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Old Mar 24, 2004, 6:21 PM   #1
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Default A2...or A1?

Why the paucity of reviews for the Minolta A2?
I can't decide whether to buy the A1 or the A2. (The image stabilisation certainly appeals).
There has been mixed talk about the A2, especially in terms of the noise levels of the images.
Can anyone advise? If the A2 is set to 5MP, does it produce photos withthe same/more/less noise than a 5MP camera (i.e. the A1)?
Is the answer to always shoot in ISO 64 or 100 for 8MP, but then go down to 5MP resolution if a higher ISO is required for dull scenes?
If that is the case, the A2 seems the better bet considering the other advantages it has over the A1...better EVF, depth of field preview, flash sync socket etc..
:?:
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Old Mar 25, 2004, 3:11 AM   #2
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The only comparison I have read between the A1 and the A2 said that the A2 was no more noisy. I think the problem here may be that reviewers get gradually more critical about products as time goes on. You can't read a review written a year ago about last year's product and compare it with a review written this year about this year's product because the goal posts have moved. The old reviews of the A1 were comparing it with other high end consumer digitals. The A2 is being compared against DSLRs mostly.

I doubt if shooting an A2 at 5Mp will have any effect on the noise level. The general theory is that the smaller the individual sensor on the CCD the more noise you tend to get - all things being equal. So I don't think that can be eliminated by selecting a lower resolution. The noise will still be there in an equal amount - unless anyone knows different.

As for which to buy, I'd guess that they both provide pictures of good enough quality for most people, so the decision will be down to whether any of the new features (better EVF, etc) are inportant to you..
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Old Mar 25, 2004, 8:30 AM   #3
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There's a good review at
http://luminous-landscape.com/review...nolta-a2.shtml
which covers the topic of noise in the A2 very well. The same CCD chip is used in the A2, 828, 8080 and all are inherently more noisy than the 5/6 mp generation - individual pixel sites are smaller / closer and so more prone to interfere with each other. Whether it matters is a different (and perceptional) problem. A more worrying thing is the existence of electronic beat inducing disruptive patterns. Nevertheless a very positive review.
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Old Mar 25, 2004, 11:44 PM   #4
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Default A2 Image quality

Greetings!
As a new owner of the excellent Konica Minolta A2, I am inserting my 2 cents regarding image quality...As a stickler for high-quality images with extreme sharpness and resolution of detail, I am here to say that the A2 does not disappoint! By way of comparison, I have used an Oly E-20, C-5050, and A Sony F828, and have gotten great results with each system. However, after reading the superbly detailed review of the A2 at The Luminous Landscape, I felt compelled to compare its lens quality to that of the sharp Zeiss optic on the Sony F828. For the record, I have not had nearly as much of a problem with either CA or noise in any 828 image as has been touted in several reports on that camera. As I had obtained some extremely sharp and highly detailed images with the 828, when I read incredulously that the A2 lens was even sharper at vertain focal lengths than the 828, well, I just had to see for myself! So far, in unscientific testing of image quality, I am amazed that the A2 lens is at least as sharp as the 828 lens in the mid-range of focal lengths! (One caveat here though...I believe that the A2 is much easier for critical focusing (at least for my eyes) due to the high-res EVF, so that I just may be focussing "better" with the A2. True, one could let both cameras autofocus, which is another valid test. However, I do like the capacity of the A2 to "fine-tune" the focus manually, even when in Autofocus mode, not to mention DOF Preview, custom settings, auto-sensing EVF, powerful Minolta Maxxum 5600HS(D) flash with built-in diffuser, flexible bounce/tilt, wireless capability out-of-box, among other things! Indeed, the A2 has probably the most adjustments and especially user-customizable adjustments of any camera I have ever had the pleasure to use!
My next test will be outdoor soccer photography with the A2, to see how it compares with the quality images I got from the Sony F828.
For a sample jpeg image taken with the A2, please check out the following link:
http://www.totalqualityphoto.com/pro...A2640&size=big
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Old Mar 26, 2004, 1:05 PM   #5
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I wrote to Minolta about the problems outlined in Luminous Landscape. The reply was rapid, posiive and informative:

"Thank you for your enquiry about the DiMAGE A2 camera.

1) I have not experienced any problems in installing and running the DiMAGE Viewer software on any operating system. Without knowing exactly where the problem was occurring in the reviewer's computers, it is difficult to suggest why he experienced such difficulty with it. I have however copied his comments to our Head Office in Japan, so that they are made aware of the situation .

2) The 'beat noise' described in the review occurs in shadow areas, when using higher ISO settings (400/800). One of the causes is the high resolution of the CCD, and although the processing within the camera is able to reduce this to a certain extent, it cannot eliminate it entirely, since it is primarily hardware related. Although the noise is discernible on the monitor display at 100% or more magnification, it is hardly perceptible in prints up to about A3 size, and we consider therefore that it is confined to an acceptable level for this type of product. It is not possible to alter the level of noise by means of a firmware upgrade, as was suggested elsewhere in the same review."

This is a very impressive customer service response.
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Old Mar 26, 2004, 1:25 PM   #6
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Default A2 issues...and a question...

Seamus, thank you for that informative note from Minolta! Being aa newbie to Minolta equipment, I am pleased to see that they take customer service issues seriously.
So far, I am extremely happy with my A2 in terms of performance, handling, and most importantly, image quality! Judging from its specs, it has got to be one of the most feature-rich digital cameras on the market. I have yet to try the wireless capability of the Maxxum 5600HS(D) falsh with the A2, but appreciate that versatility nonetheless. One general question though...
When using the AC Adapter with the Battery Grip still attached to the camera, does the A2 draw power from the AC, or does one have to remove the battery grip entirely? Also, after fully charing the NI-HI batteries, the battery charge indicator still looks like the "low charge" symbol in the manual, rather than being solid black.
Thanks!
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Old Mar 26, 2004, 4:06 PM   #7
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Many thanks for everyones' comments. Yours and other reviews are certainly making me lean towards the A2.
Cheers
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Old Mar 28, 2004, 10:47 PM   #8
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Olympus C-8080
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Old Mar 28, 2004, 11:11 PM   #9
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FYI

Quote:
Given all of the C-8080's shortcomings, especially when compared to the similarly priced offerings of its prime competitors, I can only assume that Olympus has misjudged the market. The other manufacturer's see this generation of 8MP cameras as bridges to a new generation of technology and users. Someone buying one of these cameras is attracted by the technology. They want to be able to make large (A3) sized prints of high quality, and they are serious about their photography. They may not have the money to purchase a DSLR and a couple of fast zoom lenses, or they may value the small size and light weight of a non-SLR design. But, they are also unlikely to be happy making compromises when it comes to features and functionality, especially when there are highly competitive products at comparable prices.

It appears to me that Olympus has produced a previous-generation camera but using a current generation imaging chip. In today's fast-paced digital camera environment this simply doesn't cut it.
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...us-c8080.shtml

Quote:
The Olympus C-8080 perfomed very well on the DxO Analyzer. Results are found here. In virtually every measure the Olympus C-8080 measures better than the Sony F828, though the Minolta is the champ when it comes to resolving power. It remains to be seen how it will compare with the comparable Canon and Nikon offerings, but certainly of the three cameras tested thus far the Olympus' image quality measures very well indeed.
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 2:40 AM   #10
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In reference to the quote above...previous generation etc. etc.
Minolta resolving power etc. etc.

Blah, blah....... blah,blah,blah.
Resolving power ? The batteries last longer ? ..................
Just look at the sample images and do a simple comparison everyone !
A picture is worth a 1000 blah's.
Sincerely
John G.
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