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mcichocki Feb 22, 2004 11:14 PM

Help make my mind up
I am looking at the Dimage A1, Fuji S5000 and Fuji S7000. I am upgrading from a Fuji 3800 that I like alot. I want a new camera with manual focus, better low light autofocus and more manual settings. I really don't need the higher rez on the Dimage, but like it's autofocus options and the layout for manual focus. Of course the antishake and low light assist appeals to me as well. On the S5000 I like the price and the 10x zoom but am curious how easy/well the manual focus works. Also how well does the low light assister work for autofocus. On the S7000 I like the CF and XD dual slot, and the magnification feature for manual focus which I understand the Dimage has as well.
My main use will be point and shoot but I would like the flexibility to do more manual stuff when I get a bit more experienced. I am leaning towards the Dimage due to the low light assist, manual setting capability, manual and autofocus options and the anti shake feature. I may end up doing a bit of macro work also.
Another I was sort of considering is the Nikon 5700 but it seems to be lacking a low light assist and the manual focus seems to ba a hassle to use.

Any input is appreciated. And by all means if there is another camera I am overlooking I am looking for suggestions.


slipe Feb 23, 2004 12:09 AM

I personally think you are leaning the right way. The A1 is a class camera. The image stabilization is great for indoor shots without flash and shooting in limited light outside at longer focal lengths. The IS doesnít do anything to help subject motion though. I like the big manual zoom ring on a camera with a good zoom range instead of electric zoom. Efficient raw and SHQ JPG give better quality shots than standard JPG and I find TIFF to be impractical. Adobe RGB is great if you post process and the flip out LCD and flip up EVF are nice. The tracking/continuous focus is a feature I like. I donít do as well with rugrats and people in motion at gatherings with my one camera without it. The 28mm wide is something you will probably use more than a long telephoto. It is great for scenic shots and interiors. I wish they could have both the very long telephoto plus the wide, but I guess that is asking for too much. There are telephoto adapters you can put on it. The A1 probably has more physical controls than anything currently on the market. It takes a while to get proficient with them though. It works fine in program mode with the default settings, but you will have controls for when you want more. The flash integration on the A1 is great if you want to go with a Minolta dedicated unit.

I donít much like the high JPG compression on the S7000. The only way to get a very high quality shot is evidently with the ridiculously large 12Mp interpolated raw. I think the S7000 will focus closer with the super macro mode than the A1 will. The A1 is good at macro but the S7000 will do small bugs better.

The A1 uses CF and xD is useless unless you already have an Olympus or Fuji camera. They arenít used on much else. A test I saw on a dual slot Oly showed the speeds to be much slower with xD than with CF. xD cards are slower and pricier than fast CF cards. Just avoid the low speed Sandisk CF cards and off brands.

sjm817 Feb 23, 2004 6:44 AM

I am this -->| |<-- close to getting an A1 myself. i've been looking for months and I haven't seen anything I like better yet. I wanted to see what came out of PMA, but the A1 still looks like the one for me.

The post above lists many of the reasons why I like it. The manual zoom, lots of settings available via dial Vs button mashing, 28 - 200mm (although I wish it was a bit longer), the IS system, live histogram, low light abilities....etc.

The jury is still out the the 8 MP cameras until we see some reviews. 5MP is fine for what I do (overkill really). The A1 can be had in the low $600s which is quite a bargain for such a sophisticated camera.

mcichocki Feb 23, 2004 7:52 AM

I played a bit with the S7000 at Best Buy and though I like it I really don't like many things about it. I think the electronic manual focus stinks and the manual controls seem to leave something to be desired. I am going to play with macro and nightshots and the A1 seems to be the way to go. I appreciate the info, I think you just made my mind up. Though I don't need 5 megapixel, it's nice to know it's there. I don't think the A1 can get much cheaper but am wondering what the A2 will do to the A1 price, if anything? I have some XD cards from my Fuji 3800 but I also have a 340MB Microdrive laying around too. I wonder how well the Microdrive will work speed wise and what it will do to battery life?

Thanks again!

slipe Feb 23, 2004 8:18 AM

The Microdrive seems to not affect the battery life much at all. That size drive is going to be slower than flash memory but the A1 has a decent buffer and will take a limited number of raw or SHQ shots before it has to stop to write to the card. Burst mode or many shots in succession could result in a longer write to the Microdrive. You might never notice the difference if you donít shoot too fast.

Judging by other cameras in the series my guess is that the A1 wonít drop much more in the short term. The D7, 7i, & 7Hi all dropped less than the A1 has dropped when the newer model came out and didnít drop anymore until they were out of production for a while and people dumped their stocks. Even so the 7Hi is still around $550 delivered.

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