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Old Feb 22, 2005, 4:03 AM   #1
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I am about to buy a new camera, and A200 is the one I want. Reading the complaints regarding its image quality, I also read the answer that it is KM policy to do as little post processing as possible in camera, and that applying a little sharpness, either in the camera settings or in PS, will turn A200 quality equivalent to that of other 8M cameras.

I decided to test this argument. Steve_digicam's review of KM A200 includes comparison shots of A200 and Nikon 8800. The comparison page is at http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_.../8800a200.html. I downloaded two of the picture sets, and applied sharpening, using PSP 9.0 USM, FocusMagic and FocusBlade. The results show that even after applying these tools, the Nikon pictures are better. The difference is less noticed in well lighted, contrasty regions.

I placed some of the results in http://www.aridolan.com/tests/a200/A200_8800.aspx (I did not want to upload many pictures to the forum message). The samples presented are the FocusMagic sets, which seems to be the best tool. They display corresponding sections in both 100% and 200%, all after FocusMagic application.

I wonder if these tests are valid, and whether they refute the argument that changing A200 camera settings, or applying sharpening in PS, solves the seeming image quality problem. I would like very much to be proved wrong, because I really want the A200, but I do not want inferior image quality.

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Old Feb 22, 2005, 5:59 AM   #2
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Hi, it seems to me these pics were shot under (slightly) different conditions. The 8800 shots seem to have captured a bit more light hence they show slightly more contrast. I noticed this in particular in the leaves bits (but also in some other areas).

Did you btw. also increase contrast on the a200 shots or only applied sharpening?

I have an a200 and find many shots to be very sharp and others not. But so do I with my CP950 and DCS-p10.

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Old Feb 22, 2005, 6:21 AM   #3
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I recall one well-known professional mentioning that the KMs however, were among the few 8-megapixel non DSLR digicameras that could actually walk and chew gum at the same time. So, for many needs, that would factor in too. And I'm not conviced you can come up with an ultimately conclusive image quality test between these anyway, or that for some photographers it will be a big enough difference even if it is exhaustive and well-controlled.

So, it still comes down to what features and qualities you prefer in a camera that you are willing to afford, I guess... : }
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 6:48 AM   #4
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greenboy wrote:
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I recall one well-known professional mentioning that the KMs however, were among the few 8-megapixel non DSLR digicameras that could actually walk and chew gum at the same time. So, for many needs, that would factor in too. And I'm not conviced you can come up with an ultimately conclusive image quality test between these anyway, or that for some photographers it will be a big enough difference even if it is exhaustive and well-controlled.

So, it still comes down to what features and qualities you prefer in a camera that you are willing to afford, I guess... : }

d
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 7:06 AM   #5
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aridolan-



It's just a thought, but I imagine that your tests, topermit ANYconclusion, would have to have been conducted on the original hi-res images from the camera and of course you can't have access to these from the web. It would be interesting to see such a test.
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 9:12 AM   #6
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redSP wrote:
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Hi, it seems to me these pics were shot under (slightly) different conditions. The 8800 shots seem to have captured a bit more light hence they show slightly more contrast. I noticed this in particular in the leaves bits (but also in some other areas).

Did you btw. also increase contrast on the a200 shots or only applied sharpening?

I have an a200 and find many shots to be very sharp and others not. But so do I with my CP950 and DCS-p10.
It seems to me that the KM and Nikon pictures were shot in identical conditions, if not at the same time.

I did try to play with contrast and saturation. I made many tests, but in all cases the Nikon pictures seem sharper.

Your last comment bothers me a lot, since I already readabout itmore than once: The complaint that some pictures (A2/A200) are sharp and others are not, even consecutive shots. I wonder what it means (user movement unlikely because of the stabilizarion).




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Old Feb 22, 2005, 9:17 AM   #7
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Phranque wrote:
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aridolan-



It's just a thought, but I imagine that your tests, topermit ANYconclusion, would have to have been conducted on the original hi-res images from the camera and of course you can't have access to these from the web. It would be interesting to see such a test.
I do not think you are correct in this case. The A200 pictures downloaded from Steve's web site are full BMP files, each of about 23MB. I do not see any reason why they should be different from the files Steve downloaded to his computer directly from the camera.


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Old Feb 22, 2005, 11:48 AM   #8
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aridolan wrote:
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The A200 pictures downloaded from Steve's web site are full BMP files, each of about 23MB. I do not see any reason why they should be different from the files Steve downloaded to his computer directly from the camera.
A problem with the browser treats some files as BMP where in actual fact they are are ALL JPEG unless otherwise stated.

Like you too I've also made the comparisons by post processing images of the A200 from Steve's site and other reviewers and yes, with a applied Unsharp Mask & a bit of histogram adjustment with possibly a touch of increased saturation, the shots from the A200 come out well - enough to convince me to buy the A200.

Sadly, what I hadn't bargained on was the problem with inconsistent Auto White balance correction (or the lack of it) resulting in occaisional differences between adjacent shots shots even with exposure lock on; the latter always created a problemin VIVID Colour Mode.

This combined with poor focus lock issues resulted in my A200 being returned to the store where it will stay until Minolta resolve this issue.

Read the DP Review carefully - I can honestly say that he has produced an accurate account of the A200's performance.

Everything else about the A200 I loved - the ergonomics, that manual zoom is a real pleasure to use (far better than motorised), it's small size and low weight made it ideal for me BUT I couldn't excuse the two points made above.

I'd steer clear of the Nikon CP8800 - it has infinity focus lock issues and the camera takes ages to write to the Card during which time you can do nothing with the camera - not even zoom.
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 12:03 PM   #9
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Catbells wrote:
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aridolan wrote:
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The A200 pictures downloaded from Steve's web site are full BMP files, each of about 23MB. I do not see any reason why they should be different from the files Steve downloaded to his computer directly from the camera.
A problem with the browser treats some files as BMP where in actual fact they are are ALL JPEG unless otherwise stated.
...
I'd steer clear of the Nikon CP8800 - it has infinity focus lock issues and the camera takes ages to write to the Card during which time you can do nothing with the camera - not even zoom.
It was disappointing to learn that you returned the A200. I too like all the features of this camera, but it seems that its drawbacks are too severe.

The BMP I downloaded could not be dusguised JPEGs. I have never seen a JPEG of 23MB.

Thanks for warning about the CP8800. Now, with A200 and CP8800 out of the way, certainly not PRO1, I am left with Oly C8080. Would you go for it? What did you choose eventually?
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 1:07 PM   #10
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Catbells: I'd steer clear of the Nikon CP8800 - it has infinity focus lock issues and the camera takes ages to write to the Card during which time you can do nothing with the camera - not even zoom.
True. Most of the 8800 people I've talked with and lurked with tend toward landscapes or macros. I think the "cameras that walk and chew gum at the same time" comment I mentioned was aimed at such cameras. I've liked the output straight off the 8800 but that is a real showstopper though I do like to shoot scenic stuff a lot too. I also like casual people and animal shots, and when they are interacting with the environment that's when a lot of the best moments take place. It's a drag when you can't even snap pictures during those moments to decide you had all the wrong settings anyway ; }

I'm sorry to hear of your A200 problems, Catbells. It sounds like otherwise it would have been the best non-SLR around for you. And so far I haven't seen any announcements in the 8-megapixel category that would add to or imrpove the current choices. I've been looking a little at the Evolt and the Rebel XT but still am kind of hoping I can be satisfied with a hybrid prosumer camera as a main device.
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