Monday, December 22, 2008

you got mail . . . from Bavaria

Hi Joe,
thanks for your reply. I evidently was not too precise putting in my question only in terms of the outcome I´m aiming at:
“Get high-resolution photos which allow enlargements up to about 60 cm x 100 cm“

In terms of “technical” prerequisites I´m looking for answers to questions like:
* “what are the adequate requirements with respect to resolution of the sensor [without getting lost in
“pixel- peeper-nonsense”]
* “to what extent can post-processing help to minimize deficiencies concerning the resolution of large
print-outs ; what brand of [preferably free-/lowcost-] software is recommendable ?

Up to now I used PP mainly for:
* overlaying photos + radiographs [ pictures of which were taken using a light-box]
* editing of “just-for-fun-greeting-cards” and other “nonsense-collages”

In contrast to this kind of PP I´m a complete new-bee in the field of improving the resolution of large print-outs by means of – just an example - [horizontal and vertical] stitching.
Finally it boils down to the following question:
* will the SX10 be the appropriate camera for a photographer who spends most of his time on outdoor-
tours [in the Bavarian mountains] aiming at impressive landscape-/wildlife-shots.
Due to this mission-description and my age [70] the cameras size and weight [every gram counts!]
are important criteria.

After having read sooooh many reviews [including those cited at]
I suspect, that it will be a combination of the SX10 and a software [which is not sophisticated] at last.

Klaus the SX10 will be the right camera for you.
- the swivel screen is big enough and of high enough resolution to even manual focus. Same for SX1   the Panasonic FZ28 is of no use for you because in the moment the camera is below you head the screen is not  usable any more. The screen is optimized for over head shooting and the worst screen I ever encountered for below the head shots.  
- the viewfinder is very big and of high enough resolution to even manual focus. Sadly not with the SX1   the Panasonic FZ28 has a tiny viewfinder what is not working with my glasses and its hard plastic at all.
- I made a A3 t-shirt print with a 1.3 MP camera and it turned out gorgeous. So the 10 MP will do nicely for big prints. If you plan for big prints stay with ISO 80 or 100 and the picture will be fine. If you are in high contrast situations and you want big prints, use the exposure bracketing and take 3 shots -2, 0 and +2 and put them together with a hdr software. Canons  i-Contrast makes the dark areas a bit grainy when activated.
- Canon has the panorama mode so you can stitch several photos together to greatly increase the resolution.
- The Camera is a bit heavy but a joy to hold in full telefoto because the long lens just begs for it and lies beautiful in the hand.
-the much talked about slow lens in 15x-20x is really not a big problem because Canon has a very good ImageStabilisation. See my handheld 20x moon shot.

-the pictures are a bit soft and could use a bit more color for the area I will shoot in (mostly bright sunlight) but setting the exposure compensation to -0.3 to -1 the sharpness to +2 and the color to +1 did the trick for my SX10 shots to come out pleasing.

A camera is a tool and with every new tool you have to familiarize yourself with it. It takes the first 1000 shots to try out the camera and fine tune the tool to your needs.
Read the manual from front to back and try out everything several times in different shooting situations.

As for post processing I work with my panorama shots with Autopano 1.3
The free software will be what works very well and is much better as the Canon provided stitcher.

hope this helped and merry x-mas to Bavaria from the sunny Canary Islands.