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Old Jan 30, 2004, 8:39 AM   #11
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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You'll need to decide if it's worth it to make the jump to a higher resolution model.

The Sony DSC-F717 is a well respected model. It uses a 2/3" 5 Megapixel CCD, and has lower noise at higher ISO speeds, compared to competing models using this same CCD.

It also resolves more detail on resolution charts compared to the other models using this sensor (for example: the Minolta DiMAGE 7HI, Nikon Coolpix 5700).

As far as EVF's. They can be very difficult to see in lower light (just like the LCD Display can be difficult to see). The Sony EVF is better than most, though (it also has a "night frame" feature that allows it to see infrared to help see the scene).

As far as the EVF in the Fuji S602z, it can be virtually impossible to use in Low Light conditions, based on the reviews I've read of this model. If you plan on using a camera only in good light, then this may not be a problem. However, if shooting at night with a tripod, then you'll be "shooting blind" for all practical purposes, because the EVF does not "gain up" in low light to make the scene visible enough to use it.

So, you'll need to experiment to get the shots. EVF's can be bad in dark conditions.

In any event, I'd prefer an Optical Viewfinder personally (much easier to see in low light, no refresh rate problems/delay in tracking moving subjects, etc.). Unfortunately, in a non-DSLR model camera, it's difficult to use an Optical Viewfinder with longer focal lengths (because they are not through the lens).

You may also want to wait a little while before making a decision on a new camera.

Many new models should be introduced over the next couple of weeks. The PMA (Photo Marketing Association) trade show and convention is in Las Vegas in February, where manufacturers will be showing off their new models. Announcements of some new models have already started.

Even if some of them are not available immediately, it still may help to reduce prices on some of the existing models.

This will be an exciting year for Digital Photography. Canon plans on introducing 20 new compact digital camera models in 2004. I'm sure other manufacturers will be introducing many new models, too.

BTW, I'm surprised that Minolta Models are not available in Brazil. That seems very odd to me, since they are a major manufacturer of Digital Cameras.
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 1:06 PM   #12
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There are many advantages to a good EVF. By good I mean one that has a high pixel count and brightens in dim light. Most good cameras do that. Only Sony has the night framing that can literally see in darkness where you canít make things out yourself, but the ones that brighten will do fine anyplace you donít need a flashlight to walk.

The EVF provides better feedback in some ways than an SLR. It doesnít look nearly as good but the information is coming directly from the CCD, so you not only get direct focus but direct exposure information. If it looks good in a quality EVF the photo is probably good. You do need a zoom feature to manually focus with an EVF, but all good cameras have that.

The great advantage on a camera with adequate controls is that you never have to take your eye from the viewfinder. You have full shooting information in the viewfinder. In better EVFs you can display a real time histogram, which I made myself become accustomed to being there as it is such a valuable tool. It gives you good information whether you want to shift the EV a little to keep from blowing highlights etc.

If you are taking a picture of two people a good camera will not focus improperly at a point between them and make you pre-focus on one of them before shooting the picture. But you want to know where the camera focused. They show some symbol where it is focused to be sure it is focusing where you want to. There is usually a dedicated button that allows you to switch to spot focus if you just want it focused in the middle or you can run the focus point anywhere in the viewfinder. When you pre focus you also pre meter and the picture often comes out better if it is framed when you take the exposure.

Optical finders typically show only 79-85% of the scene. So unless you guess and actually frame to cut things off you are losing almost a Mp just in cropping.

There is a small delay in an EVF (up to 1/10 sec) and you learn to compensate for something moving laterally. It is the one downside of a good EVF. I wish they would publish the EVF delay in the specs.

My biggest dislike of rangfinder optical finders is that you have to check and set everything in the LCD. Some have a B&W status window you can read in sunlight that are handy, but too few have them. Optical finders are appropriate for lower end cameras, but better cameras come with EVFs for a good reason. Of course there is no choice if you want a pocket camera Ė no way to get an EVF in a pocket camera with the current technology.

I have one camera with an excellent EVF and one with a marginal one. I had only one choice if I wanted a stabilized long lens, but the EVF in the FZ10 leaves a lot to be desired. The only bright spot is that the EVF in the FZ10 makes me appreciate the one in my Minolta.

My pocket camera of course has an optical finder, and I miss the EVF when I use it.
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