Tag Archives: sony

Photography: Sony, Time and Megapixels

It’s generally thought (or should that be, it’s thought generally?) that as time passes, and megapixel numbers increase, cameras (and therefore photograph quality) improve – particularly if those cameras are made by the same company. Well, whilst out and about on one of my country rambles recently, I discovered that the cameras that I’d selected at random just happened to be made by Sony, but two years apart. One was a 7.2 megapixel S730; the other a 12.1 megapixel S2100. The former was released in 2008: the latter in 2010. So, I surmised, the S2100 would produce better shots, and duly chose it for my first photograph. But doubt crept in when I started snapping in a wood near my home. The S2100 pictures just didn’t accurately represent what my eyes were seeing. With no options (except brightness) to change settings in the menu, I withdrew the S730 from my shirt pocket, and gave it free range.

“Was the resulting image better?” I hear you ask eloquently. Well take a look at a series of comparison shots, and you tell me. In each comparison the S730 appears in the top section…

It’s close; but next time I take a solitary camera out with me, it’ll probably be the older model.    

Photography: Zoom Wars

Recently I was watching a squirell fart-arsing about in my garden, when I got the idea to snap it’s image for posterity. But, I asked myself, which of the four cameras sitting on the kitchen table should I choose? Silly question: I chose the Sony HX400v – my best camera. This is one of the results…

Now, every so often (on this blog) I do a comparison between some of my cameras. It’s an opportunity to use seldom-used pieces of kit that, otherwise, tend to sit around in the bottom of my wardrobe enjoying slow degenerative entropy. As I peered into the camera’s screen and studied the resultant portraits of cheeky rodentia, I thought: “Did I really need a X 50 zoom to snap a critter little more than four metres distant?” Answering my silent question, I replied: “Nah – a X 25 would have done.” But would it? I needed to find out. So, grabbing a X 25 Kodak Pixpro, I dashed into the garden, which, annoyingly, was now entirely rodent-free. Then my photographer’s eye alighted upon a nicely-lit bunch of pear blossom – which I proceeded to photograph…

I then reached for the Sony again. This is the result…

I had my answer: long beats short every time. But then I thought: “But what if the problem is that the 16 megapixel Kodak is just a piss-poor camera?” Time to check it against something else. Dashing back inside the kitchen I snatched a Sony compact off the table. But finding the battery depleted, I swapped it for a little, mid-noughties, 7 megapixel  X 3 Casio Exilim compact. Then, squatting in the dappled shadows thrown by the emerging leaves of the pear tree, I took this photo of fallen blossom…

I then repeated the act with the Kodak…

And I realised that the Zoom War would need to continue – only with different combatents. Clearly the Pixpro wasn’t up to the task: it is – to use the technical term – a shit camera. But that’s fine: it’ll give me a chance to snap happily, and show off nice photos of my abode.

Photography: Aint Nothing in a Megapixel or Two

If you’ve been a regular reader of mine for any length of time, you’ve probably sussed that I rather like handy little compact cameras. Whenever I pass a charity shop or some such, I have great difficulty refraining from stopping by and running an eye over their camera collection; and even more avoiding a dip into my wallet. Most of those I find are quite old – digital cameras having been with us for a relatively short while, but evolving almost as quickly as the creatures in the film ‘Evolution’. As a result of this, the cameras that I haven’t been successful in rejecting seem to fall into two categories. The older cameras are mostly 5 megapixel models; the newer, 12 megapixels. Of course I have others, some of which I actually bought new, and I’ll include a few of them here too. Well, over Christmas, the house was bedecked with festive lights that looked pretty, but gave out (what could only be described as) some piss-poor light – especially for photography. Cue one of my comparison shoots.

Standing in the exact same spot at the top of the stairs, I snapped the same nighttime window with a plethora of cameras. Those cameras being the ones with both memory cards and live batteries inside them or cameras that weren’t in the glovebox of my car or the attic ‘studio’. Here are the results…

5 megapixel models…

Vaguely interestingly the Kodak takes a considerably darker picture. And the Fujifilm A500 and the Sony P10 are barely distinguishable. But, in my mind, the last shot – the later (but still 5 megapixel) Sony W15 – is a clear winner. So even cameras with the same number of pixels vary considerably. And adding or subtracting a few don’t make an ocean of difference either. Next up are 4 megapixel and a 6 megapixel varieties from Olympus, and an 8 megapixel Hitachi…

Well you can see that 2 megapixels do make a slight difference in performance; but what the heck happened with the Hitachi? Very warm and spectacular, but hardly accurate.

So then it’s on to the 12 megapixels. I use the Fujifilm (the one that takes most of the Earplug Adventures shots) as the base shot. Again the Kodak is darker…

But the most honest was the Nikon. So it just goes to show that you really don’t need to fret about how many million pixels a camera boasts: it’s more about other stuff – like lenses and software. And just to emphasise this, here’s the same shot with a 20 megapixel Canon…

Most important of all though, is the dope behind the camera. A smart one will know how to work all the knobs and buttons to take a better picture. Sadly that dope wouldn’t be me.


Photography: How Much Must You Pay to Get Good Pictures?

Recently I spent rather more than I should have for a very blue Canon point and shoot compact. Today I used it to snap this shot of a clematis bloom in my garden…

“Hmm,” thought I, “that’s very nice, but did I really need a fancy 20 megapixel to photograph a simple flower?” And the reason I had this thought was because earlier in the day, when the sun was a little less forthcoming, I’d spotted the same flower. The first camera that fell to hand was a Sony Cybershot of a mere 3.2 megapixel capability. The resultant picture looked exactly like this…

Okay, the former can stand a whole lot more zooming in before it pixellates; but if you just want an accurate representation of your subject, the latter is actually better. The mauve in the Sony shot is a closer match to the real thing than the Canon shot. And how much did I pay for this wondrous piece of ancient digital technology? Nothing: some silly sod had thrown it away – probably because it was old and out of date. And I picked it up. I wonder how much they paid for its replacement.


Photography: Just How Many Million Pixels and How Much Zoom Do You Need On a Bright Sunny Day?

That’s quite a title. Perhaps if I used an acronym… P:jhmmpahmzdynoabsd. No, that’s no better. Well, anyway, to the point of this post…

I’ve posted about megapixels; I’ve posted about zoom length; and I’ve posted about light. Well today I’m posting about all three. The reason for this is because this morning I went on a bloody huge bike ride (by my standards), and I took five cameras along for the ride. At one location I decided to test them against each other in conditions that, I believe, levels the playing field, so-to-speak: bright, BRIGHT, sunlight. First I snapped a picture of a weathered park bench: then I snapped another from the bench itself. Nothing clever; just a point and shoot with each camera without using any of the device’s special features. The first shot is taken just a few paces from the subject bench. The second shot looks across the valley to the opposite hillside. No zoom is used on the former: full zoom is used on the latter. See what you think. I was shooting into the sun, with minimal shade supplied by a large beech tree to the left of shot.

The cameras used in order are:

3.1 megapixel Sony Cybershot

5.1 megapixel Fujifilm A5oo

7.1 megapixel Kodak C743

12.2 megapixel Fujifilm J30

16 megapixel Nikon L830

To the bench…

3.1 Sony

bench by sony

5.1 Fujifilm

bench by a500

7.1 Kodak

bench by c734

12.2 Fujifilm

bench  by j30

16 Nikon

bench  by nikon

Well at first glance there doesn’t seem to be a vast amount of difference between them. When you go in tight the difference in quality is more observable. A certain degree of evening out did occur when I reduced the photo sizes for web use. But it does look odd (to this technological heathen anyway) how it appears that I was standing at different distances from the bench when I took each piccie. Something to do with wide angle shit I expect.

Nice subject though, in a nice place too. Lucky old me.

Now the long shot did surprise me. Perhaps I hadn’t noticed how hazy the air was when I pressed the shutter button; or maybe it was the barely filtered sunlight. I dunno. See what you think. One thing’s for certain though: they’ll never give me a guest slot in Practical Camera!

Same order as last time…

hill by sony


hill by a500


hill  by c743


hill by j30


hill by nikon

Well one thing is obvious: neither of the cameras can handle the brilliant white sky on the horizon. Well that’s fair coz neither could my eyes. Another thing is the x34 zoom of the Nikon. BIG ZOOM! But what about the ancient Sony? Where the hell did that zoom come from? It says on the side that it has x3 zoom with an extra x3 digital zoom. I guess the digital zoom kicked in automatically, but without my spectacles on I couldn’t see the icons (or image for that matter) on the tiny LCD screen. But isn’t digital zoom supposed to be utter shit? Not on my sturdy old Japanese Sony it isn’t!

So in summation…well you make up your own mind. Me – I’m strictly a point and shoot genius: I know squat about photography.

One last thing though. I also own a 12 megapixel Kodak that appears to equal the 12.2 Fujifilm in every way. But when I zoom in on a photo produced by it on my computer, it pixellates WAY more than the Fuji. Can someone explain why? Does it have a crappy lens or something?