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Old Oct 11, 2007, 11:13 AM   #1
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We've purchased the Konica Minolta Dimage A200 camera about a year or two ago. I'm not an expert on photography but since I'm the IT in this department I'm stock with showing my colleagues how to point and shoot.

First of, I've recieved complaints that this camera is no good compare to the $90 or so camera from Wal-mart. Those cameras can do point and shoot without having to fiddle with the shutter speed, flash, aperture and so on. How do I answer these kinds of questions? Besides the fact that this camera can shoot in RAW data, what's the advantages of this camera compare to any cheap camera like less than $200?

Second, what is the best mode or settings for me to tell my collegues to set this camera in? Most of the times they will not have the time to adjust anything on the camera like shutter speed, white balance and so on. All they wanted to do is take out the camera, point, and shoot. The most complaints I've got is that the picture they took with this camea turned out to be blurry or fuzzy. If I can show them how to eliminate this problem without fooling around with F-stop, flash, shutter speed, and aperture everytime they try to take a picture, I think they'll be happy. The problem is they don't want to spend the extra 2 or 3 minutes to adjust their camera and they are also a group of non-technical folks.

I hope someone can help me help them.

Thanks so much!
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 12:15 PM   #2
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The A200 is capable of so much more than a typical point and shoot. For your coworkers, who want to just use it as a P&S, the best thing to do would be to leave it in "P" mode, and set the contrast and the saturation to +1 or +2. This should give results more like typical digicams.

To get the most out of the camera, take some time to read the manual, and experiment with settings.

The Axx cameras are more like DSLRs in the way they process images, so it requires a bit more input from the photographer.

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Old Oct 11, 2007, 12:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. However, setting the saturation and contrast does not solve the blurry and fuzzy problem, is it? We also purchased a Minolta Program D 3500 HS flash to use with this camera too. However, I believed that none of my co-workers ever took this flash out of the bag and use it.

Now, if they use this flash for indoor shot with the mode set to P, will it reduce the blurriness?
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 9:15 PM   #4
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I have an A200, and it is a great camera. If your colleagues are novices, I would do the following settings in advance for them. (see my last paragraph for the blurr problem)

As VTphotog suggested: Set the mode dial on top of the camera to P (the camera will automatically set the correct shutter speed and aperature.)

Boost the saturation and sharpness up to +1 or +2. Again, these settings will stay put, your colleagues will not have to fiddle with them.

White balance will be a problem if you primarily shoot indoors under incandescent/tungsten lighting. Ifshooting indoors the White balance should be changed for the type of indoor lighting. Auto white balance on most digicams does not do a very good job in indoor lighting. WB is easy to set. Push the bottom of the four way controller dial on the back of the camera, the screen will show your WB options, and then you select what should be used. If you know that they will shoot indoors, you can set it for them. If they will be using the 3600HS flash, Auto White balance will be fine and then they won't have to fiddle with WB settings. And yes, the flash with the camera in P mode will provide a faster shutter speed and reduce blur that would ordinarily be a result of slow shutter speed without flash. However see the next paragraph about the primary cause of blurr with novice users.

I would be willing to bet that the blurry pictures with novice users is this: They don't realize, that one drawback of the "super zoom" point and shoot cameras like the A200 is the relatively slow autofocus confirmation. Especially in low light. You will have to teach them how to "feel" the half depression of the shutter release button.They must half depress the shutter release button until they hear the audiblefocus confirmation signal and see it in the view finder or LCD screen. When autofocus is confirmed they can finish depressing the shutter release button. If they are just pointing and pushing the shutter release completely down before auto focus is confirmed they are more likely to be moving the camera when the shutter is actually activiated, thinking that the picture was already taken. It takes a little practice. I know my wife had no idea of how to do this until Ishowed her. She was just pushing the button in one stroke without half depressing and waiting for focus confirmation. Also, make sure they don't have the lens in macro mode for normal photography. And make sure the camera is in AF mode, not manual focus. The button for that (AF/M)is on the side of the camera above the "shift" button.
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 9:47 PM   #5
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Oh, one more thing. There are three AF modes on the A200. Wide Area, 11 Point Selectable, and Spot Focus Point. The factory default is the Wide Area mode. My personal opinion is that this is the least accurate. The A200 has 11 focus points within the wide area. When you are in Wide Area Mode, the camera is deciding what it wants to focus on. If you are photographing a "busy" scene, the camera may be picking an object to focus on that the novice user did not intend to. In 11 point selectable mode, you will see the position of the 11 available points and you can pick one. But I think the most accurate mode is Spot Focus Point. To set the focus mode, turn the camera on, push the little button in the center of the 4 way controller dial on the back of the camera, the wide area focus brackets will turn blue, turn the dial on top of the camera in front of the on/off button two clicks clock wise until you see the blue cross hair in the center of the LCD screen. (one click clockwise shows the 11 point selectable mode). Push the center button of the 4 way controller again, the cross hair turns white. The camera is now set to Spot Focus Point. It will stay that way even after turning the camera off and back on again, so no one will have to fiddle with it aqqin. The focus point is nowdisplayed as a cross hair in the center of the screen.

You place the object you want to focus on in the cross hairs, half depress the shutter, wait for AF confirmation (the white cross hairs will turn red), and complete the depression of the shutter release.
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