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Old Dec 7, 2003, 2:28 PM   #1
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Default New Minolta A1 Camera


Greetings,

I am now a proud owner of the Minolta DImage A1 camera. I did visit this sight last winter in hopes of being able to decide on which digital camera to purchase. I became overwhelmed with the multitude of choices and did not purchase a camera. My choices were a Nikkon 5700 or this Minolta amongst a few other choices. I finally took the plunge and purchased the Minolta.

I thought, reading through the manual that came with the camera, would enable me to operate the camera with very positive results. However, I am new to cameras and the manual discusses operation in a high level overview using camera terminology that I am not familiar with.

I assumed this camera was considered a point and shoot. In my mind that meant the camera would automatically focus on objects. I do not see my lense moving in or out and the only way I can seem to have the camera autofocus is by holding down the shutter release button for a couple seconds before you can take the picture. I am afraid with the amount of time it takes to focus on an object I might lose out on some exciting photographs. I did know that the camera could also be operated in a manual mode for the experts. (this would be something I may use in the very far future)

I really want to get good and take some breath taking photos. However, I am going to need something more than the manual provided with the camera.

1. Is there a really good book available that is written in a manner that I could learn the photographers language as well as become efficient in the use of this camera. Something like Minolta Digital photography for dummies. (Not meant to slight my intelligence, just meant to bring it down to my level until I can become more familiar with cameras.)

I know this post is getting quite long. I am going to just give you a little insight as to what my main photography focus is. If you are not interested you can delete my post at this time.

I am an avid gardner and outdoorsy type lady. I would really like to take pictures of my flowers in macro mode, as well as, picture of my overall gardens.

I also love nature including birds, waterfowl and the little furry critters I see in my country yard. I would love to take pictures of some of the sunrises/sunsets as well as the beautiful moon coming up over the horizon.

I am so excited to begin understanding my camera and get some really exciting pictures. If any of you have any good reading material, please share where you obtained any of that information with me.

Thank you!
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 6:30 PM   #2
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you should be able to get this with no problem.

form the previous model D7Hi

http://www.pbase.com/crusader/botanicals

flowers 1 thru 8
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Old Dec 8, 2003, 1:56 PM   #3
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You can get around the focus delay by pre-focusing. Push the shutter half-way to focus where the action will take place then switch to manual focus. Then you can quickly take shots if your subject doesn't change distance much. You can also use continuous focusing.
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Old Dec 8, 2003, 11:28 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the information. I have been trying various settings to see what will work best. I hope I will have enough familiarity before an important event arrises.

I am also going to do a little bookstore shopping to see what kinds of books are available.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 9, 2003, 9:36 PM   #5
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One tip with the camera that has worked well for me it to manually set the ISO to ISO 100. That gives the best images in most circumstances and the least amount of image noise. The burst mode is also a nice feature. I have gotten some great shots because I captured just the right frame. Its easy to change by just turning the dial to Drive and then pushing the button while turning the dial on the front right side of the camera to take it to the right mode.

Have fun!
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Old Dec 10, 2003, 2:43 AM   #6
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Lotuslady,

The Minolta A1 is generally not considered a "point and shoot" camera but it apparently will nicely do so.

I do not own an A1 but read your post with interest.
Some very simple suggestions.
Start taking pictures of almost anything under a wide variety of conditions. This will give you a "feel" for the camera and what it can do. It's digital so spoiled shots just disappear with the proverbial "click" of a mouse.

Start with simple subject matter. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to take the definitive macro closeup of your treasured one day blooming lily as your first subject. You wont be overly frustrated by starting simple. Besides if you waste some shots taking pictures of your red shoes so what?

Since you obviously will be taking pictures of brilliantly colored flowers practice with some brightly colored objects that dont move before you venture to take flowers which always move in the wind when you are about to take a picture.

Taking pictures of brightly colored objects will also give you a better idea of how the A1 treats different colors. Under standard conditions with standard lighting etc. most cameras have weak spots for certain colors. For example, the Minolta S404 (which I own) does a marginal job of purple or lavender making it look bluish at times. Nothing worse than taking a shot of a purple phaleonopsis and see it print as a blue one.

You have bought one of the better digital cameras on the market, practice using it and I assure you you'll love it.

www.pbase.com/selvin
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Old Dec 20, 2003, 2:56 PM   #7
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Selvin ~

Thank you for all your advice. I have been taking photographs of everything and anything I can to get more comfortable with my camera. In fact, when I come out of a room with my camera hanging from my neck everyone (including my dog) runs for cover.

Hst ~

Thanks for the advice about changing to ISO 100. I will be trying that this weekend.

You all are wonderful! I have been too busy Christmas shopping to invest in any good photography books. However, after I get all my gifts purchased that is my next goal.

Thanks!
Tangula
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Old Dec 21, 2003, 4:42 PM   #8
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Hi,
I know it's Christmas and we all have no time at all. But have a look at the big manual (PDF) on CD. There should be much more information than in the printed one. And play with the camera - not to get real fine pictures, only to see what happens. If you want I can send you the adjustments I made and which I found useful for my purposes.
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Old Dec 23, 2003, 1:17 PM   #9
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I have a couple of answers for you.

Regarding the autofocus on the A!, there is a 3-position slide switch on the left side bottom. The furthest position is "s" (I think) single autofocus which is as you described. The second position is "c" for continuous autofucus meaning the camera will constantly try to focus without any buttons being pressed which is what you are wanting. There is a grip sensor which senses your hand on the handgrip which will activate the continuous autofocus (prevents continuous AF when the camera is on but not being held(good thing)) (can also be defeated in the menu). The third swith position is "mf" for manual focus which will allow you to use the manual focus ring on the lens for focusing.

As far as a book is concerned, I would recommend "Digital Nature Photography" by John Cox. This book covers digital photography in general and is NOT specific to the A1. It does however do a good job of introducing photography concepts such as aperature, shutter speed, etc and how they relate.

I hope this helps and good luck.
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Old Dec 23, 2003, 10:37 PM   #10
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Dwayne,

You are SO wonderful! Your post definitely answered my questions. Thank you. I will be purchasing the book you listed. I would venture to say that Barnes and Nobles could order it in for me.

Thank you also for identifying what I need to set my camera to obtain continual focus. That will help when photographing moving objects.

I've really been enjoying my new camera!

Happy Holidays All!
Tangula
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