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Old Mar 7, 2005, 9:13 AM   #1
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Hi all. I've noticed something odd when I'm zoomed and focus on a smallish object (like a birdfeeder) with various bushes etc in the background. When I use the spot focus mode carefully aimed at the feeder the camera tends to focus on the background more often than not. But if I let the camera choose a focus point in the area focus mode then it more often than not chooses the birdfeeder as I wanted in the first place. This all seems opposite to what I would expect from the spot focus mode. Any advice, hints, suggestions?

Well, I've had a read of the NUMEROUS comments on the focusing ability of this camera and I'm not impressed. I've owned mine for about a month and have taken roughly 2000 shots indoors and out. I was fully ready to accept low light difficulties but not the problems I've had outdoors on clear, bright days. Sure there are tricks to get the thing to focus where you want it to but who, apart from those of us who enjoy the challenge, wants to have to be constantly thinking about finding a vertical edge to focus on, or zooming in and out while manually focusing, or letting the auto-flex point choose some random spot, etc, etc. I like lots of this cameras features and will stick with it for now but a trade-in is definately in the cards. Thanks for all the postings. They've helped me alot in the focusing/frustration department!
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Old Mar 8, 2005, 2:14 PM   #2
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Hi Musty,

I noticed something similar while trying to focus on some tree branches with some other stuff in the background. A partial solution (it's not quite easy to use it all the time) was flex focus. Can you try it and compare the results?




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Old Mar 8, 2005, 5:09 PM   #3
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It's a real shame that Minolta haven't fixed this fundamental problem which seems to have plagued the A* series of their cameras.

I decided to return my A200 and have now a Pentax *ist DS which focuses just as you would expect - without difficulties under any conditions.
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Old Mar 9, 2005, 7:39 AM   #4
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Yes I've used the flex focus to get it to focus (more or less) where I want but it's usually just a close approximation. The camera will find some twig or leaf that seems to suit it and if that happens to be in about the same plane as your subject you're all set. It's really at crap-shoot as far as I can tell. In my experience, the spot focus mode with the cross-hairs is really more like a centre of the frame area mode and not point specific at all.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"It seems to me that the auto flex point focus mode is just a cop-out by Minota. When this system is used the camera doesn't need to be good enough to focus on your subject but instead is given free reign to focus on something easier. All their hype about it's merits is more like spin-doctoring to cover up a weak auto focus system. There, I've said it! Sort of like the Emperor's Clothes. Sorry Minolta...
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Old Mar 9, 2005, 7:55 AM   #5
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Hello Catbells. And I thought you were a tried and true KM fan. My reason for getting the A200 instead of an SLR was many-fold and includes the usual reasons such as size and weight. If I'd known that the spot focus wasn't really a spot focus and that the camera can't distiguish foreground from background Iwould have gotten an SLR in the first place. It's too late for me to return the KM for a full refund so I'll tough it out for now.

In case anyone is wondering, I'm just an average hack with a camera but I do expect things I buy to function as advertised. This is my third digital camera and its also the most frustrating yet. - sometimes great sometimes crap.
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Old Mar 9, 2005, 7:45 PM   #6
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Catbells wrote:
Quote:
It's a real shame that Minolta haven't fixed this fundamental problem which seems to have plagued the A* series of their cameras.

I decided to return my A200 and have now a Pentax *ist DS which focuses just as you would expect - without difficulties under any conditions.
Congratulations, Catbells. If I'd been fool-hardy enough to venture into murky dSLR waters, the Pentax *ist DS is the camera I'd float my hopes on. It sounds like a really nice camera.

Tell me, what lenses did you buy for it, and how much did they cost? Did you have any old Pentax lenses laying about that worked with it? Also, do you find the lack of a preview display on the LCD a problem? I'm disappointed that the lowest ISO you can choose is 200 (hello grain!), but at least you can go as high as 3200 (hello grain & tripod!) What other negative issues have you encountered with the Pentax?

Thanks in advance for the info!

:|
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Old Mar 10, 2005, 12:05 PM   #7
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Musty wrote:
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Hello Catbells. And I thought you were a tried and true KM fan.
Hi Musty

I was converted over to KM but not until after I'd done a lot of initial research on the A200 leading up to it's purchase& spent a long time reading various reports etc. I really did like almost everything about the A200.

I passed it over once as a result of the sample images posted on this & various sites in preference for the Nikon CP8800. But the more I read in reviews the more I learned especially that 'top end' cameras tend to leave out most of the 'in camera' processing leaving this to the end user - thus producing softer images with less contrast/saturation.

So after processing sample images I concluded that the A200 was up there with the CP8800 but just needed a bit of work.

I was disappointed with low light focus when shooting indoors but then it didn't claim to be that great but what really disappointed me was the inability to focus outdoors under bright condition and not being able to vary the FlexiPoint anywhere easily to get it to focus.

That combined with inconsistent White Balance under exposure lock - essential for creating panoramic shots - convinced me that the A200 was not for me & it was duly returned as faulty.

I would advise anyone that experiences this problem to return it to the dealer for repair/exchange/refund.

Perhaps that will force Minolta to fix this rather basic of essential requirements and thus create a camera that is top of it's class.

In all other respects I felt the A200 was fabulous and it was with reluctance that it went back.
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Old Mar 10, 2005, 12:21 PM   #8
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BoneDaddy wrote:
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Congratulations, Catbells. If I'd been fool-hardy enough to venture into murky dSLR waters, the Pentax *ist DS is the camera I'd float my hopes on. It sounds like a really nice camera.

Tell me, what lenses did you buy for it, and how much did they cost? Did you have any old Pentax lenses laying about that worked with it? Also, do you find the lack of a preview display on the LCD a problem? I'm disappointed that the lowest ISO you can choose is 200 (hello grain!), but at least you can go as high as 3200 (hello grain & tripod!) What other negative issues have you encountered with the Pentax?
Hi BoneDaddy

Trust that you are well. For the moment, I've just bought the basic lens kit so the *ist DS comes with an 18mm to 55mm lens (equates to 27mm to 83mm in 35mm format terms). I'm resisting temptation (purely on cost grounds) to buy any additional lens at the moment but if I were, then it's likely to be the Sigma 18mm to 125mm (equates to 27mm to 188mm) as this matches all that the A200 would do & quite honestly 200mm is a long enough lens for most applications.

I do have a Pentax K mount 100mm Macro lens which is compatible but will not be able to be used with AF features.

The CCD is APS sized and much bigger than that used on say the A200, which means that more light gets to the CCD - I'm informed that 200 ASA on a dSRL is as good as 50 ASA on a Prosumer. So 200 ASA is not a problem & the *ist DS gets good reviews at the top end up to 1600 ASA and 3200 ASA where noise would become more noticeable.

Yes I think that lack of preview or the EVF will cause a problem. If a scene was poorly lit when using the EVF, then you saw this in the viewfinder. With the dSRL, what you see is what comes straight through the lens - nice & bright - but if the exposure is wrong, you don't see it until after the shot is taken in preview or much later when viewing back home.

If the A200 would focus the way that the *ist DS does, then no one would have any complaints - it just focuses on everything even indoors in dull light & on low contrast subjects like ours cats (and even the sock on the end of my foot). Yes there have been a couple of times when it failed but out of 600 shots that I took on holiday last week, I'd say about 5 caused a problem & all were easily corrected.
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Old Mar 10, 2005, 7:11 PM   #9
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Catbells--

Good to hear the news about the Pentax.

I have a Pentax SF1 and have always been pleased with it.

Perhaps someday I'll make the leap to dSLR if and when they become more affordable. If Pentax is still making cameras like the *ist DS then, I'll be looking in their direction.

Just one thing I'd suggest to Pentax: You have GOT to come up with a better name for a camera! Reminds me of the 'Artist Formerly Known As Prince'.

:-)
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