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Old Jul 23, 2004, 10:39 PM   #1
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Ive heard that these three cameras are good. The DSC-W1 sounds good, but the DSC-P100 has a house and more accessories, but then I hear stuff about the DSC-W1 having noise problems that P100 doesnt have or something. Also the Konica Minolta has very good image quality and stylish, but with the exception of blurry corners. Can anyone please help me give a reccommendation as to which camera out of the three should I get?
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Old Jul 23, 2004, 10:51 PM   #2
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What type of photos are you planning on taking? Do you need manual features? Or are you planning on just taking pictures in "AUTO" mode?

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Old Jul 23, 2004, 10:59 PM   #3
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Well, only you can decide which one is best for you. I have a Konica KD-510z (a.k.a., Minolta G500), and I've been quite pleased with it. I'm relatively certain that I had one of the first two cameras in the United States. I had one in my hands, within two weeks of it being released in Japan last year (long before it was released as the Minolta G500 in the U.S.).

As far as blurry corners, there have been some scattered reports of cameras with the bottom left hand corner slightly off at full wide angle. I know of two users that swapped their cameras to get rid of it. Chances are, you'll get one that's fine.

Of course, I've also seena report of vignetting (darkening of corners) ina W1 review, too. However, this didn't seem to impact real world images.

The Sonys will havemuch better video recording (if you're into that kind of thing). Personally, I don't use a still camera for videos (the qualty is just not there IMO -- especially from an audio quality perspective). It also eats up tons of storage on your memory cards. However, some users like this feature, so take this into consideration.

All of these smaller cameras will have bad redeye, so also consider that.

Note that Konica-Minolta just released a firmware upgrade for the KD-510z/G500. It offers some improvements, including Memory Stick Pro support. There are also some "undocumented improvements" being noticed by users. For example, dramatically faster transfers of photos from the camera (some have speculated that it may be USB 2.0, and the hardware was already there, but not enabled until the new firmware). Others are reporting better focus with the new firmware -- especially when using zoom. I've also seen reports that the pre-flash in redeye reduction mode has been improved (but this would seem very hard to quantify in my opinon).

I installed the new firmware in my camera over the weekend, but I haven't taken the opportunity to give it a "good workout" yet.

You can see some photos from mine here, along with links to my user review:

http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/konica_kd510z



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Old Jul 24, 2004, 5:44 AM   #4
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Im planning on taking pictures of family as well as outdoor landscape. I am not a proffessional, but I want a significant 5MP camera that has good image quality for indoor and outdoor conditions. I also want it to be able to have manual so I can have control over the shots I take. I also would like it to be able to have an O.K. movie mode as long as it is capable of doing so.
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 1:39 PM   #5
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in this case dont go with the p100 or the w1 - no manual white balance override !!!

otherthan that - they are good toys.... REMEMBER - any digital camera becomes obsolete in 6 month.... Better cameras with RAW file formats and 7-10 megapixels coming out real soon !!! Check out Panasonic-Leica !!!
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Old Jul 29, 2004, 2:02 PM   #6
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I think the W-1 and P100 have the same lens and processor??? What I do know is that my W-1 has no problems with noise. In fact, most reviews have complained about there being too much noise reduction....sacrificing detail. I have had no problems either way.
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Old Jul 29, 2004, 2:25 PM   #7
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W-1 is a nice camera. I looked at the Minolta and p-100 and Canon s-500 too. P-100 and W1 is same lens and controls (a few minor scene differences). P100 is slimmer, w1 has the big screen (which I like more than I thought I would). Big advantage of the Sonys is the ability to handle accessory lenses.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"W1 like many compacts is tricky in low light and requires a steady hand.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"What I like:

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"BIG screen, add-on telephoto, multi-burst mode (16 mini-frames in 1-2 seconds--e.g. check your golf swing in stop action), very fast. Smart Zoom feature is handy. Noise is very low.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"You can adjust white balance (5 settings based on lighting).

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Good Luck!
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Old Aug 4, 2004, 3:17 AM   #8
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Greetings-- I went through a long examination of various sub-compacts and compacts and ultimately settled on the Minolta G400 a totally extraordinary 4 MP that runs rings around every Canon 5 MP (save the G5), and Sony compact and medium 5 MP I've seen. It's a diminutive, nearly fully manual camera that actually weighs .2 ounce LESS than the Sony T1. (You have a choice of 2 F stops at any given focal length, but all the shutter speeds, ASA, etc.) Abundant extensive manual control of other parameters as well.

Absolutely minor differences image wise between it and the Minolta G500 5 megapixel, mentioned above- and in some ways better (less noise in shadow). It's a bit smaller however, and considerably faster in performance. It takes incredibly good photos BOTH indoors and out-- The T1 is really a poor low light indoor performer.

I HAVE in fact seen the blurred left side on the G600, in Steve's sample photos, as well as in the G600 I test drove myself in Denver. No such blur in any of Steves G400 photos or in ANY I've taken wide angle or not. It's a different design than either the G500/600-- and a better one. Per the new 5.4MP version coming out this week.

The G400 is capable of taking wonderful photos in VERY low light due to its extensive manual capabilities.

The Minolta G600 6 megapixel relative is a no-go wide angle focus is not good per a couple of different tests-- both Steve's and mine showed this. Had it not this apparent design flaw, it would be KILLER.

I've written a big web page on myh G400 findings at
http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/details.html (non commercial camera page) and compared it with the Sony T1, as well as my older workhorse the S85.

Its only drawback is the moderate flash- 10 feet full, you could get a bit more as a fill. I hate flash and don't need to take big flash pictures of entire banquet tables.

I looked at all the sub compacts and compacts out there. I don't think there's a camera out there that can touch the G400, especially at the $299 retail price-- I got mine online for $234, GOOD GOD. Totally INCREDIBLE value. I am AMAZED at this camera. And I am both a professional photographer and videographer.

HOWEVER-- this week Minolta releases a 5.4 megapixel version of the EXACT same camera, the G530. could be worth checking out if you crave one extra megapixel. People don't seem to realize that one extra megapixel just ain't that much on identical cameras at 4 and 5 MP arena. Not much at all. And this is one sharp 4 MP.

Looked at the P100, didn't get past the sample pictures- alas, horrible automatic noise reduction, as well as low light blurring-- same as T1. Used both Steve's and Imaging Resources to compare. Not a bad camera, but not a knockout. Same story on the Canon Elphs, including the 5 MP.

Th G400 is worth a look-- I, for one, have been extremely pleased to add this to my other cameras, and would recommend it to ANYONE for a first camera, if not an additional camera.

Neil
www.NeilSlade.com
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Old Aug 4, 2004, 10:22 AM   #9
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neilslade wrote:
Quote:
Absolutely minor differences image wise between it and the Minolta G500 5 megapixel, mentioned above- and in some ways better (less noise in shadow).
I noticed your web site also says "The Minolta G500 at 5 megapixels produced almost insignificantly more detailed images, but even according to Steve's observations, it was noiser in the shadows"

http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/details.html

Do you make this stuff up as you go along?I see no mention of shadownoise in Steve's review of this camera. In fact, I see no mention of shadow noise in any professional review of this model that I've read.

Since the G500's5MP 1/1.8" (.556" type) CCD is less dense, with slightlylarger photosites for each pixel, compared to the 4MP 1/2.5" (.40") CCD in the G400, I would expect it to have slightly lower noise at any given ISO Speed. This is because the smaller photosites don't gather as much light (due to their smaller surface area).

As a result, more amplification of their signal is needed, to get the same equivalent ISO sensitivity. This amplification tends to increase noise. Smaller Photosites also tend to have less dynamic range. That's why the DSLR models are able to shoot at higher ISO speeds, with lower noise, and better dynamic range. The photosites for each pixel are much larger.

Also,neither CCD is what I would consider to be a "low light" champ -- especially if you need to increase ISO Speed. There is very little difference in the noise characteristics of these two sensors.

For low light shooting, you're better off going to a model with larger photosites for each pixel -- such as a model using the 4MP 1/1.8" CCD, with a larger 3.1 ┬Ám pixel pitch-- combined with abrighter lens.

Now, manufacturers are continuing to improve in camera processing to reduce noise, but this issometimes at the expense of both detail and dynamic range.

Quote:
Its only drawback is the moderate flash- 10 feet full, you could get a bit more as a fill. I hate flash and don't need to take big flash pictures of entire banquet tables.
The specifications on Konica-Minolta's web site for the G400 show aflash range of 6.9 Feet at full Wide Angle, dropping down to only 3.9 Feet at full zoom.So, I'd be concerned about making it across the den, much less a banquet room.

Sure, the flash range is probably conservative, and you could get a little more range by increasing the ISO speed (at the expense of increased noise).

However, I'd let users know that this is not what Konica-Minolta says about this model. Also, because the lens lets through more than twice as much light at full wide angle, range drops off significantly using zoom (as with most subcompact camera models).

Also, it's not like you can take indoor photos without flash with a model with this type of lens and sensor. You'd have high noise and/or motion blur with it, when trying to photograph moving subjects indoors without a flash in typical indoor lighting. This is because shutter speeds would be too slow at lower ISO speeds, and noise would be too high at higher ISO speeds. Here are Minolta's specifications showing flash range:

http://www.minoltausa.com/eprise/mai...Specifications

Quote:
HOWEVER-- this week Minolta releases a 5.4 megapixel version of the EXACT same camera, the G530. could be worth checking out if you crave one extra megapixel
This new model is using an even densor CCD. It appears to the the same 5MP 1/2.5" CCD that Pansonic is going to use in the new DMC-FZ20. So, I expect noise levels to be even higher, if you need to use anything except for the lowest ISO speeds. I have already seen a post from a new Minolta X50 user that is returning his due to unacceptable noise levels indoors. The X50 also uses this new CCD.

Now, depending on print sizes needed, most users may not consider it's noise levels to be a problem. You can also get some good tools to reduce noise. However, the trend of packing more and more pixels into smaller and smaller sensors, does have it's drawbacks (higher noise and loss of dynamic range as ISO speeds are increased, and/or loss of detail from in cameras noise reduction systems).

When buying a smaller camera, there are certain tradeoffs you will need to make. In order to get more megapixels into a smaller camera body, the CCD's must be smaller and more dense, with smaller photosites for each pixel. You also have to look at things like ergonomics, flash range, etc., and how you will be using a camera.

For some users, a model like the G400 or G500 may be fine. For other users, a model with a less dense sensor, and a brighter lens may be a better choice.

But, don't assume that "smaller is better". Ditto for more is better when comparing megapixels. Most users never print at larger than 8x10" size anyway.


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Old Aug 4, 2004, 3:07 PM   #10
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Alas, I read so many camera reviews, I have credited Steve's review for point's he's actually missed... bless him though, his is a great site....

1) First as to FLASH DISTANCE, not sure what Jim's point is here. My point was that I would suggest camera models with bigger flash if you are dependent on indoor flash for large or moving subjects. So what's the argument? As for flash range in the camera specifications- well, let us all agree that what's on print, and what an "expert" might say is not necessarily God's word- both on the negative or positive side.

I actually own a G400- and I've added to my G400 VS T1 page a photo taken in my totally dark basement, in automatic mode, with flash. The flash complete lights up the entire basement wall on the other side of the room--- TWENTY FIVE FEET AWAY. Regular automatic mode- not slow shutter. This is 3 1/2 times the range stated by the Minolta specs, and other folk using print as reference rather than actually using the camera. Okay? End of discussion. http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/details.html

Please reread my page Jim, I make it perfectly clear that my old S85 with 2.1 is preferred in indoor situations.

Nevertheless, using manual controls, one can take wonderful sharp and well exposed very low light HAND HELD photos with the G400 if you know what you're doing. Something neither the T1, or a great majority of the tiny cameras out there will allow
See my dark closet photos now posted on my page as well:
http:www.neilslade.com/Papers/details.html

2) I am not the only one to note the inferior speed performance of the G500 over the faster G400. A bit of good web research will show plenty of people who have noted this. Try Dave at Imaging Resources: "All in all, a nice little digicam, bit its rather sluggish shutter response kept it from being chosen as a Dave's Pick." Or howabout our web moderator Steve- who states on the G400 review conclusion: "Perhaps the most striking feature of the G400 is its remarkable shooting performance. Minolta claims that the G400's performance is improved over the G500, and our measurements are in agreement." The G600 is faster as well in performance. But what are we talking here, fractions of a second anyway?

It should be noted that the new 5 MP Minolta camera, the G530 is based not on the older G500 model, but yes folks, on the G400. Its the exact same camera as the G400 with an extra megapixel. I hesitate to recommend anything until I get it in my hands and test it thoroughly- so it may be a bust. Often when people try to squeeze more performance out of a previous design, something gives. But who knows, it could be totally cool.


3) As for camera noise- alas, I misquoted Steve on the G400 versus G500 in this regard. SOMEWHERE out there noted that the G400 was a better value, and esentially gave the same image qualities for $100 less retail-- minus the additional megapixel. and in their opinion, the 500 produced more shadow noise. Rather than take MY word for it, or anybody else- why not just look at the photos yourself? That's what I do.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...s/PICT0267.JPG
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...s/PICT0203.JPG

Gee, GUESS WHAT? The G500 shows more shadow noise than the G400 in a lot of places. Look at the big top plate glass windows. Look at the shadows in the porch rafters. You can even see more noise and less definition on some SUNLIT areas on the G500 photo- despite the extra megapixel- see the bricks on the area in the driveway between the blue Marine Cafe sign and the white arrow in the driveway, right next to the iron hand rail--- the G500 has noise and is not as sharp as the G400.

I am sure there are times when the 500 would produce sharper imaging than it's little 400 brother. My point being, there's not a lot of difference either way.

I have learned long ago to take everything like performance statistics claimed and in print on ANY gadget with a big grain of salt. Sure, on paper something is supposed to do something, but especially with complicated gear like cameras, there are so many things involved, something like a CCD chip that's supposed to be better than another according to numbers------- well, just may not be.

I just didn't see the point in paying $150 more (couldn't get the same generous online discount for the G500 as I could for the G400)for a slower, heavier, bigger, less ergonomic camera that essentially didn't take better pictures. As for the G600, the blurred edge images created by the 600 in wide angles- seen on more than one individual camera, as well as the sharing same size, weight, and ergonomic problems of the G500- put it entirely out of the picture for me. There's more to life than pixels.

As for anybody who owns a G500-- heck, this is all splitting hairs for people with nothing better to do than read and write long essays on internet forums haha! Its ALSO a great camera. If you are fat lazy American and you are fortunate enough to own ANY camera while people all over the world are having a rough time just finding something to eat, you're doing good.


Okay, now anybody who disagrees with me and criticising my opinion sit down and shut up.
:P

(kidding)
Neil
www.neilslade.com

Jim, thanks for the prodding, I've updated my web page with the above added observations, that make the G400 look even better than before, and even "more better" than the G500.
http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/details.html
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