Friday, December 4, 2009

Panasonic ZS3 versus Fuji F70EXR -- round 3 -- Moon shots!

Yes, I'm serious. Moon shots.

I like shooting the moon with these long zoom compact cameras. I shoot from tripod and I leave their IS systems active, since the tripod is nothing special ... an old aluminum Velbon. I release with a 10 second self-timer to ensure that there are no residual vibrations to steal sharpness.

I was going to just test the Panny, but then I thought why not make it a bake off?

I shot the F70EXR in 5mp mode first. DR400 and all ... of course, since the lenses are fairly short, only getting to 300mm ... at best about a 6x equivalent ... these are 100% crops. You are seeing the pixels exactly as they appear on the sensor.

The processing used is:

1) ACR for cropping, white balance, tone adjustment and capture sharpening.
2) Topaz Adjust for details.
3) Noel Carboni dSLR tools Clarify Action for local contrast.
4) Output sharpening with PKSharpener.

Since these sensor are really tiny, we do end up with some artifacts. But all in all, there is amazing surface detail here.

Back to the F70EXR 5mp mode:

Now the F70EXR 10mp mode in DR100.

Not too bad ... aided by the slight increase in size. It's disconcerting how little the image grows for a doubling of resolution ... isn't it ... Edit: these smaller shots are misleading ... the 5mp crop is smaller, so it remains larger in this smaller form. If you can follow that logic, you are ready for your PhD dissertation :-).

But if you look very carefully at the areas between major craters, you will see that some of the smaller craters are simply missing in the HR image. Likely mistaken for noise by the jpeg engine. Still, a nice performance.

And finally the Panny at 10mp ...

I think the Panny here is the clear winner. A few more artifacts perhaps ... but definitely more detail. This is consistent with the lens quality differences. I'm impressed.

Edit: Commenter Danny Sees sent me some moon shots from his Sony HX1, and I must admit that they are breathtakingly good for a small sensor cam hand held. I took the liberty of applying my processing to the third one he sent, which was a one-handed shot!, and it came out amazingly well. This very large image is NOT a 100% crop ... that would have been too large. This thing's 20x zoom is a surprisingly sharp telescope.

Bravo Danny, and bravo Sony.


Danjojodylo said...

good pictures, I just took some moon pictures last night with a Sony HX-1 (some daylight moon pictures this morning also) and have a Fujifilm F70EXR on the way. Family is representative for Fujifilm and I chose the F70EXR mostly for compact size and zoom combo. Sony HX-1 can't fit in my pocket and I have to lug around two infants and have twins on the way...

I think the lenses for the Panasonic are wonderful but the Venus engine is making more of a difference there. What zoom did you use for the Panasonic shot?

Kim Letkeman said...

Both cams are shot at full zoom ... for the F70EXR that's 270mm and for the ZS3 that's 300mm. I agree that the ZS3 lens is pretty great.

Unknown said...

impressive Kim

Danjojodylo said...

sent a couple pictures to your e-mail of the Sony moon pictures, they are still a little too bright to show a lot of detail....first time I tried to change any settings for a camera besides scene modes - realized I needed to lower exposure big time.

If you can clean them up and compare them to these that would be awesome!

Kim Letkeman said...

Danny ... wow! Excellent shots. I hope you don't mind that I added that third one (one handed hand held shot) to the post.

Danjojodylo said...

Thank you Kim, I think it's an amazingly strong showing for the Sony Optical SteadyShot lens stabilization system. That was one thing I tested a lot in stores...the Nikon P90 was not even close and different Canon models were maybe half as good. Sony H20 for $220 was also crisp at full zoom and intentionally making my hand shake.

Might have to force myself to keep the Sony HX-1 for some very long shots on outings and the 1080 HD video.

crazy football mom said...

Beelaba Moonaba!

Kim Letkeman said...

Threelaba moonaba :-)