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Old Dec 6, 2006, 6:15 PM   #1
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I wrote to this forum a little over a year ago for advice on a camera that I could use in my architecture studies. That thread can be found here:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...ecture+student

Well, after following this forum's generous and well reasoned advice I ended up with the Konica Minolta A200. However, after one pleasant year of use that great camera has been stolen in a burglary.

I now need a replacement. I was considering getting the same camera again, but Konica Minolta have since exited the photography business, and I'd rather get a camera from a company in whose support I can have confidence.

Therefore, I am now looking for a camera from a different manufacturer, but that fulfils largely the same criteria. Two cameras immediately seem suitable - the Kodak P880 and the Sony DSC-R1. The R1 in particular is intriguing - its like my old A200 on steroids - more control, better image quality, bigger sensor, higher ISO, wider angle lens - while still retaining all of the benefits except IS.

The trouble is, I think its been discontinued. Does this mean I won't be able to buy replacement batteries, lens caps etc? Will there be an R2? A lot of the stores seem to be out of stock, and I'm not sure I trust the ones who do claim to have stock. I'm considering buying used, but I'm a eBay newbie. These things are putting me off the R1.

Should I be considering an SLR instead? Reviews I have read suggest that the R1 is a bargain for the image quality, and a similar priced SLR body + lens couldn't match it. On the other hand, maybe going that high end is a waste of money and I should go with the Kodak - though it seems to be worse in spec than the A200, and I'm not sure I'd enjoy going down the ladder as much as up it.


What are your recommendations?

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Old Dec 6, 2006, 6:35 PM   #2
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I think most people would agree that the Sony is the superior camera. It has an APS (normal DLSR) sized sensor. It has a fabulous lens. However, it costs twice as much as the Kodak, maybe more. The Kodak is not a bad camera, either. The chief criticism of it seems to be that it s fairly slow going from shot to shot. Not great for sports shots, but ok for portraits and landscapes. Costco had the Kodak on sale for a very good price. It may still be on sale for that price. If it is, I would feel tempted to get it now, learn what I could with it and a year from now, to buy a better (faster) camera.
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 7:15 PM   #3
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I agree 100% with robbo-

The Kodak P-880 has come down in priceto $269 at http://www.costco.com. I am not sure that price is still available. It would be worth a check. At the price, the camera could give you a lot of photographic mileage, and then you will be really clear as to if you desire to move onward to a DSLR camera.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 7, 2006, 1:39 AM   #4
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As of 1 minute ago, the P880 was still on sale at Costco. Go check it out. I think it's a great deal. Great wide angle shoots (24mm) to moderate zoom (140mm). I would think it would be ideal for your work.
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Old Dec 7, 2006, 7:20 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies, robbo and mtclimber.

My concern with the P880 is that it will feel like a step down from my old A200, in both image quality and usability. Do you think this is the case? I have read some harsh criticisms of the camera - specifically this comparison between the it and the R1 on dpreview forums (admittedly it was the sonytalk forum!):

"The P880 has excellent image quality for the sensor size and the lens is absolutely superb (it's like the equivalent of the R1 lens in tiny-CCD land) but that it where it stops, the Ergonomics are horrible, the LCD pretty awful, the AF is slow AND weak even in good light (the R1 is always accurate and only slow in low light), it has the slowest card writes I've seen and gives problems in JPG let alone RAW which is pretty unusable regardless of card.


The R1 is only an issue in RAW with writes and it's not slow (faster than a 1DS MK1) the issue is that there's very little buffer, the files are colossal and you need a fast MS stick to get the write speed up - JPGs can just be shot at will.. the R1 JPG engine is pretty awful compared to RAW as the NR Kills fine detail stone dead (Shooting RAW + RSE or Capture one turns the cam into a RAW shot D2X + £1000 lens image quality wise - massive improvement) but it'd print as big as the P880 at low ISOs and WAY WAY WAY bigger at ISO400 and above..

Considering that the P880 Body / AF is that bad and it doesn't cost much less than an R1, the R1 is the no-brainer even if you have to use the poor JPG engine, if you're comparing RAW then the P880 doesn't come within missile distance of the R1."

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=21172801

That $269 does seem an absolute bargain however - especially when you convert it back to pounds (which is what I will be paying in - though I have a relative in the states who can make the purchase on my behalf). Its only 140 pounds.

Regarding learning what I can and then buying again after a year - I'm not too keen on that idea. I have been using the A200 for a year or so, and I'm not sure I want to go into my architectural course in September and find that I need to buy a better camera, though this does seem unlikely.

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Old Dec 8, 2006, 9:53 AM   #6
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Woodface-

Now let's take a moment and consider availability. The last price I saw on the R-1 was $653. The last price that I saw on the P-880 was $269 Therefore, theP-880 costs 59% less than the R-1 (or$384 less if you want to look at it that way!).

The R-1 is physically larger than the P-880. Perhaps that is a factor. And, finally here is the real zinger! I have twostundents who want the R-1 quite dearly, butthey cannot find one in stock anywhere in the USA, and they have been looking for over a week today.

I got my R-1 around October 29th on a pure guess. I was on the road doing a workshop, and went ahead and ordered it, just because I felt that the inventory was dwindling fast. I managed to get theR-1.

So, woodface, at this point in time, I don't really think that an R-1 is a viable option, except if you get really lucky. However, the choice is up to you.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 8, 2006, 8:23 PM   #7
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Mt Climber,

While my initial reaction was to reject the idea of postponing the 'big' purchase until I am more experienced and confident in what I want, the more I think about it, the more I think that you and robbo were right. It really does seem like the most sensible course of action. After all, technology is constantly marching forward, and unless I am paying a good price for a high-end camera now it makes sense to wait till the need or opportunity for that next level presents itself. In a year's time some exciting new camera may be on the market that will be perfect for me. And if I start my course and I find I need a better camera, at least at that point my needs will be absolutely defined, and I can buy in the confidence that what I get will be good enough for my work.

Every day the prices of the R1 rise, and what was once extremely exciting at 600-650 is now daunting at over 750-800 - or even more than its original RRP at some stores ($1200!?).

Only one thing is holding me back from taking the Costco deal on the P800 with no regrets, and that is the Fuji Finepix S6000fd.

I have just been reading about it and it seems like it may also be very suitable for me. The lens isn't as wide as the P880, and it takes lower res shots, but it does have much better low-light ability (low noise at high-ISO) and almost no barrell distortion - two critera that were on my original list one year ago. Both seem to have good image quality - which is better I don't know. The S6000 can be found for only 310 dollars after rebate from a reputable store on Reseller Ratings:

http://shop.resellerratings.com/?key...kin_id=3056829

Thoughts?
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 2:04 AM   #8
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Check out these reviews of the S6000fd:



http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/fuj.../s6000-gen.php

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

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilms6000fd/

Also, check out mtclimber's sample shots from this camera on other threads in this forum.

You might like this camera.






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Old Dec 9, 2006, 5:26 AM   #9
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I agree with Robbo-

While the wide angle view is only 28mm, on the Fuji S-6000, as oppossed to the 24mm wide angle on the P-880, theFuji S-6000 has a lot of interesting features. Keep in mind that this same camera is sold overseas as the Fuji S-6500.

In terms oflow light capability, while the S-6000 is based on the Fuji F-30 imager and processor, it does not quite do as well as the F-30 at ISO settings of 1600 and 3200. I believe the reason that the S-6000 does not quite do as well at ISO 1600 and 3200, is because the processor has been "tweaked" a bit to improve the outdoo full sun light capabilities of the camera.I have been very pleased with the S-6000 at ISO 800 and have onlyused the camera at ISO 1600 once in the week that I have owned this camera, the IQ is very commendable for a camera with a zoom lens ranging from 28mm to 300mm in focal length and ISO settings up to 3200.

Here is a sample photo at ISO 1600. You will notice that there is some visible noise in the image, but it does remain acceptable This is a handheld shot, using the flourescent WB, taken without flash.



The other obvious question is how does the S-6000 do in normal outdoor lighting. That is important, because the Fuji F-30 had a bit of a problem with outdoor photos in normal sun light.

Here is a sample photo in normal sunlight. I further attempted to make it even more difficult by selecting the chrome option which substantially increased the color saturation in the photo.



I will end by attaching an ISO 800 handheld photo where I again used flourescent WB and handheld the camera, again no flash was used.



AsI mentioned previously, woodface, I have only had the camera for a week, so I have not developed a huge library of images as of yet. However, by and large, I have been rather impressed and pleased with the Fuji S-6000. It does a fine job for a less than $US 400 camera that can be purchased with a $US 50.00 rebate.

MT/Sarah
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