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Old Jan 2, 2005, 10:57 PM   #1
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I am presently shopping around for a good quality digicam that will function in low-light and produce excellent people pics (accurate skin tones with no red-eyes). I have narrowed my choices down to: Minolta A200 with 2500D, Olympus C-8080 with FL-20 and Nikon CP8800 with SB-600. Several people seem to indicate that the A200 produces soft / dull images requiring post-processing. Is this the case? If so, what settings are you using to eliminate post-processing prior to printing? I want to print up to 8x10" pics but have no time (nor patience) for post-processing.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 3:08 PM   #2
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Whilst I print very few images from my camera, I do almost without fail, post process all that I use to get the result that I want.

I was initially put off the A200 for the reasons that you mention BUT the reviewer at Imaging Resource comment:

Very accurate color, which means it's by default a little dull-looking. Excellent ability to tweak color saturation to suit your personal preferences though. Good white balance, but the Auto mode has trouble with incandescent sources. The Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200's color was very accurate, among the best I've seen on consumer/prosumer digital cameras. That said though, "accurate" means "dull," relative to most digital cameras on the market, which pump up the color saturation to make their images look more appealing.

I looked to a dSRL and read Steve's comments:

Anybody coming from the consumer digicam world and then comparing dSLR photos always say that they look soft. All of the E300 samples I have posted so far were taken at default sharpening. Note that consumer digicams are by default a lot sharper and more contrasty than dSLRs. dSLRs have a low-pass filter in front of the image sensor and these anti-aliasing filters tend to soften the image. All dSLR users are used to their images needing a little sharpening and apply what's necessary after capture.

So I revisited the A200, downloaded some sample images and applied Unsharp Mask & Saturation in Photoshop to achieve results on a par with the Nikon CP8800 - the latter possibly boost sharpness & colour BUT that's only my opinion.

My advise would be that you MUST expect to have to some processing, if only to correct verticals & horizontals - if I manage to get the sea level in the viewfinder it's a miracle.

When I print, I use Print Preview from Photoshop so the image is there on the screen - it takes very little time to make these adjustments & the results speak for themselves.
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Old Jan 16, 2005, 12:11 PM   #3
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I found this at http://www.pbase.com/mtf_foto_studies/mtf_faq#PPwhich explains things:

I hate to Post-Process.
What settings should I use to get nice images in-
camera?


It is well known that Minolta default settings are generally very neutral. The images tend to have very little processing applied to them in the camera, both in terms of color, sharpness and contrast, very much like in a DSLR. People that are used to snapshot digicams are generally shocked by the difference, since in most of the point and shoot models the images are heavily processed inside the camera to boost saturation, sharpness and contrast. Minolta A200 can also easily do that, but it's just not their default settings.

You could start by using "Vivid" color mode or increasing color saturation by +1 or +2. Also set sharpness to hard and contrast +2 .

You'll see that your images will look pretty snappy out of the camera. The result will not be as good as you can get in post-processing starting from neutral, but you have the choice.

The A200 allows you to save all these settings in one custom user mode, and then recall it at the flick of a dial.



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