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Old Jan 20, 2004, 9:02 PM   #1
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Default Is Minolta S414 better or Fuji S5000?

I am thinking which one to get.
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Old Jan 21, 2004, 10:52 PM   #2
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You need to give us some more info.
Better for what?
Taking vacation photos of your family,
macro shots?
automatic point and shoot or manual
price?
you get the drift.....
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Old Jan 22, 2004, 12:11 PM   #3
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I have a S414 and I am not totally happy with it. I am used to shooting 35mm SLR's with much better quality lenses and especially a better autofocus module.

Don't get me wrong. I've shot some great pictures with the S414 but just as many bad ones. The small lens with limited zoom seriously limits your exposure options. There are only two aperture settings and just a few shutter speeds.

The auto-focus does not work well in dim light. Manual focus is available but totally worthless due to the low resolution of the LCD display.

Battery life is very low. However it improves with subsequent recharges. I have three sets of 2000 mah NiMH batteries. I use a fast charger (about 3.5 hours from dead to fully charged). All three sets of batteries have been charged about five times and believe it or not, they now last about twice as long as the first charge..

I recently purchased a Nikon D100 and like it much better than the S414. However, I still carry the S414 everywhere I go, for that unexpected photo-op. It fits very easily into my briefcase or car glove compartment.

Bottom line, for the average consumer, the S414 is a good camera. However, for the serious photographer, it falls way short of the mark.

And that's all I have to say about that...."Run, Forest! Run"
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 8:39 AM   #4
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.........Bottom line, for the average consumer, the S414 is a good camera. However, for the serious photographer, it falls way short of the mark.

I'd tend to agree, but then for serious photography I'd find other 'pro-sumer' digicams having different problems.

.......Manual focus is available but totally worthless due to the low resolution of the LCD display.

Actually, that's not been my experience. Unlike my 602 which has magnification on the EVF, useless mainly due to limited display res. - the S414 does give you a distance readout in numbers! This is very useful if you're not using much zoom, as depth of field can be used. The display can also show a pre-shot histogram, not often found on cams and more useful than a flashing led.

......The small lens with limited zoom seriously limits your exposure.
options.

Yes, sensitivity and a f3. something lens is an issue, but a physically large all glass APO 4X optical lens, with reasonable sensitivity still at full zoom can still beat some compacts that lose a couple of stops or more on max zoom and produce CA! So when you look at the optical zoom spec on a palm sized camera, try pointing it at a dull grey sky and read what the exposure will be at wide and full zoom!

Yes you need 2300mAh batts and use the lcd as little as possible when it's running at 1/2 power, but it has a larger lcd than most and you can read what's on it. I use mine as a second glove box or party cam. VOX
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 10:25 AM   #5
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I've been very happy with my S414 so far - but I am far from being a "serious photographer" - perhaps I'm just a "semi-serious snapshotter"! I've only had it a month or so and am still on a serious learning curve - but for my needs it's a great camera and for the features and quality it was very competitively priced.
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 10:46 AM   #6
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I'd second that. A great camera for its price - but add you need to learn to drive it off Auto.

The S414 might be a disappointment for a point and shoot photography Newbie expecting a small camera to get every pic right in auto mode, 20 feet of flash, and run 2hrs of lcd on - that will keep demand and price down for the S414! But with some cunning and basic photographic knowledge, I've had really nice pics from mine. VOX
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 1:14 PM   #7
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I donít have a 414 so my comments are from reading reviews and just playing with one.

I much prefer CF to xD. I have cameras with both and xD is pricey and not used in anything I know of but Fuji and Oly products. CF cards can often be found with great rebate deals where xD is pricey. Even at regular price the CF is cheaper. Both formats are faster than the cameras can use, but you have to buy a name brand CF card with decent specs where all xD cards are all fast. SD has taken over the market for small cards and CF for larger devices. So my xD card is married to my little Oly and I will likely never have another use for it.

One feature the 414 has that the Fuji doesnít is continuous focus mode. I really like the feature and miss it in my camera that doesnít have it. It focuses right up to shutter release so that things that move during shutter lag are still in focus. Great for rugrats and gatherings where people are moving. It also allows you to use pre-focus in dynamic situations since the focus continues after you half depress the shutter release. The 414 has I think only 1/10 second shutter delay with pre focus and you can use it a lot more often. Continuous focus uses a little more battery, but with NiMH AAs spares are cheap.

It is common for NiMH rechargeables to take a few charges before they put out full power. I thought I had died and gone to Hades the first couple times I used my Minolta D7i before I had the batteries conditioned. It appears you should be able to fill a 256Mb card with a set of batteries on the 414 after they are conditioned. Thomas Distributing gives you a nice little case to carry a spare set in if you get batteries from them. I donít think you will normally have to carry a spare set unless you get a 512Mb card, use low resolution or look at the LCD a lot.

The 10X zoom on the Fuji would be great in bright sunlight, but you will find that hand holding at 10X in less that very bright light isnít practical. The Minolta makes up for that a little by having an extra Mp so you can crop a little more, but that still probably equates to only 5X or less.

Another thing I like about the 414 is the B&W status display window. I wish all my cameras had one. It takes little power and is readable in bright sunlight. You aren't always having to switch on and shade the LCD to make settings. The EVF on the Fuji somewhat eliminates the need for the status panel, but 110k pixels is a pretty crappy EVF. Good quality EVFs are in the 235k range, and even those donít look great. Make sure to try one out in a store to see whether you can live with the EVF. The viewfinder that VOX felt was limited due to resolution on his Fuji 602 has 180k pixels for example.
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 5:37 PM   #8
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.....One feature the 414 has that the Fuji doesn?t is continuous focus mode. I really like the feature and miss it in my camera that doesn?t have it. ...... Yes and it saps the batts even more! I measured 1.2 amps with the lcd and this on. My, these Dimages are thirsty!

........Another thing I like about the 414 is the B&W status display window. I wish all my cameras had one......... It's a shame they didn't put in a backlight so you could see it in the dark. To see what you're doing with flash at parties you need the lcd on, flash and if you use continuous focus as well those batts are getting hammered! Not to mention they put the CF card right next to the batts so that's getting a bit hot as well.

Still, I compared the S414 outdoors on a dull day (we have a lot of those in UK!) with both the A70 and A80 and rejected the Canons because of large amounts of CA, and consistent purple auto white bal error and less visible jpeg artefacts at high mag. on the S414. However the Canons did have some pretty fancy up to date software features and I liked their retracting lens cover. I've got used to selecting the menu and lcd preview screens only when I need them and that helps the power management. The optical finder can help as well, but the AF can be a bit hit and miss. Just because the focus l.e.d tells you it's got lock, doesn't mean it's in the right place! VOX
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Old Jan 24, 2004, 3:14 PM   #9
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Other than the XD 'problem' (2x the price of a CF and 1/2 the size) Fuji seems to resist lowering the compression in it's cameras (3000, 5000 and I think the 7000, though it might be adjustable there).
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Old Jan 25, 2004, 4:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipe
One feature the 414 has that the Fuji doesnít is continuous focus mode.
The Fuji S5000 DOES have a continuous focus mode.
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