Non-motoring > Camera thoughts Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Bobby Replies: 43

 Camera thoughts - Bobby
I am still in Turkey and been taking lots of photos of scenery, paragliders, etc etc

I have an iphone7 and camera is pretty crap especially dealing with night images, sunsets etc.

Has made me think of considering buying a compact camera if there was one that was so much better than iPhone but still small enough that I would carry about in my pocket on holiday and not leave in the suitcase.

Anyone into photography who could advise? Or am I better to think of getting a new phone ( I am sim only now) either another iPhone or Android with a great camera?

Problem with a separate camera, 98% of the time I view photos, will be on my phone so I would need to transfer from camera to phone (and backup to PC)

Or are there phone cameras now who do as good a job as compacts?
 Camera thoughts - Zero
I have a Panasonic TZ200, its a compact camera but a bit weighty. It capable of taking pictures better than any phone, because its a camera, not a phone and it has proper optics. Phones don't have proper optics.

It has an app that you can control and download and edit pics from the camera to the phone via wifi.

having said that, the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it,
Last edited by: Zero on Sat 7 Sep 19 at 16:50
 Camera thoughts - R.P.
I have a TZ90 - Took it to 'Nam on the bike trip. I found myself using the iPhone XS more (camera was usually on the support truck), nevertheless I took loads of photos with it and some video. It's pretty good - an ideal capability is the ability to charge it from a power bank on the fly. Professional photographer (works for a local paper) uses his iPhone for some of his daily work these days - quality is sufficient.
 Camera thoughts - Lemma
I am a keen amateur (very) photographer and have been for many years. Just wish I could get better! I think an important decision is what you want the photos for? If it just general snappy happy then a good phone camera will do the job for you. In fact my wife now uses her iPhone 7 rather than a Canon Ixus, so don’t disregard the quality of an iPhone or equivalent.

If you want to get more from your images by post processing, using something like Lightroom or Affinity, then a Panasonic Lumix TZ series camera is very near the top of the list. I use a Panasonic TZ80 as my pocket travel camera. The advantages of these are that they shoot in Raw and you can choose both aperture or shutter priority. Raw is a storage format, similar to jpg, but this retains all the data related to the image whilst something like jpg makes decisions for you and bins a good chunk of the image data. Images are then processed using a software programme. You may also wish to consider how important a viewfinder v rear LCD screen is to you. I am sufficiently old fashioned that I would use a viewfinder by preference.

For general photography the Sony RX cameras are both pocketable and high quality. Sony is noted for the richness of their colours and jpgs. Expensive, the top end ones are four figures, but very good.

If you want go a little further than you might like to consider the micro four thirds, M43, style cameras. These are serious bits of kits akin to digital single lens reflex cameras but designed around digital rather than analogue technology. Hence smaller and lighter but with remarkable image quality, you can pick up a good secondhand Olympus OM-D E-M10 for a couple of hundred and their lens are very good too, although at the top end you can pay around a grand if you want to. My first M43 camera was a Panasonic G3 and was brilliant, very cheap now.

If you have special interests, such as nature photography, then of course appropriate kit will cost you. For a good first step in pocketable, quality cameras then the TZ series are hard to beat, but for similar money you can get on the first rung of M43, whatever you do though my advice would be to think how you will store, catalogue and process your images, the so called workflow. Think it through now and save yourself some angst later!

Good luck and enjoy.
 Camera thoughts - zippy
To add to the recommendations above, I purchased my daughter a Panasonic TZ (70 or 80) for a present when she did her elective in NZ. She loves it and still uses it as her regular camera 5 years on.
 Camera thoughts - CGNorwich
I have a Nikon SLR and a TZ80. Both take vastly superior pictures to my phone but I take many more pictures on the phone.
Last edited by: CGNorwich on Sat 7 Sep 19 at 23:05
 Camera thoughts - Bromptonaut
In any phone or pocket camera the electronics do the difficult stuff. You'd be good (or lucky) if half the 36 exposures on a 35mm cassette were worth even printing. With focus pin sharp and the aperture/exposure compromises sorted by algorithms it's now difficult to take a bad picture until you hit the limitations of zoom etc.

We bought a pocket Canon at Manchester Airport's Dixon's en route to Texas 30 months ago. Took good snaps of us, places and (eg) planes in museums. Any stuff with zoom, like trying to grab pictures of the ubiquitous Grackles scavenging round outdoor eateries, showed it's limitations. Better than our current Samsung phones but quite a few 'fails'.

I'd like to find something slightly better for pocket use and augment it with a DSLR for more esoteric stuff.
 Camera thoughts - Bobby
Cheers for thoughts/ recommendations so far.

I am thinking budget of c£300.

Part of this has been driven by being here in Turkey and preparing for Brexit impact by not having any roaming in my phone. Just using Wi-fi where I can get it.

So was out two boat trips, one day and one sunset, and only use for the phone was to take photos. A good zoom would have been appreciated.

My brother has a Sony DSC HX90V which he loves but several of my relatives have Huawei P20 phones which they claim the camera is miles better than iPhones.

I need to decide exactly what I want to do and the ease of doing this with a separate camera. Brother loads all his direct to Google photos which auto tags them and he can retrieve easily with a search. All sounds too complicated for me.

I still back up my photos to my laptop into folders by date.... which I find the iPhone isn’t brilliant at.

Last question, are iPhone photos the same dimensions as compact cameras/ android photos? Always seem narrower on screen?
 Camera thoughts - Bromptonaut
>> Last question, are iPhone photos the same dimensions as compact cameras/ android photos? Always seem
>> narrower on screen?

Is that complicated by people's habit of defaulting to portrait mode ina phone whereas with a camera it's landscape?
 Camera thoughts - Lemma
I guess you are talking about the aspect ratio, relationship between the horizontal and vertical, rather than file size in megabytes or pixels.

I think iPhones are 4:3, but the aspect ratio can easily be changed in pretty much any editing software. Widescreen is 16:9, and other common formats are 3:2 and square. Micro four thirds are typically 4:3 and “regular” (aps-c) digital SLRs are normally 3:2 as are full frame SLRs.

It really only matters if you want to display your photos in a certain way to emphasise the image. For example I recently exhibited a shot of a tree on a plain in 16:9 to bring out the wide landscape and sky against the lonely looking tree. Also you might have something like a digital photo frame or monitor with a fixed aspect ratio and you want to fill the frame.

A very easy app to use is Snapseed with which you can change aspect ratio etc very easily. Not sure though if it is still available on iPhone, I think maybe not. However Photos has an editing facility.
 Camera thoughts - Bobby
Cheers Lemma, yes that is what I was referring to but didn't know the technical explanation.

So iphone shoots in 4:3, many android, including my sons Samsung, shoot in 16:9.

I usually only view photos on the phone itself, or on laptop / occasional TV. I am guessing that a standard modern laptop and TV are set in 16:9 mode?

What do folk think is the best between the two - 4:3 obviously gets more into the photo height wise?
 Camera thoughts - Manatee

>> What do folk think is the best between the two - 4:3 obviously gets more
>> into the photo height wise?

Not really...that depends on the sensor size. But let's assume that in either case the sensor is capable of decent resolution on a 'standard' snap. In that case I would prefer the 16:9 to the 4:3.

It's better for panoramic landscapes, and you can crop the sides if you want 3:2, 4:3, or square. You keep your resolution. If you crop 4:3 to 16:9, you will lose resolution if you print at the same height.

Out of the camera, I like 3:2 best. Probably because I am so familiar with 35mm cameras. I don't like 4/3 cameras so much for that reason. 3:2 usually allows reasonable composition in landscape or portrait.
 Camera thoughts - Bobby
>>Not really...that depends on the sensor size

My son has a Samsung Galaxy 9, I have an iphone 7.

As an experiment we held cameras in same position and took the same photo.
Both photos showed the same width extremities (landscape mode) but only the iphone 7 showed the staircase bannister at the bottom of the photo.

But of course when you then transfer these to laptop , the Samsung photo is the full width of the screen but the iphone isnt as it becomes more squarer image to fit the height in.
 Camera thoughts - Robin O'Reliant
Interesting thread this. I have a Cannon EOS 1200D which I'm thinking of selling and in the meantime getting a decent compact. I love taking photos but carting a DSLR round everywhere is a pain so most of the time it gets left at home. The Lumix TZ80 looks to fit the bill as it has a decent spec and more importantly for me an electronic viewfinder. I just can't get on with using a screen on a camera and for that reason I never use the camera on the phone.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Ditto here.

Been using a small Sony digicam with a good reputation for images particularly in low light for most uses. Then for holiday etc... when I have more time and can be bothered to carry a camera that won't fit in the pocket... a decent Lumix bridge camera.

Two issues have gradually come to light. I need a viewfinder to compose accurately in certain conditions so the little Sony has been problematical plus I'd like a zoom greater than its 10x... and I'm less and less inclined to want something that won't fit in a slim jacket pocket so don't use the 24x zoom Lumix bridge much.

With a viewfinder being a must after lots of research I have decided on the Lumix TZ70 which has better picture quality than the TZ80 due to a lower pixel count... the same 30x zoom.. broadly similar features and saves about £30.
Last edited by: Fenlander on Thu 12 Sep 19 at 21:12
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
If it isn't obvious... the Lumix will replace both cameras.
 Camera thoughts - Lemma
The Lumix series of cameras are both good and affordable (relatively), although most photographers and happy snappers are not limited by their kit. I have a Lumix TZ80 myself as it has both a viewfinder and shoots in Raw (This is a format that means the image can be better processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and so on). The TZ viewfinders are a little small but a lot better than not having one at all and are certainly cameras to be recommended even if they feel a little plasticky, at least to me.

The more pixels you have the better the resolution and hence the higher the image quality. However for most of us this is not relevant unless you are enlarging the image to poster size and above. I can take very acceptably detailed aerial shots with a 12 megapixel camera. The number of megapixels is often seen as the more the better, but remember there is a great lump of glass in front of the sensor. If that glass has the optical quality of the bottom of a milk bottle then no number of megapixels will help. Also the processing that takes place within the camera to produce the image is important. Colleagues of mine will update their cameras to take advantage of the latest electronics, however I am far too mean to do that, and also not sufficiently skilled for it to matter! In fact I have only ever bought secondhand equipment apart from one new lens.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
>>>The more pixels you have the better the resolution and hence the higher the image quality

Lemma happy to accept you do far more with photography than myself but...

Isn't it a case of the more pixels the greater the *potential* for image quality when printed to huge sizes... however the reality is often too many pixels crammed onto these small digicam sensors leads to issues with images in some circumstances such as low light?? I am speaking from the perspective of using jpegs... no idea if RAW makes a difference in this regard.

I've found the sweet spot for small digicams to be around 10-12 megapixels and actually sold on ones with around 20 megapixels due to poor image quality after trying them or a while.

Hence my interest in the Lumix TZ70.

Last edited by: Fenlander on Fri 13 Sep 19 at 09:02
 Camera thoughts - Lemma
An interesting thought. If we are talking about pixel count as such then physics tells us that resolution improves as it increases. However the differences are really marginal and for the vast majority of us irrelevant. It is the pixel popper nerds who go for this sort of thing. Another issue with high megapixels is the size of the files. My chum has a new full frame monstrosity of a camera and the file size of each image alone can reach 80 megabytes! Transferring, processing etc files of that size takes an enormous amount of oomph. However if you are making street billboards then its the way to go.

I know very little about digicams and videography but the issue of light level is an interesting one. Generally the larger the sensor the more light it can gather, so pocket camera often don't perform well in low light (and micro four third cameras like mine similarly). what we don't know though with digicams, pocket cameras etc is the ISO setting ie the sensitivity to light. In the good old days of film we used to call it grain, and use it to artistic effect. Now we call it noise and try and get rid of it. Image quality degrades as ISO increases and as light intensity decreases due to noise. Hence a small sensor, high ISO setting and low light is a perfect storm for reduced image quality.

Similarly the other number that is bandied about is the zoom. My TZ80 is 30x. Getting enough light onto the sensor means a wide aperture and slower shutter speed which all work against image quality. Combine that with a good but not excellent lens and shaky hands and it makes high image quality more difficult in the circumstances as well.

Whatever, we are discussing hairs on a cats back here. The vast majority of users won't notice this at all, and it will be much more down to the photographers ability than anything else. You won't be disappointed with the TZ70, the differences between that and the TZ80 are minimal although I would miss the touchscreen. So much easier than that fiddley little wheel. Just google TZ70 v TZ80 and you can be as nerdish as me. I bought my TZ80 on the Ebay Panasonic outlet shop, just taken a quick peek and they have them there for £180 with a 12 month guarantee.
 Camera thoughts - Manatee
Big pixels are better than small pixels, other things being equal. It's mainly to do with the signal:noise. Big pixel = more signal. In low light/high ISO the noise is a bigger proportion of the total output and that can be seen in low light pictures from small sensors. A long telephoto also means less light to the sensor so even in good light the pictures are likely to show a lot of noise.

I'm amazed how good many phones appear to be in low light through a tiny lens and with a tiny sensor. I haven't worked that one out yet - I suppose it helps that many people only look at the pictures on the phone at a small size, but I have printed some fairly respectable ones. They have clever methods of combining pixels and producing lower res pictures with reduced noise. I still have a Nokia 1020 Windows phone that takes really quite good pictures with a 40Mp sensor.

The difference though with 24Mp in a full frame SLR is however unmistakeable. The limiting factor is more likely to be me, occasionally the lens.

 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Interesting thanks. I will revisit reviews/comparisons of the Lumix TZ70 & 80. I must admit having owned a couple of touch screen cameras there is an appeal in that.

Thanks for the Panasonic outlet heads up. Not sure about that if I was unlucky to get one with poor cosmetics or that suffered a repeat of whatever it was returned for.
 Camera thoughts - Robin O'Reliant
>> >>
>> Been using a small Sony digicam with a good reputation for images particularly in low
>> light for most uses. Then for holiday etc... when I have more time and can
>> be bothered to carry a camera that won't fit in the pocket... a decent Lumix
>> bridge camera.
I still have the first digital camera I bought, a Pentax X5 bridge camera. I can't fault it performance wise but the reason I got a DSLR was because of one glaring drawback with the Pentax - it goes through it's four AA batteries faster than Billy Bunter goes through a packet of crisps. Videos are a no-no as that runs the batteries (Duracell rechargeable) down even quicker. A couple of user reviews I read say the same thing, though strangely it doesn't seem to effect every camera.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Digicam battery capability and camera demands on the battery have improved massively over the past 20yrs.... it's a non issue these days with most leisure/hobby cameras even when doing a fair bit of video. The Lumix digicams we're considering above will do about 300 images on one charge.

Both my current Lumix bridge and the Sony digicam will last an average holiday day out on either one or two of their dedicated re-chargeables.

I do remember back to the early days though carrying a jacket pocket full of spare AAs for my early Sony digicams.
 Camera thoughts - R.P.
As I mentioned above the TZ90 can be powered from a power bank, so effectively there's no limit.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Lemma/RP do you use the wi-fi facility on your Lumix... if so how do you get on with that.
 Camera thoughts - Zero
I use the WiFi on my TZ200 for downloading pics and vids to my tablet for edit and posting on social media, and for controlling the camera when it's in remote or awkward spots
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Thanks Zero... so you could use the phone as a secondary viewing/composing screen? And send images to phone for emailing etc?

BTW your TZ200 with larger sensor and corresponding image improvements over the "lesser" models appeals... but the price a little to fierce for me to justify.
Last edited by: Fenlander on Sat 14 Sep 19 at 11:57
 Camera thoughts - Zero
Yes to all those of that .exactly what I use it for. And yes the price is steep but I happened to catch it with a limited time 150 quid cashback offer
Last edited by: Zero on Sat 14 Sep 19 at 12:02
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Thanks... food for thought. I'll revisit the Lumix range reviews with yours as the benchmark.

Mrs F is just finishing 10 days on the Scilly isles with her iPhone and our Sony digicam. The photo opportunities in the nice weather they've had were amazing but she's cursed the lack of a viewfinder.
 Camera thoughts - Lemma
Hi Fenlander,

I have rarely used the Wi-Fi facility, although I have the app on my phone. I shoot in both Raw and jpg and then upload onto my Mac via the SD card. The jpgs are just for security, I don’t use them much if at all. I may be wrong but I don’t think you can Wi-Fi Raw files from this camera.
 Camera thoughts - Zero
there are few phone or tablet based raw editors, take up too much memory and are cpu intensive, and tablets or phones are just for social media really, and few social media site need hi quality images.
 Camera thoughts - No FM2R
And in a simple explanation, what is the advantage of RAW?
 Camera thoughts - Robin O'Reliant
As a simple answer it gives you a lot more control over the appearance of the image.

But someone who knows what they are talking about will be along to give you a much more accurate one.
 Camera thoughts - Manatee
RAW is all the data from the sensor. For that reason the files are bigger than jpgs.

There's a good explanation here.
 Camera thoughts - No FM2R
That is a good explanation. And I even learned a new word; "demosaicing".

Thank you.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Don't know if any of those interested in a new compact digicam are still looking but the Panasonic official refurb outlet have current stock of the DMC-TZ70 at £149.99 and DMC-TZ80 at £179.99.

However after reading loads of reviews I decided to forgo the extra pixels and touchscreen and look for a deal on a new silver TZ70. Then an email from Amazon this am offering just that camera new for £176 delivered tipped me into pressing the buy button. They are usually £219 most places.

Amazon have the black TZ70 at £163 delivered too.

That's a great deal for a camera being well reviewed at £350 2-3 years ago.

Now to look for a used bargain waterproof digicam or perhaps GoPro clone for boating.
Last edited by: Fenlander on Mon 21 Oct 19 at 14:29
 Camera thoughts - smokie
I have an "action" camera which has a waterproof case and a number of different attachments. Picture quality is nothing special but I got some good underwater shots of fish when scuba'ing in Egypt. It was only about £15 IIRC, but looked identical to some twice the price.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
Just a bit of an update after receiving the Lumix TZ70 and 24hrs testing side by side with my existing compact digicam...

My 8yr old Sony compact was head and shoulders above many apparently similar spec digicams both in reviews and personal experience so a hard act to follow for its type.

With the TZ70 I have gained the now essential (to me) electronic viewfinder, zoom gone from 10x to 30x (I needed 20x min), wi-fi (tried it, very useful)... and a few useful gadget facilities like the ability to define what three of the controls do, an electronic level (brilliant), some post snapping in-camera edit ability.

The core image performance hasn't improved over the Sony**, the Lumix is right at the top end of size for passing my pocket test, it looks nice in the silver black version I bought echoing my first camera in the early 60s but its mostly plastic build feels a bit lightweight after the superb mostly metal cased Sony. There's no doubt Zero's similar sized metal fronted TZ200 weighing 40% more would give a better feel.

**I see in fully auto which I mostly use the Lumix actually picks a higher ISO with the potential for greater noise when cropping.

However benefits far outweigh niggles and overall very acceptable for the £176 paid... but if I'd bought one a few years back at the launch price around £350 I'd not have been quite so pleased.

Last edited by: Fenlander on Thu 24 Oct 19 at 11:03
 Camera thoughts - Zero
>> an electronic level (brilliant),

The anti shake (that uses the same system as the auto level) is superb as well, check it out in highish zoom video - Careful tho the auto level and anti shake electronics may crop as required if you exceed the ability of the mechanical components.

>> The core image performance hasn't improved over the Sony**,

You know, I think we have just about reached a high image ability threshold of electronic image capture. Its not going to improve greatly from here unless we have a massive technology step change. The only real differentiator now is the size of the glass out front.
Last edited by: Zero on Thu 24 Oct 19 at 12:10
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
>>>just about reached a high image ability threshold of electronic image capture. Its not going to improve greatly from here unless we have a massive technology step change.

Probably true and even keen enthusiasts don't really need better.

>>>The only real differentiator now is the size of the glass out front.

Yes... and the way each make/model processes the image by default to what they think we want to see.

Which is why I guess Lemma uses RAW.
 Camera thoughts - Bobby
A wee update from me - my family decided that I had shown enough interest to justify chipping in and getting me a Sony Cybershot DSC HX90V for my birthday.

So will now need to get a play about with it and see how all the features work.

I am renowned for being difficult to buy for - most items, gadgets etc I want to do the research myself. Very rarely do I ever receive a spontaneous or surprise present as its just not worth the hassle. Even the missus wont buy me any clothes cos as she knows I only get clothes when I need them!

So the fact that I showed enough interest in a camera they acted quickly and got me the exact same one as my brother has and raves about.
 Camera thoughts - Kevin
>Sony Cybershot DSC HX90V for my birthday.

Have a good play with it and make sure that you are happy with the image quality.

I bought a HX9V after reading some good reviews but ended up disappointed. It does not have RAW support and the jpeg compression is much too aggressive. Sony ignored worldwide complaints to issue a firmware update to either reduce compression or, if possible, add RAW support.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
I think he'll be OK with the HX90V but know what you mean re the HX9V.

We've had two HX5Vs for about 8yrs. Decided to upgrade one to a HX9V a few years ago... sold the HX9V on due to images issues. Also it didn't work with my aftermarket spare batteries.

I've still got a HX7V too which is nearer to the good performance of the HX5V.
 Camera thoughts - Fenlander
BTW I did consider the Sony HX90V this time but this camera change is to share on trips between self and Mrs F.

But the way the flash and viewfinder pop up wouldn't last five minutes with her.
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