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Old Jul 27, 2004, 6:36 AM   #1
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This will be my second digital camera, my first being a Fuji 750,000 pixel.

I am sure i want an 8 megapixel camera, but they all seem to be around the same price with the same specs. apart from minor differences.

The main cameras im interested in are the Sony f-828,Konika Minolta DimageA2, Canon powershot Pro1 and Nikkon coolpix 8700 (i no particular order.

From what i can see the nikkon is better because it has an 8x zoom, but aperature ratings, battery type and the method of storage (compression, raw, jpeg) are unknown to me. Which is the beter camera taking everything into account?
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 6:52 AM   #2
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or does anyone have one of these four and have some pros and cons to share
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 7:24 AM   #3
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IMO it depends how responsive you want your camera to be and if you are going to be shooting in RAW or not: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/A2/A2A12.HTM

The picture results is pretty very similar to one another since they all have different flavors of the same image sensor... The A2 seems to have the most features, the best EVF, and the fastest response
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 8:50 AM   #4
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Thank you, but why would you WNAT to shoot in raw mode? what are the advantages, i have been tokld that if you use raw mode you need to do lots of stuff with it on the pc before it is useable. Oh and i have also been told that some cameras compress pixels, is this bad?
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 9:51 AM   #5
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Hi Hylian,
I have the Nikon 8700 and I really like it a lot. I also purchased the Nikon MB-E5700 Battery pack that converts the camera to use six "AA" battery's. I use Radio Shack rechargable batterys and a charger that will charge up to 8 batterys at a time. This is a very good Camera that I use for Portrait and Pet photography. The 8MP is very good because You can crop if needed and still produce a perfect 11X14 print. I also purchased the nikon UR-E8 lens adapter and use it on the lens to protect it against bumping it. You can get a screw on lens hood from Bernie's to use outdoors in bright light that will screw on to the Nikon UR-E8.
The "AA" battery pack has a rocker switch for using the zoom on the lens along with a properly placed shutter release button for doing vertical photographs. I like it because it makes the camera feel very good to hold and use and it also helps to keep the fingers off of the buttons on the lens. It balences out this camera body without adding much weight at all. Also, if You need batterys in a pinch,"AA's are found just about any place on the planet.
I use the Nikon 28DX flash set at TTL as part of this camera. I don't like the small pop up flash built into the camera at all. (Red Eye) not any diffrent then any of the dumb built in flash's used on these type's of cameras."all makes".
I set the asa to stay at 200 all of the time and use shutter priority and set it 125 for most of My pictures with No problems with noise or color or speed.
I used to shoot with A Hasselblad and the Photographs I do now are just as good if not better and all I have to lug around is about 4 pounds including the tripod instead of a 20 pound bag of equipment and a 10 pound tripod.
I.m sure all of the 8MP cameras are good, but the Nikon has more accessories going for it.
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 10:13 AM   #6
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Hylian wrote:
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Thank you, but why would you WNAT to shoot in raw mode? what are the advantages, i have been tokld that if you use raw mode you need to do lots of stuff with it on the pc before it is useable. When you shoot in JPEG, the data taken from the sensor is being processed by the camera.
When you shoot in RAW, as the name implies, the camera is storing unprocessed data from the CCD (the image sensor).

The advantage of RAW, is that you have a higher bit depth (more bits representing the color and brightness for each pixel), and you canchange the settings for things like White Balance, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, etc., later using software.

For example, if you let the camera choose white balance settings for light you are working in, and the colors don't come out the way you anticipated, then this can be harder to correct later, because the data has already been processed by the camera. The camera's Auto White Balance tries to accurately determine the temperature of the light source, so if it gets it wrong, or if you have it set wrong, then it's difficult to correct later.

With RAW, you can set these things later using software, trying different settings to make it look "just right". Or, take contrast for example:If the camera processes the CCD data with contrast set to high, then you can lose detail in the photo. Or, if you have sharpening set too high, you can cause unwanted "halos" around sharper edges. You also have more exposure latitude with RAW.

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Oh and i have also been told that some cameras compress pixels, is this bad?
If you shoot with JPEG versus RAW, then the camera is compressing the image. JPEG is a "lossy" compression method. In other words, you can lose color range and subject detail if too much compression is applied, because the compression algorithms may decide to represent several subtle shades of color and brightness with only one color and brightness level for these pixels in the final image. JPEG Compression can also lead to artfiacts.

The more compression used, the more image data you'll lose.

Most cameras allow you to set JPEG Compression Quality in the camera. The higher the quality, the lower the compression, the more image detail/color range you'll retain.

The disadvantage of shooting in RAW, is that file sizes are much larger, and camera operation is usually slower. It also requires you to use software to process the image later on your PC.

Note that some manufacturers allow you to change more settings with their RAW mode and software versus others. This is because RAW is proprietary to a manufacturer. There are third party software packages (and plug-in's) that will allow processing of popular RAW formats, too. So, you are not necessarily limited to the manufacturers software in all cases.

Many users never use RAW. Some users insist on it, to make sure their photos have the most detail possible, and that they have the most flexibility later for insuring the best photos.




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Old Jul 27, 2004, 10:41 AM   #7
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1. Beside all the extra features that the A2 offers, one thing everyone must do is to handle each camera: A manual turning zooming ring, and a separate manual focusing ring that you can turn anytime to overide the camera autofocus without switching mode first is a real benefit. Theses are areas where the A2 shines the most and is helped by its higher resolution viewfinder... At night its EVF even switch to B/W and still focus in total darkness where most others will be lighting up like Christmas trees or slow the AF down. Try this with the other 8Mpixels and you'll see the light!

2. This is the only 8Mpixels which features Image Stabilization, and the A2's lens is threaded for filters...

3. Like other OEM, there's a battery grip for the A2, attachment lenses, accessory remote release, as well as a few flash options, severals of which could be controlled wirelessly through the camera and in the TTL mode... The camera even featured a built-in intervalometer that required to be bought separately on other brands :?
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 11:47 AM   #8
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Raw takes the image directly from the CCD with no alteration. There are a lot of advantages:

-You don't have to concern yourself with anything but focus, exposure and composition while shooting. Everything else like white balance, contrast, sharpening and saturation can be set in the software just as if you were setting it in the camera.

-A raw file is better quality than a TIFF and well less than half the size.

-TIFF and JPG are 8 bit, where you can extract a 16 bit file from raw. Usually the camera is only 12 or 14 bit, but the difference is still significant.

The newest version of Photoshop will work directly with raw files and there is a plug-in for version 7. There are viewers that will view raw files directly – even the free Irfanview has some raw capability. If you don't have Photoshop you have to convert the raw files in the camera's software before you can work with them. I anticipate other good editors like Paint Shop Pro will have to add raw capability.

I would shoot only in raw with my D7i if it buffered the raw shots. The wait between shots leaves raw for scenic use where a wait isn't going to lose a better picture. But the Minolta A2 will buffer 3 raw shots, which is impressive. I would probably shoot mostly in raw with the A2.

Stabilization lets you get by in a lot of situations without a tripod that would require one using other cameras. I have a camera with stabilization, and now that I've used it I will never have another large camera without it.

You probably use a 28mm wide angle at least as much as a long zoom. You can get good quality name-brand telephoto extenders at reasonable prices that take an A2 up to superzoom capability. And you have stabilization to make it practical to use that much zoom without schlepping around a tripod.

I would guess that everyone will eventually have stabilization on their flagship models. I don't see anything the other cameras have that anywhere near makes up for the lack of stabilization. You can get lost in the finer points of resolution charts, but they don't represent anything you would see in your photos. But stabilization does.

All of those cameras will store the images as JPG, which has compression. The higher the quality of the JPG the lower the compression. The A2 has a true SHQ JPG, which is very high quality and just about impossible to tell from a TIFF. I think TIFF is an impractical format for digital cameras. The files are too big, the write times too long and they aren't as good a quality as raw. SHQ JPG is an excellent choice if you are on vacation and have only limited memory, or if you are in a dynamic situation and the 3 shot raw buffer isn't enough.
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 2:18 PM   #9
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Thank you for the explanations of raw and jpeg. I can see that there are advantages for each camera and the A2 seems to be the most popular, what are oppinions on the canon and Sony. Also how much does that extra 1x on the Nikon improve its zoom.

The 35x digital zoom and near night vision on the sony sound good, does anyone have an oppinion on these.

Lastly what are the batteries like for all the cameras, except the nikon which has previosly been explained
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Old Jul 27, 2004, 3:12 PM   #10
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I'm sure you will see ithere it many times. Digital zoom is pretty much meaninglessyou can do the same thing post processing (and it will look a lot better).

I have an A2, I have friends that have the Canon Pro1 and the 5700.

The pro1 is a nice camera, it does produce really nice from the camera pictures. The zoom takes getting used to but it isn't that bad. If the Minolta A2 wasn't around I would have chosen the Canon. For my friend it was a better fit since it is smaller and he does not like to fiddle with the camera much.The Canon has a better feel than the A2 (more sturdy feeling).The A2 is a tweakers dream you can set all kinds of stuff and it has a lot of buttons, it also has the optional battery pack (something Ireally wanted) andthe IS.

The 5700 (5MP version of 8700) is an OK camera. The zoom goes higher on it (280mm) so it magnifys more optically (nice) but it doesn't have as good a low end so it is barely wide angle. Wide angle is (of course) important when shooting at parties or close areas. I never liked this series but it is on a totally subjective fact that I didn't like the way the buttons were arranged on it. I was always button hunting on this camera when I borrowed it. The Pro1 and A2 were very natural (even with all the buttons and dials on the A2).

One question you might want to ask is why do you want an 8MP camera? I got mine because I wanted more crop space than my 4MP had. You are coming from a .75MP world andif you are not printing 8MP is probably going to be wasted. I've advised people I work with that you are many times better off getting a superzoom 4MP and taking a nice vacation to get some pictures than getting a 8MP camera and spending lots of bucks and shooting pictures of the cat.

Remember there are hidden costs on each of these cameras, you are going to need BIG memory cards (512M minimum) to use it and if you decide to do RAW the 1GB cards will start looking small.With the Canon and A2 theyuse the newer fasterCF cards that cost more than the older cards. Dedicated flashes and extra batteries can take a dent out of your wallet also. Also don't forget extra hard disk space (or at least a DVD burner) more memory for your PC (1GB is really needed for the 8M images once you start playing around). And of course you will need to get one the new printers to go with thecamera :-).





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