digital cameras (except sigma) has separate pixels for red, green and blue. An 8MP camera actually has 4M green, 2M red and 2M blue pixel sites. The camera then takes an average of 4 pixel values to give each full colour pixel. On the sigma foveon sensor each pixel site is able to record red, blue and green information so there is no need to take an average to work out a full colour pixel. There are 4.7MP on the chip but Sigma quote this as a 14MP camera as each pixel contains all 3 colours (3x4.7). In reality this is like comparing apples to oranges, however the image quality of the sigma is thought to be comparable with mid to top end DSLRs.

Camera choice, like choice of bike, is a compromise. My G650 Xchallenge is never going to be as easy to ride fast off road as a 450 enduro, nor is it as comfortable as a GS1200, but for me it ticks the right boxes. Similarly the sigma lacks a zoom lens, and some cameras (like the LX3 and S90) are able to focus faster and have faster lenses. For many people it may not be the most sensible choice but it does take amazing quality pictures. Each to their own.

Flying doctor,
I read several reviews of the camera and was concerned by reports of complicated menus, slow focussing and poor response. From 3 days use I would make the following comments:

Many of the reviews which made these complaints were based on the initial batch. Since then, firmware updates have improved the menus and they are very simple to use. I like the total absence of scene modes and the manual controls are very simple and effective.

There is no focus assist lamp so auto-focussing does suffer in poor light. However there is a manual focus dial which is very quick and simple to use. While not as easy to see what you are focussing on as an SLR, it is not really any harder than trying to work out exactly what other cameras are focussing on using an LCD screen. Using manual focus also gives instant shutter response. However, given the focal length, this is really a camera best suited to landscapes and they don't move very fast.

Write times to the card are a bit sluggish, especially when you compare the time for a normal camera to write a jpeg with the dp1 writing a much larger raw file. Jpegs can also be used and this speeds things up a lot. Speed is not the camera's strong point but it is not as bad as some reviews make you think.

The quality of the jpeg output is reported to be improved on the dp1s. The jpegs are not poor quality, it's just that the raw files can be made to look so much better. Also whereas most cameras give a high contrast, saturated image the sigma jpegs give more a natural output. This is not what most people are used to.

One major plus for me is the screen. It does catch reflections and is not very clear in bright light (like most lcd camera screens) but, being smaller than the S90 and LX3, it allows the buttons to be much bigger. I am confident I could use the camera with a pair of thin bike gloves. I couldn't say the same of either the S90 or the LX3 which have a plethora of minute buttons.


Some pics taken over the last couple of days can be found here.

Last edited by rossi; 22 Feb 2010 at 21:16.
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  #22  
Old 17 Feb 2010
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Seems impressive, but not worth trading down to a fixed lens in my view - especially on this kind of camera.

Loved what you said about not wanting to get too techie
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  #23  
Old 17 Feb 2010
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Thanks for the info Rossi. Image quality is always an issue with me, especially as I'm used to the output of my 5D mkII. I've considered travelling with it and a 50mm lens in my tankbag but it's still a big bit of kit to haul around on a long camping trip. This camera may be a good alternative for my up and coming Scandinavia trip this summer as I'll be shooting mainly landscapes. It certainly won't be a constant worry as I'll be able to keep it in my pocket.

That's a nice part of the country you live in, one of my favourite areas. Thanks for showing the depth of field with the f4 lens. It's much more pronounced with the large sensor. Another plus for this camera over an S90.
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  #24  
Old 18 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
I would like a small, top-pocket camera. My existing digicam is not particularly small, tough, wideangle, HD nor waterproof. In its favour it uses AA batteries ....
AA batteries are a consideration for me as well. I like knowing that I can find batteries anywhere in the world vs. a relying on specialized battery and charger that could be impossible to find in many countries.

I selected the Canon A1000 IS and was very happy with it. It fits neatly in a pocket and delivered some great shots ... heh, it took a winning shot for the 2010 HU photo contest, July 2010 in the calendar.

4x zoom is a little better than most cameras that size. I had a comparable Nikon CoolPix previously and definitely prefer the Canon.
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  #25  
Old 18 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
Thanks for the info Rossi. Image quality is always an issue with me, especially as I'm used to the output of my 5D mkII. I've considered travelling with it and a 50mm lens in my tankbag ...

Thanks for showing the depth of field with the f4 lens. It's much more pronounced with the large sensor. Another plus for this camera over an S90.
Sigma also sell the DP2 which has the same body but a 41mm F2.8 lens if you prefer a more normal lens.

Depth of field does increase quite rapidly with the 28mm lens on the DP1 as distance increases. Hyperfocal distance comes down to 3m at F11 so you can get a whole landscape in pin-sharp focus by stopping down. Apart from reduced noise and greater detail, the other advantage of the bigger sensor is that the image is not softened by diffraction at smaller apertures like anything with a small sensor. (I won't even attempt to explain diffraction, that really would be techie)

I have found a 12v charger for the camera battery on ebay for £6 so no problem charging it while on a trip. About the size of a fag packet so it isn't going to ad a lot of weight of bulk.
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  #26  
Old 19 Feb 2010
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AA batteries are a consideration for me as well. I like knowing that I can find batteries anywhere in the world vs. a relying on specialized battery and charger that could be impossible to find in many countries.
As much as I like it, I think I may have to loose the AA option. The likes of the Pentax Optio W80 ticks a lot of boxes, especially HD and wide-angle, but a few reviews I have read seem to be less that conplimentary about image quality. Perhaps it's only relative.

The vast majority of my pics are only on my PC, and of the 10gb of images our Argentina trip generated only 1000 images were really worth printing and they were only 6x4, so probably I'm worrying/pining for nothing!!

After all, a compact will not generate the images of a DSLR, unless you pay big money....
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  #27  
Old 19 Feb 2010
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"I won't even attempt to explain diffraction, that really would be techie" - Rossi

Thanks. Like most photographers, I don't need to know.
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  #28  
Old 19 Feb 2010
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Rossi, I would prefer the DP2 with the 41mm if it was the same price but alas it's £483. Life is ok with a 28mm though, I've used cameras with a fixed 28mm for years previously and it's a perfect length for landscapes and documentary shots. I spoke to Clifton Cameras but they don't have either the DP1s or DP2 in stock. I was going to have a trip down there in the morning to have a look at one. No rush I'm sure they'll have some in soon. If not Bristol Cameras have them for £10 more. Thanks again for the heads up.
I read a report by someone who has both cameras and they say that the focus and write speeds are the same for both cameras, an improvement on the original DP1.

I'll need a 12v charger too, if I get one, so a link to the ebay seller would be appreciated.
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  #29  
Old 22 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teflon View Post
"I won't even attempt to explain diffraction, that really would be techie" - Rossi

Thanks. Like most photographers, I don't need to know.
Actually it's useful to know about even if you don't follow the physics behind it. Cut to the bold at the bottom for what you should remember.

As basic as I can make it, waves (including light waves) bend round corners and spread out in an arc. Light waves are normally affected by this only to a minute degree but if you pass light through a very small hole (like a small aperture) it can become noticeable. As the aperture gets smaller, and the waves spread out more, the picture will lose it's sharpness. This affect is amplified on cameras with small sensors as the image needs to be enlarged further. A typical compact sensor will start to show softening of the image around F5.6, a DSLR sensor around F11, depending on how big you are enlarging your pics

Large aperture = small depth of field but what is in focus is very sharp
Small aperture = greater depth of field but what is in focus is less sharp
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  #30  
Old 22 Feb 2010
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Panasonic Lumix FT1

Very good quality, waterproof, dustproof and shockproof, nicely compact. I'm really pleased with mine and it stood up well to a rain, sand, a thorough battering and several bouts of clumsiness on my trip last year.
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