Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why oh why didn't Panasonic use a sensor as good as that in the Fujifilm FinePix F10 Zoom in the Panasonic DMC-LX1? They developed the camera in partnership with Leica (the Leica model designation is LEICA D-LUX 2).

[rant begins] The camera looks just about perfect in every other respect! A small light, reasonably priced camera with an optical image stabilizer that seems to work from the reviews.

A very sharp 28 to 112 mm (35 mm equivalent) lens. Three picture formats, including a true 16:9 (8 MP) & 3:2 (7 MP) formats. A large 2.5-inch display with 207,000 pixels. Pictures can also be saved in RAW format for more control over the processing later. Okay the flash is puny, but who cares about that?

But they top that all off with a below average sensor! A sensor which displays more noise at ISO 100 than many cameras at ISO 400. If they had used a sensor as good as the Fuji F10/F11 they would have had to beat customers off with a big stick, as it is they will probably still sell an awful lot of them but it could have been so much better.

More to the point, if they were to stick a sensor with the quality of the Fuji F10/F11 I'd have bought one! [rant ends]

It really does make you think about what goes on behind the scenes when they are producing these kinds of cameras. Does the product development director wake up one morning and say to himself "I know; lets make a stunningly good camera in every respect except the recorded image"? Or does the marketing director wake up one morning and decide "You know, I need a bit of a challenge. Must tell those product development guys to reduce the quality or the sensor in that new camera, just to spice things up a bit"?

The Fuji F10/F11 isn't without its problems either. Fuji created a great sensor for the F10 but then knobbled the camera by not giving the user enough manual controls. Also the zoom range of the camera is 36-108mm, which is hardly inspiring if you are interested in wide angle photography. They have partially rectified the situation by adding Av and Tv controls and renaming it the F11, but most featres have to be accessed via the menus which is hardly intuitive.

I know that there are budget constraints, and time constraints when producing a new camera, but, you would think that as both of these companies have been producing digital cameras for some time now that they would be aware of what customers are after and produce an all round decent camera.


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