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Old Nov 18, 2003, 5:02 PM   #1
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Default G400 vs. S230

Hello,
I am looking to buy a compact camera, and through my research I have come down to two options: Minolta G400 and Canon S230.
Does anyone have any suggestions on wich one is better, or if anyone has a better suggestion.

Thanx
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Old Nov 18, 2003, 5:53 PM   #2
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The Canon S230 is an outdated model (it's since been replaced by the new Canon SD100). Although not obvious, there are some subtle improvements.

The newer SD100 uses a different battery, compared to the older S230. Even though it's rated capacity is less, and it's a smaller battery, it actually lasts longer than the battery in the older S230.

My best guess, is that the Memory Type Canon chose for the newer model, has something to do with this. Secure Digital is becoming a popular memory type among smaller cameras now.

This is because you can get capacities as high as 512mb now, in a "postage stamp" size Secure Digital Card, with transfer speeds as high as 10mb/second (Panasonic or Simpletech Secure Digital Cards in both 256mb and 512mb sizes are rated at 10mb/second).

Unfortunately, the camera still suffers from chromatic aberrations (purple fringing). I've seen this mentioned in multiple reviews of this model. This is probably due to the very small lens (you can't expect to get the same quality from a lens this small). You can find examples of the purple fringing, and lens softness in the review at dcresource.com:

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ca...ew/index.shtml

Phil Askey's review of this model at http://www.dpreview.com also mentions this about image quality compared to it's competition:

"I did feel that the SD100's lens was not as sharp as some of the competition, nor as sharp as some of its bigger brothers."

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd100/page11.asp

This model also is limited to a 2x Optical Zoom (note: ignore Digital Zoom Capabilities when making comparisons -- you can accomplish the same thing later with software, and Digital Zoom degrades image quality).

Canon makes high quality cameras, but you cannot expect to get the same quality of photos, as you would from one that is slightly larger in size. You may also find things like Zoom Range, Flash Range, etc., to be very limiting in a camera this small, at family gatherings, parties, etc. If you like the Canons, then I'd consider the Canon S400 instead (it's a nice little camera).

There are always tradeoffs in a cameras design.

I also recently purchased a small camera (not as small or as light as the SD100, but still "pocketable"). I chose the new 5 Megapixel Konica Revio KD-510z. This camera is also being marketed as the Minolta DiMAGE G500. It can be found discounted for a little over $300.00 now from many online vendors, and has far greater flash range, zoom range, image quality, etc., compared to the smaller SD100.

As for the new Minolta G400, there is no doubt in my mind that it will have better image quality, compared to the SD100/S230, with higher resolution, and great optical zoom.

It will also have more features (full manual exposure, aperture priority, etc.).

Also, it's new Hybrid Focus System is likely to be the "fastest focusing non-DSLR camera on the planet", with an advertised autofocus lag of only 0.2 seconds

In contrast, based on the tests at dpreview.com, the SD100 (upgrade to S230) will take from 0.8 to 1.6 seconds to focus (time it takes between when you press the shutter button, and when the camera takes the photos, depending on settings, and the amount of zoom used).

Personally, I would not buy either one. I'd go with the slightly larger (yet still very pocketable) G500.

You'll get much better flash range (especially if you boost the ISO speed to 200 indoors), with very good performance, a nice 39-117mm equivalent optical zoom lens, with 5 Megapixels of resolution, too.

You can see some photos from mine here:

http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/konica_kd510z
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Old Nov 18, 2003, 6:02 PM   #3
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P.S. - the Canon SD100 does have a VGA (640x480) movie mode, for short movie clips.

This is a higher resolution movie mode, compared to the Minoltas.

Personally, this was not a consideration for me (I find that the movie modes are too choppy, and take too much storage space to be practical in a digital still camera).

I'd go down to your local store, and try out the cameras, to see which one you are more comfortable with (looking at things like startup times, autofocus speed, shot to shot times, control layout, etc.).

Good Luck with your Decision.
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Old Nov 19, 2003, 12:39 PM   #4
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Default Thanx

Thanx for replying, but i still have a question. I have read that the even though G400 is only 4mp, it might be a better buy than the G500 because it has a AF-assist lamp while the G500 doesn't. It is also faster and has a better rapid-shot function. Furthermore it is smaller and lighter.
So my question is if these differences are more important to consider instead of getting more MP? And whether the G500's advantages are more important than the points i mention above.

Thanx
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Old Nov 19, 2003, 3:07 PM   #5
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Neither the G400 or the G500 have autofocus assist lamps. However, based on comments from users that have owned both the Canon S400 (which has an autofocus assist lamp), and the Minolta G500/Konica KD-510z (which does not have an autofocus assist lamp), the G500 focuses faster and more accurately in lower light.

To be frank, it's the best low light autofocus I've found (to my very pleasant surprise).

You may want to read some of the posts in my Pbase.com album forum from other users that agree. You'll see the forum underneath the photos at http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/konica_kd510z

The new Minolta G400 (smaller, 4 Megapixel Model) uses a new Hybrid Autofocus System (passive sensors + CCD Contrast Detection).

It should be the "fastest non-DSLR focusing camera on the planet), if Konica-Minolta's advertising claims are accurate (0.2 seconds total autofocus lag + shutter lag time).

On the downside, it will have a much weaker flash (rated at 6.9 feet at full wide angle, dropping off to 3.9 feet at full zoom), compared to the G500. This is an ISO 100 rating, so you should be able to get a little more range, if you bump up the ISO speed. Most models are rated at "Auto ISO" to make their flashes appear to be more powerful than they really are.

In contrast, Konica (now Konica-Minolta) uses very conservative ratings for their flash range (rating the cameras at ISO 100; versus the higher ISO speeds most other manufacturers use).

So, expect better than advertised flash range from the Konicas - especially if you increase ISO speed. However, increasing the ISO speed adds noise (similiar to film grain). That's why ASA 100 film prints look better, compared to ASA 400 prints (ASA 400 film is more sensitive, allowing faster shutter speeds, but the downside is more grain).

The new G400 will also use a smaller, denser CCD (the camera's sensor). As a general rule, the smaller and denser the sensor, the higher the noise (similiar to film grain, only it can be worse).

This is why a Digital SLR (like the Canon EOS-10D) can shoot at much higher ISO speeds, compared to a consumer camera. The Digital SLR's use much larger sensors, with a lower pixel density (less pixels/square inch). This allows the cameras to increase the sensitivity of the sensor (via ISO speed settings), to allow faster shutter speeds in lower light (without the increase in noise you find in cameras using smaller sensors).

So, for my needs, the larger 1/1.8" sensor used in the G500 is a better fit for me, compared to the smaller, denser 1/2.5" sensor used in the G400.

Also, since I like to take lots of photos at parties, family gatherings, restaurants, etc., the flash range in the smaller models like the Canon S100/S230, Minolta G400 (and similiar models) would be too limiting.

Although the G500 flash range is rated at 11.5 Feet (ISO 100), I've gotten well exposed photos at up to 16 feet away using ISO 200. It's much more powerful (and conservatively rated) compared to competing subcompact models I've looked at.

This was a big factor in my decision in a pocket camera.

It's slightly larger than some, but I think the larger sensor, higher resolution, very good feature set, and excellent flash range, more than make up for it's small increase in size. It's still very pocketable (I carry mine everywhere in my pants pocket -- ready to take a photo "on a moments notice").

Unfortunately, there is no "perfect camera". You'll need to find a good balance between image quality, features, physical size, flash range, lens quality, lens zoom range, etc., for the conditions you'll be using a camera in.

Before deciding on any model, I'd "test drive" them in a store (rather than just reading about them online). Then, you can see how they compare (ergonomics, menus, control layouts, autofocus times, shot to shot times, etc.), to see which model you're more comfortable with.
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Old Nov 19, 2003, 4:37 PM   #6
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Thanx for your help Jim
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