Replacing a Point and Shoot & Camcorder with 1 Camera

M

Mega

Guest
I hope this is not a tired topic, but I did search for Camcorder and came up empty...

I currently carry a Sony HDR-HC3 and Canon PowerShot A2100 IS.

My goal is to replace both of these with a single device without compromising video quality or still picture quality.

The obvious choice from Canon from my point of view is the replacement to the SX30 IS. That will most likely bring the video up to 1080p which should match or exceed the 1080i 60 that my camcorder does. I would say the SX30 already far surpasses my little dinky point-and-shoot.

But I suspect that the Sony probably will still take better video... so my question to the community is: Is there a camera out there now (or in the near future) that can exceed the quality of both my camcorder and still camera without getting into expensive DSLRs with multiple lenses? Do you think the SX40HS could possibly do that?

I am fairly patient. I have been watching the SX series since the CMOS SX1 IS with 1080p (wish they had not stopped that line). So if the SX40 doesn't cut it, I might be willing to wait another year.
 

87vr6

EOS 80D
Jan 11, 2011
109
0
Go ahead and get that SX1 IS. I had a SX 10 IS before I stepped up into the DSLR game. It was a fully capable camera. At the time, I wish I had bought the SX1 purely because it did video and RAW stills.

This was shot with that SX10IS:




I bought a ring adapter to step it up to 58mm and put a Hoya CPL filter on it. The SX1 would take the same pics (same sensor, same processor), plus add nice video capability. I'd say find a used one, or a NOS somewhere and enjoy it. That's really as high as you can get without getting into DSLRs.
 
M

Mega

Guest
Wow, those shots look great... but from the reviews and sample videos I can recall, the SX1, while having 1080p, seemed to have some wonky jittering on the video... something that might be able to have been fixed via better software, but alas, the series was ended. Since the SX10, SX20, and SX30 do not have 1080p, I find myself still waiting for an upgrade to the SX1.

If I was only concerned with stills, I think I would have done just what you suggest... got an SX1.

I know I can beat my puny A2100 for stills... so what I am really asking this community about is an upgrade, or equivalent to replace my Sony HD Camcorder.

From my experience, camcorders take crappy stills, and still cameras take crappy video. I am not an expert on camera technology, but it seems feasible that both could be done well in a single device, and the obvious choice would be in a primarily still camera since it has the superior sensor at its heart. But I am open to a camcorder that takes great stills as well, but I am not aware of any.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,468
708
There are camcorders now available that can take high resolution stills and fantastic video. Unfortunately, mere mortals might shy at the price, but professionals can grab a frame from the video and use it as a still.

http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2011/06/07/what-camera-did-i-use-to-make-this-still-picture/

or

http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2011/06/07/what-camera-did-i-use-to-make-this-still-picture/

Big Bucks, but they deliver.

In the real world, I'm not aware of a low cost under $15K camcorder that can deliver professional qualiity stills that you can grab from any frame.

They need to be 4K or 5K camcorders, and they are not out for ordinary photographers ...Yet.
 

NormanBates

www.similaar.com
Aug 31, 2010
487
0
Madrid, Spain
www.similaar.com
if you want cheap and small, and can live with a small sensor and no control over DoF, sony HX9:
http://cheesycam.com/sony-hx9-point-and-shoot-camera/

if you want bigger and better, and a DoF that you can control, sony NEX-5N:
http://www.eoshd.com/content/3856/sony-nex-5n-review-and-video-footage
http://www.eoshd.com/content/3878/nex-5n-easter-egg-found-to-increase-video-quality
http://www.eoshd.com/content/3898/sony-nex-5n-versus-fs100-and-nex-vg20-hands-on-comparison

(yes, sony is eating everybody's lunch nowadays... probably because they seem to be the only ones able to constantly bring new stuff out)
 

elflord

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 2, 2011
692
0
Mt Spokane Photography said:
They need to be 4K or 5K camcorders, and they are not out for ordinary photographers ...Yet.
What about big sensor camcorders like the Panasonic AG-AF100 or Sony NEX 10 ?
 

NormanBates

www.similaar.com
Aug 31, 2010
487
0
Madrid, Spain
www.similaar.com
the sony VG10 and VG20 are worse than the NEX-5N and cost about $2K more (you can check some opinions in the last link from my previous post)

if you're stepping up from the NEX-5N, it's either for a GH2, a 5D2, or all the way up for a panasonic AF100 or sony FS100
 
M

Mega

Guest
I had some fun reading about some of the really expensive stuff you guys linked like the Red Epic... but back to reality:

I should have posted a price range... my bad... I want to stay under $500 but could go over for something special and I don't want to deal with a bunch of extra stuff like lenses and flashes. I want a camera I can pick up and quickly shoot a still or movie without a lot of fuss... yet something that I can learn to use to take some great shots. I also would like a wide zoom range, and I realize that means I won't be able to get a large 35mm sensor (since those require more glass to zoom a lot).

To tell you the truth, I kind of eliminated Sony in my shopping because A) I own a Sony DSC-W150 that I am not happy with, and B) I don't like their proprietary memory.

Well, I am glad NormanBates pointed me to Sony, as I was totally unaware of all the new innovative stuff they have... and the best part is... all their new stuff will take SD memory!!

I like the NEX-5N, but I don't think I can get the zoom range I want, and I'd still have to add a flash too. So I think I'll eliminate that.

The Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V is nice, but was hoping for something better...

Now I'm looking at the Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V

That puppy looks to be everything I was hoping the PowerShot SX40HS would be (and more). Now I'm off to find some reviews... thanks so much guys... and keep the feedback coming if you have more. :D
 
T

thejoyofsobe

Guest
if i was primarily looking for a stills camera I'd go with other options because of personal preferences but as you're looking for a good option for both stills and video what about a Sony a35 DSLT? more than the stated price range though you could probably find a used or refurbished one for not too much over it.

APS-C size sensor (better image quality, reduced noise, shallower depth of field)
Built-in pop up flash (you said you don't want to buy an external)
Phase detection AF even in video (largely overcomes pitfalls of DSLR and mirroless video)
Improved image and video quality over current equipment
In-camera image stabilization
High burst rate for stills
Very light weight
No articulated LCD (sorry)
SD card slot

it'd be a camera you could grow with and although right now you say you don't want to deal with lots of lenses you'll have the option to acquire more. moreover they'd be usable in other Sony cameras you might purchase years down the line.
 

elflord

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 2, 2011
692
0
Mega said:
I am not an expert on camera technology, but it seems feasible that both could be done well in a single device, and the obvious choice would be in a primarily still camera since it has the superior sensor at its heart. But I am open to a camcorder that takes great stills as well, but I am not aware of any.
You could get a 5D Mark II and it "still" wouldn't really by better than your camcorder, just different. Camcorders are designed for smooth operation while filming -- they zoom smoothly, they focus smoothly, and they pan smoothly.

The draw of stills cameras for video is that there are no consumer camcorders on the market that provide comparable depth of field to a micro 4/3 or SLR camera. When the 5D mark II came out, there was nothing that could touch it in its price range.

So bottom line is -- big sensor stills cameras have some functionality for video that is not available in consumer camcorders.

All the camcorders which offer decent performance as stills cameras (e.g. decent sized sensors) are way too bulky to be practical -- they are big pro models like the Sony Super 35 or Panasonic m43 AG-AF100.

The super zoom camera you are looking at has a 27-810 equivalent focal length range. The Panasonic micro 4/3 14-140mm lens has the bottom 10x of that range, and likewise the Tamron 18-270mm for Canon SLR cameras has the lower 15x of that. You could apply a 2x crop and still have image quality no worse than a super zoom consumer camera -- if you use the 400-800mm range a lot.
 
C

canongirl

Guest
How about the S95 replacement which may have 1080 video? Would that fit the bill? I tried the Sony HX9 but I did not like the image quality and inaccurate colors.
 
M

Mega

Guest
canongirl said:
How about the S95 replacement which may have 1080 video? Would that fit the bill? I tried the Sony HX9 but I did not like the image quality and inaccurate colors.
I know that before the announcement this might be a silly question but...

What advantage will the S100 have over the SX40? I would think that unless I wanted the camera to be pocket-sized, the SX40 would be the better option assuming the specs are similar.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
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Mega said:
What advantage will the S100 have over the SX40? I would think that unless I wanted the camera to be pocket-sized, the SX40 would be the better option assuming the specs are similar.
The specs will likely not be similar. The SX40 (like it's predecessors) achieves it's superzoom capability by using a smaller sensor (the S95's sensor is ~50% larger than that in the SX30). A larger sensor means better IQ, and that's the advantage that the "S100" will retain. It's unlikely they'll increase the sensor size in the SX40 - even a small increase in sensor size translates to either a much-reduced telephoto end or a larger camera (and it's already nearly the size of a Rebel/xxxD). The "S100" will presumably shoot RAW, also allowing more freedom in post-processing.

Ultimately, the two cameras have rather different markets.
 
M

Mega

Guest
Neuroanatomist, thanks so much for that explanation. I was totally unaware of the sensor being a different size between those models.

Sorry for all the questions, but I’m just trying to understand the sensor size to picture quality relationship:

I already knew that DSLRs achieved better IQ due to the larger sensors, but I also assumed it was related to the lens being bigger in diameter therefore capturing more light.

But in the case of (I’ll use current models so it’s not as speculative) S95 vs. SX30, the S95 has a larger sensor with a smaller lens, and vice versa. Does the larger piece of glass in the SX30 have any IQ advantages at all, or is it all about getting that "super " zoom? I don’t want to be that consumer enamored by a gimmick, but on the other hand, 35x zoom is pretty useful assuming it’s not destroying IQ.

I know this is the Canon forum, but does anyone happen to know if the Sony DSC-HX9V and DSC-HX100V use the same sensor? They both are listed on the Sony site as a 16.2 megapixel "Exmor R" CMOS sensor. But based on what I am reading here, I wonder if it’s a smaller version in the HX100V to accommodate the 30X zoom?

I assume CMOS is superior to CCD. Is that always the case? I see the S95 uses a CCD and both Sonys use CMOS.

Another question: Assuming the S95 (and its successor) does have a larger sensor and better IQ than either of the Sony cameras above or Canon SX series, what other point-and-shoot cameras (Canon or otherwise) have a large sensor? Sensor size has not been on my radar until now.
 
B

bimbobo

Guest
...
would it make sense to release a new cam, where the only news is CCD to CMOS and 14MP to 12MP?

I do not expect dslr sensor but something bigger than the one in SX30, the Fuji HS20 is big and heavy but it was a great feeling in the hands, the issue was noisy IQ not the weight or size.

If they only add 1080P video, maybe RAW and a reduced MP numbers, then it's not a cam I would buy.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
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Mega said:
I already knew that DSLRs achieved better IQ due to the larger sensors, but I also assumed it was related to the lens being bigger in diameter therefore capturing more light.
Not per se. Lenses have f/numbers (commonly referred to as aperture), which are a ratio of focal length to iris diaphragm diamater. Lenses are also designed to project a specific image circle diameter. With a smaller sensor, that image circle can be smaller, but the f/number ratio holds constant. So, the S95 is f/2 at 6mm (which with the small sensor size means a field of view equivalent to 28mm on a FF camera). That means the iris diaphragm must be 3 mm in diameter (6mm / 2 = 3mm). Compare that to something like the EF 135mm f/2L, which needs an iris diaphragm of 67.5mm. So, the 135L needs a lot more glass, and is a lot bigger and more expensive. But, both that big lens and the tiny S95 lens are delivering f/2 - meaning that per unit area, the amount of light hitting the sensor is exactly the same for the two cameras. But, that's light per unit area. A bigger sensor captures more total light, and that's what yields the better IQ (in particular, lower ISO noise).

Mega said:
But in the case of (I’ll use current models so it’s not as speculative) S95 vs. SX30, the S95 has a larger sensor with a smaller lens, and vice versa. Does the larger piece of glass in the SX30 have any IQ advantages at all, or is it all about getting that "super " zoom? I don’t want to be that consumer enamored by a gimmick, but on the other hand, 35x zoom is pretty useful assuming it’s not destroying IQ.
It's really all about getting that super zoom. In fact, with smaller lenses it's often easier to correct the aberrations than with larger lenses.

Mega said:
I assume CMOS is superior to CCD. Is that always the case? I see the S95 uses a CCD and both Sonys use CMOS.
Not really. Different, with different strengths and weaknesses. CMOS sensors are faster (relevant for 1080p video and high-speed stills at high resolutions), but tend to be noisier and have less dynamic range.

Mega said:
Another question: Assuming the S95 (and its successor) does have a larger sensor and better IQ than either of the Sony cameras above or Canon SX series, what other point-and-shoot cameras (Canon or otherwise) have a large sensor? Sensor size has not been on my radar until now.
The Canon S95/G12 are among the largest. The sensor in the Panasonic Lumix LX-5 is slightly larger.
 

elflord

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 2, 2011
692
0
Mega said:
Neuroanatomist, thanks so much for that explanation. I was totally unaware of the sensor being a different size between those models.

Sorry for all the questions, but I’m just trying to understand the sensor size to picture quality relationship:

I already knew that DSLRs achieved better IQ due to the larger sensors, but I also assumed it was related to the lens being bigger in diameter therefore capturing more light.
The main thing that results in very large lens elements is the absolute aperture size. The aperture width increases in inverse proportion to the f number and in direct proportion with the lens focal length. Lens focal length increases linearly with sensor size.

So for example, the aperture on an 840mm f/5.8 full frame lens (same fov as the SX30IS) would be about 14cm wide. The front element would need to be somewhat larger than that.

So larger sensors require larger lens elements as do low f numbers, but the larger lens elements don't in themselves result in better image quality. So for example, the 35mm f/1.4L produces excellent images, and it's not a very large lens.

But in the case of (I’ll use current models so it’s not as speculative) S95 vs. SX30, the S95 has a larger sensor with a smaller lens, and vice versa. Does the larger piece of glass in the SX30 have any IQ advantages at all, or is it all about getting that "super " zoom?
You need a larger piece of glass to get the longer effective focal length. The reason they use such small sensors is that a full frame sensor would require a larger lens than Canon's 800mm f/5.6 lens.

I don’t want to be that consumer enamored by a gimmick, but on the other hand, 35x zoom is pretty useful assuming it’s not destroying IQ.
It's a trade off. Larger sensors result in better image quality, especially low light performance. Prime lenses and zoom lenses with a relatively short zoom range (about 3x or so) usually perform much better than super zooms. If we all cared about quality at all costs, we'd all use medium format cameras with primes.

But there are tradeoffs. Having said that, the fact that zoom range is very visible to the naive consumer whereas sensor size and maximum aperture are not, means that the typical user tends to give up a lot in terms of low light performance to get more zoom.

I know this is the Canon forum, but does anyone happen to know if the Sony DSC-HX9V and DSC-HX100V use the same sensor?
They both use small 1/2.3" sensors. All super zooms use small sensors. The 30X zoom camera weighs more than twice as much.


Another question: Assuming the S95 (and its successor) does have a larger sensor and better IQ than either of the Sony cameras above or Canon SX series, what other point-and-shoot cameras (Canon or otherwise) have a large sensor? Sensor size has not been on my radar until now.
You won't find any super zooms. Off the top of my head, the Canon S95, Canon G12, Olympus XZ1 and Panasonic LX5 are some of the leaders among compacts. You won't get a wide zoom range in any of these -- they're in the 5x ballpark. You can find more by searching snapsort.com, here's a starting point:

http://snapsort.com/explore/best-digital-cameras/1.7-sensor-size

If you want good image quality in a compact, these are the ones to look at.

The mirrorless cameras (e.g. micro 4/3 like Panasonic GF3, Olympus EP3, Fuji X100) are small and have almost SLR sized sensors, but even a 3x zoom is quite large on one of these -- because you need more glass to cover the big sensor.
 
M

Mega

Guest
neuroanatomist & elflord,

Thanks so much for taking the time to explain all this to me.

elflord said:
But there are tradeoffs. Having said that, the fact that zoom range is very visible to the naive consumer whereas sensor size and maximum aperture are not, means that the typical user tends to give up a lot in terms of low light performance to get more zoom.
That makes perfect sense. 24 hours ago, I was thinking: "Get the biggest zoom, highest resolution and FPS in video, and best features." I'm sure that line of thinking is what Canon and Sony are counting on. Even the way the SX30 looks is "impressive" and causes the consumer to assume it's better quality than a puny little S95.

On the other hand, I don't think it's all smoke and mirrors... for a guy like me that is trying to find a single "do everything" camera, I might be willing to sacrifice some quality to have all the modes and features I want. Zooming in to see my child in the band on a football field might be more important than a slightly less-grainy indoor shot with no flash.

It is becoming very clear to me now why the G and S series of Canon PowerShots are so popular among the DSLR crowd. I am definitely not ruling them out, though it sounds like I should keep waiting if I want the G series since the G12 is getting long in the tooth, and apparently no G13 in 2011. I do really want 1080p video too, so that would be reason enough to wait if the G-series makes the cut.

However if the S100 has everything I'm looking for except a big zoom, and now I know there is no HQ options with a big zoom due to actual physics... I may go for that.

I have to admit though, the Sony HX100V is still looking really good to me. Here are some reviews I watched / read:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Sony_Cyber-shot_DSC_HX100V/

http://reviews.cnet.com/4505-6501_7-34532712.html (video review)

http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-6501_7-10009052.html (sample photos)

http://www.digitalphotographywriter.com/2011/02/nikon-coolpix-p500-vs-canon-sx30is-sony.html
This guy picked the Nikon P500, but I ruled it out based on other reviews... but he did put the Sony above the Canon SX30.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNNExy80yEc (obvious fan-boy, but still informative)
 

elflord

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 2, 2011
692
0
Mega said:
neuroanatomist & elflord,

That makes perfect sense. 24 hours ago, I was thinking: "Get the biggest zoom, highest resolution and FPS in video, and best features." I'm sure that line of thinking is what Canon and Sony are counting on. Even the way the SX30 looks is "impressive" and causes the consumer to assume it's better quality than a puny little S95.

On the other hand, I don't think it's all smoke and mirrors... for a guy like me that is trying to find a single "do everything" camera, I might be willing to sacrifice some quality to have all the modes and features I want. Zooming in to see my child in the band on a football field might be more important than a slightly less-grainy indoor shot with no flash.
Again, this is where the zoom fools people. The prevailing myth is that the camera with a long zoom lens is more "versatile" because you can use it at a variety of focal lengths. The problem in this thinking is that such lenses only work well under very favourable lighting conditions. Under low light, they become close to unusable -- you end up requiring either an unusable shutter speed or an unusable ISO setting. And that's assuming that the camera is able to autofocus under the lighting conditions (harder with a slow lens).

If you're taking family pictures -- a camera with a larger sensor will produce much better looking portraits. Shallow depth of field makes for much better looking portrait shots. That's why wedding photographers use f/2.8 24-70mm 70-200mm zooms and sometimes even primes -- they are shooting with indoor light and they are shooting lots of candids which look much better with less depth of field.

So in some ways, the brighter lens/sensor combination is more versatile. Most of the pictures I've taking are either indoors or under night time light. For this, a slow lens/sensor would be unusable.

Moreover, most users aren't going to benefit very much from having the 400mm-800mm range available. You need a very fast shutter speed (or a tripod) to get good images at those focal lengths, and they aren't useful for general purpose photography. Even sports photographers often get by with "only" 200mm or 300mm lenses.

It is becoming very clear to me now why the G and S series of Canon PowerShots are so popular among the DSLR crowd. I am definitely not ruling them out, though it sounds like I should keep waiting if I want the G series since the
Just my opinion, but if you're getting something as big as the G, you will get much better image quality from a micro 4/3 camera, and they are about the same size as the Canon G series.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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Mega said:
... for a guy like me that is trying to find a single "do everything" camera, I might be willing to sacrifice some quality to have all the modes and features I want. Zooming in to see my child in the band on a football field might be more important than a slightly less-grainy indoor shot with no flash.

It is becoming very clear to me now why the G and S series of Canon PowerShots are so popular among the DSLR crowd.
Exactly - different markets. I love my S95 because a already have a dSLR (two, actually) and a bunch of lenses ranging from 16mm to 640mm FF-equivalent. But carrying all that isn't always convenient - thus the S95. It and the G12 shoot RAW and offer a host of manual controls that dSLR shooters are accustomed to, and deliver the best IQ for size. If I had only one 'do everything' camera, it would probably be a superzoom - in fact, before getting into dSLR photography (returning from film SLRs after a long gap), my one was a superzoom predecessor (Olympus C765UZ, UZ meaning ultrazoom, a 38-380mm FF-equivalent).