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02-26-2010, 05:51 AM   #1
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X90 - 26x zoom is too big

I have tried out Pentax X90 on the camera simulator (Pentax X90 zoom test) yesterday, and I think 26x zoom is incredible, maybe a little bit too big. I wonder wether the image stabilization do its job or not?

02-26-2010, 06:20 AM   #2
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Having tried the previous model at 24x, I can say the SR makes a big difference when fully zoomed out. Otherwise you'd need a tripod or a stable base in which to place the camera (unless very bright light, but still may not be so sharp when shutter is released.)
The difference between 24x and 26x shouldn't make much difference at all in regards to the effectiveness of the SR.

Jason

Last edited by Jasvox; 02-26-2010 at 12:01 PM.
02-26-2010, 07:34 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
Having tried the previous model at 24x, I can say the SR makes a big difference when fully zoomed out. Otherwise you'd need a tripod or a stable base in which to place the camera (unless very bright light, but still may not be so sharp when shutter is released.)
The difference between 24x and 26x should make much difference at all in regards to the effectiveness of the SR.
But ... how much detail can we reasonably expect from a 1/2.33 sensor at max zoom? If this camera had a larger sensor, say, even 1/1.7, I'd be more interested. Looks like a nice camera to have esp when the DSLR is not available. I tried a Panasonic ZS3 (1/2.3 sensor) at max zoom - 12x. ~300mm, 35mm equiv - and detail was simply mush.
02-26-2010, 08:15 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by twokatmew Quote
But ... how much detail can we reasonably expect from a 1/2.33 sensor at max zoom? If this camera had a larger sensor, say, even 1/1.7, I'd be more interested. Looks like a nice camera to have esp when the DSLR is not available. I tried a Panasonic ZS3 (1/2.3 sensor) at max zoom - 12x. ~300mm, 35mm equiv - and detail was simply mush.
I have the same camera and found a strategy that, somewhat unintuitively, gave more detail. Try setting the resolution lower, like one of the 5mp settings. It seems like I got more quite a bit more detail. Also back off the max zoom just a bit and you will get better lens performance.

For the X70 and X90, improving the lens performance can be done the same way. Additionally, unless you are shooting the 1cm macro, back off the widest setting and the sharpness seems to improve quite a bit there. If you consider that a small departure from the extreme ends of the zoom range should get you using a better part of the lens, the camera can still give you a 28mm to 560mm range with excellent performance.

02-26-2010, 08:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dnaseigel Quote
I have the same camera and found a strategy that, somewhat unintuitively, gave more detail. Try setting the resolution lower, like one of the 5mp settings. It seems like I got more quite a bit more detail. Also back off the max zoom just a bit and you will get better lens performance.

For the X70 and X90, improving the lens performance can be done the same way. Additionally, unless you are shooting the 1cm macro, back off the widest setting and the sharpness seems to improve quite a bit there. If you consider that a small departure from the extreme ends of the zoom range should get you using a better part of the lens, the camera can still give you a 28mm to 560mm range with excellent performance.
Hmm, yes, makes sense. Now that you mention 1cm macro, what's approximate magnification at that distance?

I just received a Pentax marketing email re the new W90, and it lists "Digital Microscope mode for illuminated Macro shots as close as 1cm." Can you tell me how this works, especially the "illuminated" part? And do you know if this feature is available on the X90?

Thanks!
02-26-2010, 08:29 AM   #6
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The X90 is not big enough, I want a 30x 24-720mm extra wide angle ultra zoom with 1080p 30fps HD video.

[yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7EoAE14Z9k[/yt]

[yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E6QmwmhsZQ[/yt]
02-26-2010, 08:39 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twokatmew Quote
Hmm, yes, makes sense. Now that you mention 1cm macro, what's approximate magnification at that distance?

I just received a Pentax marketing email re the new W90, and it lists "Digital Microscope mode for illuminated Macro shots as close as 1cm." Can you tell me how this works, especially the "illuminated" part? And do you know if this feature is available on the X90?

Thanks!
I don't know what the magnification is in the 1cm Macro, but the feature is pretty amazing. I had a customer who bought one from the store where I work and a few days later wanted to return it because she was getting some "odd curvy lines on part of her photos" when she was taking macro shots. It turns out she had a thumb print on the end of the lens and the camera focused on it. Cleaned the lens and the odd curvy lines went away.

The W90 illuminated macro feature is possible by using three LED arranged around the lens. When you put the camera into the 1cm Macro function, turn on the LED and you will have positive light out in front of the lens. It's very, very cool! The illuminated part in not included in the X90. The feature seems unique to the W90.
02-26-2010, 11:29 AM   #8
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I don't know how much to expect out of that kind of length on such a zoom, but super-megazoom bridge cameras are actually a lot of fun kind of *because* you're toting this really long lens around where you otherwise just wouldn't be pointing like a 400mm lens in the first place. It's photos that otherwise just plain wouldn't happen.

Just one thing: Hey, Pentax, would you put a blessed eyecup, or at least mounting slots, on these things, already? Someone's gonna have to do it eventually.

One thing about these little guys that's of use, by the way, is to put a knob or handle in the tripod screw: what I found incredibly handy is an old Bogen/Manfrotto "mini-flex head." It's the only way I could really do a steady vertical at those kinds of ranges, or any) and is crazy-useful with either off-angle shots or otherwise using the LCD view, or chimping with one hand, or whatnot.

Here's a photo of my little guy:

For steady at long range, you can hook your left thumb under the rubber head, and curl your fingers over the lens and barrel like you might with a mini-camcorder, and do surprisingly-steady verticals. It's also a natural top for a monopod, (The idea behind these is that for a larger camera, they'd simply become bendy under pressure. That doesn't really fly with a little bridge camera. Not far, anyway. But they're still about the perfect shape if the tripod screw's in a good place and they're very pocketable. )


Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 02-26-2010 at 11:45 AM.
02-26-2010, 11:58 AM   #9
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My reply to the OP above was regarding the question about the SR effectiveness at 26x, not the resolution of the sensor, at any setting. Regarding the SR at 24x, that in which I have experience, I found it quite useful and if it was not a feature on the camera, would have to be treated as a 24x zoom as with any camera, with any sensor, most likely on a tripod to get a sharp image in most shooting circumstances.

Jason
02-26-2010, 08:53 PM   #10
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Despite being a DSLR owner and serious photo enthusiast, I definitely count myself among those who find the better megazoom digicams tons of fun. But to answer the OP's question, I personally find that body-based shake reduction reaches it limits of true effectiveness at about 500mm. The inherent advantages of lens-based image stabilization - which normally aren't very obvious over body-based systems - become apparent beyond 500mm.

Now, that doesn't mean you can't take some cool photos beyond 500mm with body-based SR - even handheld. But you will definitely have to take all of this into consideration. If you can't use a tripod, then make it your business to use a high shutter speed. Use a higher ISO if necessary. Using the viewfinder - even if electronic - to frame the shot is very useful. That's because you can use your face to stabilize the camera further.

I gave my last megazoom digicam to my niece. It was a Canon S3 IS and featured lens-based IS. I still have a shot of the Arc d' Triomphe in Paris taken with the camera at 400+ mm from a moving cab that was a very long distance up the Champs-Elysees. The image is as sharp as can be with all the cool image compression that shooting at a very long focal length can bring.

The latest megazooms that have been introduced this year have caught my attention. - especially those with the new backlit sensors. I seem to be interested most in the Fujifilm HS10. But the Nikon P100 and the Pentax X90 also seem worth considering. I would wait for a few full reviews before buying.

Last edited by Biro; 02-26-2010 at 08:59 PM.
02-27-2010, 11:57 AM   #11
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When I got the press release for the Fuji HS10, my jaw nearly dropped. A mechanical zoom starting at 24mm equivalent is absolutely amazing. I do not really care of the long end but I use an ultra-zoom as a backup camera to my DSLRs but the zoom starts at 28mm. Mechanical zoom is a must for me as I frame extremely precisely.

After reading through the whole thing, two things really chocked me... I mean it seems outrageous that they would do this without a motive: the HS10 is limited to 4s shutter-speeds (bye bye night photography) and the EVF and LCD are limited to 97% coverage (what the heck?). It is truly ridiculous to have absolutely precise zooming thanks to the mechanical zoom but not precise framing, particularly on an EVF/LCD which reads the data directly off the sensor which gives perfect framing unless the borders are specifically masked.

The only explanation for this is that Fuji has a better model coming up. In the S-series for example, the S100FS and S200EXR have 100% coverage but the S2500 and other 4-digit S-series have around 97% despite being introduced with longer zooms and higher-resolution movie modes. Well, at least I am hoping it is simply not stupidity.

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02-27-2010, 06:48 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
That helps explains why, of all the new Fuji models (covered February 5 on this Web site) he's most bullish on the new HS10, a bridge "SLR-style" design with a whopping 30:1 zoom (from 24mm through 720mm, 35mm eq.), along with two other Fujifilm DIMA award winners, the Superzoom F80EXR (10:1) and the touchscreen Z700EXR.

I managed to snag crisp shots of distant faces using a pre-production HS10 sample zoomed all the way out to 720mm, from a vantage point at Fujifilm's exhibit inside the convention centre. This is a ridiculous feat for a handheld camera indoors.

"It's the best stabilization I've ever seen," says Poole, "and much improved over its predecessor." The HS10 uses a combination of high ISO, mechanical and optical stabilization.

Much improved: mere words to the reader, conveying little in a world accustomed to hype. Seeing a tack-sharp image from an extreme telephoto; now that's a different story.

But that's something you have to experience to fully appreciate.
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03-03-2010, 03:58 AM   #13
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That's something I'd like to see. As excited as I was about the HS10, seeing some sample shots put me off.

Sample shots and product videos here:

Six trade-show full-size samples with Fuji HS10 - 1001 Noisy Cameras
03-03-2010, 07:31 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
That's something I'd like to see. As excited as I was about the HS10, seeing some sample shots put me off.

Sample shots and product videos here:

Six trade-show full-size samples with Fuji HS10 - 1001 Noisy Cameras
What is it that put you off? I'm not trying to flame you, honest. But the images at both ISO 100 and even ISO 800 seemed acceptable to me. ISO 6400, of course, wasn't every good at all. But it seems to me that the HS10 might be pretty good up to ISO 800 with ISO 1600 in a pinch. That almost sounds like my K200D .

Of course, we're not really talking about DSLR quality here. It would be foolish to expect that. But as a vacation or specialized event camera, I can see the HS10 being adequate in terms of IQ and pretty darn fun overall.
03-04-2010, 01:28 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
What is it that put you off? I'm not trying to flame you, honest. But the images at both ISO 100 and even ISO 800 seemed acceptable to me. ISO 6400, of course, wasn't every good at all. But it seems to me that the HS10 might be pretty good up to ISO 800 with ISO 1600 in a pinch. That almost sounds like my K200D .

Of course, we're not really talking about DSLR quality here. It would be foolish to expect that. But as a vacation or specialized event camera, I can see the HS10 being adequate in terms of IQ and pretty darn fun overall.
That ISO 800 picture is very unimpressing, IMHO. They have managed to control chroma noise, but at what price? In good light like in this picture, my K10D would do much better at ISO 1600 than the HS10 does at 800.
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