Monthly Archives: June 2012

Camera quality, smartphone vs point-and-shoot

A couple of years ago I bought a Panasonic TZ10 point-and-shoot (current Amazon price; from £130) which has lived in a pouch on my belt and has had regular, often daily use. Recently though I found myself with a Samsung Galaxy S2, and like all the current smartphone devices, great publicity has been given to the quality of it’s camera.

So I thought I’d put my Panasonic to one side and give the S2’s camera a bit of exercise and see what all the fuss was about.

For some time now I’ve being doing a’take one picture a day’ task and for the first 9 months I had almost exclusively used the Panasonic, for the last 3 months it’s been the S2. Combine that with my usual usage and I have more than enough to give me a smartphone vs point-and-shoot picture comparison.

The Panasonic has a greater sensor pixel count, however the S2 has a more modern sensor and processing electronics, so I was uncertain what to expect between the two. I did think the Panasonic would have the edge ( though was quite willing to be proved wrong in this respect).

Under good daylight conditions both produced great results, however as soon as you were away from those conditions (even into mid-afternoon lighting levels) the point-and-shoot totally blew the S2 out of the water with a sharper image and far greater range of contrast.

This really comes down to two things. 1) The physically larger lens (a typical smartphone lens is only 3 or 4 mm across, a point-and-shoot say15 mm) allows for more light to reach the sensor. 2) Physical size of sensor. Regardless of pixel count and that sort of thing, the larger sensor size of the point-and-shoot allows for a far greater collection area for light.
So under good conditions where there is a ‘surplus of light’ there’s more than enough light available to allow either device to produce a really nice picture, but when light levels fall and things move away from a ‘surplus’ condition, then the greater light collecting ability of the point-and-shoot leaves the smartphone way behind.

So my Panasonic is back in its pouch attached to my belt, though I still do use the smartphone’s camera now and again. It’s certainly not that my smartphone has a bad camera, but when it comes down to it it just does not compete with a dedicated picture-taking camera device.

The cost of a letter, I don’t care.

Recently the Post Office has increased the cost of posting a letter. I really don’t care as I’ve almost stopped using the post. I’ve been using e-mail and other social networking type stuff for my messaging for many years, however the main reason I don’t use the post anything like as much as I did is because of the Post Office itself. Or more specifically, when the Post Office stopped their early morning delivery. I have no problem with them going from two deliveries a day down to one, but their shift of (the now single) delivery time from early morning to late morning has been a killer for me.

Let’s take the ’before’ situation. I could write a letter (the request) on Monday, get it off in the afternoon, and assuming 1st class post, the other party would get it before they headed off to work on Tuesday morning. They could then pen a reply during the day (response), get that off in the evening post. I’d get it Wednesday morning and get a reply (acknowledgement) off by the evening and they would then get it Thursday morning. They could then get a final note (confirmation) off on Thursday which I would get on Friday morning

So we have a request, response, acknowledgement, then final confirmation, all done within a working week. In fact this is not really any slower for those computer users who are not that geeky and just check their e-mail once a day.

However let’s look at the same situation since the Post Office ’updated’ their delivery service.

I write my letter on Monday (request) and get it off in the post. It gets delivered on Tuesday after those I’m writing to have left for work, so they won’t see it till Tuesday evening. They sort out a reply (response), this will be too late for Tuesday’s collection so won’t get into the system till Wednesday. This should then get delivered to me on Thursday morning, but after I’ve gone to work, so I won’t see it till the evening. I get my reply (acknowledgement) written on Thursday evening but this in turn won’t get into the postal system till Friday, arriving at the other end on Saturday morning. Even living in a city, my Saturday last post collection time is around lunch time, so even if they get their final reply (confirmation) written on Saturday it won’t get collected till Monday. This should get to me late Tuesday morning, but I won’t see it till Tuesday evening.

So our request, response, acknowledgement and final confirmation has now stretched from just a few days to a week and a half!

I’m sorry, but that’s just crap, so I’ve shifted even more of my communication across to electronic messaging. The only thing I now regularly use the post for is birthday and Christmas cards. I would be happy to use the postal system more, it’s not so much the cost of a letter but this reduction in quality of service that I find so distressing.

With service like it is no wonder the Post Office is losing business.