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Digital Cameras - Can you go wrong with 5 megapixels?(24 posts)

Digital Cameras - Can you go wrong with 5 megapixels?Fez
Aug 25, 2003 8:12 AM
I am looking at a Canon Powershot S50 at $549. It looks easy to use, is in a compact casing, and has a slightly larger LCD than most others.

With the exception of a few lower priced brands like Kodak or Samsung, almost all 5 megapixel cameras with 3X optical zoom start at $549 and go up from there.

With the exception of memory type, LCD size, and battery type, will all 5 megapixel cameras pretty much yield a uniform quality image?

I may be grossly generalizing, but does the extra $$ usually pay for more features (but not a better image), a more rugged camera body, and a better quality lens?

All I am looking for is an easy to use, fairly basic 5 megapixel. Is Canon S50 a decent choice?
what are you going to do with the photos?DougSloan
Aug 25, 2003 8:22 AM
If you are just going to post them on the internet, 5 mp is waaay to big. If you want very nice and very large printed photos, that still is pretty big. I've printed very nice 8x10's with 3 mp.

You can get fantastic photos with cameras under $300. More than that, and you better get some extraordinary lenses.

Don't want to be limitedFez
Aug 25, 2003 8:40 AM
I want to pretty much be able to do anything with it. Although most of the photos will be stored in my laptop, I would like to have the resolution required to make high quality prints.

I figure $550 is OK to spend for a decent 5mp, rather than spending $300-$350 for a 3mp camera that will get obsolete a bit quicker and may not have the resolution to make high quality prints.

My other observation is that compact cases will give 3X optical zoom max. In order to get 4x or above, it seems I have to select a model with a chunkier camera body like those large Olympus or Nikon models.
how important is size? features?ColnagoFE
Aug 25, 2003 8:49 AM
If you really want to use this as a "do all" camera then you might look at DSLRs that are more of a traditional 35mm camera size and that take interchangeable lenses. Look to spend around $1000 to get a decent one though. If you want a point and shoot camera that takes great photos get the S-50, but don't expect it to be as versatile as a full featured SLR. If you want something even smaller than the S-50 look at the ultra compact Canons or the Sonys. A few less features, but they easily fit into the pocket so you will always be able to take it with you.
MP=enlarging power. 5mp = 16x20, 3mp = 8x10 max.Kristin
Aug 26, 2003 6:10 AM
Megapixels assure you the ability to enlarge an image. With 5mp, I could take my original up to 16x20 without it getting bitmapped. This gives you some flexibility with cropping. For instace, you may snap a shot of a tiger at the zoo. The problem is the tiger is so far away that he is just a small object in a boring photo. You can crop him out and enlarge. How much enlarging power you have depends on your mp.
nope...they are differentColnagoFE
Aug 25, 2003 8:32 AM
I have an S-50 and I love it. Takes GREAT pic. Some of the cheaper camera cut corners on optics, batteries and the chip itself. Canon is famous for its DIGIC processor which is supposed to reduce "noise" which can be a problem with higher MP cameras. I've made 8x10 and larger images from it and they look better than my 35mm camera's quality. Take a look at to compare models, but you'll see that most are very happy with their S-50s. I can't imagine needing any more in a advanced point and shoot camera.
Aug 25, 2003 8:49 AM
As a satisfied user, can you answer:

1) What more do you get when you get the higher end model like the Canon G5 instead of the S50. As far as I can tell, the larger body in the G5 gives a better lens that can go 4x zoom instead of 3x. Anything else? That G5 is a lot pricier and heavier, so I was wondering what else it could do.

2) How long does your S50 battery last? Did you buy a spare?

3) What sets it apart from the similarly priced 5 megapix competition like the compact Olympus Stylus or Camedia models?
Aug 25, 2003 8:59 AM
to compare features and really get into the details and sample pics visit the site but basically here are my answers:

1) the G-5 is a much bigger camera. better optics more optical zoom, hotshoe for external flash but not as portable. portability was important to me.

2)long enough. i bought another battery (offbrand from best buy) but to be honest I rarely need to switch it. The battery seems to last a typical day of shooting for me if you don't leave the camera on all the time and only use the LCD and flash when you need it.

3) I considered a Olympus as well as the Sony DSC-p10 but the Sony felt too small in my hands and didn't take as shar pictures. The Olympus had a inferior movie mode (no sound). Short movies with sound were important to me as a feature.
Aug 25, 2003 9:14 AM
I usually research things thoroughly, but I'm kind of a novice photographer and my knowledge of digital cameras is limited. So the whole thing is overwhelming to me.

Like I said, I don't wanted to be limited by low resolution, so I want 5mp and I can handle the $550 pricetag.

Another thing the Canon can do is use the 1 gigabyte Microdrive, which I already own. Nikon does not have a 5mp at that price point (the Nikon 5400 pricier), and Olympus uses a totally different memory system.

Thanks for the help. I think I'm going to pick up the Canon today.
the g-seriessacheson
Aug 25, 2003 9:32 AM
uses a movie camera battery. Don't know if the s-series does. I've taken over 300 images on a 4 hour hike and didn't see the battery indicator go down one 'notch'.
I second when looking for a digi-cam.sacheson
Aug 25, 2003 8:52 AM
I have a Canon G3 and have blown up images to 11 x 17 with amazing results. Aside from that, I couldn't tell you anything Colnago hasn't already.
Aug 26, 2003 2:35 AM
What kind of printer do you use for 11x17 pics?
bring it to the photo place for anything bigger than 8x10 nmColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2003 7:26 AM
Yep (nm)sacheson
Aug 26, 2003 8:01 AM
re: Digital Cameras - Can you go wrong with 5 megapixels?CritLover
Aug 25, 2003 7:02 PM
I've been looking for a camera in the same range and have the same limited experience that you have. I went to dpreview, did a ton of reading, and finally realized that this must be how newbies feel when they come here to look for advice on a new bike... not fun being on the other side of the fence.

Let's see some bike pics when you get it. Good luck!
My experienceFez
Aug 26, 2003 7:10 AM
I just bought the Canon S50. It seems to be right around $550 in the major stores.

If you go to the internet, I'm sure you can get it for less, but I personally like to buy large purchases from big name retailers, just in case.

I don't want to buy from some small, less reputable internet site only find out the hard way that the camera I get for a few bucks less is grey market, used, opened, dead on arrival, or whatever.

If you find Amazon to be reputable for electronics, I think they can have really low prices. Yesterday, the Canon was $488 with no tax and no shipping.

I got a special deal on mine locally. I paid $495, but I had to pay sales tax. I think it serves my needs well, and it has one of the largest LCD displays for a camera in its class.
OK, bought the Canon S50. What software program is best?Fez
Aug 26, 2003 6:59 AM
The pictures are huge in the default setting, something like 2500x1900 resolution, so they dwarf my 1024x768 laptop screen.

Each picture file is between 1 and 2 MB. Not really a problem since I have a 1 gigabyte storage card in there, but obviously I need to reduce the file size and crop the images for internet use.

So what program is best to compress the file size down to something manageable. Is it best to use the camera software package or is there a 3rd party photo program that is simpler and better?

I haven't installed the Canon software program yet since I have a card reader that just transfers the jpeg file to my laptop.
Well the best software is Photoshop 7Kristin
Aug 26, 2003 7:18 AM
How much you pay for it depends on how ethical you are. ;-) And it doesn't do compression. I'm not sure what software is out there for that. Do you have a CD Burner? Personally, I'd burn the images onto CD's for storage, and then store 4x6 JPG copies on your hard drive. You won't often need the full size image. Just remember to store the CD's in a fire proof box.
Photoshop Elements is only $100mohair_chair
Aug 26, 2003 8:21 AM
Photoshop Elements is the baby version of Photoshop. I'm not sure what the difference is between it and the real version, other than $500-600 in price. It looks the same and it works the same to my eyes.

For most people who aren't using it professionally, it's probably more than they'll ever need.
totally agreeColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2003 1:34 PM
Photoshop 7 is overkill for non-professionals and even then I don't use nearly a quarter of the features in it. For most people the software that comes with your camera will probably even do the trick.
the one that comes with the camera works okColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2003 7:29 AM
if all you want to do is email them they have a utility built in that scales them down and attaches them to a email message. if you really want to get into image manipulation though get something like adobe photoshop or macromedia fireworks. the canon software works great for browsing and managing your images by folder.
Have you tried Paint Shop Pro?sacheson
Aug 26, 2003 8:05 AM - it's definitely a Photoshop wannabe, but it works very well. It allows you to use layers in your image rendering, recognizes (and converts to) most image formats, and costs around $100.

I took this on a hike and did some manipulation in PSP7.
long time agoColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2003 8:21 AM
I work in the Internet field so I am more used to using the full-featured programs like Photoshop and Fireworks. But I really don't take advantage of all the features to be honest.
Interesting. I like it. (Not Paint Shop Pro, your image.)Kristin
Aug 26, 2003 9:03 AM
I tried PSP a few years ago and didn't like it. They didn't follow any standard template for menus and so its hard to find things. It was buggy and crashed alot. They may have improved it, but they lost my business years ago.