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Old Sep 30, 2003, 11:54 AM   #1
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Default Minolta DiMage F300 or Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P10?

Eventually buying my first digital camera. I like a very small, pocket size camera that takes excellent pictures and is easy to use for the whole family. Must be able to do 5x7 and 8x10 prints and have movie mode with audio.

I am leaning towards the DiMage F300 because the pictures looked better on http://www.imaging-resource.com's "Comparometer". However, I understand the shutter speed is a bit slow on the Minolta...and pretty fast on the Sony. Most pictures are of my daughters (7 and 9), family gatherings, occasional vacations, landscapes etc.

Will the shutter speed be too slow on the Minolta? Looking for some advice. Thanks.

-David
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 12:07 PM   #2
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I wanted a new pocketable camera, too. I compared the Olympus Stylus 400, Sony DSC-P10, Konica KD-500z, Minolta DiMAGE F300 and others.

I ruled out the Olympus (because the image quality wasn't quite as good IMO.

I ruled out the Konica KD-500z, because it's ISO speed was fixed at ISO 100, and it didn't offer much in the way of image control by the user.

I ruled out the Minolta DiMAGE F300 because of it's slow (approx. 5 seconds) startup times and zoom speed. HOwever, if these things are not a consideration, the Minolta has the best feature set of all of the pocketable models, along with an excellent lens.

I bought the Sony DSC-P10. But, I was not pleased with the camera, and returned it for a refund, after taking quite a few photos with it to try and get around some of it's "quirks".

I then sought out and found the new Konica KD-510z (which does have lots of control over images). This model represents a complete overhaul of the firmware/feature set used in the older KD-500z, and now includes: User Adjustable ISO Speed (50, 100, 200, 400), User Adjustable Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Color (seperate adjustments for Red, Green and Blue channels), longer exposures (up to 15 seconds), noise reduction on exposures 1/2 second or longer, manual exposure, more.

The Konica KD-510z is not selling in the U.S. (I bought a Japanese Model).. However, the new Minolta DiMAGE G500 (which is now shipping in the U.S.) is the same camera except for the logo.

Konica-Minolta decided to sell the camera under the Konica brand in Asia and Europe first, and under the Minolta brand in the U.S. first. Most vendors stocking the new Minolta DiMAGE G500 have it for around $449 delivered.

You can read my review of the Sony DSC-P10 here:

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

You can read my review of the Konica KD-510z (a.k.a. Minolta DiMAGE G500) here:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/read...&opinion=17947

Some photos from my new camera are here:

http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/konica_kd510z
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 12:22 PM   #3
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P.S. -- the Sony DSC-P10 is indeed a very fast camera (autofocus lag, shutter response). But, only in good light.

Indoors, I found it to be a poor performer (especially in the metering/focus accuracy department), despite it's focus assist lamp. It's flash recycle times also seemed much slower than I would have expected

I like the Konica much better (as you can tell from my reviews of the two cameras -- see the links in my previous posts).
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 3:33 PM   #4
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Jim, thanks for your response. The G500 looks great. The only problem is it only does 30 seconds of video w/ audio in the Movie Mode. The F300 does up to 3 minutes. While I probably won't do much video..I like the option of having a couple minutes worth. I think you can even do up to 20 minutes in one of the modes.

I need to find out how slow the shutter/start up response time is. Is 5 seconds an eternity? Don't know if that's going to drive me crazy or not. Can't find a local store that carries it so I can see it in action.

David
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 5:42 PM   #5
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Startup time and shutter lag are two different things.

The F300 will take around 5 seconds to startup (from power on, until ready to shoot).

To me, that's a long time (my Konica starts up in only 1.3 seconds -- ready to take a photo "on a moments notice").

Autofocus Lag (time it takes the camera to focus when you press the shutter button) with the F300 averages around 1.35 seconds (still pretty slow, even by digital camera standards).

You can see Dave Etchells' (owner/editor of imaging-resource.com) performance tests for the F300 at this link:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F300/F30A7.HTM

Performance is important to some users, but not to others. It all depends on how you plan on using the camera. For example: for landscapes, so what if it takes longer. But, for catching one of your kids in a "candid shot", these times can seem like forever.

As far as movies, I never use the movie modes on a digital still camera - never have.

For one thing, they're just too "choppy" (due to the lower resolution and slow frame rates). For another, they eat up lots of memory card space, very quickly. Also, you can't use zoom in most digital still cameras while recording a movie, and the sound quality tends to be terrible.

Some cameras are getting better. For example: the new Minolta DiMAGE Z1 has unlimited movie recording at 640x480 resolution, at 30 frames per second, with no time limit (you can record until you memory card fills up). Some of the Fujis have similiar capability (640x480 at 30fps -- for example, the new F700 has this feature).

The Sonys are better than most (for example: the P10 you're looking at can record movies at 640x480 at 16 frames per second). Still a much lower frame rate than some of the new cameras (Minolta Z1, Fuji F700) -- but it's resolution is higher than most competitors.

Even though 640x480 at 30fps is what Minolta now calls "TV Quality" with their new Z1, I probably wouldn't use it anyway, due to memory space requirements, sound quality, etc.

But, others might. Some digital camera owners love the ability to take short movie clips. I'm just not one of them.

To get a better idea of what movies look like from still cameras, check out the sample image sections in the camera reviews here at steves-digicams.com

Steve usually includes a short movie clip from the cameras he reviews.
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 8:11 PM   #6
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I currently own the F300 and I have been very happy with it. I do agree that the start-up time is around 5 seconds, no biggie to me. The shutter lag is there, but I use tracking af, so it is no biggie to me. If I am doing action shots such as a little league football game, I manual focus at infinity and it does great. It has done well at family gatherings. It's picture quality is great, which is one of the top things that I look at. I do plan to upgrade to a Coolpix 5700 this spring, I am hoping to cover the amature baseball team here. I am going to that camera becuse of the bigger zoom and it has faster shutter speeds.
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