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Old Jan 24, 2005, 10:14 AM   #11
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I ordered my A200 on Tuesday for 600.98. The same store had it for 614 the next day! and 619 last night! Luckily I pulled the trigger when I did. I doubt the prices will keep going up, I'm sure its just a transient supply/demand issue. Once KM sends out another shipment I'd expect the prices to start coming back down, especially if you are willing to wait another month.

So I took the camera up to my brother's to get some pictures of the nephews. Here are my first impressions. I'll alternate the good with the bad.

1) Manual zoom is the only way to go. God I've missed this since going digital. It makes one handed operation difficult or impossible in some situations, but with this type of camera I don't think you're going to be in those situations too often. I plan to get a tiny digicam to take "adventuring" anyway. Also the wideangle is awesome.
2) Autofocus in low light is pretty pathetic. I guess this is to be expected without an assist lamp, but I'm not talking about really dim lighting, just not sun light. I was playing around a little bit more last night and it seemed to be working better after I futzed with some of the settings. And I was in a room with lower light than when it wasn't working too well. Oh well, my G3 would sometimes miss the focus and that had a lamp.
3) The manual focus system is the best I've used on a digicam. Not as nice as my SLR, but pretty close. I also found a cool feature that allows you to change the focus manually if the auto doesnt get it right. Not sure why you would turn that mode off.
4) Can't find a time lapse mode. Am i missing it? This seems like such a waste and could probably be handled in the software/firmware. Instead of taking home videos of projects, my brother and I will set up a camera to do time lapse.
5) 640x480 30fps is insane. Eats up memory, but this is awesome. And the fact that you can zoom around while its recording is great too.
6) I seem to be getting ALOT of over exposures. This might have something to do with the fact that I didn't notice it was on ISO200. We'll see next time.
7) Camera appears as a TRUE hard drive when plugged in via USB. No drivers to download, and you can copy files from your computer (or any computer) to the card.

Ok I gotta get back to work, I'll post back with more impressions from home when I have the camera in my hand. Oh yeah the camera has a really nice feel to it. You can hold it with 1 hand pretty easily (but cant zoom, duh). It also feels really solid without being too heavy.
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Old Jan 24, 2005, 8:25 PM   #12
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For about a month I too went back and forth between the various SLR-like Prosumer cameras available. Almost got the Canon Pro-1; but, for various resons ended up with the A200. I purchased it last week from B&H and spent this weekend familiarizing myself and shooting a lot of images.

I don't do studio photography, so many of the features that were removed from the A2 were of no great consequence to me.

I like the feel of the camera. It not a pocket camera; but, is light enough to carry around easily and not too bulky. It seems everyone got a new camera this christmas and they were all out taking pictures at my farmer's market last Saturday. Many were toting 3 Pound digital SLRs with enormous lenses. I almost felt sad for them.

Controls are sensibly laid out and fairly intuitive.

So far, I haven't been able to think of too many pictures I wanted to take and not been able to get the camera pretty close to it.

I have found the outdoor and flash color to be very accurate without much fiddling.

The detail of the images is astounding. My main struggle now is needing to resize many of the images for the web without losing quality. Well, that and needing a bigger monitor.

The image stabilization is a joy. I've been able to take hand held indoor and outdoor shots at 1/6 and 1/32 of a second!

Some quibbles:

I do a lot of macro (flowers and plants) so it is a little bit of a change getting used to taking those shots at a longer distance from the subject.

The switch to move between the movie/review/photo modes is a little difficult to use. Requires two fingers and maybe a fingernail to operate.

Autofocus can sometimes be a bit stubborn, especially low light/telephoto.

Can people really use the manual focus? The image in my EVF looks exactly like the one in the dcresource review.

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/mi...een-rec-mf.jpg

Maybe I am missing something; but, how do you focus that? Best I can do is guess the distance, manually adjust the focal length and then squint at the EVF until some dark object is the least blurry.

I wish K-M hadn't downgraded the battery from the A2.

Would it kill K-M to include the case and an AC adaptor?

All in all, I am very pleased with my purchase, and am looking forward to the coming year.
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Old Jan 24, 2005, 9:42 PM   #13
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queson-

Good feedback. I'd have to agree with everything you said.

I too am finding alot of my pictures overexposed. I think it has more to do with my unfamiliarity with the camera. The more I use it, the better I'll get. I was playing around with the exposure compensation settings briefly and it seemed to help. I'll be looking more into this.

True, that manual zoom is very slick. There is at least one other brand with a manual-zoom digicam, but it's not a true mechanical like the KMs.

I also love the movie mode, even though that feature was not one of my criteria for purchasing this camera. Nice to know that I have the option to get reasonably good-looking video at a smooth frame rate. With a 1GB card, I get the full 15 minute movie allotment.

Low-light focusing can be a challenge, but I don't plan on taking too many pictures in the dark with this camera.

Also, if you use the camera's automatic exposure settings, it's best to keep the exposure dial set on Program and not Auto, as whatever changes you may have made to the functions will be reset to defaults if you move from the Auto setting with the camera On (see pg. 52 in the manual).

One more thing: Had the camera on my tripod and exhausted the battery. What a pleasant surprise it was to look underneath and see that I had ample room to switch out the battery without removing the camera from the tripod. Nice!

Cheers! :|
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 9:14 AM   #14
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BoneDaddy wrote:
Quote:
I too am finding alot of my pictures overexposed. I think it has more to do with my unfamiliarity with the camera. The more I use it, the better I'll get. I was playing around with the exposure compensation settings briefly and it seemed to help. I'll be looking more into this.
Yeah I'm not too worried about the over exposure. My old G3 took great shots but every once in a while they were over exposed too. Just need to practice and be on the ball with the exposure compensation. After just a few days the pictures are already getting better.

Quote:
True, that manual zoom is very slick. There is at least one other brand with a manual-zoom digicam, but it's not a true mechanical like the KMs.
I think the Pro1 has a pseudo manual zoom, but it then has motors to acually move the lens. I just don't trust that those motors are going to last.

Quote:
I also love the movie mode, even though that feature was not one of my criteria for purchasing this camera.
This is one of the reasons I didnt go with the Pro1. It's 640x480 movie mode is only 30 seconds!

Quote:
Low-light focusing can be a challenge, but I don't plan on taking too many pictures in the dark with this camera.
Exactly. Although last night I challenged it by using just the light off my TV. It got the focus on certain objects alot, but others it could not get. I think glare makes it harder for it, not sure.

One other thing. The files aren't very large. Not that I'm complaining, but I'm a little worried that the compression might be turned up too high. I am taking 8MP at the best quality and the spec says it should be about 6 megs each, but they are coming out between 2.5 and 3.5 megs.
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 8:52 PM   #15
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queson wrote:

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Yeah I'm not too worried about the over exposure. My old G3 took great shots but every once in a while they were over exposed too. Just need to practice and be on the ball with the exposure compensation. After just a few days the pictures are already getting better.
I played around with the exposure some more last night, taking pictures of the same indoor things over and over again with minor adjustments. I dropped the ISO sensitivity down from the default 200 and bumped the exposure comp down as well. The lower ISO results in slower shutter speeds, but I'm getting much better exposures. The flash tends to over-expose as well so I bumped that down too, with better results.

Quote:
I think the Pro1 has a pseudo manual zoom, but it then has motors to acually move the lens. I just don't trust that those motors are going to last.
Not only that, but I noticed a VERY discernable lag between your hand movement and the motor. Plus, the electro-mechanical design still suffers from a stepping motor that you can't quite find the spot you want to put the zoom at. Very weak...

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This is one of the reasons I didnt go with the Pro1. It's 640x480 movie mode is only 30 seconds!
It's like: why'd they bother even putting it in?

Quote:
Exactly. Although last night I challenged it by using just the light off my TV. It got the focus on certain objects alot, but others it could not get. I think glare makes it harder for it, not sure.
Try using the manual focus if the camera isn't locking. I know the LCD gets ugly when using manual, but at least it gains up so you can see if you're getting close to focus. Plus, the LCD tells you the approx. focus distance too.

Quote:
One other thing. The files aren't very large. Not that I'm complaining, but I'm a little worried that the compression might be turned up too high. I am taking 8MP at the best quality and the spec says it should be about 6 megs each, but they are coming out between 2.5 and 3.5 megs.
When you say best do you mean Extra Fine or RAW? I've been taking shots on Fine and the file sizes you're getting is about the size I'm getting, give or take. Good observation though, I wonder if the compression is too aggressive?

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