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Old Dec 16, 2005, 11:45 AM   #1
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I could really use some help on finally choosing the camera I'm going to buy in the next few weeks. I've read every review about every camera, but I still got a few cameras on my list.

My first concern really is image quality, then camera performance. I'm heading in a store this week to get a glimpse of the ergonomics of each camera.

The cameras:
Canon S2 IS: best movie mode, 12x with IS, flip-out LCD, image quality?. Plenty of features but nothing spectacular.

Canon Pro1: plenty of zoom range (like the wide-angle), but no IS for telephoto and a bit pricey.

Fuji S9000: no IS, expensive and poor performance?

Kodak P850: cheap price, but poor image quality?

Kodak P880: again cheap price, but no IS, poor image quality?, bulky

Konica Minolta A1: very good prices on eBay, image quality?, performance?

Konica Minolta A2: same

Olympus C-8080: best image quality?, performance?

Panasonic FZ5: image quality, smaller than others, poor movie mode

I'm sorry if this is a really long post, but thanks to the ones that will read it. If your only comment is: go by yourself and try them in a store, then don't respond 'cause that's what I'm gonna do next.

I'm just looking for suggestions/advice from people who have used these cams in the past.

Thank you very much and have a Merry X-Mas!
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 12:02 PM   #2
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I'm having a hard time getting a sense of what you are looking for from the list of cameras you've assembled. Many of them are ultraazooms, but not all. Their costs are over a pretty wide range. The pluses that you identify for each camera are not listed as very important, kind of valueable, or just something that you read about the given camera, etc.

Maybe if you start with a list of what is important to you (this need not be a list of camera features -- characterizing what kind of photography you want to do will be helpful, too)and what you can pay, you can get more targeted suggestions.

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Old Dec 16, 2005, 3:37 PM   #3
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Well, here's long answer.

Both KonicaMinolta's have IS based to sensor moving system called Anti-Shake, manual controls are superb beating many low end DLSRs, mechanical zoom is much faster and accurate than button zooms, also 28-200mm lens is perfect for most general photography. Real wide angle just seems to be way undervalued feature. (which leads to funny situation when I watch other step backwards while I could go couple steps closer)
And EVF/LCD has high gain black and white mode for lower light which enables seeing to where you're focusing in lower light. (also sensor switches display to EVF automatically)

A1 has 5 MP sensor, also ISOs are underestimated so ISO100 is actually about 160, 200 about 320 and so on.
A2 has 8MP sensor and it's ISOs are close to real, but thing which rises it above others is EVF with 4x resolution compared to any other EVF or LCD used in digicams... after that you'll keep EVFs/LCDs of all other cameras poor. :G
Also video is 544x408 (perfectly good resolution for TV) 30fps while A1 has 320x240 24fps.
What I've read A2 has better JPEG processing than A1 but otherwise those are quite completely similar.

But on the whole in camera processing of KM's Ax models isn't very good and camera itself is capable to much better results when combined with good RAW converting for those shots you want to get with best quality. (but changing few settings makes JPEGs better)
Especially low light shots are possible with much more cleaner high ISOs.
And with newest firmware RAW would be completely usable for full time use except when you have to take more than three (5 with A1) shots in under five seconds.

For non-action photography anti-shake enables two, three stops longer shutter time so with RAW these are really good low light architecture/landscape cameras.

Here's some comparing of convenience and usability between A2 and Canon 20d DSLR.

And choise of one professional for all in one vacation camera.

KonicaMinolta A200 is newer model using same lens and 8MP sensor with better in camera processing but with dumbed down, "standard prosumer" menusurfing user interface/control layout and ordinary low res EVF. On the other hand they included media sexy Canon style fully swiveling LCD and video resolution is 640x480.

Here's some moving target shots taken with A2:
And some other including lower light.
All these were taken in JPEG...
Also notice that pics without preview pics were taken with my first (any kind of) camera, Minolta 7i which uses same lens and has almost same user interface/control layout as Ax-models.
And here's some more pics taken with 7i.

Considering other cameras RAW doesn't give any advantage in Fuji, in camera processed shots are very propably best ones you'll get out of it... without strong noise removal filtering its pictures are horrible looking when you remember that its sensor is claimed to be high ISO capable and camera lacks IS.
(S9500 is S9000 name in Europe)
I bet you'll get quite equal ISO800 shots using RAW from bigger Sony's 2/3" sensor used in other prosumers of list. (if you can call button zoom as prosumer)

S2IS is just Canon's mandatory entry for ultra-zooms without wide angle markets, without good controls and has very limited ISOs because of very small sensor and no RAW, also it lacks mechanical zoom...
And also Pro1 lacks mechanical zoom, video mode is only 15fps which is way too small for smooth video, also it's user interface/control layout is much menu surfing/button tapping driven... after all they didn't want to compete against their own cash cow, DSLRs.
But compared to KM's Ax (which were on top of its digicam range) cameras all these others are menu surfing/button tapping point&shoots.

Kodaks appear to be some wannabe prosumer models.

"Oly" has apparently really good JPEG processing at default settings, but only ordinary tele, lacks IS, is limited to ISO400 and usefulness of RAW is limited by slow writing speed (13s for one RAW and one minute for full five shot buffer), also video framerate is 15fps.

"Pana" is again that mandatory small sensor ultra-zoom without wide angle and mechanical zoom, only 320x240 video and no RAW.

While video ability shouldn't be top priority criterion for choosing camera ability to take video with usable resolution and framerate can really save the day, there are certain things you can't capture into still frames... like strong downpour and very hard gust caused by downburst. (I know... stormchasers are supposed to stay away from under that thunderstorm)
And only rare button zoom cameras give you ability to use zoom while taking video.
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Old Jan 9, 2006, 9:04 PM   #4
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I've narrowed down my choices and want your opinion:

Canon Pro1
Kodak P880
Olympus C-8080 WZ

I'm mostly taking pictures of landscapes and architecture/landmarks while traveling
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