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Old Dec 7, 2003, 1:29 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Default Alright Jim Help Me Out Here

Hahahaha, ok that was only for dramatic effect... Anyone else who can chime in and enlighten me is more than welcome to do so! :lol:

I'm down to 3 cameras... the G400 the G500 or the Pentax Optio 555. My concerns/questions:

As mentioned on earlier posts size, some manual controls to grow into, and the best quality I can get in primarily outdoor conditions(including low light) are of primary concern here. We can only afford one camera and it has to do everything for us thus we understand there are sacrifices that have to be made.

We really like the quality of the 555, looks like a great camera with all the bells whistles you could hope for, plus it's been well reviewed. My only concerns with this one is the relatively slow start up and shot to shot times. It quite often occurs that we'll see an animal or a scene while hiking that if not caught as quickly as possible will be gone. Also I wonder about the ruggedness of this camera a little more, I have heard some good things about the G400 and G500's design.

The G500 looks great from everything JimC has written and the pictures I've seen. I have been thoroughly impressed, and it looks to be a camera that a lot of people are satisfied with. Plus it's 5 megapixels, which is nice for framing our shots to nice, big sizes. My only concern here would be that relative to the G400 it's going to be slower for shot times and startup, and it's going to be bigger and heavier. It's not a huge difference in the end, it just makes the G400 more tempting that's all.

The G400 is the wildcard of the bunch, I've found no proffessional reviews and will most likely wait until some are posted before I make my final decision. It's just so tempting!! We were really impressed with the features and it's small size, as well as the lighting quick speeds. But, as JimC lamented, it's flash doesn't look to be nearly as powerful, limiting it's use somewhat. I wonder though, if I'm not using it for big social gatherings would it make a big difference? Also, I wonder specifically about the low light shot capabilities of the G400 and 500's as well, that's a major factor. I'm often in forested areas and lots of times I'll be trying to get late day shots on peaks, etc. The weight savings & features afforded by the G400 would not be worth sacrificing low light shots for me.

Alrighty, that's all folks. Thanks in advance for any replies!

P.S. Is there anywhere you can post pictures that you've taken? I have some really great outdoor pics that I took with my brother's camera that I'd like to showcase...
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 1:48 PM   #2
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Well... In real world use, I seriously doubt you'd see any real performance benefit to the newer G400 (except for autofocus times).

For example: in standard continuous mode, the G400 can take one photo every 1.1 seconds, and the G500 can take one photo every 1.27 seconds (very little difference, and this is probably due to the larger file sizes from the 5 Megapixel images).

I leave my camera set this way all the time (and I've never accidently taken more than one photo this way).

The G400 does have a new high speed continuous mode (but it's limited to a 3 shot burst, before you have to wait for the buffers to flush). Also, you'd have to change this in the menu each time you wanted to use it.

In contrast, the standard continuous mode allows you to continue taking photos until the memory cards are full, and you can leave it set this way.

If not taking more than one shot in a row, the G400 would be faster (because when you release the shutter button, the camera must refocus and remeter for the next shot). The G400 would have an advantage there (thanks to it's new hybrid focus system).

Both cameras have the ability to use fixed focus choice, as well as autofocus and autoexposure lock (which virtually eliminates lag time when enabled). So, when taking more than one photo in the same conditions, both would be very fast this way.

The sensor used by the new G400 is smaller, and denser (it's a 4 Megapixel 1/2.5" (.4") CCD (probably made by Panasonic), versus the G500's 1/1.8" (.556") CCD (Sony).

As a result, I'd expect the image quality to be better from the G500's larger, less dense sensor.

The G500 has a longer zoom (it's lens is 39 - 117mm equivalent), versus the G400's 34-101mm equivalent. So, the G400 has a wider wide angle (an advantage for some users), whereas the G500's lens leans towards a longer zoom (which is an advantage for others).

The G400 does have a better movie mode (limited only by the size of the memory cards), versus the G500's limitation of 30 second clips. But, I'd never use the movie mode on a camera anyway (others may). The G400 also has a few more "bells, whistles and buzzers" (scene modes, etc.), but I don't seeing them as adding any value for how I use a camera (others might).

Personally, because of the the larger sensor, and greater flash range, I would not consider trading my G500 for the G400.

As far as the Pentax Optio 555, I think it's a great little camera. It's more full featured than the Minoltas, with a much better focal range, too.. Pentax also seems to have reduced the noise in this new model (the older 550 got a lot of criticism for it).

As far as performance, the Pentax appears to be a good performer (except for startup times). But, I understand that startup time did improve with the newer 555.

I'd "test drive" them out in a store, and see which model you are more comfortable with. If the extra width (1.6 inches) of the Optio 555 is not too much for you, then you may appreciate it's greater zoom capability for your outdoor shots.
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 2:28 PM   #3
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P.S. - There is no perfect camera. You have to look for balance, for how you'll be using one, in the conditions you'll use it in. Each users requirements will vary.

Each model with have it's own set of strengths and weaknesses.
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