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Kanji Nov 9, 2002 7:46 PM

How Good is it??
I am looking at the Minolta s404 to replace my present camera and was wondering if anyone on the forum owns one of these cameras and what are their experiences,opinion,and the quality of the photos taken with this camera as compared to their other cameras. Have they had any mechanical failures with the s404? How versitle is the camera ..can you change the settings to suit your tastes for taking phots? The tests look good for this camera and I am considering it,but sometimes tests don't completly tell the purchaser all that there is. Anyway,I appreciate any input on this camera's capabilities from actual users...Thanks

Richard B. Nov 9, 2002 11:29 PM

Hi, I have owned an S404 since late March and have been very happy with it. I mainly take landscapes, travel, family events etc. I have never had any problems with it. I consider the picture quality excellent. You view some samples on my S404 gallery, if desired.

The controls work well for me. There are buttons on the camera body to select the main picture taking modes, flash control and exposure compensation. Those are pretty much what I mostly use.

On the downside, it does occasioanlly miss on auto-focus, but overall I don't see any more than 2 - 3 auto focus misses per 50 - 60 shots. If situations where a focus miss is more likely, its easy enough to switch to manual focus.

You will want to buy rechargeble batteries. I use Powerex 1700mA batteries and get 100 - 120 pics a charge.

Hope this help some,

Kanji Nov 10, 2002 12:56 AM

Thanks for the input Richard. I did take a look at your photos and they are great...snappy and crisp...not to mention good pictures. The tests do seem to say the camera has a very sharp lens and your photos seem to bear this out. The focusing also seems to be a minor issue with you. So far the Minolta is looking good. So far I have gone through three cameras (two of them the same model) with the focusing being a problem with them. I am kinda tired of paying $500 for cameras that do not focus too well. :?

Richard B. Nov 10, 2002 8:20 AM

A bit more info on the focus misses.

I don't think it does well on action pics. I had the worst set of focus misses (5 in a set of 24) at my duaghters soccer game. I don't do much action photography, but when I do, I now generally preset the focus manually.

I beleive some photags have experienced problems in low light with the S404. For me, it hasn't been much of an issue. I have shot a fair amount in gloomy woods and some indoor pics without any major problems. Although, you might want to check out some of the other forums for comments.

It can sometimes miss on an open expanse of water (lake or ocean) especially where there are no solid objects it can lock onto. However, in this case you can usually tell if it has a problem because it takes a long time to lock focus. A quick workaround here is to reframe the picture slighty, re-focus, hold focus lock and take the original pic.

I haven't used the feature, but the S404 also offers spot focusing. This may help in situations where the main subject is off center.

In my last set of of pics (Chicago set) I had 1 focus miss in 74 pics. The previous weekend (late fall set) I had 0 focus misses in approx. 60 - 70 pics. This is fairly typical with the type of pics I like to take.


Kanji Nov 13, 2002 9:32 PM

Hi Richard,well I picked up a new Minolta s404 today (11-13-02),and I am going to set it up tonight. I am really looking forward to seeing the photos that it can produce ! I will let you know how I like the camera........

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