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Old Jan 29, 2005, 11:04 PM   #1
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I have had an olympus c-3040 for 3 years...I want to upgrade and I think I'm leaning toward the minolta a200, felt great in my hands!

my camera wish list starts with...the must haves: 5mp+, 200mm tel or more,WIRELESS remote, anti shake/Image stabilization, low light ability

depending upon who you read....some say the minolta willwork in low light others say no....my 3040 always worked in all conditions at 100iso...even in almost total darkness...I took a pic of a cat in the dark in my driveway and it focused and the flash worked....am I in for a let down with this camera....or do I just have to set them at 200iso...center of frame spot focus andit will snap?

and for you a200 owners...the softness issue?...is that improved by uping the sharpness level or shooting in 5mp (which I imagine I will do most shots)...

The 3040's default settings were awful...just the opposite...to harsh/choppy and I always shoot in the soft setting and add any needed sharpness in post processing


I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts, thanks


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Old Jan 30, 2005, 12:47 AM   #2
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gregg--

Recent A200 owner here.

Looks like the A200 meets your wish-list except for one: low light capability.

The A200 isn't the best low-light performer. However, it does have a manual focus and an LCD that gains-up automatically and magnifies the focus area to help you find focus.

Also, keep in mind that the A200's 28mm-200mm GT lens is fairly fast: F2.8 at the wide end and F3.5 at the tele end. Plus, Anti-shake should give you a better chance of getting a focused picture at a slower shutter speed. For a camera that has no AF-assist lamp, the A200 does a decent job in low-light.

All told, there are probably cameras with better low light ability, but not ones with the same boat-load of features of the A200 (and at the price!). Since you'll be upgrading from the Olly 3040, the A200 should bury it quite nicely. However, you have to decide if taking pictures of cats in the dark with the A200 is a priority for you. (Side note: After all these years, I still haven't figured out why people insist on taking pictures of things in the dark--must be a nocturnal thing)

As far as the softness goes...

People have been conditioned by the digicam industry to think that aggressive, pre-processed default sharpness settings make for good pictures. The same goes for over-blown, pre-processed default color settings. Camera manufacturers do that because they know that most consumers are either too lazy, too stupid, or don't have the time to learn how to post-process their images to look great. So, the manufacturers do it for them. Well, the A200 isn't one of those cameras that has the sharpness and color maxed out by default. What you get is the natural picture, as it was meant to be. However, for those that need to have the sharpness bulging and the color popping, you can set those in the menu before you even take a shot. The choice is yours. (Thank you, KM!)

Good luck in your decision!
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 5:15 AM   #3
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Hi gregg

I just posted a reply in the What Camera Should I Buy?forum which offers some additional comments http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=87

BoneDaddy's comments abovepretty much cover all that there's to say on the subject.

We, or should I say 'her in doors' (Yorkshire expression for a term of endearment to one's better half) have a couple of long hair Persians (Golden Persians to be precise) which I like to photograph occasionally. The A200 copes in this situation but not always - also poor contrast for auto focus but I believe the A200 uses a different process based on range & frequency.

Another point to consider is - if you have an assistbeam of light that visible - most are - then the cat will focus on that when it's activated and you've lost the pose that was wanted. I tried this a few years back when deciding between a Canon S20 & Fuji 4900 - the later won the day even though it's low light focus was inferior to the Canon.

Here's a shot of one of our cats taken under low light without flash

Size - 3264x2448
Resolution - ExtraFine
ExposureTime - 1/6 seconds
FNumber - 3.20
ExposureProgram - Normal program
ISOSpeedRatings - 200
ExposureMode - Auto
WhiteBalance - Auto
Contrast - Normal
Saturation - Normal
Sharpness - Normal
SubjectDistanceRange - Close view

Centre section was cropped to 1932x1656 and resized to 1000x857 using Bicubic using Photoshop, then post processedwith UnSharpMask & level adjustment to bring in the top & bottom ends of the histogram.


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Old Jan 30, 2005, 11:22 AM   #4
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Catbells wrote:
Quote:
Here's a shot of one of our cats taken using flash under low light without flash
Umm..come again?

:?
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 12:08 PM   #5
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BoneDaddy wrote:
Quote:
Umm..come again?
That'll teach me to copy,paste & add without checking - what I really meant was:

Here's a shot of one of our cats taken under low light without flash.
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 1:15 PM   #6
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Being that the A200 has IS and your Exp. time 1/6 sec. that wasn't a hand held shot now, was it ?
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 1:21 PM   #7
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Thanks, Catbells. I suspected the lighting in the picture looked too natural to have used flash...

Questions for you: Have you used much of the manual focus? What do you think of the magnified image on the LCD? Do you think that the camera is using a forced digital zoom to magnify the image? (I have my digital zoom set to off in Program mode).

I think the manual focus would be better off without the magnification, as it pixelates the image pretty badly. I haven't found a way to disable the auto-magnify for manual focus. Perhaps this is something KM could fix in a firmware revision? :idea:
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 5:21 PM   #8
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check this out....what another reviewer said about the two cameras...of course the 200-300 cheaper price brings me to the minolta as I'm on a tight budget

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CP8800/CP88A12.HTM
Nikon Coolpix 8800 Night Shots: Good low-light performance. Good color and exposure, with moderate image noise. Very good low-light autofocus performance, IF you have the camera on a tripod and have a reasonably contrasty subject. The Coolpix 8800 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at the 400 ISO setting. At ISO 50 and 100, images were bright down to the 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux) light level, though the target was visible at the 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) light level. At ISO 200, images were bright down to the 1/8 foot-candle light level, and noise was moderate in most shots. At ISO 400, image noise became quite high. The camera's Noise Reduction option didn't make that much of a difference, but it did improve contrast somewhat, and eliminate a few stray hot pixels. The Nikon 8800's autofocus system worked very well in dim lighting, focusing without its AF-assist light down to a bit below 1/8 foot-candle, and in complete darkness with the AF-assist light enabled. NOTE though, that the camera struggled a fair bit with low-contrast subjects, and often had a very hard time focusing if hand-held vs tripod-mounted. As mentioned in the body of the review, under normal incandesent room lighting, where other cameras do reasonably well, the 8800 seemed to have a hard time, taking 3-4 seconds to focus and sometimes missing focus entirely. (Although it did much better at wide angle focal lengths than at telephoto under these circumstances.)


http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/KMA200/A2A13.HTM
Minolta A-200 Night Shots: Good low-light performance, with reasonably bright exposures at the darkest light level of this test, though warm color. High image noise at the higher sensitivity settings. Excellent autofocus capability and EVF usability at low light levels. The Konica Minolta A200 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) light level at the 100, 200, 400, and 800 ISO settings. I undershot the correct exposure at 1/16 foot-candle, but the camera is clearly capable of working at that light level. (I'll try to get back to this, reshoot the 1/16 fc images if I can.) At ISO 50, images were bright down to the 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux) light level, though the target was visible at the lowest light level of the test. Color balance was a little warm, sometimes reddish, with the Auto white balance setting, with increasing color casts as the light level decreased. Noise was fairly low in most shots, though it increased to a very high level at ISOs 400 and 800. The camera's Noise Reduction setting didn't seem to do much in the way of controlling or decreasing image noise, though images taken without Noise Reduction enabled do show more red pixels, and thus a stronger red cast. The A200's autofocus system worked down to the 1/16 foot-candle limit of our test, and its EVF remained usable at that light level as well. (Fairly unusual for an EVF, in my experience.)



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Old Jan 30, 2005, 6:18 PM   #9
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and for the record...I don't just take pics in the dark (see pic below)...was just worried I would be going backwards in the low light dept from my 3040
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 6:20 PM   #10
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photo 2

He just wandered in and I found him on my computer one morning...(for those not familiar with florida...these guys are everywhere...they are harmless and eat bugs)
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