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Old Aug 5, 2004, 7:27 PM   #21
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PS People have asked me about Sony cameras-- I have a house filled with Sony gear, including my S85, which is a really really nice camera.

But here's my reply regarding such:

I looked very carefully at the sample photos posted by Steve, particularly
the school, and the boathouse. Then I tried the T1 at home along with the G400. I didn't bother with the P100 because the indoor photos at Imaging Resources showed it to be such a horrible indoor camera. It handles contrast nicely, but otherwise-- read on.

The Minolta shows significantly better detail and less "noise reduction"
than either the T1, the W1, or the P100- all of which lose detail-
look at the roof tiles and the chimney on Steve's school. Look at the roof textures on the boathouse.. The Sony camera's are worse
relative to either the Minolta G400 or G500. The T1 perpetually overexposes,
as well as
burns out in the highlights- look at the short wall in the lower left. The
P100 and the W1 smear so much detail in the chimney and roof, it looks out
of focus. It reminds me of the SMEAR tool in Photoshop. This is because of Sony's built in "noise reduction" programming. They should have called it "quality reduction". Dreadful. And you can't turn it off. The T1 is clearly worse in this regard. I've seen seen really bad P100 indoor no flash photos at Imaging resources that leaves me extremely skeptical about the indoor capabilites of these Sony 5MP cameras.

I also looked at sample photos on Imaging Resources.

It's a no brainer.

I had a T1 here for a full day. It was an absolutely dreadful indoor camera.
The menu access was nothing to write home about

The Sony W1 and P100 do have good manual shutter speed control (unlike the T1), but look at the indoor no flash photography samples at Imaging Resources.
http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/CDISPLAY.HTM
and compare with the G500

The W1 seems like the best choice- but it's a bigger camera than the G400 or G600. The Sony P100, is VERY blurry, at the given shutter speed, the W1 less so. Both cameras lose all of the detail in the subjects skin. The G500 captures all the details, pores, etc.

The Sony colors are more saturated, but you can easily saturate the Minolta colors post-- lost details cannot be fixed post with software.

The Minolta G400 ran
circles around the Sony T1 indoors. The Sony 5 MP admittedly has better outdoor
sharpness because its an additionl megapixel over the G400- but whatever it gains in the megapixel, it can lose depending on the texture of the subject. Look at the sample photos. The G400 has much better vertical resolution- check the vertical bricks in the chimney, as well as better handling of high contrast. And it exposes properly, something the T1 absolutely does not do.

The G500 surpases any of the Sony's in detail and sharpness.

It has good color too. The G500 color seems to match Sony color (outdoors), the G400 is a little more saturated, and has a tad more of green/yellow-- any of which you can adjust, or tweak either in the camera or post if you don't like it.

The Minolta LCDs are perfectly visable in any condition, and appear brighter
in bright light because they are more compact.

I buy a camera not to "watch TV" on (I'm not blind!)- but to take quality pictures, and have
sufficient flexability in picture taking. So I don't need a giant LCD. 1.5 inches is fine to work with. My older Sony S85 fits the bill
perfectly, so I have nothing against Sony-
but their new model cameras are unusable for me. They are good for rich
suburban housewives- not serious and flexible photography.

Its true, the Minoltas don't have an AV out. I don't miss it. I look at my
pictures on my computer, which I need to edit and Photoshop photos anyway.
Once you do this, you make a CD and stick it in your DVD player and then you
can watch on TV if necessary. Whoopee!

The Sony W1 seems to be Sony's most popular camera. Its got a big screen, 5
MP, and is $399.
It doesn't seem to offer the imaging quality of even the G400 however.

Thats my opinion, and JimCs as well. We are both hard core.
Look at my photos at http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/details.html to see
the difference between the T1 and the G400-- at half the price. I had no good indoor low light pictures taken by the Sony- this is a statistical impossibility without flash under low light.

Another thing to keep in mind is Sony's ad budget-- likely 10 times what
Minolta spends on ads. So, there's a lot less buzz about the Minoltas, and
less people know how great these camera's are.
PS- I have a house filled with Sony products-- I just can't tell people how
great their current line of cameras are- when they are not.

Thanks
Neil

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Old Aug 6, 2004, 1:19 AM   #22
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Jim Jim Jim!!

Oh for SHAME-- Steve's spec pages on the G400 show the same LCD as on the G600- 120,000 pixels.

Naughty naughty getting your facts wrong... ;-) either that or Steve misquoted the specs: oh my GOD! ;-)

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...mage_g600.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...mage_g400.html

Actually, I think he's right, cause when I had the two cameras next to each other, I saw no difference in the LCDs.

Anyway, because I am partially insane, I am borrowing a G600 for a couple of days for those thinking about it, and will do several hours of hard core A B comparison- and will post my findings.

I've taken a few photos at the camera store, and can say the color on the G600s is dead on perfect, whereas I tweak the G400 a hair here and there. Obviously, the extra 2 MP make for sharper images, even when you're shooting at the 4 MP setting. But there's that blur-- so, hopefully the borrowed camera will come without this frequent bug.


ALSO- I've had questions about lack of AV output on the Minoltas- yes, this is true. I haven't missed it because I don't use a TV to view my photos. The Minolta LCD is 126,000 pixels, and the sharpest LCD I've ever seen, as well as giving you the ability to zoom in up to 12X (G400) or 14X (G600) to see all the minute details of any photo taken in the field. At home, I can burn a CD and place in my DVD player if I really need to view on TV anywhere.

The superiority of the Minoltas in clarity and detail is so great over similar sized Pentax, Sony, and Canon cameras, the lack of AV output is a minor point as far as I'm concerned. Just compare sample pictures---
Later
Neil




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Old Aug 6, 2004, 8:58 PM   #23
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neilslade wrote:
Quote:
Jim Jim Jim!!

Oh for SHAME-- Steve's spec pages on the G400 show the same LCD as on the G600- 120,000 pixels.

Naughty naughty getting your facts wrong... ;-) either that or Steve misquoted the specs: oh my GOD! ;-)

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...mage_g600.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...mage_g400.html

Actually, I think he's right, cause when I had the two cameras next to each other, I saw no difference in the LCDs.
Nope. Check the specs on the Konica-Minolta web sites (Japan, Europe, U.S. -- anywhere you want to check 'em). The G400 LCD is 76,800 pixels. The G500 is 117,000 pixels.Take a picture with both cameras, then magnify in playback and compare detail. The difference will be clear. As for the G600, I haven't touched one.

Steve probably got fed the wrong info by KM when it was introduced. Sometimes the press doesn't match up correctly to the camera.

Added:

Neal, IfI had to speculate, the higher resolution display in the KD-510z/G500 probably draws more power. So, Konica-Minoltacould havemade a design decision that gave more weight to battery life for the G400. Even though the G400 battery is a higher capacity battery, compared to the one that ships with the G500,thebattery lifein the G400 is much greater than the increased batterycapacity would lead you to believe it would be.
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Old Aug 6, 2004, 10:24 PM   #24
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Well there you go--- you just can't trust ANYBODY anymore.........

Yes, you're right-- I actually had a G600 for a little while today, the LCD is perfectly smooth and sharp. Yes the LCD is sharper-- but these are both only 1.5" LCDs, so the difference is use is mostly academic. Both magnify the image up to 12X or 14X when reviewing for errors or focus in the field. Again, I didn't even notice until you pointed it out, and I had them both side by side numerous times and didn't even note any difference. The G400 LCD is right up there. The extra pixels on the G500/600 are a nice luxury, but I wouldn't consider it a necessity by any stretch.

Did a few pictures-- 8X10 hard to tell any difference in resolution-- blow it up a good amount, and that's where the bigger G600 CCD kicks in. One would be hard pressed to know if 6MP is really useful for one's applications however. I usally shoot at 2MP on my big Sony S85, and for my work, that's usually plenty. If one is planning on big enlargements, or severe cropping- 6MP and the added sharpness of the G600 might be very welcome.

Remember this, the Canon SLR at $1000 is 6MP and a benchmark to compare other cameras to-- the sharpness of its imaging is phenomenal compared to all these little compacts. But remember, the G600 is 1/3 the price, and fits in the smallest pocket. It is not the serious heavy duty machine the Canon SLR is, but it comes closer than any other camera I've seen in the under $600 or so.

Why anybody would even consider any of the other compacts out there- the Pentax's, Sony's, Nikons, Olympus, Canons at this range considering the quality of these Minolta's --- this speaks volumes about the power of advertising and brand preference.

The G600 is really only 1/8" thicker overall at most than the G400. It looks more, because the body is curved, unlike the perfectly flat G400. It does apparently weigh 2 more ounces on a scale-- but in your hand it's hard to tell the difference.



The colors of the G600 are spot on perfect and neutral. The G400 has the very slightest yellow/red warmth. Very very slight-- like comparing Fuji with Kodak film.

Anyway, I'll have a G600 in my hands here for a couple of days, so I'm anxious to AB it against the G400 in more depth.

On paper, there appears to be some price one pays for the extra pixels-- battery life, exposure compensation, size, weight- I just hope I don't end up buying two cameras......... !

Speaking of cameras, I picked up another little toy camera this week, the Smart Mustek Mini3, $50. Amazing gadget.
2.1 Megapixels- with built in interpolation to 3 (it looks good. To my complete astonishment, the thing can actually produce better than decent snapshots given the right conditions. This little plastic spy camera weighs 1.2 oz., Look at sample photos and the camera here
http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/brainphotofun2.html

Neil
www.neilslade.com


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Old Aug 9, 2004, 12:53 AM   #25
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Transferred from private message to this thread by Neil...

JIM: OK, all photos are working now. However, I still disagree with you on the G600 having less noise.

The photo you've been using for noise comparison in Steve's review had much more even lighting, with less shadows and reflections in the G600 samples. Because of this even lighting, the camera selected a slightly brighter exposure. You can tell it because of the slightly whiter skies and roof tile colors. Noise is always worse in underexposed areas. However, because of the even lighting with less reflections (and the exposure it selected), it didn't underexpose the same areas as much -- making it look cleaner.

NEIL: I asked Steve, he says that he likes to set cameras at the lowest possible ASA- and doesn't know why the 500 was set at 100. He didn't think it would make much difference.

Looking at the boathouse, it looks like the G600 has generally longer shadows- same for the school, so if anything, lower sun, less brillant light.

In any case, the difference in noise isn't huge- looks like a little more- given these conditions- on the 500.

The 600 is absolutely producing finer images than the 400 at great magnification, little argument. The 500 in general, also the same. The question is how important is this to any one user-- These cameras are so close in size and weight and price, it seems like the only consideration for most people is going to be if they like having the viewfinder in the corner, or in the middle, and if they want to spend the extra dough for the extra megapixels.

I set the 600 down flat next to the 400 today on a counter. It really is less than 1/8" thicker than the 400- but appears more because it has a curved front body shape giving the illusion of a lot more thickness. Its just the thickness of the sliding cover- that's it. It does weigh more per the specs- 2 oz. I think. I do like the viewfinder in the corner of the 400, but then, its probably more accurate to have it in the middle as 500/600 set up.
Played with the menus today, different layout, both probably about the same getting around speed.

*******

JIM: With the G400, there were more reflections, with uneven lighting, and the camera compensated for the extra light being thrown back towards it by picking an exposure that was a little more underexposed (for the scene as a whole). Hence, you had more underexposed areas with a little more noise. That's the difference you're seeing with them.

As for the G500, it's ISO speed was set twice as sensitive as the G400 was (or the G600 was for it's photos). So, sure you're going to get higher noise levels. It's an extremely clean camera at ISO 50. I have no idea why Steve didn't lock the ISO to 50 for it for his test photos. It's a simple setting under the Quality menu in a user profile.

If you took the same photos, in the same lighting with the G500 and G600, at the same settings in controlled conditions, the 5MP 1/1.8" CCD is going to win out over the 6MP 1/1.8" CCD. KM probably didn't change a darn thing in the image processing between these two models that would help noise or color accuracy. I think they simply stuck a higher resolution sensor in it, since more megapixels sells cameras.


NEIL: You are likely right, I've got no real argument per the differences between any of these cameras- one way or the other, its small -- I don't have a 500 vs a 600 at hand, and won't-- but given Steve's samples, the 600 doesn't look noisy at all to begin with, so if what you say is true, even if the 500 was "as noisy" at 50 ASA, its got to look great anyway- per theory, it should be less.

***************

JIM: Lighting varies a lot -- even at the same time of day, and this will impact the exposure a camera uses for a given scene, which will impact things like color accuracy and noise levels.

To do a fair comparison, these things have to be identical for the tests.
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Old Aug 9, 2004, 7:53 AM   #26
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I have been following this discussion and I have been swayed toward the Minolta G600. Is it really better thana Sony? What about pictures in dimly lit rooms? It seems that if I want to solve this problem I need to get a bigger camera (like the 7i or something). Are Minolta's bigger cameras (the seven series) great competitors with the big boys (sony, canon) like their smaller cameras?

Thanks.
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Old Aug 9, 2004, 12:07 PM   #27
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Please read all of the details provided on my web page- where I have answered this question to the best of my ability beyond this thread.
http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/details.html and
http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/brainphotofun.html

Low light photography requires one of two thing
A BIG low F stop lens-- which will gather a lot of light (which would allow some automatic program exposure)- like the older Sony S85 which had an big F2.1 lens (AND total exposure control.)

OR

manual control of shutter speed coupled with sufficently fast lens.

The Sony T1 is a mostly automatic exposure camera with a few "low light" settings. The W1 and P100 add manual shutter speeds, which makes all the difference in low light. I looked carefully at the Imaging Resources indoor no flash sample photos at
http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/CDISPLAY.HTM

and this shows the Sony blurring phenomenon- detail is lost. Compare the skin and hair of the subject to the Minolta G500. The Minolta shows fine lines and pores, the Sony's soften everything at the fine detail level.

My older 4 megapixel S85 produces sharper images indoors low light than any of the new under $1000 Sony cameras because of its vastly superior big bottom lens. Go get one of these on Ebay like-new for $200. It will better ANY of these cameras indoors.

Maybe this amount of detail won't matter to you. The Sony colors are more saturated, but this can be matched by Minolta post with software easily. Detail lost by the camera can almost never be recaptured.

Keep in mind- moving subjects require a faster shutter speed, and if the light is too low and your shutter speed two low, you're out of luck-- "art motion" blurred photo.

On top of this, other elements in the Minoltas allow them to generally create sharper images than any other compact cameras manufactured at present. It could be the lens, coupled with other elements-- not exactly sure myself. The sample photos on Steve's site reveal this clearly.

The V1 has full manual controls-- but its a bigger camera, with low battery life, unlike the early S85/ S85 or $1000 Sony F2.1 DSC-878 which takes a big battery and is a relatively huge camera. The V1 is also $499. So if you don't mind getting a numerous extra batteries (rather than 1 or 2 extra suggested for the MInoltas), carrying a bigger camera, and spending another $100 it will work under most conditions. Look at it's sample photos for good feedback about it's picture "look".

There are some bigger lensed cameras that outperform the G600, and there are some that do not. Just increasing the lens size alone does not quality a camera. SOme of Minolta's own big lensed zoomed cameras created images clearly inferior to the G600. So, lots of sample photo comparing needs to be done.

If you want a no-brainer solution for low light- no flash photograph the Canon SLR digital at $900 would be perfect, and provides astonishing digital quality and control. But, thats a fair piece of change and a full sized SLR camera.

Neil Hope this helps


HEY!! I discovered something really funny about this board-- whenever I typed in the words "big a-s-s" the board automatically changes my "rear end" word above starting with "a" to the word "BOTTOM"!!!! I can't type out a s s without spaces!
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Old Aug 9, 2004, 12:54 PM   #28
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For $ US 234.00, the g400 sure's mucho camera for the buck, thanks Neil for spreading the word, and nice work too on your website. BTW, what do you think of the Canon a80?
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Old Aug 9, 2004, 2:25 PM   #29
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It's getting where anything I write is potentially obsolete within a month.........!

Anyway, the first thing I do is look at the School sample photo at Steve's for any camera. Outdoor distant detail tells a lot to me-- as this is mostly what I shoot- subjects beyond 6 feet in good outdoor light. I've got the detail resolution memorized in my brain for all the good cameras.

Looking at the A80 in this respect it instantly tells me a couple of things- BTW--- its obvious the fire hydrant was painted with new paint at some point, so will be much more saturated in some photos. I'm not sure about the flat roof section- if it was also repainted at some point. I generally observe the bricks and street and sky and grass and trees to observe color difference.

Details are lost per high contrast in highly lit sections-
see white concrete wall, lower left. Then look at the roof tiles-- less detail, more smearing , a la Sony P100, W1, T1. Both Chimney bricks look pretty good. The white mortar in the bricks and white pipes take on a "painted" look in many sections ont the Canon, per fringing and more contrast blow out. Canon color is generally pretty good, and among the best. Look at the concrete wall bottom left-- no difference in color between the top and side of the wall- the G400 doesn't blow out the whole wall as one white as the Canon does.

A few areas of the A80 do look sharper than the G400-- but not the G500/600. It's a mixed bag in the A80, with generally higher contrast that loses some details.

Then I look at the boathouse to confirm-- The A80 has very little noise, and handles the shadows nicely here.

But both small Canons have some bad vertical fringing, not exhibitied by the Minoltas- compare the G400 chimney then compare to the A80 and S500 chimneys-- look at the vertical edge of the chimney next to the sky-- a purplely halo on the edge. Look at the smaller vertical pipes above the flat roof portion of the school on the left half. Here it's really obvious- and it again gives the Canon photos a painted look.

the G400 and the A80 are taken on about the same time of day-- but the A80 loses the detail in the flatroof building door window screen horizontal lines- absent in the Canon. Look at the Street sight "St." clearer on the Minolta.

I mean, none of the present generation 3-5 MP cameras are BAD-- its just that some are better than others in some respects. The A80 is bigger than either the Elphs or the Minoltas.

The A80 has nice external fast access to the various menus, a flip out LCD, and is a bigger camera-- so if you've got big hands, this could be an advantage.

It also takes regular AA batteries-- which is great if you're in Yellowstone taking a billion pictures, and your battery, and spare battery(s) go dead. Hop over to the Yellowstone drugstore and buy batteries off the shelf. that's why I'll never sell my S85-- 3000 pictures per battery charge.


The main thing is nobody should take my word as THE LAST word-- I'm just trying to share what I see-- you may discover something additional yourself.

Neil
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www.neilslade.com/Papers/brainphotofun.html
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Old Aug 9, 2004, 2:30 PM   #30
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Neil,

hate to bother you again, but do you recommend Olympus 5050/5060 series? I am strongly leaning this way (after 3 days straight of research). I want something a bit bigger than the Minolta for Flash capacity and because I'd really like some room to grow. Thanks if you can answer.

cathy
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