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Old Oct 21, 2006, 2:21 AM   #1
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I know the title sounds weird, but there's a reason.

I'm presently using a Konica-Minolta Dimage G400 - actually on Steve's recommendation two years ago or so - and it actually takes about the best pictures that I have ever previously taken. My main issue with it is that ergonomically it is horribly designed! With no grip to hold on to, most people tend to hold the camera in their right hand with their index finger on the Record button. However that usually places your right middle finger somewhere on the right front of the camera body. And that affects the built-in light meter. Trying to hold the camera in all situations without getting near that area can be overly awkward most of the time.

I also have a Canon A520 which I use sparingly. My daughter dropped hers the day she received it so I purchased another for her, and then realized that the original was easily fixed. So it has become my "spare". While the A520 got rave reviews as a compact point-and-shoot, I hate using it! It takes great shots, but the time lag between shots is way too long, IMO. Actually there are two long delays: First is the delay between pressing the button and the shutter working. This can be literally two or three seconds - which means that the subject may turn, move, or walk away before I get the shot! Secondly, even with the preview mode turned off, after taking a shot, I have to wait as long as five seconds before I can take another shot. This drives me crazy, and I don't want to deal with that again.

I'm looking hard at the Canon Powershot A640 now, but if that also has similar delays I won't be getting it.

Does anyone have any input on this?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 12:59 AM   #2
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The A520 does not even have the Digic II processor, and as with many smaller cameras it takes them awhile to recoup if the flash is used. The A640 has the faster processor which then you could buy the faster memory cards, and if you use the flash it has 4 batteries recharging it rather than the 2 in the A520 which should speed things up. The A520 received rave reviews for all the functions, compactness, and pic quality and was on par with other cameras at that time for speed.
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 1:39 AM   #3
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Thanks Kalel33.

While all that you say is true regarding my comparison of different "levels" of cameras, I just wanted to make sure that the slow recovery time was not endemic to Canons. Occasionally some features seem to be associated with certain manufacturers, and run throughout their product lines.

I've never used another Canon digital. And the K-M Dimage G400, believe it or not, cost almost the same as the A520 cost me, and it recovers extremely fast. Also, the A520 is not much faster without the flash.

As you can no doubt tell, I am a rank amateur in photography! Mainly just photos of the family, though I do shoot a lot of family events. I take a lot of photos, but I have never had the luxury of using anything except simple "point and shoot" digital cameras. Since I certainly will not have the opportunity to try an A640 other than at a camera shop's counter before purchasing, I wanted to get some opinions and ask about the delays I experience on the A520.

Most of my work with images takes place on my PC. I create a lot of collages and other photo projects. Nothing tacky. I try to take great pains to make nice prints with reasonable and minimalist effects. Eg, a nice portrait of my gramddaughter with some transparent images of her at other ages blended in. Mostly layering, blending, and masking effects. Something to do for a disabled guy stuck at home a lot! But of course I have to take good photos to begin with for all else to look good. But nothing that you and some others here would consider serious photography.

If I may ask in this thread, is the A640 a good choice for the kind of use I described above? I do not think I would ever use the versatility of an SLR, and the extreme portability of the ultra-compacts is not a requirement for me. So I am thinking that a good, high quality, proven compact is a reasonable camera for me. At first I was looking at newer Canon models, but the more reviews I read, the more that the A640 sounds like a good match. As for cost, I will spend whatever I need to within reason, but of course this will then be my main camera for at least a couple of years. I can't afford a whole camera bag of frames and lenses!!

If you have other advice, I am all ears.

Thanks again for your comments, Kalel.

KALEL33 wrote:
Quote:
The A520 does not even have the Digic II processor, and as with many smaller cameras it takes them awhile to recoup if the flash is used. The A640 has the faster processor which then you could buy the faster memory cards, and if you use the flash it has 4 batteries recharging it rather than the 2 in the A520 which should speed things up. The A520 received rave reviews for all the functions, compactness, and pic quality and was on par with other cameras at that time for speed.
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 10:49 AM   #4
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Preach onbrother! I feel your pain with the 'between shot' delays. Unfortunately, for me the A520 is not my spare and ismyprimary camera :?. The delay is rediculasly long. When I take photos of people, I sometimes feel like I am operating one of those first black and white cameras However, in the camera's defense, IMO,it does make up for this by doing many other things very well and better then many cameras in which in competed with (definately better then any camera for the same price). I am considering purchasing an A6X0 since I hear that the lag is much improved on these. I heard it is a combination of it using 4 AA batteries and DIGIC II. BTW, if you do get the A640, please do let us know what you think of it in comparison to the A520.
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 11:06 AM   #5
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If you look at the review conclusion section in the camera reviews here (last page before the sample images in each model reviewed), you'll see things like AF Speed/Reliability and Cycle Time between photos discussed.

As for your finger getting in the way of the built in light meter in your G400.... be glad it has one.

It's one of the very few digital cameras that don't require a preflash to judge exposure, because it has a built in sensor to measure reflected light during the exposure..

Almost all current Digital Cameras use a preflash. I'm not talking about a redeye reduction flash. I'm talking about a metering flash.

Sensors used in digital cameras are too reflective to meter from during the flash exposure like you could do with modern SLRs having OTF (off the film) metering. So, instead, digital cameras fire a short preflash first for metering purposes, usually about 100ms before the main flash burst.

Based on how much reflected light it sees returned from the metering preflash, it decides how long the main flash burst needs to be.

Most people don't notice a metering preflash, since the interval between the metering flash and main flash is very short. But, from time to time, you can find someone that always blinks with the preflash causing a problem, and some cameras are worse than others. A preflash will also set off optical slaves too soon (they fire on the preflash versus the main flash).

But, your G400 doesn't require one (it's very unusual for a camera to have a separate sensor to measure light during flash exposures).

I've got it's older brother (the Konica Revio KD-510z, a.k.a., Minolta DiMAGE G500), which also doesn't require a preflash. I got used to holding it so that my finger didn't block the sensor after a few days. I've carried this camera with me since July 2003, about two weeks after it started shipping in Japan (I acquired one months before it was available in the U.S., rebranded as the Minolta G500).

Trivia... your G400 is actually the Konica Revio KD-420z (it's a Konica designed camera). It was rebranded as the Konica Minolta DiMAGE G400 before it started shipping in most markets after the Konica Minolta merger was complete. Very few of these were shipped branded as the KD-420z instead.

Yes, my KD-510z/G500 has more noise than some newer models at higher ISO speeds, it's not as fast as some models, etc. But, overall, it's one of the finest cameras I've ever used. Metering, White Balance, Image Processing Algorithms, etc, are all top notch (IMO, about as good as it gets).

I can remember spending two days once trying to better a camera's jpeg images by shooting raw and using a variety of tools to tweak the photos with instead, without success (these models have a hidden raw mode). Konica designed a nice camera.

Even though I've owned it for over 3 years, I'm in no hurry to replace it with another subcompact camera. From time to time, I even consider buying a spare or two on the used market, just in case mine ever fails.

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Old Oct 23, 2006, 12:33 PM   #6
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Contriver,

I agree that the A520 does take nice pictures. However trying to take them of a two and three years old is tough with this camera because during the delay I'm talking about, I often see great, candid shots disappear because by the time the shutter actually operates they have turned their heads or something else that ruins the shot.

This is truly maddening! If I can get the shot it looks great! But I usually cannot get the shot in time.
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 12:50 PM   #7
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JimC,

I agree that my G400 takes great pictures. Especially considering the price. Excellent camera!

My first time using it was at my brother's wedding at Turks and Caicos island. I had never used it before - I received it two days before leaving for the islands - yet he used my photos for additional albums instead of the pro's. Unbelievably clear pictures! I could hardly believe that I took them.

However on inside shots I was going crazy - all were coming out dark and blurry. I thought the camera was broken. I saw Steve's review and wrote in to him about it, and he told me about finger placement on the Dimage - it's so easy to affect that light meter. That was my problem exactly. Even if my finger is not directly blocking the hole - or even that close to it - as long as my finger is anywhere on that right front surface of the camera, the shot is affected. For someone with the use of my right arm only, that can get a little tricky at times. It is imperative that I use a lanyard around my right wrist or I risk dropping the G400 while trying to manuever the fingers of my right handto be able to press the button while not affecting that light meter hole and also keep the camera still.

I am not "losing" the Dimage; that will be with me for as long as possible. But I would like to try a camera with a few more settings available for me to explore. And since the Canon A520 does take such good pictures, I'm thinking the A640 may be a camera that offers me the right amount of added features and settings to try to expand my photography skills somewhat, and still take great pictures. But I just had to ask someone about that interminable delay I experience on the A520 - I would go completely crazy if I purchased an A640 and saw the same thing!!

Thanks for the input - it is greatly appreciated! I need the education.
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 4:37 PM   #8
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The A640 takes pics at one every 1.6 sec. and 2.5-3.8 when using the flash. Steve shot 8 pics in 4.2 sec. in burst mode. Speed isn't going to be a problem for this camera in comparison to others except for DSLR.
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 5:11 PM   #9
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8 shots in 4.2 seconds sure doesn't sound bad! I realize that is a special mode, though, that I wouldn't normally use. But it could come in handy.

Anyway, it sounds like my primary concern, that the delay from shot to shot is a Canon issue, is not the case, at lesat not with the A640.

Right now it appears that this may be the one I purchase!

Thanks Kalel for your assistance.
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