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Old Feb 12, 2004, 11:58 PM   #1
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Default Minolta DiMageS414 is it me or does it suck?

I'm a relatively new owner of a S414 and would like to hear from people who have one. Does it really suck as much as it seems for detail like brick buildings or any subject that has close"lines" in it? Seems to be a lot of digital "hash" going on. Also - when I shoot the city I live near from across the river - the buildings have a lot of this hash and none seem in focus enough - even when I "train" the auto focus directly on the buildings @ f8 1/125th - 1/500th( 80mm - 135mm equiv.) . Any feed back?Could my Leadtek GTS 32mb(DDR) card not be up to snuff for displaying these types of images? The thing looks great for a "pocket" camera - nice aluminum shell -great feel in my hands -but ...... :lol: :roll:
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 12:30 AM   #2
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This is Steve’s picture of a brick building and I don’t see the hash you are referring to: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...s/PICT0034.JPG He has that same shot in all of his camera sample pictures and it seems that the 414 doesn’t do that badly. If this picture has “hash” [whatever that is] on your monitor I would conclude you have a video problem.

What do you have for sharpness and contrast settings? Sometimes it seems intuitive that you would get better pictures with the sharpness and contrast cranked up but that isn’t the case.

VOX says the distance focus is a little off on his – perhaps he has some suggestions.
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 1:00 AM   #3
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thanks for the first reply so soon..... my monitor is as sharp as it can be for my desktop and the brightness etc I calibrated with the software that came with the video card (True Internet Color / 3Deep and Colorific ) As for "hash"- its strange interference like patterns made out of the lines in affore mentioned subject types.I did notice something similar in the photo of the (restaurant?) that has the semi circle drive way and the flag -in the brick pattern, the flag lines,and the clapboard pattern.Inconsistant - choppy lines.Also- the brick building here that you directed me to is displaying that way also.The wires that go across the street appear choppy also. When I checked out another camera's pictures (Nikon880) There seemed to be a lot less of that going on but still some. I suppose it might be my video card being obsolete.I'd still like to hear more feedback from S414 users though - thanks for the input.
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 1:55 PM   #4
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Sorry – I was asking about the sharpness and contrast settings in the camera. They should be set to no more than medium IMO. All of my cameras are set to minimum. Minimum contrast gives the most dynamic range and sharpening should be done last in image editing. The pictures don’t look that great straight from the camera but they turn out better after processing. I have a defogging/auto levels/sharpening action set up in Photoshop and often batch process them to another folder for general viewing. But I don’t ever overwrite the originals.

Some cameras have the jaggies a little more than others but usually things with sharp contrast running across at an angle. Doesn’t usually apply to vertical and horizontal lines, so the brick problem and wire problem are likely not the same. I just compared the wires in the picture of the brick buildings with another 4Mp, a Sony P9, and the 414 appears to do a lot better job on the wires. Of course the sky is different but I think the wires are pretty good in the 414 compared to whatever.

The restaurant picture looks fine to me – perhaps I’m not critical enough.

Do you have a good photo printer and do these things show up when you print? If you display the image full screen rather than 100% are they apparent? Some people critically view their shots at 100% and find faults that have no real world significance.
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 6:21 PM   #5
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Slipe gave all the answers. Actually, with the S414 I was surprised how few artefacts there were in pics viewed at 400% compared to my Fuji S602. To get the best from the Fuji I run soft sharpen, but even at Medium on the S414, sharpening and other things like saturation and contrast are far less agressive. This might just be a Minolta trait - but I don't own any others.

That means some pics straight off the camera may look flat and dull at first and you might discount the camera for a brighter Fuji or Canon pics. But just peek at the edges - you see very little CA, noise doesn't jump out at you, they are very clean and jpeg artefacts aren't to obvious either.

Run them through PS with some unsharp mask, level correction ( which is OK, because on mine the metering errs to under expose without clipped whites) and a sniff more saturation and pics can look great and very clean.

I think some cams are like racing cars - finely tuned and the slightest margin of error appears in the final result. Whereas this camera seems further away from the peak which is safer to work with in post editing. If you want the hard look for small prints you can have it, alternatively large prints are not spoiled by over agressive in camera compensation you can't undo.

PS, from memory. if you set manual focus and use wide angle, you can get a depth of field from 2m to infinity at f3.5. VOX
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Old Feb 14, 2004, 2:57 AM   #6
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I don't know what IMO or CA are but I'm assuming CA has something to do with digital noise. As for my sharpness and contrast settings, I use normal contrast and either normal sharpness or hard sharpness. I usually take both Auto and Manual shots in a given situation. I use Auto when I dont have a lot of time to set up a shot. I dont always remember to check the sharpness setting when I'm using manual. I havent even tried manual focusing yet. I saw in a reply to another subject that Vox has a distance read out in his camera- I haven't seen anything like this in mine. Maybe that's a feature for european models. If I'm shooting Manual I'll use 200 ASA(ISO) for pictures where I need a higher shutter or lower lighting situations . In bright daylight I use 100. Has anyone had problems with the lack of sharpness in objects in infinity areas? I am also very critical- before I got into this digital thing - I'm used to using Nikon AIS lenses on manual focus 35mm Nikon cameras . About photo editing- I'm learning (slowly) the DiMage viewer software and I have MGI Photo Suite - I cant afford PS , but , I'm thinking about getting Jasc 8 in the next few months. Thanks for the feed back - Peter
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Old Feb 14, 2004, 3:04 AM   #7
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Oh- I forgot to say... I have NO printer as of yet. I'm po' lol
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Old Feb 14, 2004, 9:24 AM   #8
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If you check your EXIF you will likely find the shots you took with the hard sharpening are the ones that are most irritating you. In digital, sharpening adds artifacts to give the artificial impression of sharpening. Over sharpening can cause the type of thing you are describing.

If you are viewing an entire picture on a single screen there can be interference in areas of high contrast as the screen is selecting only about a quarter of the pixels and doesn’t always do a perfect job.

If you are viewing your images so you have to scroll around and it takes 4 screens or so to display a single image then the compression problem doesn’t occur but you are seeing any problem a lot bigger than it will ever be in normal use. If you were to professionally scan some of your 35mm shots and view them at that size they might not be as perfect as you think they are.

If yo’ are po’ enough that you are trying to get by with the card that came with the camera this whole discussion has been a waste of time. Buy a decent sized card and take the images at best quality – then get back. Your video card is fine for displaying still images.
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Old Feb 14, 2004, 7:01 PM   #9
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Hmm - I detect a bit of hostility. I don't know why.Anyhow, I have a 64mb flash card - I have no idea what an EXIF is. I think the main problem is that my monitor screen is too small to display the jaggies properly(17in CRT). I use fine quality and the largest file size or 1600X1200. But it still could be a digital problem inherent to this camera. There are some situations where this camera does a fine job. As for buildings that have a lot of close vertical or horizontal lines it just isnt cutting it. I did try using normal sharpness and low contrast on a batch Sat aft. of the same buildings that have been giving me fits. It was slightly better . I think this is an area of weakness with this camera getting proper detail from a slight or good distance. I've taken some really good shots as long as the subject is relatively close.
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Old Feb 15, 2004, 1:04 AM   #10
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Sorry if I sounded that way. You used the ‘po and it was my poor attempt at being funny. You would be surprised how many people think the card that comes with the camera is what they are supposed to use and can’t figure out why their shots aren’t very good.

If the quality is bad you have a lemon. Steve doesn’t do anything special when he takes his sample photos and I think they are good. VOX has one and says the artifacts are very low compared to his S602, which is a highly thought of camera - and artifacts seem to be what you are referring to as “hash”. Maybe VOX would let you e-mail him an image and compare it to his 414 results.

Try the sharpness on low. A lot of people like pictures better with the sharpening on low. Sharpening just adds artifacts to give the impression of sharpness. Even on soft or low sharpening most cameras do a little sharpening. If you aren’t going to post process try the sharpening on low and the contrast at medium. Also set the ISO to 64 for bright daylight. The camera should do that in auto ISO unless you have is set to a higher ISO.

Digital cameras store image information in the image file about all of the parameters you used. The file is called EXIF for “Exchangeable Image File Format” whatever that means. It will tell you most of your settings, zoom, ISO, whether you used flash etc. Some cameras include more than others and I don’t know whether the 414 includes sharpness settings. The freeware Irfanview will read you EXIF if you download the plug-ins and your Dimage software should as well. I like a little freeware called “EXIF Viewer” for fast sorting. If you hold the cursor over a thumbnail it will read the EXIF as a tooltip.
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