Digital Cameras

These comments predate my acquisition of a Casio QV3000

- Here are some discussion of my friends' results, my observations (1999), and links to camera review sites.

Sony FD88 and FD91 vs. Fuji 2900 -

Edges (hard-edged objects), resolution (trees/leaves); compression

The Sony Mavica cameras have an edge enhancement in the pictures that is quite pronounced.  Edge enhancement is an old TV technique to get pictures to look sharp when the resolution is limited.  I saw this in the pictures from a low resolution MAVICA sent to me by friends, in pix made at CompUSA while I was looking at an FD-88, and in pictures a friend made with an FD-91.  He commented on the same thing without prompting, especially after comparing to pictures from another friend's Fuji 2900.  The FD-91 did not seem to have the same natural texture in shots of autumn trees as did the Fuji.  Again, I think this is an attempt ot compensate for 1 Mpixel vs. 2 Mpixel, plus the fact that the Sony Mavica  must compress the image to get it on a floppy.  

Viewfinder (or not), zoom range and image stabilizing:

The Sony MAVICA FD-88 has a long range optical zoom, but caution is advised not to use it in the telephoto position under medium or low lighting.  Since there is no optical finder, the camera must be held away from you so you can see the scene on the LCD display - then it is not braced against your cheek and camera shake is inevitable.  The FD-91 has built in optical mechanical stabilization, which makes the zoom more useful.  My friend liked the telephoto zoom for taking pictures of wildlife.

I/O and storage:  

Floppy storage sure is nice (and cheap) - too bad it does not allow uncompressed images.  The new Sony digital cameras use a "memory stick" - proprietary to Sony - that doesn't turn me on either.  I hope that miniature hard drives (or something) can catch up with this problem. Other cameras use a variety of relatively standard memory cards - but they are expensive, and therefore prompt you to take a computer along to download images.  

Equivalent film speed; slow shutter speeds & time exposure:

The usual equivalent film speed for digital cameras is ASA100.  Some cameras let you adjust this upward, but of course that amplifies the noise that appears as grain or streaks.  Most digital cameras also do not allow particularly long exposures, as this is also a noise increasing situation.

Battery life?

- from what I can tell, this is highly variable, depending on use of the LCD display, flash,and in the case of the FD-91, the image stabilizer.  (By the way, the Mavicas generally have very good battery life specs.)

What to do?  

I personally am waiting a bit to see what happens.  There is no doubt that digital cameras are ready for some applications, particularly where the main purpose is to get the image into the computer.  However, in terms of ease of use and getting pictures under a wide variety of conditions, I am still using my trusty 35mm with its choice of film speeds, long exposures,and interchangeable lenses.  Then, into the scanner and into the computer!

Links to digital camera resources

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