Nikon CoolPix 950

    Nikon CoolPix 950

    Nikon CoolPix 950

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    Nikon CoolPix 950

    At the close of the twentieth century (I’d say the close of the millennium but I’m enough of a time geek to know that doesn’t happen until 1 January 2001) I purchased a third-generation digital camera, and it’s impressive.

    For those of you who have ventured across these web pages before will know that my first digital camera was an .

    My second digital camera was the . Its best feature was the ability to store images onto a PCMCIA card. I got a large-capacity card, one able to store 120 images in a reasonable quality. Pictures taken by the DC-120 were much better than the QuickTake – better than nothing but still not worth writing home about.

    Of course, there are thousands of images on this web site that were taken with the DC-120, so I can’t really complain about the state of the art not being where I want it to be. But still, the images were no match for a paper photograph.

    and I took to carrying an APS camera in case there was

    I really wanted to capture.

    The Nikon CoolPix 950 is supposed to change all that. (I write this after taking only a few photos in the evening after

    the camera was delivered.)

    One of the most interesting features of this camera is the digital zoom, a software interpolation of the image above and beyond the 3x optical zoom.

    At left you see the lights of

    Castro theater, taken with optical zoom only. At right you see the digital zoom at 2.5x (that’s 2.5 times the 3x optical zoom). When these images are reduced (to 12.5 per cent of the original) there doesn’t seem to be much difference.

    But at full size, at one hundred per cent, the picture is quite different (pardon the pun). Let’s take a closer look, a much closer look.

    At left and right are parts of the 1600 by 1200 (UXGA) image produced by the CoolPix 950. Compare that to the 706 by 504 of the DC-120; this is a big picture!

    As above, the left size is the one taken with optical zoom only, the right size is the one the camera processed with the digital zoom. Here we can see quite a difference. Not only are the highlight neon tubes clearly pronounced in the optical zoom image, but the piping spirals and waves don’t even appear in the digital zoom image (the software must have averaged them in with the dark background).

    That’s all I have to say today. I’ll be playing with the camera and the images in the days and months to come; more comments will appear. All that I know for certain is that this web site will reap the benefits of the new technology.

    Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me . Thanks!

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