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Steve the impatient Mar 24, 2004 6:21 PM

A2...or A1?
Why the paucity of reviews for the Minolta A2?
I can't decide whether to buy the A1 or the A2. (The image stabilisation certainly appeals).
There has been mixed talk about the A2, especially in terms of the noise levels of the images.
Can anyone advise? If the A2 is set to 5MP, does it produce photos withthe same/more/less noise than a 5MP camera (i.e. the A1)?
Is the answer to always shoot in ISO 64 or 100 for 8MP, but then go down to 5MP resolution if a higher ISO is required for dull scenes?
If that is the case, the A2 seems the better bet considering the other advantages it has over the A1...better EVF, depth of field preview, flash sync socket etc..

Technophile Mar 25, 2004 3:11 AM

The only comparison I have read between the A1 and the A2 said that the A2 was no more noisy. I think the problem here may be that reviewers get gradually more critical about products as time goes on. You can't read a review written a year ago about last year's product and compare it with a review written this year about this year's product because the goal posts have moved. The old reviews of the A1 were comparing it with other high end consumer digitals. The A2 is being compared against DSLRs mostly.

I doubt if shooting an A2 at 5Mp will have any effect on the noise level. The general theory is that the smaller the individual sensor on the CCD the more noise you tend to get - all things being equal. So I don't think that can be eliminated by selecting a lower resolution. The noise will still be there in an equal amount - unless anyone knows different.

As for which to buy, I'd guess that they both provide pictures of good enough quality for most people, so the decision will be down to whether any of the new features (better EVF, etc) are inportant to you..

Seamuscamp Mar 25, 2004 8:30 AM

There's a good review at
which covers the topic of noise in the A2 very well. The same CCD chip is used in the A2, 828, 8080 and all are inherently more noisy than the 5/6 mp generation - individual pixel sites are smaller / closer and so more prone to interfere with each other. Whether it matters is a different (and perceptional) problem. A more worrying thing is the existence of electronic beat inducing disruptive patterns. Nevertheless a very positive review.

stevelink Mar 25, 2004 11:44 PM

A2 Image quality
As a new owner of the excellent Konica Minolta A2, I am inserting my 2 cents regarding image quality...As a stickler for high-quality images with extreme sharpness and resolution of detail, I am here to say that the A2 does not disappoint! By way of comparison, I have used an Oly E-20, C-5050, and A Sony F828, and have gotten great results with each system. However, after reading the superbly detailed review of the A2 at The Luminous Landscape, I felt compelled to compare its lens quality to that of the sharp Zeiss optic on the Sony F828. For the record, I have not had nearly as much of a problem with either CA or noise in any 828 image as has been touted in several reports on that camera. As I had obtained some extremely sharp and highly detailed images with the 828, when I read incredulously that the A2 lens was even sharper at vertain focal lengths than the 828, well, I just had to see for myself! So far, in unscientific testing of image quality, I am amazed that the A2 lens is at least as sharp as the 828 lens in the mid-range of focal lengths! (One caveat here though...I believe that the A2 is much easier for critical focusing (at least for my eyes) due to the high-res EVF, so that I just may be focussing "better" with the A2. True, one could let both cameras autofocus, which is another valid test. However, I do like the capacity of the A2 to "fine-tune" the focus manually, even when in Autofocus mode, not to mention DOF Preview, custom settings, auto-sensing EVF, powerful Minolta Maxxum 5600HS(D) flash with built-in diffuser, flexible bounce/tilt, wireless capability out-of-box, among other things! Indeed, the A2 has probably the most adjustments and especially user-customizable adjustments of any camera I have ever had the pleasure to use!
My next test will be outdoor soccer photography with the A2, to see how it compares with the quality images I got from the Sony F828.
For a sample jpeg image taken with the A2, please check out the following link:

Seamuscamp Mar 26, 2004 1:05 PM

I wrote to Minolta about the problems outlined in Luminous Landscape. The reply was rapid, posiive and informative:

"Thank you for your enquiry about the DiMAGE A2 camera.

1) I have not experienced any problems in installing and running the DiMAGE Viewer software on any operating system. Without knowing exactly where the problem was occurring in the reviewer's computers, it is difficult to suggest why he experienced such difficulty with it. I have however copied his comments to our Head Office in Japan, so that they are made aware of the situation .

2) The 'beat noise' described in the review occurs in shadow areas, when using higher ISO settings (400/800). One of the causes is the high resolution of the CCD, and although the processing within the camera is able to reduce this to a certain extent, it cannot eliminate it entirely, since it is primarily hardware related. Although the noise is discernible on the monitor display at 100% or more magnification, it is hardly perceptible in prints up to about A3 size, and we consider therefore that it is confined to an acceptable level for this type of product. It is not possible to alter the level of noise by means of a firmware upgrade, as was suggested elsewhere in the same review."

This is a very impressive customer service response.

stevelink Mar 26, 2004 1:25 PM

A2 issues...and a question...
Seamus, thank you for that informative note from Minolta! Being aa newbie to Minolta equipment, I am pleased to see that they take customer service issues seriously.
So far, I am extremely happy with my A2 in terms of performance, handling, and most importantly, image quality! Judging from its specs, it has got to be one of the most feature-rich digital cameras on the market. I have yet to try the wireless capability of the Maxxum 5600HS(D) falsh with the A2, but appreciate that versatility nonetheless. One general question though...
When using the AC Adapter with the Battery Grip still attached to the camera, does the A2 draw power from the AC, or does one have to remove the battery grip entirely? Also, after fully charing the NI-HI batteries, the battery charge indicator still looks like the "low charge" symbol in the manual, rather than being solid black.

Steve the impatient Mar 26, 2004 4:06 PM

Many thanks for everyones' comments. Yours and other reviews are certainly making me lean towards the A2.

John G. Mar 28, 2004 10:47 PM

:wink: Olympus C-8080 :wink:

NHL Mar 28, 2004 11:11 PM



Given all of the C-8080's shortcomings, especially when compared to the similarly priced offerings of its prime competitors, I can only assume that Olympus has misjudged the market. The other manufacturer's see this generation of 8MP cameras as bridges to a new generation of technology and users. Someone buying one of these cameras is attracted by the technology. They want to be able to make large (A3) sized prints of high quality, and they are serious about their photography. They may not have the money to purchase a DSLR and a couple of fast zoom lenses, or they may value the small size and light weight of a non-SLR design. But, they are also unlikely to be happy making compromises when it comes to features and functionality, especially when there are highly competitive products at comparable prices.

It appears to me that Olympus has produced a previous-generation camera but using a current generation imaging chip. In today's fast-paced digital camera environment this simply doesn't cut it.


The Olympus C-8080 perfomed very well on the DxO Analyzer. Results are found here. In virtually every measure the Olympus C-8080 measures better than the Sony F828, though the Minolta is the champ when it comes to resolving power. It remains to be seen how it will compare with the comparable Canon and Nikon offerings, but certainly of the three cameras tested thus far the Olympus' image quality measures very well indeed.

John G. Mar 29, 2004 2:40 AM

In reference to the quote above...previous generation etc. etc.
Minolta resolving power etc. etc.

Blah, blah....... blah,blah,blah.
Resolving power ? The batteries last longer ? ..................
Just look at the sample images and do a simple comparison everyone !
A picture is worth a 1000 blah's.
John G.

Technophile Mar 29, 2004 6:15 AM


Originally Posted by John G.
:wink: Olympus C-8080 :wink:

From looking at the review comments I think the Oly would be a pain in the a*se to use. I've got a 4 year old 2500L which produces excellent pictures but I keep having to refer to the handbook - despite the fact that it has limited features. The A2 is in a different league. It's strange that Olympus, who have a long history of camera manufacture, should get this wrong.

John G. Mar 29, 2004 5:25 PM

I know that posting in the Minolta Forum refering to the Olympus C-8080 would bring negative coments but one should consider all options before making a major purchase.

The Oly is C-8080 is so new I have only found one website that has made a conclusion/comment. I hope one dosn't jump the gun and rule it out as a possibility.
As far as ease of use ALL these cameras have an " auto everyting mode " you know point and shoot.

BTH ...I am not a "dedicated OLYMPUS user ". I don't even have one yet. I'm waiting for Steve's conclusion.

NHL Mar 29, 2004 9:42 PM

IMO you can't go wrong with any of them (A2, C-8080, CP8700, F828, and Pro1) really! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Comparing a few pictures also doesn't tell the whole story since like previous Dimages, the Minolta tend not to oversharpen or oversaturate its images and will (like all its preceding models) look bland at its default setting as compared to other camera in the JPEG processing. This is why most of the A1/A2 buyers tend to be more familiar with Photoshop and drawn more to it by its flexibility and full overiding controls (sharpness, saturation, vivid sRGB etc...) even more so than some dSLRs... not the least of which is its buffered muti-shots RAW capability which all others cameras are lacking.

For straight out of the box result and ease of use, I agree other cameras might be a better buy. :wink:

John G. Mar 30, 2004 2:32 AM

Here is Steve's final conclusion/comment on the OLY C-8080.

Quote [Steve] " The bottom line as always is the image quality and this camera delivers sharp, well saturated and true to life color images, one after another. There's no doubt that Olympus has produced another winner with the Camedia C-8080 Wide Zoom, and with a street price of under $1,000 (as of Apr 2004), it's a good value. The C-8080 will undoubtedly make Steve's "Best of 2004" short list of recommended 8-megapixel cameras. "

NHL Mar 30, 2004 8:56 AM


It all boils down to features, and the C-8080 seems to be lacking with the shortest zoom, and the A2 with the best high-resolution EVF and most fully featured including image stabilization... :P

John G. Mar 30, 2004 12:21 PM


Originally Posted by NHL

It all boils down to features, and the C-8080 seems to be lacking with the shortest zoom, and the A2 with the best high-resolution EVF and most fully featured including image stabilization... :P

HELLO, NHL your first link......>>>>That guy at dpreview forum enhanced, <<modified >> Steves pic of the A2, he even said so. And then to post it on another forum ...amazing.
First of all to quote this forum.

[Quote:from Steve's Digicams] " All content of this Internet site is owned or controlled by Steve's Digicam Online, Inc., and is protected by worldwide copyright laws. You may download content only for your personal use for non-commercial purposes but no modification or further reproduction of the content is permitted. The content may otherwise not be copied or used in any way. "

Now to compare an enhanced pic of the A2 to a camera that is worth 4 or 5 thousand $ is absurd.
OH where's my aspirin.

The second link....I recommend an opthamologist.:shock:
I'm going to take an exra strength. ****:?

For those who have hard time handling a camera "image stabilization" is good.

I imagine the people at Olympus sacrificed the extra ZOOM for better image quality.
A lot of folks don't realize the further away you are from the subject the less chance you have with working on camera angles.
So....people want ZOOM eh, so they don't have to be so close [in a physical sense] to the subject eh ?
Lots of ZOOM XXX is great for the birds...oh I mean things like taking pictures of birds. They will fly away if you get to close you know.:lol:
I want to be reasonably close to my subject so I can shoot from different angles.
I'd rather be on a bridge taking a picture of the bridge rather than being a quarter mile away taking a picture of the same bridge and the result would be a >>>>> boring shot of a bridge <<<<<with my ZOOM zoom zoom. Oh I'm sure someone is out there telling everyone " Oh look what my camera can do with this great zoom ". Then they will say " Oh yes... yes ...yes.... your zoom is great ! " After awhile that zoom won't be enough.
Then one will be craving for more zoom until you get the zoom fix.
Time for another aspirin.

As Steve said " The bottom line as always is image quality.":D

sjm817 Mar 30, 2004 4:14 PM

John G


That guy at dpreview forum enhanced, <<modified >> Steves pic of the A2, he even said so.
Which pic? The top comparison that shows all the 8MP is untouched.

"These are all 100% crops from the same subject taken by Steve at Steve's Digicam. No PP."

No PP as in no Post Processing. No enhancement.

The lower shot from the first link was resized.

"Here's one of the 1D and A2. The A2 has been worked on in PS to try to match resolution."

I would hardly call down sampling an image to match image resolution for comparison sake enhanced. It degrades quality right? Where does the post say enhanced? It doesn't.

As far as your dislike for even a modest 200mm level of tele and image stabilization, if you dont like or need it, thats fine for you. Many people do. You seem to be just poo poo-ing it since the 8080 is the only one without a decent tele.

I guess I could get the 8080 and have the coaches kick me off the soccer field when I'm trying to get a close shot of my kids playing. Or maybe I'll just keep my A1 with a better tele range and image stabilization and get the shot from the sidelines.

In other words, your zoom argument is just plain silly.

To each his own.

John G. Mar 30, 2004 4:25 PM

When he said he used Photoshop thats enough for me to dismiss his critique.
Just look at those colors how bright it sure dosn't look like the original and how sharp it came out in photoshop.
Telephoto for a sporting event, is right on the money.
To each his own.:wink:

sjm817 Mar 30, 2004 4:33 PM

And what was he to do? Post different resolution shots? That would make a side by side impossible. You used "enhanced", which is not accurate, and misleading.

Again, if you like your 8080 and it suits your needs, that is great, and I am happy for you. You dont need to be trolling in the KM forum trying to stir things up. Please try to keep it constructive.


John G. Mar 30, 2004 4:45 PM

I don't even have the c-8080 yet. I still want to make sure not to rule out the A2.
And do you mean that what he did in photoshop is correct. Don't those colors seam a little more vibrant than the original ?

sjm817 Mar 30, 2004 4:59 PM

I would just go by the set that he says has no PP. The original shots are here for all to see. Look at them and see what you like. To me, the Pro1 does show a bit more detail than the other 8MP cameras. The rest are all pretty close.

They all have their ups and downs. I like the handing of the A1/2. I much prefer a mechanical zoom, I like the 28 - 200 range (a little more tele would be nice) I also like that you can do pretty much anything via a wheel or button instead of going though endless menus like other cameras I've owned. The AS feature is worth a couple of stops. The AF is FAST and is supposed to be even better on the A2.

You have to look at the features and images and pick what suits your needs best. What is important to some people, is not to others. If the A2 is not for you, thats fine. Everyone has their preferences.

Technophile Mar 31, 2004 2:01 AM

As far as I'm concerned, image stabilisation is such an important feauture that I wouldn't now consider buying a camera without it. OK it's less important for wide angle shots but for a general purpose camera I think it's essential. Anyone who's familiar with shooting handguns knows how incredibly difficult it is to hold a gun absolutely steady, and the most minute movements have big effects. The same is true for photography. You can minimise the problem by using a short shutter speed, but that typically means that a 200mm shot needs 1/200sec or less. With the A2 I've taken perfectly acceptable 200mm shots at 1/30sec. The only cameras I considered were the Panasonic DMC FZ10 and the A2. I'd like the new Minolta DSLR but I think it's going to be too much money.

Seamuscamp Apr 4, 2004 12:46 PM


I agree with you about stabilisation. I have had an Olympus 100RS for a few years now and its stabilisation simplifies and enhances the photo-taking experience. It also makes the 10x zoom lens usable. I have moved to the A2 because of the improved resolution, as the Olympus has only 1.3Mp.

Incidentally, just like the Luminous Landscape reviewer, I had problems with the Dimage Viewer software. After two deletions and reinstallations all seems to be well.

dmjbrown Apr 5, 2004 10:32 PM

Re: A2...or A1?
Go for the A2. I had an A1 and loved it, but the EVF, faster focus, higher resolution, and DOF preview will really help you in all your shooting situations. It really comes down to bucks. The price delta is about $300, and maybe you would prefer to buy some accessories with that money versus the A2...

You cannot go wrong with the A1, and if you have the money you will really love the A2. If you take lots of macros or manual focus shots you will benefit greatly from the A2s 1mp EVF.

Seamuscamp Apr 6, 2004 5:46 AM

Having now processed my first RAW images (taken on a walk Hawes - Hardraw - Sedbusk in the Yorkshire Dales) I have to say I am impressed by the A2, though I still don't quite understand the Viewer software and haven't mastered all the button/ wheel options. Image quality is high; the EVF a revelation (no pun intended); buttons and wheels are much more convenient than on-screen menues. It copes well with high contrast subjects (no purple fringing). Focussing is very fast . Battery life exceptional.

The auto-switching from monitor to EVF is somehow disconcerting, but better than fiddling with buttons. Compared to my Olympus 100RS, the A2 is less manageable when carrying a walking pole - for you need two hands as zooming is a left-hand thing while shooting is a right-hand thing.

I found the relative slowness of transfer of the image to the card was mitigated by the large buffer which allows three immediate shots in RAW - but I still have to be careful not to switch off before transfer is complete. You certainly need as large and fast a CF card as you can afford.

On the topic of zoom, I don't think its use is restricted to "close-ups". I take a lot of landscape photographs and also portraits; for both the zoom is a useful means of in-camera framing, particularly as the image stabilisation removes camera shake.

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