Sunday, October 3, 2010

SAD - and why the sensor size may not matter in small-sensor cameras

Autumn colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Birch, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Freshly fallen, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

In January I wrote about SAD as follows: "Finnish scientist[s] have invented a new kind of cure for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder): put led lights into the ears, and this cures the depression in four weeks for almost all patients. Apparently the bones are so thin in the ear canals that the light reaches the brain (or certain key areas of the brain), starting the production of hormones."

Well, now it appears that the device is ready for being marketed - although scientific evidence is still lacking - by the Finnish company Valkee Oy. (You find a news item in Finnish here.) If this actually works, I would be surprised - but the placebo effect can be strong indeed. Although this device should be easy enough to test scientifically, and you don't have to be Emily Rosa to do it.

Well, returning to cameras, I'm pleased to report on a high-ISO comparison of compact cameras - the Panasonic LX5, the Canon S95 and the Canon Ixus 300 HS - by Camera Labs: "The really interesting result for us though is how well the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS performed given its slightly smaller sensor. You'd be hard-pushed to notice much difference up to 400 ISO, and the size deficit only really becomes a big issue at 1600 ISO. So the LX5 and S95 only really enjoy a significant advantage – in this test anyway – above 800 ISO."

What is interesting in the above result is that I definitely wouldn't use the LX5 (or the S95 either) above ISO 800 - so it might be as well to use the Ixus 300 HS. Hmmm...

Also, apparently - at least in this test - it doesn't matter much whether the sensor in a compact is 1/2.3" or 1/1.7". Other parts of the camera matter as much or even more than the technical specs.

Two weeks ago I pointed out the goodness of the Ixus 300 HS in my camera buying instructions. Maybe I should give such advice more often?

Continuing the camera theme, I was positively surprised that Andreas Manessinger tested out the LX5, writing: "I got to play a little with the Panasonic LX5. When I had been there last time, its batteries had been empty, but this time I had more luck. I can say that I really like it. It feels good, is quite intuitive, has a great lens, decent high ISO capabilities (at least if you shoot RAW), and it can make squares. Yeah, that’s great. It’s quite a difference whether you crop to square after the fact, or if you can compose squarely on the display. I still won’t buy it, but if I were out for a compact camera, this would be it."

Tempting! But no, I have to be strong and not to go near a camera shop. Stay calm, take a deep breath, ...


Cedric said...

I am sure both the S95 or LX5 would be equally good when it comes to making photographs but as I am a visual type of person it would simply come down to looks and so the LX5 would be my choice simply because the form factor is so much nicer.

Like you, though, I'll be staying away from camera shops ;)

Juha Haataja said...

Have to see how the do-not-buy intent lasts...