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Old Jan 7, 2004, 6:22 PM   #1
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Default canon a80 vs. minolta s414

I'm new to digital photography and I am looking to purchase a new camera within the next couple of days. I looked at both these models but am not sure which is a better buy. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old Jan 12, 2004, 9:41 AM   #2
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First I give my disclaimer, this purchase has been my first digital camera which makes me quite new to them. I have been using 35mm cameras for quite a while, but have gotten out of photography over the past couple of years. I first bought a Fuji 310, but didn't like the lack of manual controls, so I returned it and had to decided between the A80 and the Minolta S414.

I'm not sure how much of a help this will be but....

I ended up choosing the S414, but I think that I am going to return it and go buy the A80. There are a few reasons for this.

1) I think it's a little trickier to use if you want a simple point and shoot camera. I don't mind taking the time to learn the minolta camera, but I know that my wife won't take the time, and will just want to press the button.

2)I seem to be having focusing problems and loosing a lot of shots. I like the fact that the canon A80 has the focus assist lamp to help with low light shots.

3)I like the swivel LCD on the A80, don't know if I'll use it much, but looks like it could help with interesting shots and self portraits.

4)The tripod mount on the Minolta is not centered and is really an odd place....minor point, but kind of weird.

5)I find the LCD screen on the S414 (although larger) to be poor quality and doesn't give a very nice quality playback photo.

Now some of these points are somewhat picky and somewhat personal problems with the camera....but they are making me change my mind.

I have taken some excellent photos with the minolta (especially when outdoors) and I have seem many excellent quality photos from others on various websites, and with the 4X optical zoom and $150 less (Canadian Dollars) it is an excellent deal. I just don't mind spending the little extra and just think overall I'll be happier with the Canon A80.

Hope this helps a little.
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Old Jan 13, 2004, 12:40 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response, any help at this point is greatly appreciated. I think I'm leaning towards the A80 myself, and I agree on the topics you pointed out.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 12:58 AM   #4
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Big tone,

"Better buy" as you probably have come to realize is pretty personal. You don't seem to be talking only about price so the points raised will depend to some extent on personal preferences.

I've used the Canon A70 and the Minolta S404 both cameras are the previous models to the ones you are comparing. but I think this might be helpful.

Let's look at a few comparisons betwen the A80 and the S414:
Resolution: The A80 and S414 are tied (4MP each)
Zoom: The S414 is slightly ahead (4 versus 3)
Ease of focussing: The A80 is better off with the swivel screen
Size and compactness: A80 wins hands down
Number of menu options: A80 but I doubt this will be a useful index since both cameras have so many menu choices the casual and even intermediate user is usually overwhelmed by the number of choices for either camera.
Power consumption: A80. Minolta is a power hog.
Quality of shots: This is the one in which you can be extremely fussy and take a look DPreview and Steve and still not know which is better. There is just so much information available and much of it too technical for the casual user it staggers the mind.
Feel of the camera: Important but totally personal. I prefer the heft of the Minolta, others hate it.
Durability: ???? Both cameras have been around less than one year. I do know the Minolta S404 is durable. I've dropped mine several times on hard surfaces (volcanic rock) and it still works.
Lens quality: Pretty close race. I would swear by the glass in the Minolta, again very personal.

If you add up the numbers the A80 probably wins - partly because it is a newer model by 6 months which in digital camera time is one generation away.
Price wise the Minolta wins because it's been around longer and discounts are more readily available.
So which one would (should) you choose?
You probably won't go too wrong with either camera in terms of the pictures they will provide. You may go wrong with how you feel about the purchase.

I would go with which camera feels better.

If you want to see some pictures taken by a Minolta S404 (almost identical to the S414) you can visit my web site at:

Very little editing has been done on the pictures and at least 80 percent or so have been taken with the Minolta.

Good luck.
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 9:51 AM   #5
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That's a Hard call. I too, own the S404 & have gotten some EXCELLENT images from it - all in Large FINE mode & a few in the TIFF Files. Those blew me away. Problem is, I got the Canon 300D/Digital Rebel & I seldom use the S404 now. It is on "loan" to my youngest son.
I could probably have done some better shots if I used a tripod more often. These cameras ARE a HOG on the batteries - I have a 1 hour charger & 4 - sets of NiMh batteries for it!
Note: You CAN find a UV filter for the lens - it is an odd 35.5 size & I got a B+W from B&H @ $24.95.
My girlfriend, has the old style Sony Mavica FD87 - it does fair, but basically sucks! She has always liked Sony cameras, but she looked at the A80 at Circuit City & will probably buy one as she is going to England in March & does NOT want to take her Canon AE-1 Program - just a digital.
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