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Old Apr 8, 2004, 1:47 AM   #1
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Default A2 vs. Pro1

I have been a Canon man for years and hasten to desert my brand, but I must admit I am intrigued by the Minolta A2. (Anti shake, 3:2 framing, automatic switching between screens.) Can anyone offer an accurate comparison based on image quality -- particularly with regard to noise? Thanks so much.
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Old Apr 8, 2004, 2:01 AM   #2
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I'm willing to be proved wrong but I would very much doubt if there's any discernible difference in photo quality between the A2 and the Pro 1. The Canon may have a slightly better lens but I still suspect you'd need laboratory equipment to distinguish between photos from the two cameras. They've got the same CCD so noise will be about the same. I doubt if the Canon processing is going to be any better than Minolta's. When you choose between the new 8Mp cameras I think the issue is what features you want. The Canon has a slightly faster lens, a remote control and probably better build quality. The A2 has everything else.
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Old Apr 10, 2004, 7:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Technophile
The Canon has a slightly faster lens
IMHO, the faster lens is a moot point because it's only a half f-stop faster and only at the wide end. At the wide end you'll get a very deep DOF anyway. At the long end both are f/3.5.

Canon is going to get higher points for sharpness in all reviews, but most reviewers don't bother the check the corners (I think Minolta has better corner sharpness, especially at the wide end, wide open). Another problem is that the default contrast of the A2 is lower. High contrast makes images look sharper (even when the actual resolution is identical) and this hurts Minolta when straight-out-of-camera images are compared.

Well, here's one comparison.


It looks like the differencies in image quality are really small and the real deciding factor is how well the camera fits into your hand and shooting style. Remember, when you are viewing these photos at 100% on ~80 ppi computer screen, that's equivalent to viewing a 40x30 inch (1x0.75 m) poster from the same distance! IMHO, that's a totally non-realistic test. I doubt I'll ever make even remotely quite as big prints...
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Old Apr 18, 2004, 6:39 PM   #4
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Default A2 wins on macro

I've been comparing the A2, Pro1, and Olympus 8080--all with 8 MP and genuine wideangle.

The Olympus loses out, IMO, by being larger and having a shorter telephoto end on its zoom.

I really like the Pro 1 in many ways, but is loses out big time in having fairly hopeless macro modes. At closest focus at the optimal zoom position in normal macro mode it covers an area about equivalent to 1:4 or 1:5 on a 35mm camera. It does have a "super macro" mode that gets substantially closer, but resolution reduces to 5 MP and (I suspect) you probably can't use RAW mode, since that would require dumping the full CCD to memory, and I imagine the reason the resolution is reduced is that image quality degrades too much at the edges, or perhaps there is vignetting. Also, in the "super macro" mode the internal flash is useless due to shadows from the lens, which even get into the picture at the closest range in the regular macro mode. It is possible to add closeup lenses, of course, but only, apparently, by adding a very clunky adapter tube, at least officially, though I notice the lens does have in interrupted thread at the front, and these will make the flash shadow problem even worse.

By contrast, the A2 gets to a coverage equivalent to about 1:1.5 in 35mm with standard macro mode at the telephoto end. Its lens stops down to f11, pretty good for a digital P&S (many of which end at f8) and enough for reasonable depth of field even at telephoto, given that the true focal length is about 50mm. It has depth-of-field preview, a feature I have sorely missed on many autofocus 35mm SLRs and on my present digital, a Cooplix 5000. Although Konica-Minolta do not recommend it, I have tried in the store, and gotten well-exposed shots with no lens shadow at the closest focusing range using the built-in flash. All of these features make it a clear winner.

BTW, in case you're wondering why I left the Sony 828 and Nikon 8700 out of the above discussion--I don't like the Sony's size and shape, and the 8700 has a maximum wideangle of 35mm equivalent, which is too narrow for my uses.
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