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10-14-2011, 05:59 AM   #121
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote
@ Audiobomber
The rules you quoted above worked well for a long time, until this last Contest #46.
Then someone entered a photograph taken with a Fujifilm X100 which has an APS-C sensor, a fixed lens and a kind of hybrid optical/digital viewfinder. Some discussion ensued on the Contest thread and the judge for that Contest had to make a decision. The judge allowed the entry (which is their absolute right).
Another entry was submitted, taken using a Pentax Q which has interchangeable lenses, asking if entries from the Q were OK. Again the judge had to decide whether to allow or reject the entry.

The Point & Shoot Contests are friendly competitions which are geared to accepting entries from a wide range of cameras. As you pointed out, the rules are pretty simple and designed to keep things relatively equal for everyone.

My contention was that I did not think that the judge (who is only the judge for 1 contest) should be put on the spot to decide if a camera is acceptable or not. One judge may accept the X100 and the Q, and the next judge may not, and that also means the entrants don't really know where they stand from Contest to Contest. So, I asked the question that nobody wanted to tackle. Did the Contest participants think that either the X100 and the Pentax Q had an UNFAIR advantage over entries shot with other, completely acceptable P&S cameras? If there was no UNFAIR advantage, then amend the rules of the competition to permanently allow them, and if there was believed to be an UNFAIR advantage, then amend the rules (if required) to prohibit them.

This simply takes the decision away from each judge and makes it fair and easy to follow for all existing and potential participants.

I also mentioned that I personally didn't think there was any unfair advantage. That was the comment that seemed to unleash a flood of responses on the thread beginning the whole question of what is, and what is not, a Point and Shoot Camera.
The "tables" covering different criteria are really a summation of some of the points raised by people on this thread, but for almost every view there are a number of contradictory views, making it impossible to come to a conclusion.

Everyone seems to agree that cameras that would generally fall in the category of a DSLR are OUT, and compact cameras with small sensors and minimal controls are IN. The really tough part is for cameras with advanced features and large sensors, but with fixed lenses. The P&S Contests also attract entries from film-shooters, often using pretty old fully manual cameras. It would be a shame to exclude them, but it is not easy to frame rules which allow, say, a 35mm SLR with interchangeable lenses but not a fixed lens camera which just happens to have an APS-C sensor.

That is the problem!
I am one of the cantankerous film users in these contests, and one of the things I love about these is not just taking a photo, but putting the results I get out of cameras that are old enough to qualify for a pension against the latest digitals.

One of the things I rallied for as far back as Contest #33 was the inclusion of older point and shoots. Though modern cameras that take medium-format film are generally extremely high quality, professional affairs, the great majority of point and shoots from before 1960 are medium format...they relied on the larger format to get a passably enlargable result from their awful lenses! Many of these cameras have minimal or no controls at all...witness the single-speed shutter in cameras like the Kodak Duaflex (1/30s only) or the original 1888 Kodak. Heck, my Autographic Brownie was a very good point and shoot of its day, and it only had T, B, 1/25 and 1/50s. Most of these cameras had basic, if any, exposure controls, and crude scale-focus was at the high-end of the range for focusing options...no precision focusing mechanisms at all. It was all based on the idea of "F/8 and be there."

I thought it unfair to exclude cameras that were so obviously point and shoots from a point and shoot camera competition, and eventually my whining got the cameras included a couple times. When it was my turn to do the contest, I rewrote part of the rules to make the inclusion of such cameras more specific, and to leave less grey area in what (at the time) we had all pretty much agreed were the boundaries. No Interchangeable lenses, Medium Format only if it was a box/folder/holga camera without an RF (Which, sadly, disqualifies my TLR and my Medalist), and anything 35mm and below was okay, as long as it had fixed lenses and wasn't an SLR.

The Fuji X100 does change things, but I would argue that its spirit is pretty much that of an older fixed-lens film RF, like the Yashica Electro 35 I have, which is eligible, so I never thought it'd be that big a deal to allow it. I mean, it has manual controls, but so do many of the cameras I use for the contest, so why not? It's compact, fixed-lens...it just happens to be very very good. My Optio A40 takes very good photos, should I disqualify it based on that?

The Auto 110 got a pass for some reason or another way back, and its singular exception to the "No SLRs, No ILC cameras" rule was included in my rules. I have one, so I thought it a good idea. Given that, I thought the specific pardon for the Q was a natural thing, though I'd be disinclined to allow the Q.

I like to academically pick apart things, so I started this thread when the latest wave of discontent hit, and I must say I like some of the academic discussion in here. But I think we're still missing part of what I originally wanted to do, which was this: Provide an example camera, and discuss why it is or is not a point and shoot camera.

I agree with a lot of the criteria, but I do think film and digital should be separated, because a lot of the older cameras that are CLEARLY P&S have the dreaded "manual controls". Also, frame size on film and digital sensor size are really two different scales. A 35mm film frame has less resolution than a 14Mpixel 1/1.3 sensor camera, for example.

So, here's some examples of the older cameras I use in these contests.



This is a Kodak Retina, and we should all thank it for introducing 35mm cassettes to the world. It's a compact folding 35mm scale-focus camera with no meter, plain optical finder, no brightlines. When I say compact, I mean it's really, amazingly small. For 1934, it's practically a spy camera; folded it's scarcely bigger than my Optio. So, Very small, no RF, 35mm film, but it does have those "manual control" thingies, so is it a point and shoot?



This is a Polaroid Automatic Land Camera 250. It features completely-and-totally-automatic exposure with only EV compensation, which seems to need to be all the way towards "bright" to get anything useable out of it. The film is 72x95mm instant, which while suprisingly sharp doesn't enlarge as well as the equivalent sheet or roll film. It has rangefinder focusing through a very nice Zeiss-designed coincidence rangefinder perched on top of the body. The RF folds down and the bellows collapse and it becomes extremely portable. Is it a point and shoot?

10-14-2011, 09:09 AM   #122
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QuoteOriginally posted by unixrevolution Quote
The Fuji X100 does change things, but I would argue that its spirit is pretty much that of an older fixed-lens film RF, like the Yashica Electro 35 I have, which is eligible, so I never thought it'd be that big a deal to allow it. I mean, it has manual controls, but so do many of the cameras I use for the contest, so why not? It's compact, fixed-lens...it just happens to be very very good. My Optio A40 takes very good photos, should I disqualify it based on that?
The biggest difference I see between an X100 and film or digital is the high ISO capability. The Optio is also limited in dynamic range, which affects IQ.

I don't see anything in the rules I copied and pasted that would disallow the Land Camera or Retina. Have I missed something?

I have an Espio 738 and it is clearly a 35mm p&s. Very limited controls, zoom lens, not an SLR.
10-16-2011, 01:50 PM   #123
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The problem with the point & shoot definition is that cameras have developed so much, technologically, over time.

Originally a point & shoot camera was one with a fixed-focus lens where anything about 4 or 5 feet away was at infinity. There was no need for focusing. This was helped by a small, fixed aperture, giving a broad depth of field while the shutter was fixed at a single speed to give a suitable exposure under good daylight conditions. A simple optical viewfinder was used to frame and compose the shot. With cameras like this you just aimed at the subject and pressed the shutter – hence “point and shoot”. Huge numbers of these cameras were sold because they were very affordable and so easy to use.

The modern “point-and-shoot” concept has changed dramatically. The camera now auto-focuses for you and also sets the exposure. Some cameras have micro-processors smart enough to recognise the scene type and automatically adjust the optimum aperture or optimum shutter speed, and set the ISO appropriately, as well as increasing or decreasing contrast and color tones to suit the subject. Today’s cameras are a very far cry from the old Kodak Brownie, or even the Instamatic.

The fact is that it is rare to find any modern camera, including DSLRs, that cannot be set to full automatic and used as a “point-and-shoot”, but it is almost as rare to find a modern compact camera which does not allow manual settings as well, even if by button press or menu setting. If you really want to see what a true point and shoot is all about, zoom your lens to the widest setting, set your focusing to fix it at infinity and choose aperture priority with the smallest aperture possible, usually around f/8. Now shoot outdoors in bright light without changing any settings at all, and see the results you get.
10-19-2011, 11:55 PM   #124
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I have had a good read of the specs and reviews for the Nikon 1 cameras - the J1 and V1.

Clearly the designers at Nikon intended these cameras to be used as point-and-shoot cameras because
1) The manual settings are buried deep in the menu system
2) Everything possible has been done to speed up auto-focusing
3) Under normal use the camera uses scene recognition technology to determine the optimum auto settings.

Nikon have themselves said that the cameras are designed and pitched solidly at the compact camera user who is looking for improved image quality and sharply focused pictures.
So by design and intention, these are point-and-shoot cameras.

But, would they be allowed for entries to the Point&Shoot Contests?

One major problem is that they have interchangeable lenses. Does this signal its rejection?
> We allow interchangeable lens 110 film SLRs and the Nikon 1 sensor is only half the size of a 110 film negative.
> We may allow the Pentax Q which has interchangeable lenses.

So, what about the Nikon CX sensor? It is four times the size of a 1/2.3" compact camera sensor, but only half the size of an APS-C sensor.
> We tend to favorably consider the APS-C sensor in the Fuji X100 because it is not a DSLR camera and it has a fixed lens
> My guess is we would reject Sony mirrorless NEX cameras as well as the Olympus 4/3 cameras because they are interchangeable lenses with a "large" sensor.
So, is the Nikon 1 acceptable, or not? Is its sensor too large to be allowed, or is it maybe too good?

What about the ability to shoot in RAW mode? Is it important? It surely produces some pretty good results with higher ISO images.
Is the EVF on the Nikon1 V1 too good to allow? Is the ability to shoot 60 images a minute at full resolution (without individual focusing) too fast to allow?
Is phase detection auto-focus too much of an advantage over contrast detection?

It is pretty obvious to me that camera manufacturers have identified a market for smaller sensor (and hence smaller lens), interchangeable lens cameras, but with much improved IQ over normal compact cameras. Very importantly they are designed with the same "point-and-shoot" ease of use as the simplest of compact cameras.

Obviously the Point & Shoot Contest Rules will have to spell out whether entries taken with these cameras are acceptable or not.

10-20-2011, 06:16 AM   #125
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this looks like the solution to the question:

Lytro Light Field Camera first look with Ren Ng: Digital Photography Review

http://www.lytro.com/living-pictures/282

Last edited by ivoire; 10-20-2011 at 07:12 AM.
12-07-2011, 09:45 PM   #126
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I just finished reading this and my head is spinning. I don't think that's the intent of a PnS camera.

If I went through the master chart correctly, the F700 would rate an 8. I had forgotten it also had CCD-RAW to export pics in, so it scored a couple zeros. I may have to take it apart and see if I can get it working again. The lens won't retract, it won't focus, and the CCD is acting up (but that could be due to the focus issue).
12-07-2011, 10:56 PM   #127
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QuoteOriginally posted by jheu02 Quote
I just finished reading this and my head is spinning. I don't think that's the intent of a PnS camera.
See? That is why a separate thread was needed for this topic.
12-07-2011, 11:31 PM   #128
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
The other criteria are too complex. I propose the following:

1. Composition via rear LCD.
Crap. Now I have to rig a rear LCD on my old box Brownie.

12-08-2011, 12:15 AM   #129
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It seems to me that the intent of "point n shoot" was to simplify/take the "worry/effort/control" away from the user, hence the "P" or "Program" mode. LCD or viewfinder doesn't matter as long as any camera is in P or Program mode and the user can't change the settings, the only thing that can be done is "point n shoot (the camera does all the magic with no user input). Digital, film or lytro, sensor size, fixed or interchangeable lens makes no diff.

Last edited by ivoire; 12-08-2011 at 12:20 AM.
12-08-2011, 07:41 AM - 1 Like   #130
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Competition Survey

I have done a brief survey of the last 10 Point & Shoot Competitions.
These competitions attracted 25 different entrants with their pictures taken by 8 film cameras, 4 phone cameras and 50 digital cameras.
The 10 winners used 9 different make/model cameras - 4 Pentax, 4 Panasonic and 1 Canon. Pentax cameras won 5 of the 10 competitions, but the same model won two different competitions.

Contrary to my expectation, 7 of the competitions were won by photographers using basic compact or ultra-compact cameras, mostly inexpensive pocket sized models. It seems that bigger, view-finder equipped cameras with a host of manual settings to hand have no advantage whatever in these competitions. Significantly 7 of the cameras to take winning shots had a zoom range of 5x or less.

I personally found it quite enlightening that of the 50 digital cameras used there were :-
13 Panasonic, 11 Canon, 9 Pentax, 8 Fuji, 2 Sony, 2 Ricoh, 2 Nikon, 1 Olympus, 1 Kodak and 1 Leica.
It seems to me that the image quality capability of the camera has absolutely no correlation with winning the competition. Fuji cameras have pretty good IQ but have not won any of the previous 10 competitions. Likewise there is no correlation between sensor size and winning. Most of the winning entries were taken on cameras with the smallest sensors.

There consequently seems little point in limiting the P&S competitions to certain cameras and excluding others. Finding that interesting shot which truly depicts the subject and then applying good composition technique is what wins. A dummy with a Hasselblad has less chance of winning than someone with a good eye for composition and a phone camera!
12-08-2011, 10:40 AM   #131
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote
I have done a brief survey of the last 10 Point & Shoot Competitions.
These competitions attracted 25 different entrants with their pictures taken by 8 film cameras, 4 phone cameras and 50 digital cameras.
The 10 winners used 9 different make/model cameras - 4 Pentax, 4 Panasonic and 1 Canon. Pentax cameras won 5 of the 10 competitions, but the same model won two different competitions.

Contrary to my expectation, 7 of the competitions were won by photographers using basic compact or ultra-compact cameras, mostly inexpensive pocket sized models. It seems that bigger, view-finder equipped cameras with a host of manual settings to hand have no advantage whatever in these competitions. Significantly 7 of the cameras to take winning shots had a zoom range of 5x or less.

I personally found it quite enlightening that of the 50 digital cameras used there were :-
13 Panasonic, 11 Canon, 9 Pentax, 8 Fuji, 2 Sony, 2 Ricoh, 2 Nikon, 1 Olympus, 1 Kodak and 1 Leica.
It seems to me that the image quality capability of the camera has absolutely no correlation with winning the competition. Fuji cameras have pretty good IQ but have not won any of the previous 10 competitions. Likewise there is no correlation between sensor size and winning. Most of the winning entries were taken on cameras with the smallest sensors.

There consequently seems little point in limiting the P&S competitions to certain cameras and excluding others. Finding that interesting shot which truly depicts the subject and then applying good composition technique is what wins. A dummy with a Hasselblad has less chance of winning than someone with a good eye for composition and a phone camera!
This is why I believe, more than ever, that what makes a camera a point and shoot or not is its immutable "feel" as you're using it rather than any technical characteristics, which is why I intially thought it unfair about a million years ago to keep the brownie/box cameras out of the running. In the end, the cameras don't matter, it's all about the photographs, in terms of the competition. Some of the little pocket full-auto digitals do a damn good job of turning what you see into a photo. It's also why I argued for a larger field of available cameras instead of a smaller one.
12-08-2011, 10:41 AM   #132
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Crap. Now I have to rig a rear LCD on my old box Brownie.
Haven't you heard? No film camera is a point and shoot. Apparently, news of the inherent superiority of film over digital has made it to the mainstream, and people are so afraid that a film camera, even a simple one, will stomp all over even the best digital that they've banned them.
12-08-2011, 12:46 PM   #133
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote
It seems to me that the image quality capability of the camera has absolutely no correlation with winning the competition. Fuji cameras have pretty good IQ but have not won any of the previous 10 competitions. Likewise there is no correlation between sensor size and winning. Most of the winning entries were taken on cameras with the smallest sensors.
There cannot be much correlation between sensor size and winning, because there is no significant difference between sensor sizes to begin with - most shots are taken with compact cameras that use 1/2.3" sensors. The "larger" sensors are just 1/1.7" - such differences don't really matter much unless you pixel peep and the submissions are usually small size anyway.

There is also rather small participation in this contest, so what you'll get is a reflection of the current group of participants, rather than general conclusions about what results you would get in a photographic contest. If we relax the rules to allow any camera, you will see both increased participation and very different results (by allowing DSLRs and larger sensor cameras, we'll basically open up the contest to the majority of the users of this forum - as can be easily seen from statistics, most activity on PF is driven by Pentax DSLRs, not by Pentax compact cameras).

In the end, I think we should maybe revisit what is the goal of the contest and then fashion the rules so that they allow us to reach that goal. We seem to have a hard time defining what a P&S camera is, so defining the goal in terms of P&S cameras will probably not work well. If we want an open photo contest, I'm for it.
12-08-2011, 10:47 PM   #134
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Well, I'm seriously confused. I don't own a camera that doesnt have manual controls. Even my 3.2MP Olympus c760 does. So here's what I am going to do for future competitions.. in the other thread I was looking for a Pentax P&S but I'm not going to go down that path, I'm going to get the smallest P&S I can find, and see what I can do with it. Something that will fit in a top pocket and is smaller than a pack of ciggies. I think Nikon make something like that. I'll go look at cheapies next week after I get paid
12-08-2011, 11:14 PM   #135
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A pack of Marlboros measures 85x50x20mm. My samsung is 99x59x22mm, easily fits a shirt pocket and has a ton of features. I suspect anything smaller in todays market will still have numerous features. Just get something you like. The debate will go on, rules will be set and contests will be held. Just enter whenever you can.

Then again......

Wireless Cigarette Pack Camera Set



OR............. http://www.hammacher.com/Product/81584?source=CMPSHOP&cm_ven=CompShop&cm_cat...c=3&zmap=81584


Last edited by ivoire; 12-08-2011 at 11:33 PM.
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