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Old Nov 29, 2003, 1:34 PM   #1
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Default Minolta Dimage A1 or New Lumix (or Rebel)

I am looking at upgrading my Olympus C-2100UZ. I have been really pleased with the camera, but it is 2mp and I am ready to replace it. I do a great deal of sports photography, part-time for the newspaper. The only area I have struggled with at all (even with the 2mp limit) has been in low light situations like in a gym or at a stadium field. I shoot at 2.8fps, 1/200 shutter, ISO 400 and use a slave flash and still struggle to get quality photos under the light of the stadium or gym lights. Outside of that, the upgrade is mostly for giving me more flexibility for a little cropping. I use the burst modem but not for more than about 4 pictures at a time. I like to record voice over the picture to help when writing the story. I like the AA battery because I have been known to forget batteries at times. And I really need the zoom lens.

So I do some research and I just get more and more confused. I start with the logical place, upgrading to the 750UZ. I like the smaller size and the hot shoe (I had an extension and slave flash), but they have done away with the lens stabilization and I think the focus assist light and I still am limited with the same ISO and issues for these lower light situations. I don't really use the focus assist in sports, but I do use it some for personal use.

So I look at spending a few more dollars on the Panasonic Lumix with the 12x zoom. Sounds really good. Like the image stabilization and the manual focus idea. The 2 inch LCD sounds nice and the 30 fps might be used. Still the 5 second audio limit. Still the 400 ISO limit. May not get me out of the dark on the lower light shots.

So I look at spending a few more bucks on the Minolta Dimage A1. The 7x zoom is probably enough. Image stabilization is there. Focus assist lamp is there. I get to 800 ISO. I like some of the gadgets like the tilting LCD and the tilting view finder. I like the 5mp. May be worth another $200. But I am nearing the end of my budget rope.

So then I look at the new Rebel and see folks talking about the perfect camera and how great it is. But now we are at $900 without a lense. How much will I pay to get to the same zoom range in a stabilized lense or do I just get a monopod? I don't see myself needing different lenses since all I do is the sports and then home use.

Can anyone shed some light? All I want is a camera with a ultra zoom, small in size, AA battery, lots of gadgets, at least 4mp for around $500. Is that too much to ask? Ha ha.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 6:10 PM   #2
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I think that the best choice for you would be the Canon D300 (Rebel) with the 18-55 in kit and a Canon 75-300 IS stabilized or better a 70-200/2.8 IS stabilized. The problem is that the Rebel cost about 900 $ and you must add 400 for the 75-300 or more (about 1000) for the 70-200.
This however would be the solution for sports indoorbecause of the speed of the autofocus, the SLR viewfinder, the 1600 ISO and the quality of the imagines that you can get.
If you want to spend about 500 $ the best choice for your needs is the Kodak DX6490. This camera has a 10x zoom 38-380 of good quality, has the 800 ISO and works well in low light. It has not the stabilization but this is useless in sports situation when the subiect is moving fast. The battery is proprietary like Canon, Minolta and Panasonic. The Panasonic would be a good camera but its viewfinder does not work in low light and has only 400 ISO.
If you cn afford it also Minolta A1 is a good camera for your needs. It has a shorter tele than Kodak (200) but has stabilization, 800 ISO,works well in low light and has a fast autofocus, not so good as Canon, but better than the other compact cameras.
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 6:26 PM   #3
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I'm in a similar situation as Ted,in that I'm looking to move up into more zoom thyan my G2, but everywhere I look there are confusing compromises & 'issues', like poor low-light focus due to no AF-assist light (Ted, I think you are incorrect in thinking that the A1 has this) &/or poor display in the electro viewfinder .. . we have to go right up into dSLR's to get an optical viewer again (like my lowly 'old' G2) yet with these dSLR's the LCD cant be used for view-framing as it can on the simpler prosumer cameras . .. the Rebel is tempting but it isntr exactly good 'value' when you consider the cost of an additional lens to get an equivalent range to the purely digital models .. & the rebel has that no AF-assist lamp issue, you have to pop the flash-head up to let it splash some light around to see whats going on . . . to hell with THAT!

So far my best bet is the A1, which means I can keep using the big CF cards I bought for the G2 . . . . & the A80 I bought for a pocket camera.

However, if it had just a bit more zoom I'ld buy a C5060, as I like a camera with a bit of size & weight to it ~ & less buttons/menus/'features' etc that need some serious study. Mebbe next year olympus will give us a C5070 with a 7 times zoom ~ I'm gonna wait a bit longer . . .

Ted, mebbe you could look for a used G3 & get a really good 'value for money' buy!

HTH
BrooC in NZ
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 7:19 PM   #4
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as an owner of both a 1Ds and a A1 i have to ask you, what are your needs. a 300D with a 18-55 is a great deal and will give slightly better image quality then my A1. you will need a second lens to get the full range of the A1. so why didn't i get a a 300D? simple i have all the stuff 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 2.8L IS and all the support junk to go with it. now all this requires a ever so slightly larger bag to carry them in. my A1 fits into a Lowepro belt pouch. now a 1Ds and a 300D are quite different in size, structure, and weight of course not to mention the slight image improvement too. but i don't always like to carry it around especially on some of my little field trips. the A1 has close to the same focal range that i have. it has a great feel. it is not of course going to compete with my Dslr. excellent lens, a good all rounder to complement the other. its one of the top 3 fastest in its range. it is not an slr. it will produce an outstanding 8x10. it does have some annoying little quirks as do they all.

if your looking to move up into a DSLR the 300D is a great place to start. drawbacks are support components like cables and batteries and such are not compatible upwards. great marketing . strobes are but most people go cheap on them due to cost . lenses are too . your initial $1000 investment will grow rapidly into $1500-2000 in little time if you stay in canon products which is what they would like.

you have to decide your direction you want to go. you have chosen well within the 2 types.
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 8:26 PM   #5
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Default Great feedback, but...

I am really impressed with the quick responses and the advice. You have answered a lot of questions. I don't have $2,000 and it sounds like the Rebel will put me in that deep.

The A1 over the Panasonic? That makes sense... the highest priced is the best camera for the money. The Panasonic is the new Lumix and I can't seem to find it anywhere yet anyway, huh?

The comment about the stabilization not mattering with sports... I did not understand. Seems like it would make a difference. If it does not, them maybe the upgrade to the 750UZ is a good idea? The focus assist lamp is not that big a deal for me. It is nice and I do use it with the C2100, but it does not come into play in the sports I do.

With the A1, can do I have a chance of taking the stadium shots without a flash?

Looking forward to more advice and input.
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 9:03 PM   #6
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not nesessarily true on the price thing. the lumix is in my opinion short on a few items such as the ability to shoot RAW. the lens is a high quality. it is a Leica designed lens made to there spec. this is not to be confused with a Leitz Wetzlar made lens. some people go gaga when they see leica. it an excellent marketing tool. it is an excellent lens though. its a camera that has potential but falls short. but then that has been said of the A1 also. everyone has an opinion.
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 9:24 PM   #7
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Hi sjms . .. to answer some of your comments in my own case (as I'm in a similar quandary to Todd), I'm one who years ago grew tired of carrying a bag of SLR junk around & ended up carrying an Olympus XA-1 around the world & learning to get the most out of it, especially the fact that ya have to actually HAVE the cam with you to get any shot, & having to lug a heap of gear around will often mean NOT having it arouind at all .. so for me the KISS principle is VERY relevant, & thus a single device with LOTS of zoom range is prolly a deciding factor ~ also, I'm a bit of a gear freak & I just DONT wanna get sucked into accumulating a whole new bag of lens's & 'stuff'.

However, much of my useage is stills in low light (sunsets, cloudscapes etc), art-shots ya might say, rather than sports . . so being able to shoot hastle-free in low light is a decider in my case . .. with that in mind, could you perhaps give us a few more insights into actuall function/operation of the A1. I dont think I can be influenced by something with even 'better' photo quality than the A1, as I'm actually quite happy with the quality of what I get with my present G2 . .. .. my A80 is OK for always 'having around' as a clever pocket-cam, but it doesnt produce the same quality shots as the G2.

ANY other foibles or insights regarding the A1 would also be appreciated, especially anyhting you have found to be problems, shortcomings, pitas in a functional sense.

CIAO
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 11:13 PM   #8
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the basic issue with all digitals in low light and shadow areas is noise. the longer the exposure the higher the noise factor. the advantage with shooting RAW is there seems to be less produced due to in camera post conversion to jpg. now even in my 1Ds images there is noise. not as much and kinda different but it is there. i currently use Neatimage to cleanup and am waiting on noise ninja to get on the plug in bandwagon with PS/CS. i have had great success with the NI product but NN is easier to use and has a included noise profile already in it for the A1.

a tripod is a necessity for sunsets in most situations of low light. the antishake feature is to make up for the body size/light weight and hand holding below 1/30 at my age pushes the limit of its capability at 200mm.the bracketing feature is nice to have too.

filters- you must use thin ring filters if you choose to put a UV filter on. hoya or B&W. why? vignetting at the W/A. any other filter like a circ pol will need to be a 62mm or above with a 49-whatever you choose to use above 62mm. i use my 77mm filters. looks real funny but the unvestment is there already and it works well.

if you used an slr before and went above the P/S level (creative)with it you'll fall right into using this after getting to know it. it can be more intuitive then most. in manual setting apeture and speed is easy even manual focus though electronic is via a full spin focus ring.

these were taken using the 7i/7Hi the previous models:
http://www.pbase.com/image/13930214
http://www.pbase.com/image/4337721
http://www.pbase.com/image/17738137
http://www.pbase.com/image/17738290
http://www.pbase.com/image/15906616
http://www.pbase.com/image/15906338
http://www.pbase.com/image/16122886
http://www.pbase.com/image/6998791
http://www.pbase.com/image/15989423
http://www.pbase.com/image/4804746
http://www.pbase.com/image/10842300
http://www.pbase.com/image/6613212
http://www.pbase.com/image/6613752
http://www.pbase.com/image/7743568

the results will be nearly the same. the reason why i havent put any A1 shots up yet is i have been working with the 1Ds paying it off.
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Old Nov 30, 2003, 1:14 AM   #9
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Ta for that Steve, very 'illuminating', the shot 'Sunset Cadillac Mount' is the type of thing that kinda typifies my useage requirements . .. ... . for my purposes I tend to not be too critical about noise effects, mostly I'm concerned about more mundane matters like being able to get a focus or see the image in the EVF in limited light situations .. . .. . . but since you havent mentioned it can I assume that it just doesnt (or hardly ever) become any serious issue?

Also, do you experience many/any/no instances of accidentally bumping & activating any of those numerous buttons & dials on the A1?

Cheers
Bruce
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Old Nov 30, 2003, 1:23 AM   #10
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well since you mentioned it in low light an amazing thing happens. the evf autoswitches over to B/W and kicks up the gain a bit. pretty it ain't but it gives you a a better view for framing. the one unfortunate thing that happens every now and then is if you get just the right light level it will swap back and forth from color and B/W mode as you move in and out a hair in light level. i'm beginning to think its just trying to mess with me :shock: :lol: . but again it works just right about 98% of the time.

no the buttons arent really easy to muck with without deliberate intention
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