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Old Sep 13, 2003, 8:14 AM   #1
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Default 3MP camera + good zoom OR 5MP camera

Hello,

I am looking for a new digital camera, which will be my first one.
Mainly I want to use it to shoot airplanes, from about 500+ meters.

I got 2 cameras which I like.
One for the great zoom(10x Optical), which is 3MP.
Minolta Dimage Z1

And one with a normal zoom (3x Optical) but with 5MP.
Sony Cybershot DSC-P92

The photo quality will be better with the Sony one, but there
I have the problem that I can't zoom in much... and visa-versa.

Do you think the Sony has enough to get good pictures?

Regards,
Spotter
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Old Sep 13, 2003, 10:48 AM   #2
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Higher resolution does not necessarily mean better photos.

The Sony offers very little in the way of user control of image parameters.

In contrast, the Minolta lets you adjust things like contrast, saturation, sharpness; and has many modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, manual exposure and more.

The Minolta is also a very fast camera by all reports, and has a relatively fast lens for it's compact size and focal range (F2.8/F3.5), compared to the Sony's F2.8/F4.9 lens (the lower the F Stop Number, the wider the aperture, the more light gets through to the sensor). A faster lens can be great for getting higher shutter speeds to prevent blur, and the Minolta's lens lets through more light at it's 10x Zoom Setting, than the Sony does at it's 3x Zoom setting.

Of course, a camera like the Sony DSC-F717 has a much faster lens (F2.0/F2.4) compared to either of these, and offers a 38-190mm zoom (much better than the 3x offered by the Sony, but well short of the 10x offered by the Z1).

There are always tradeoffs when buying a new camera. Camera size, resolution, lens range, light gathering capability of the lens, camera speed (focus times, shot to shot tmes, etc.), flash strength, ability to take accessories, user control, and much more.

If pocketability (versus zoom capability) is the bigger consideration, then you may want to widen your choices to include cameras like the Canon S400 and Minolta G500.

I recently decided that a pocketable camera would be better for my needs (but I'm not trying to take photos of airplanes from 500+ meters away, otherwise I would have bought a larger camera with greater zoom).

I looked at several cameras, including the Sony DSC-P92, Sony DSC-P10, Canon S400, Konica KD-500z, Konica KD-510z, Minolta F300 and more.

I actually ordered the P92, but changed my mind before the order was processed, and ordered the smaller P10 instead. The P10 still did not offer much in the way of user control, but at least it had user adjustable contrast, saturation and sharpness.

Well, I was very unhappy with the Sony, so I returned it for a refund. You can see my user opinion of the camera here:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/read...&opinion=17422

I then purchased a camera with much more in the way of user control -- the Konica Revio KD-510z. I am very happy with the Konica. This camera has now been introduced in the U.S. as the Minolta DiMAGE G500. You can see my opinion of this camera here:

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=12930

Ritz has this camera in stock now at $449 delivered.

Personally, from what you are describing, I think you need a cameras with a greater than 3x Optical Zoom. The Minolta Z1 is certainly a very nice camera, offering a higher zoom, very fast operation, and could be much better suited for what you want to do, provided pocketability is not the bigger factor.

Unless you plan on printing your photos at very large sizes (> 8"x10"), 3 Megapixels is plenty of resolution. I've gotten very good 8x10's from a 2 Megapixel Camera (but a 3 Megapixel camera has a noticeable increase in quality). Many users are perfectly happy with 11x14's from the 3 Megapixel Cameras too.

If you are planning on printing much larger sizes, then you may want to look at some of the higher zoom cameras in the 4 or 5 Megapixel class (I don't know what your budget is).

If budget is a big consideration, then some of the other lower cost 10x Optical Zoom cameras would include Olympus C-750UZ (4 Megapixels) and the new Kodak DX6490 (4 Megapixels). Another new higher zoom camera is the Fuji S5000 (3 Megapixels with a 6 Megapixel Interpolated Output). My guess is that it will probably outperform the other 3 Megapixel cameras (as far as detail captured), but fall short of most true 4 and 5 Megapixel Cameras. The 6 Megapixels interpolated output will allow much larger print sizes without pixelation though.

BTW, you can interpolate images using software too. This does not increase detail, but it does allow larger prints from lower resolution cameras. An example of a free software package is irfanview. It has a very sophisticated Lanczos Filter option for resizing your images, to allow much larger print sizes. It's downloadable free from http://www.irfanview.com

If physical size and resolution are still the bigger concerns, then Pentax makes some relatively small cameras with a 5x Optical Zoom -- for example: the Pentax Optio 450 (4 Megapixels) and the 550 (5 Megapixels).

Some users have been unhappy with the relatively slow startup times of these cameras, but Pentax has recently announced a much faster version of the 5 Megapixel Compact with a 5x Zoom -- the new Optio 555. Here's the press release on it:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/pe...tio555_pr.html

Again, I think that you'd be better off with the higher zoom (something greater than 5x) for your purposes. If you are trying to photograph distance objects (like your planes), and I just don't that you'll be satisfied with a 3x Zoom Camera.

Personally, if size were not a consideration, out of the two cameras you are considering, I'd definitely go for the Minolta Z1. There is no substitute for optical zoom.

One other thing... The lens on a camera like the Minolta Z1 is not stablized. When you use a high zoom camera, you tend to get some blur due to camera shake, so a tripod is usually needed at the maximum zoom setting.

Some cameras (like the 2 Megapixel Panasonic DMC-FZ1) use a stablized zoom lens.

The recently announced Minolta DiMAGE A1 will have a stablized sensor. These cameras do much better (getting sharper photos) at higher zoom settings, compared to cameras without a stabilized zoom lens.

Unfortunately, very few cameras have this feature (the Panasonic is the only currently manufactured digital camera with a stabilized zoom lens, not counting more expensive dSLR's).

One other word of advise. Check into your dealer's return policy before buying your first digital camera. Some dealers have very liberal return policies, with no restocking fees. Other dealers have very high restocking fees (or don't accept returns at all).

This is important, so if you find that the camera you choose does not meet your needs, you'll be able to return it for a refund.
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Old Sep 13, 2003, 1:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
If budget is a big consideration, then some of the other lower cost 10x Optical Zoom cameras would include Olympus C-750UZ (4 Megapixels) and the new Kodak DX6490 (4 Megapixels). Another new higher zoom camera is the Fuji S5000 (3 Megapixels with a 6 Megapixel Interpolated Output). My guess is that it will probably outperform the other 3 Megapixel cameras (as far as detail captured), but fall short of most true 4 and 5 Megapixel Cameras. The 6 Megapixels interpolated output will allow much larger print sizes without pixelation though.
JimC, thank you for this very reply!!! Appriciate it.

I am a bit confused about the text above. My english is not world's best :roll: ...

If I am correct the Fuji S5000 is better then other 3MP. But not as good as the 4- and 5MP. So than the C750UZ and 6490 would be a better options.
The C750UZ is too expensive (here in holland almost e600,-.). This would mean that the 6490 would be THE one to choose.

So I took a look in Steve's review, and there he wrote it is a good ''family camera'' + too agressive compression... This sounds to me that the quality is lower due to the low size...

So, now I am a bit confused. What to take.... The
Minolta D. Z1 3MP (not fully review yet)
Kodak DX6490 4MP

I would like some more feedback if possible...
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Old Sep 13, 2003, 1:51 PM   #4
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Personally, depending on availability of the products in your country, I would probably go with one of these (in order of preference), out of the 3, affordable 10x zoom choices:

1. Fuji S5000

2. Minolta Z1

3. Kodak 6490

Others may have a different opinion.

Because these are all new cameras, it's difficult to compare them from an image quality and performance perspective.

But, If I had to choose, I'd pick the Fuji first, based on the performance of the Super CCD used in earlier models, it's feature set, and from what I'm seeing from user opinions of new owners.

I'd pick the Minolta next, based on it's very fast advertised speed, and excellent feature set.

I'd pick the Kodak last out of these 3, even though it has a higher resolution sensor. I was not that impressed with the images from the Kodak that I've seen so far.
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Old Sep 14, 2003, 12:49 AM   #5
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If I were you I'd wait to see a review on the minolta z1 and what Steve's final conclusion is before deciding which camera to get. Also, don't let the 6mp interpolated output fool you, the camera only takes a 3mp image and then tries to guess at what the other 3mp look like, you can get the same results by enlarging the photo in most photo editing programs.
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