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sjm817 Mar 17, 2004 9:21 AM

LL A2 review "Hitting One Over the Fence"

Tom Schauer Mar 17, 2004 9:59 PM

I posted a question on the LL forum in greater detail, but can anyone answer the following:

Given that most people feel the out of camera images with the A1 and A2 appear soft without sharpening processing, what is users experience with out of camera image quality when using the "hard" sharpening option? (and/or adjustment of other parameters in camera). Do you have any sample images with/without the in camera sharpening?

Can you save those settings on one of the custom buttons?

The LL review said there is a firmware fix the "beat dot" pattern exhibited on the A2. Is there a similar fix for the beat dot pattern seen on the A1? This was illustrated on the photographic tests on dpreview.


NHL Mar 17, 2004 10:57 PM


Originally Posted by Tom Schauer
Given that most people feel the out of camera images with the A1 and A2 appear soft without sharpening processing, what is users experience with out of camera image quality when using the "hard" sharpening option?

This is a given even on my dSLRs. You can do sharpening in the camera, but why? Once an image is sharpened the process is irreversible... You have a much better control outside the camera and it can always be undone, provided you've saved the originals(ie before sharpening).


Originally Posted by Tom Schauer
Can you save those settings on one of the custom buttons?

Yes, several users profiles and settings can be stored and recalled quickly even with the earlier Minolta D7's! :wink:

Read the LL section on RAW... this is the only camera that is capable of muti-frames capture without freezing up. With RAW you can not only bypass the camera processing, but save the pictures for even better processing at a later time... as more software are available 8)

sjm817 Mar 17, 2004 11:36 PM

Yes, the A1/2 pics are neutral out of the camera compared to other makes. Not everyone likes/wants to spend time post processing. Some really enjoy it and you can get really nice results if you have the talent and the inclination to do it. If you like and want pics with more "punch" right out of the camera, that can be also be done very easily. I've been playing around with my A1 to see how it is. I'm still experimenting, but this seems pretty close. Set sharpness to "hard", color to "vivid" and contrast to +2 and you will have a look more like what a Canon puts out with brighter color and a sharper image.

John G. Mar 18, 2004 12:34 AM

I can't wait to see Steves conclusion on the A2.

Tom Schauer Mar 18, 2004 12:44 AM

Thanks sjm817
I went into more detail on my post on LLs forum, but sjm817 understood the issue I was raising precisely. I am not as advanced a photographer as some posting here. I want creative control and room to grow, but I want to do some point and shoot photography and some advanced photography. I don't want to sit around manipulating photos all the time, even if shooting in raw and then processing them provides better results or the ability to preserve a digital negative that can be retained while manipulating the image. Sometimes I just want an image straight out of the camera. I appreciate the comments on the sharpness, color and contrast settings. Do you have any sample photos that show the differences of out of camera on normal sharpening, contrast, and color vs. the adjustments you noted?

I am probably leaning toward the 5mp A1. While it sounds like there have been some substantial improvements on the A2, it sounds like the A1 has most of what I would want, without the lower s/n ratio for 8mp. I don't need 8mp resolution for the most part.


sjm817 Mar 18, 2004 1:05 AM

Yes, I have a couple of images. I dont have a place setup to post pics. I'm very new at all this myself. These shots are indoor flash of some colorful items (bookshelf in my little girls room) that show the difference between all neutral settings and in camera tweaked settings. The images are 3 - 3.5 Meg each in full 5 MP size. I think my email add is in my profile. Send me an email and I will send them to you as long as your ISP allows files of that size.

John G. Mar 18, 2004 1:38 AM

Tom ,
Take a close look at the detail of the sample images from the Olympus C5050, they are stunning. The lens is extremely fast and built for the camera.

sjm817 Mar 18, 2004 7:25 AM

The 5050 is one of the cameras I was looking at. It has some nice features, most notably the fast f1.8 - 2.6 lens. It is quite limited in its range @ 35 - 105 though. I wanted something wider and longer. The A1 with 28 - 200 with AS is much more flexible. In addition, the zoom is manual Vs a W/T button setup. The Minolta GT lens is regarded as one of the best in any prosumer camera and is "built for the camera" as well.

Too much is made of the "soft" and "dull" image of the A1/2. It's very simple. Other makes BY DEFAULT do more in camera processing with sharpness/saturation cranked up. Minolta gives you a choice. If you like that look, and want it done in the camera, no problem. A couple of easy settings and you have it. If you dont, and prefer to do it post processing, you can do that too. Your choice.

To be honest, in my tests the "dull" default setting are more true to life. The wife and I looked at the images from the different settings and both agreed that the normal images were more true.

My wife preferred the more vivid images even though they were not as accurate. Most people do, and that is why P&S cameras are set up that way. People like that look and are very unlikely to do post processing. I have to admit I also like images with more "punch".

I also have a Canon S400 which has a more "punchy" image right out of the camera. When comparing images, the A1 with the settings I mention has at least as much punch, more accurate colors (Canon tends to be overly blue) andi is sharper.

NHL Mar 18, 2004 9:09 AM

IMO sjm817 is correct. The A2 is perfect for the more advanced users and is the closest to a dSLR in both operation and workflow... One can customized the A2, but why? Wouldn't it be better to pick a different camera altogether which are designed for starter and ease of use? What's the point of fixing the sharpness in the camera? If I am a beginner I would have liked to preserve the integrity of the output from the camera so when my skill improve, as I gain experience with USM in photoshop, I can reprocess the once and unique pictures that I can never take again...

BTW did anyone try to print a sample at least? The pictures may look soft when you zoom-in @ high magnification on your monitor, but on prints they are awfully sharp straight out from the camera! Now if a picture is too sharp on your monitor it'll look DIGITAL when printed... if that's what you want :?

To me post-process is a given... You have to target your output either for E-mail/Web postings, or Prints. It'll be nice if they can all the same, but they are usually not! :oops:

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