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Old Feb 2, 2005, 3:32 PM   #1
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http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/konicaminoltaa200/
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 4:08 AM   #2
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This needs to be read in conjunction with other reviews. Overall I don't suppose that it was unfair BUT I was surprised at the commentsof the lens being stretched past its resolution capabilities.

Some months ago when I was considering the Nikon 8700, criticism was made against the lens along the same lines that it hadn't kept up with the increase in size with the CCD.

Notwithstanding the softer results that the A200 produces straight out of the camera, the lens consistently gets favourable comments in other reviews:

Image Resource
The lens consists of 16 elements in 13 groups, including two AD (anomalous dispersion) glass elements and two aspheric surfaces. All that dispersion/aspheric mumbo-jumbo is by way of explaining that this is a very high quality lens: In my testing, the lenses on Konica Minolta's A-series cameras and their predecessors have consistently showed low levels of chromatic aberration and better than average corner to corner sharpness.

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Old Feb 3, 2005, 4:18 AM   #3
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Catbells wrote:
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This needs to be read in conjunction with other reviews. Overall I don't suppose that it was unfair BUT I was surprised at the commentsof the lens being stretched past its resolution capabilities.

Some months ago when I was considering the Nikon 8700, criticism was made against the lens along the same lines that it hadn't kept up with the increase in size with the CCD.

Notwithstanding the softer results that the A200 produces straight out of the camera, the lens consistently gets favourable comments in other reviews:

Image Resource
The lens consists of 16 elements in 13 groups, including two AD (anomalous dispersion) glass elements and two aspheric surfaces. All that dispersion/aspheric mumbo-jumbo is by way of explaining that this is a very high quality lens: In my testing, the lenses on Konica Minolta's A-series cameras and their predecessors have consistently showed low levels of chromatic aberration and better than average corner to corner sharpness.
I also think the Image Resource review is more thorough and fair. For instance, the DPReview states that "After fully depressing the shutter release a brief review (instant playback) is shown (this can be set to 2 seconds, 10 seconds or disabled)". Obviously, it can be set to 1, 2, 5, 10 seconds or disabled. Perhaps this error is due to the review being based on a "production"-camera?
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Old Feb 4, 2005, 10:11 AM   #4
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I've read through the DP Review more thoroughly & it really does seem to hammer the focusing issue and soft focus aspects but still gives the A200 a 'Recommended' status.

DP Review comments:
Our biggest gripe, however, was with the A200's auto focus which proved to be just as inconsistent as the A2 before it. There are two problems here - one is the wide area focus has a tendency to lock onto the nearest thing in the scene even if it occupies only a tiny part of the frame.
I expect that the focusing algorithm is to focus on the nearest subject within the focusing frame. Changing this to Spot AF of Flex Focus Point would allow the user to select the part of the image to focus upon - I do not regard this a problem.

Far worse, however, is the A200's willingness to take a picture that is completely out of focus, often after indicating that focus lock has been achieved.
I've experience this onrelatively few occasions, always indoors with extremely low light - if it was to persist or predominate outdoorsunder typical lighting conditions then I would regard it as a problem.

As with the A2, the focus is fast, but I would estimate around 1 in 20 shots is not correctly focused, probably 1 in 10 when shooting indoors at social occasions (i.e zoomed in slightly, low light, subject distances of 1 to 4 meters).
The A200 does not produce sharp images straight out of the camera - something that initial steered me away from Minolta A** cameras but now, appreciating that this is intentionally left to the user to perform either by upping the in camera sharpness or with post processing, is something that I accept (especially as I decide to buy the A200). Is DP Review confusing soft focus with inability to focus - from the examples provided in the review it is possible just that.

Then went on to say
To be fair, we took around 1000 frames during this test, and the focus problem occurred only in about 40 shots, of which nearly all were in low light at longer focal lengths, but it's still something Konica Minolta needs to address in future models.

So there is seems to be a bit of inconsistency here is it 1 in 10/40 or 40 in 1000; the latter equates to 1 in 25.

Yesterday, on a rather dull & dreary day, I took 128 shots, all to the best of my knowledge - in focus. Yes there were a number of shots that failed to focus lock when taking close-ups under poor light, but I re-positioned the focus point/subject & obtained focus lock. I always take a number of shots so as to select the best of the bunch; invariably not all are in focus BUT that's typically because hand held & outdoors, you can guarantee that either I, the subject or both will move in-between focusing & taking the shot.

I'm still more than pleased with the A200 despite this;the benefits of the A200 still out wayit's minor disadvantages.

I've just compared shots taken with my Fuji S602 a few weeks ago with those taken with the A200 under very similar conditions just yeaterday & I am very pleased with the A200 - they are noticeably better!! - one might even say sharper/better focused.
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Old Feb 6, 2005, 1:37 AM   #5
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Catbells,

Thanks for all your input re the A200 and the comparison shots.

I've been thinking about getting one. Having owned and used digital cameras by HP, Minolta, and Olympus and used Canon cameras also, I'm inclined to get a A200.

Again, thanks.
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Old Feb 6, 2005, 3:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
DP Review comments:
As with the A2, the focus is fast, but I would estimate around 1 in 20 shots is not correctly focused

I posted my thoughts on DP Review's poor focus issue which were valid at that time valid -Our biggest gripe, however, was with the A200's auto focus which proved to be just as inconsistent as the A2 before it. There are two problems here - one is the wide area focus has a tendency to lock onto the nearest thing in the scene even if it occupies only a tiny part of the frame. Far worse, however, is the A200's willingness to take a picture that is completely out of focus, often after indicating that focus lock has been achieved.

In my comments made4 Feb 2005 I said that I've only experience this onrelatively few occasions, always indoors with extremely low light - if it was to persist or predominate outdoorsunder typical lighting conditions then I would regard it as a problem.

Judging from the performance that I've experience today using my A200, I have to say that I'm now more in agreement with DP Review.

Now my Fuji S602 was a pain to focus on infinity when the contrast was lacking BUT I could very quickly re-position the focusing frame to beneath the horizon & near always guarantee that it would focus - how I yearned for 'infinity focus lock'.

Today on too many instances did the A200 fail to lock. I tried all combinations on focus modes re-positioning the Spot AF of Flex Focus Point but without success. I was forced to lock the exposure and hunt around the frame to get the focus to lock on something.

I NOW have agree with DP Review that for a camera of this calibre this is a severe limitation & something that is a severe limitation for my use.

Was it a fault with the camera - possibly - so the A200 went back despite the fact that I really liked everything else about it.
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Old Mar 20, 2005, 3:13 PM   #7
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so first before i sound like im all about ranting, i love this camera for what it is, i just would have gladly paid another 200 for improvements, such as speed, in particular when using the continuous modes which are completely shot-in-the-dark attempts. It gives you an x-second preview after shooting, but the thumbs are sooooooooooo small you cant see jack, the only reason i leave it on 1-sec is to see if there was too much/little light in the shots which is about all i am able to discern in 3mm thumbs hehe.

oh yes and after a burst of images the HUGE delay before it shows anything, and then locking the camera until its done writing it just silly, i hear the A2 handled this much better, though at the cost of giving up other needed features the A200 has.

anyways, other than that and the points i mention below, its my new baby, so don't get me wrong about my rantings below, just some honest feedback from my side of the fence


Catbells wrote:
Quote:
DP Review comments:
Our biggest gripe, however, was with the A200's auto focus which proved to be just as inconsistent as the A2 before it. There are two problems here - one is the wide area focus has a tendency to lock onto the nearest thing in the scene even if it occupies only a tiny part of the frame.
I expect that the focusing algorithm is to focus on the nearest subject within the focusing frame. Changing this to Spot AF of Flex Focus Point would allow the user to select the part of the image to focus upon - I do not regard this a problem.
i get this too, lots of focusing issues esp. in low-light. neither my olympus 5050 nor my canon powershot a80 have this problem. My normal solution is to focus-lock on my subject and move the camera and take the shot. The problem is, the camera ADJUSTS THE FOCUS EVEN THOUGH IM HOLDING THE SHUTTER HALFWAY DOWN. Whats that about? when i'm holding the shutter, why does it keep focusing sometimes?

also another note, half-way holding the shutter is NOT easy on the cam, the half-way mark is quite soft, just a tad more pressure and you're shooting! i dont know how often i've slipped while trying to hold my focus..... and then you get to wait forever while the cam generates a preview or something (even if you have preview mode DISABLED!) and then starts writing, and then you can take a shot. heh. my old Olympus 5050z was a cam that would write to the buffer DURING shooting, and when it was full, it'd stop and keep writing but you could start shooting again within a second. AND you could access ALL the menus, and even use PLAYBACK mode WHILE it was saving!! that's what i call walking and chewing gum at the same time, whoever said that about this cam needs to pick up another cam...


Quote:
I've experience this on relatively few occasions, always indoors with extremely low light - if it was to persist or predominate outdoors under typical lighting conditions then I would regard it as a problem.
i get this ALL the time. i've shot well over 10,000 shots with my A200 in all different types of lighting, the problem shines especially in low-light, and then its HORRIBLE. sometimes it takes 5 seconds to focus lock, yes _5_ seconds! i almost never just depress the shutter anymore for fear of it locking focus, and then in the last few milliseconds adjusts the focus again creating a completely useless photo.

I've also experienced a fun problem where the auto-focus CHANGES focus WHILE IM SHOOTING in HS Continuous mode. Pretty cool (NOT!) see attachment for an example.


Quote:
I always take a number of shots so as to select the best of the bunch; invariably not all are in focus BUT that's typically because hand held & outdoors, you can guarantee that either I, the subject or both will move in-between focusing & taking the shot.
thats exactly how i do it too... no other way works, at least with the A200...


Quote:
I'm still more than pleased with the A200 despite this; the benefits of the A200 still out way it's minor disadvantages.
hehe thats why i havent totally given up on this beast yet, im slowly coming to terms with its shortcomings.

one of the most difficult things is getting used to a cam that reacts quickly and better, and then picking up a new and getting royally pizzed that the new cam, though 2 years newer, still doesn't come close to the competition of years past...


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Old Mar 21, 2005, 10:02 AM   #8
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glenneroo wrote:
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i get this ALL the time. i've shot well over 10,000 shots with my A200 in all different types of lighting, the problem shines especially in low-light, and then its HORRIBLE. sometimes it takes 5 seconds to focus lock, yes _5_ seconds! i almost never just depress the shutter anymore for fear of it locking focus, and then in the last few milliseconds adjusts the focus again creating a completely useless photo.
It seems to me that you have your camera set to continous auto-focus. If so, then try to switch to single-picture auto-focus and see what happens (using the focus-button on the side of the camera).
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Old Mar 21, 2005, 4:08 PM   #9
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janniklindquist wrote:
Quote:
glenneroo wrote:
Quote:
i get this ALL the time. i've shot well over 10,000 shots with my A200 in all different types of lighting, the problem shines especially in low-light, and then its HORRIBLE. sometimes it takes 5 seconds to focus lock, yes _5_ seconds! i almost never just depress the shutter anymore for fear of it locking focus, and then in the last few milliseconds adjusts the focus again creating a completely useless photo.
It seems to me that you have your camera set to continous auto-focus. If so, then try to switch to single-picture auto-focus and see what happens (using the focus-button on the side of the camera).
Another possibilty: Perhaps you have Full Time AF turned on?
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 7:47 AM   #10
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janniklindquist wrote:
Quote:
janniklindquist wrote:
Quote:
glenneroo wrote:
Quote:
i get this ALL the time. i've shot well over 10,000 shots with my A200 in all different types of lighting, the problem shines especially in low-light, and then its HORRIBLE. sometimes it takes 5 seconds to focus lock, yes _5_ seconds! i almost never just depress the shutter anymore for fear of it locking focus, and then in the last few milliseconds adjusts the focus again creating a completely useless photo.
It seems to me that you have your camera set to continous auto-focus. If so, then try to switch to single-picture auto-focus and see what happens (using the focus-button on the side of the camera).
Quote:
Another possibilty: Perhaps you have Full Time AF turned on?
Quote:
and?? has this" cured" the problem? because that's what it is otherwise.. I planned on bying the A200...........
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