Hi Steve,

For the camera, I don't really know if you can use that kind of question, however:

1) I had a Fujifilm Finepix S5000 which worked fine for me but I hadn't used it for quite a while and when I tried to turn it on again I realized it had died - or at least parts of it: the display turned bright white.

I guess it's not worth repairing (5 years old now....) as it'll probably cost much more than buying a new one. When I went to the shop I was quite confused to see the multitude of models available around 10.000THB, so I was wondering if you can give any advice for some thing easy to use or the key features that are really important and what can be ignored (guess the answer could fill books, huh ?).

2) Does the way the light travel through the lens and body of the camera before it hits the CCD affect the quality of the photo, i.e. is there a noticeable difference between the pictures of a camera with a slim body (like a Canon IXUS) and a 'bulky' body (like a Finepix or EOS) even if they have the same resolution ?

Best regards,

Helge

 

 

Helge –

Question 1:

You’ve asked some really good questions and I’m sure there are many with cameras out there laying in drawers with the same issue that might get tossed out as garbage unless they read this response.

Chances are you not using it in a while had nothing to do with the bright white LCD.  I can almost tell you for certain that the LCD is broken and needs to be replaced.  Sometimes they wear out, sometimes they take a hard blow.  I’d guess yours took a hit while rolling around in a drawer or something similar.

Repairing LCD’s can be done in two ways.  The Fuji service center here in Bangkok can replace your LCD while your wait for a very reasonable cost.  The last time I had one done on a compact (Fuji Finepix F30) it was baht 1100 and that was just a few months ago.  It took them about 30 minutes to replace it.  They stock the parts.

I had an opportunity to repair a Fuji Finepix F31 on the cheap since then and decided to check out Chinatown.  They have tons of parts.  I removed the LCD from the camera (you need a very fine set of screwdrivers) and walked among the vendors and eventually found a brand new replacement for baht 300.

Most will probably feel comfortable going to the Fuji service center for repairs (or whatever brand they have).  Do note that all these LCD’s are likely not manufactured by the camera maker.  They buy them from the same 2-3 LCD manufacturers, so any camera brand repair should be just as easy and inexpensive.

Question 2:

Yes, definitely.  But not necessary in the types of bodies you listed.  Allow me to explain:

For sure, image quality has everything to do with the way light passes through the lens, mirror box, prism, and to the sensor.  The lens of course would be the most significant factor. 

But what I think you’re really asking is ‘does the path’ the light takes before it hits the sensor affect image quality?  This can be a very complex answer if you start looking for design deficiencies.  If we take design deficiencies out of the equation (which we should, because without careful analysis on each camera we can’t ascertain such deficiencies with any accuracy) then the answer would be no.  The camera is designed to ‘direct’ the light to the sensor as efficiently as possible and in most cases they do.  The “thickness” of a point and shoot’s body has little to do with this particular design feature.  The thickness has more to do with battery bulk, lens design (physical size), miniaturization of electronic components, and other features that take up physical space.  If you look carefully at the test images of like (same size, even same manufacturer) CCD in different bodies, you’ll find the images very similar with the only real differences being the lens or possibly how firmware cleans the noise.

Generally, the bigger the sensor the more light it needs to cover it, the most care must be taken in the design and quality of the light path.  With point and shoot compacts the CCD is so small, this isn’t an issue.  With bigger sensors like DSLRs or medium format digital backs.. the light path for certain comes into play.  However, instead of showing up between the different models as an image quality issue, it shows up as a viewfinder (these cameras have optical viewfinders) issue.  Pros demand the biggest brightest and most clear viewfinder possible.  No where is this more evident than between a crop frame and full frame DSLR.

A new design recently out on the market is the new Micro 4/3’s system.  This is a much larger sensor than your standard P&S compact with great image quality, yet there is no optical viewfinder.  By incorporating a high end electronic viewfinder (EVF) they’ve done away with the thickness and bulk necessary for a optical viewfinder.  The tradeoff for losing your optical viewfinder, is a much smaller and thinner camera.  Many professionals looking for a small personal camera with high image quality are turning to this new system.  Panasonic’s G1(h) is the best example yet.  Akulka recently submitted a special on the Philippines using this camera.  Philippines, an Evolution.  Check it out.

I hope this helps

Steve
 

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