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handycam Jul 17, 2004 7:12 PM

OK, I've had many digicams over the years. I currently am quite happy with my Nikon D70, Canon G5, and Canon digital Elph.

The camera I would most like to see -- and nobody seems to be interested in making:

-- smallish

-- NO ZOOM lens... a fixed-focal length, 35mm-equivalent 35 or 50mm lens, 2.8 or better. The lens should not need to extend, for quick startup.

-- Auto and manual exposure

__ 3mp or better

-- flash (optional)

In other words, the digital equivalent of a Leica M4. A small, carry-anywhere shooter that's quick to start up and use. My Elph comes close, but there's no manual exposure and the zoom lens slows startup time.

Anyone have any suggestions?

JimC Jul 17, 2004 8:16 PM

Well, it's not a fixed focal length camera (it's lens is 39-117mm equivalent), but you may want to take a look at the Minolta G500 (not the newer G400 or G600 models).

It's VERY fast to startup (provided you're using compatible media -- some Secure Digital Cards will slow it down). So, by the time I get it out of my pocket (sliding the lens cover open as I raise it up to frame a shot), it's ready to take the pic. Startup time is an extremely fast 1.3 seconds.

BTW, if you use do decide to usethe zoom, it's lightning fast, too. You can go from full wide angle to full zoom ina hair over 1 second (some think that's it's zoom mechanism is too fast).:-)

I wanted a decent "pocket cam" (since I'd often leave larger cameras at home). So,I purchased a Konica KD-510z, about a year ago (I had one in my hands in July of last year, about two weeks after it started shipping in Japan). Months later, this model started selling in the U.S. as the Minolta G500.

It's rapid startup time makes it easy to catch a photo opportunity, on a moments notice.

I carry it with me everywhere in my front pants pocket. It's got full manual exposure, giving anindication (+- EV, based on metering type selected) of how your shutter speed/aperture choice will impact exposure.

Now, it does have it's limitations. For example: you only have a choice of two apertures, with the values varying based on focal length. But, due to the greater depth of field you get with a small digital camera, two apertures is really plenty (you're either looking for more depth of field and/or slower shutter speeds; or less depth of field and/or faster shutter speeds). You do have very fine control of shutter speed.

Although, to be frank, I don't use the Manual Mode much (except for closeups, where using a smaller aperture is desirable to increase depth of field, due to the close distance to your subject).

What's really nice, is the ability to customize the controller keys for frequently used features (often missed in reviews). This ability gives you fast access to things like white balance options, fixed focus length choices, flash modes, AE or AF lock, etc., while keeping the control layout simple (no mode dials, etc.). You can easily allow or deny specific choices, when you "toggle" through the ones you use most often via the keys. So, you avoid the menus.

I never need to take my eye off of the subject, to change anything needed to easily capture the image. Controls become "second nature" after you've used it for a while, and I don't think you'll find a better subcompact camera with better ergonomics. I especially like the control and lens placement. With many other models, the lens is located on one side (makingthem difficult to hold, without your fingers getting in the way of the lens).

If you'd like to know more about it, visit my konica album at

You'll also see links to my user review (where I go into this model's features in great detail).

It's my 7th digital camera, and to be frank, I enjoy it more than any digicam I've owned. Also, the pics require the least amount of post processing of any camera I've owned or used.

Note that ALL of the photos in the album link above, are "straight from the camera", except for redeye reduction or image rotation -- no other processing of any kind was performed. Most were not even taken in the highest quality mode (JPEG Compression). I tend to use "Normal" quality JPEG more often than not. It's JPEG compression algorithms are quite good.

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