Lens question .. is a bigger camera better?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Dave Cobb, Jun 12, 2004.

  1. Dave Cobb

    Dave Cobb Guest

    Q> If two comparable cameras (i.e. S400 & A80) have the same megapixel and
    same lens ratings (3x optical... f2.8 - x)... will the bigger camera produce
    better pictures?
    Dave Cobb, Jun 12, 2004
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  2. Dave Cobb

    steve Guest

    How about looking at sample photos? I don't think size has anything to
    do with it. Assuming a capable photographer at the controls it is the
    quality of the optics and the performance of the sensor that is most
    important as far as image quality goes.

    One site with a good number of reveiews is http://www.dpreview.com

    There are others as well.

    My wife hates a camera that is larger than she can easily hold with one
    hand. This rules out SLRs as far as she is concerned.

    On the other hand, I can't imagine spending good money on a digital
    camera without being able to change lenses. So I purchased a DSLR and
    now have a small collection of nice lenses.

    My wife shakes her head every time I go to the photography shop (candy

    steve, Jun 13, 2004
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  3. Dave Cobb

    Ron Andrews Guest

    That depends on what you mean by bigger (and what you mean by better).
    Volume and weight don't have much to do with image quality. The size of the
    image sensor matters. The most often quoted number is the 35mm equivalence.
    A low number means a larger image sensor. This will provide more depth of
    field control but makes focusing more critical. It also MAY produce more
    Ron Andrews, Jun 13, 2004
  4. Dave Cobb

    Dave Cobb Guest

    Yeah, I've been through dpreview.. etc.. and it seems that they have not
    reviewed many of the most current models... Additionally it seems that the
    reviewers might have rated the same camera a "10" a year ago and may rate it
    an "8" today... so depending on when they reviewed seems to impact the

    My main question is around the sub-compacts to midsize cameras... will a
    midsize generally take better pictures given the same lens specs? Or is this
    an invalid assumption?

    For this reason I mentioned the S400 and A80 as sample comparisons.
    Dave Cobb, Jun 13, 2004
  5. Dave Cobb

    Dave Cobb Guest

    I guess I'm speaking of the size of the lens... for example 2 cameras...

    1. has a lens the size of a dime

    2. has a lens the size of a quarter

    Both cameras are from the same mfg and have the same zoom range and
    Dave Cobb, Jun 13, 2004
  6. Dave Cobb

    Dave Cobb Guest

    By bigger I would consider a mid-size camera like the A80 as compared to a
    smaller S400 or S410.

    By better pictures, I'm referring to overall result... accurate color,
    detail, etc...

    So bottom line... using the same mode on an A80 and a S400... can one make
    an assumption that the larger A80 might have better results?
    Dave Cobb, Jun 13, 2004
  7. Dave Cobb

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    Likely (but not certain) the second will have a bigger focal plane and
    less noise at higher ISO levels.

    Phil Wheeler, Jun 13, 2004
  8. Dave Cobb

    Martik Guest

    The A80 offers much more control, ie: Manual mode, Aperture and Shutter
    priority as well as a swivel LCD which all contribute to more creative
    Martik, Jun 13, 2004
  9. Dave Cobb

    Wingman Guest

    I just purchased the A80 and I could not be happier. This is my first
    digital, but I think I got the right camera.
    Wingman, Jun 13, 2004
  10. Dave Cobb

    [BnH] Guest

    In your sample, arguably they will produce the same result.
    as only Canon lens and Canon CCD was used in your sample.

    [BnH], Jun 13, 2004
  11. It depends. In general, the camera with the *larger* sensor (physical
    area) will produce better images at the same pixel count. But these two
    cameras seem to have exactly the same sensor. The lenses aren't exactly
    the same focal length (7.4 vs. 7.8 mm at the WA end), so one could be
    slightly better than the other in sharpness, distortion, etc. But I've
    used both S410 and A80, and I haven't noticed any sacrifice in image
    quality in the smaller camera.

    The *big* difference is that the A80 has manual modes - full manual
    exposure as well as Tv and Av modes, and manual focus. The S400's
    "manual" mode is really equivalent to "P" on the A80. Both use the same
    small 1.5" diagonal LCD, but the one on the A80 flips out and rotates,
    allowing you to take low- and high-angle shots where you'd just have to
    guess about aim with the S400.

    Dave Martindale, Jun 13, 2004
  12. Dave Cobb

    Don Stauffer Guest

    Theoretically, yes. But there are a lot of practical parameters that
    make this not all that useful an idea.

    Bigger is theoretically better for two reasons. Let us assume all else
    is the same, and lenses of same relative aperture (f/#) on the two

    The larger camera has a larger absolute aperture, so lets in more total
    photons, so ultimately is less noisy in dim light. If scene bright
    enough, this factor virtually disappears except for resolution beyond
    what is practical in modern photography, either film or digital.

    While geometric aberrations of a lens scale directly with focal length,
    diffraction blur depends on ratio of aperture size to wavelength of
    visible light. So lenses are equally sharp if scaled down, EXCEPT for
    diffraction, which limits a perfect lens (one with NO geometric
    aberrations). So diffraction limit is ultimate limit on sharpness.
    Don Stauffer, Jun 13, 2004
  13. Dave Cobb

    Big Bill Guest

    The ratings can change because the bar is raised as new cameras come
    to market; yesterday's "10" can easily be today's "8".
    Largr cameras generally have batteries that last longer, better (more
    reliable) zooming mechanicals, room for physically larger memory cards
    (but I don't know how this can equate to better image quality), and
    more room for more features.

    Size, by itself, won't dictate image quality, given comparable sensors
    and lenses.

    Bill Funk
    Change "g" to "a"
    Big Bill, Jun 13, 2004
  14. Dave Cobb

    Big Bill Guest

    If all else is the same, includng focal length and aperture size, the
    bigger camera had better NOT let in more light.
    This has nothing to do with the physical size of the camera.
    Bill Funk
    Change "g" to "a"
    Big Bill, Jun 14, 2004
  15. Dave Cobb

    J. B. Dalton Guest

    Assuming similar sensor size, a bigger camera can produce a better picture
    if the lens is telecentric. Generally, the telecentric lens works better
    with solid-state sensors, but has to have a considerably larger exit
    aperture to permit all focus cones to be perpendicular to the image plane.

    [I wouldn't use camera body size to guess if the lens is telecentric. Read
    the specs or reviews for that.]

    J. B. Dalton, Jun 14, 2004
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