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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:41 am 
Hello everyone, and thank you for a great forum. I'm a long time lurker, first time poster :)

As so many others I am looking for a camera that will be able to "do it all". It needs to have good manual control options, produce great looking photos above your average P&S camera, and should be relatively compact. My budget is around £300 pounds.

I am currently weighing up the pros and cons between the G9 and the D40. I have read Gordon's excellent reviews of both these cameras and initially I leant towards the D40, due to the great image quality photos it seems to be able to produce at a fairly good price.

However I am thinking that the "pocketability" of the G9 is a strong selling point as I'd enjoy taking photos of moments of city life, whilst strolling through London, as well as landscape photography. I'd like to bring my camera on my travels as well. I fear however that a bulky camera will stop me from bringing it in the first place!

So I would much appreciate the advice on the following:

1. In terms of image quality, how does the G9 compare against the D40 with kit lens?
2. How noticeable is the difference in size between these cameras when held in hand in real life?
3. Are wideangle lens convertors available for the G9, and how good are they really?

Best,
Toby


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 Post subject: Image example
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:03 am 
This is from Gordon's review of the D40x. Would the G9 be capable of doing a similar great metering job?

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:02 am 
Hi Toby,

The D40 is significantly better at the higher ISOs. Have a look a the results pages for the D40 and the G9.

Don't know about the quality of the wide angle converters but they would increase the size of the camera so that it would no longer be "pocketable".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:36 am 
grahamnp wrote:
Don't know about the quality of the wide angle converters but they would increase the size of the camera so that it would no longer be "pocketable".

Thanks, that is a good point.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:36 pm 
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Hi Toby,

May I offer a warm welcome to the CameraLabs forums.

The test results that Graham pointed you to make interesting viewing. It's sometimes difficult to compare like with like in these shots but looking at the Noise 2 page in the D40 review I get a sense that the D40 noise is at least as good as the 400D/XTi noise at half the ISO setting. Turning to the Real life Noise page of the G9 review I think it's fair to say that the G9 sensor noise is getting on for the equivalent noise from the 400D with a factor of almost four higher ISO setting.

Caveat: I think Gordon would rightly slap my wrists if I didn't qualify the above by saying that this is a very subjective assessment and I am using his pictures in a way he never intended. I also need to make it clear that I have owned neither though I have played with the G9 briefly and liked it very much. A lot of the issues you are facing are covered in Gordon's feature Should you buy a DSLR or a Compact?.

So, it's an outright win for the D40 and the G9 should be forgotten? To answer my own question, I think the answer is a resounding "No". If you expect that the majority of your shots will be taken in relatively good light or with a good flash unit, allowing ISO 80 or 100 to be used, then the G9 sensor noise is not going to be an issue and you have significantly greater resolution. Even with ISO 200 the consensus appears to be that with some decent noise reduction applied (I have seen Noise Ninja mentioned in this context) the results will be more than acceptable for everyday use.

For your "moments of city life" shots I think you may be right that the G9 is the much better option simply because it is relatively unobtrusive and much less likely to be left at home. On the other hand the D40 is probably better for everything else you want to do so it might be a good way to go with the option of deferring that second lens for the D40 and buying a slightly cheaper compact later on purely for those city shots if you feel the need. In the end it has to be your choice and I'll just keep muttering "Ouch" as I sit here on the fence. :shock:

Bob.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:24 am 
Nobody ever takes pictures in test labs, except for testing purpose.

Image Quality is too abstract and narrow a term to evaluate a camera on.

The more pictures you take, the more great pictures you will have. The more pictures you take, the better your pictures will be.

If a DSLR means that you will end up taking fewer pictures, maybe it's better to not get one.

Ultimately it depends on what's more important to you. All cameras can take great pictures - the difference between them has more to do with convenience.

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:19 pm 
Tobinsky wrote:
1. In terms of image quality, how does the G9 compare against the D40 with kit lens?


Two issues to consider: Iso and metering.

1. ISO: at high ISO, the G9 - and 99.9% of compact cameras - will be not very good past 400 ISO, maybe 800 is you don't enlarge your pictures past postcard-size. The D40 - and most digital SLRs - will be better in that regard due to the inherent advantage of the larger sensor. HOWEVER, I have taken pictures with my G9 at 1600 ISO that have turned out quite good, in my opinion comparable to what the D40 would do. BUT, it required using a noise-cleaning software such as Noise Ninja (which I use). So you can get good high ISO results with the G9, but you have to "bend the rules" a little, so to speak...Mind you, this caveat would then apply to any other compact camera.

2. Metering: is the metering on the G9 any good, or comparable to the D40? I haven't done any scientific testing, but it's very, very good. The G9 is a fully-featured camera that allows you a lot of manual control, including centre-weighted metering. I would say that you could get very close metering results to the D40 by using the G9, but it would take you slightly longer, because it's a bit more fiddly than a larger-bodied camera.


Tobinsky wrote:
2. How noticeable is the difference in size between these cameras when held in hand in real life?


Wrong question, my friend!...:wink: Of course there will be a size difference, with the D40 being bigger. But, the D40 is much more ergonomic, because the G9 is...well...like a brick. it's part of its charm, because it's "old school-style", but there are no edges to hold on to. So, as far as "handle-ability" the G9 IS smaller, but feels more awkward to handle. I would go as far as saying that in a hot day, you might want to use a strap, because that little sucker - metal-bodied as it is - would get more slippery than a greased body in a Turkish bath house! In short, the D40 is bigger, but feels better in the hands. Still, I love the G9!


Tobinsky wrote:
3. Are wideangle lens convertors available for the G9, and how good are they really?


Yes, there are available: http://www.lensmateonline.com/newsite/G7.html
Better than what Canon makes, I think - see for yourself in the examples on the website. You can get zoom extenders, wide-angle converters, Infra Red...Check it out. How good are they?...Ok for postcard-size, I reckon, but it won't match the image quality you could get with, say the D40. However, lenses (wide-angle, zoom, etc) for D40 will be more expensive than these G9 converters. In short, are they "a solution"? I don't think so, honestly...It's a solution, yes, but you loose the small-size factor because of the adaptors, and with the adaptors you don't get SLR-quality pictures either - a bit of no-man's land... Or is that a "niche" market?...:wink:

Cheers

A.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:51 am 
Thank you everyone for the helpful posts! :D
LahLahSr wrote:
If a DSLR means that you will end up taking fewer pictures, maybe it's better to not get one.

I think LahLahSr managed to pinpoint to my main issue :P ... after having looked at the D40 in person I don't think I would bring this camera along as often as I would like, especially not whilst travelling to places like India where my accommodation would often be a little bit more basic.

However, I think I have found a great, yet overlooked, budget alternative to the much talked about Canon G9!

What are people's views on the Nikon Coolpix P50? It is very nicely priced (between £125-£149) and although being the ugly duckling of the P5100 has the following going for it:
    Manual control mode (very important)
    28mm wideangle (important)
    ISO 64-2000
    Optical viewfinder
    D-Lighting
    8 MP

And I have seen some great photos from this camera, have a look at user Madison Guy at flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/madison_guy/.

Feedback and opinions much appreciated!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:05 am 
Is build quality an issue? The G9 feels like a much better camera than the Nikon compacts.


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