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Old Jan 22, 2005, 4:29 AM   #1
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[align=justify]Hi all,[/align]
[align=justify]Well I've been reading through this forum for a month or so now (great forum BTW) as I'm considering getting a new camera. [/align]
I currently own an Olympus 5050z (a superb camera) and a Canon s50 (which is my carry around in my bag camera) – The Olympus gives me much, much better photos. I found the Canon gives a softer picture and appears to have less pixels to play with when I crop images down. I also own an old Pentax Z10 SLR with an 28-80 lens and a 80-200 zoom lens. Anyway I've been doing some photography classes over the last year and I've decided that I want to consider getting a new camera with more pixels and a bigger zoom.[/align]
[align=justify]I sort of have my eye on the Olympus 8080 or the Konica Minolta A200, but I'm in two minds. And now since reading through the various threads I'm now even considering the Panasonic FZ20…. darn I'm getting indecisive..[/align]
[align=justify]I tend to take indoor shots, buildings photos, landscapes and nature shots (distance, not macro) so hence I'm really interested in the large zoom on the Panasonic but its only 5 megapixels, same as my Olympus and the Canon cameras and then I think for an extra £50 (in the UK) I can get an 8 Meg camera (plus I'd need to buy a different memory card:sad. I've had good experience with Olympus so hence I'm considering the 8080 but the short lens sorta puts me off, whereas the Minolta has a nice 200 zoom and image stabilisation the images look a little soft a bit like my canon, again this puts me off.[/align]
[align=justify]Or would I be better off by saving some more money and purchasing the Pentax IstDS?[/align]
[align=justify]Any thoughts and assistance would be much appreciated. Many thanks for your time.[/align]
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 4:55 AM   #2
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Eggie wrote:
The Minolta has a nice 200 zoom and image stabilisation the images look a little soft a bit like my canon, again this puts me off.

[align=justify]Or would I be better off by saving some more money and purchasing the Pentax IstDS?

[align=justify]Any thoughts and assistance would be much appreciated. Many thanks for your time.[/align]
Only you can decide what's best for you.

Being in a similar position, I've been studying various cameras and have considered the Canon Pro 1, Olympus 8080, Minolta A2, Nikon 8700, Nikon 8800 & the Minolta A200. For various reasons - personal usage - I rejected all bar the Nikon 8700 (Nikon 8800 & Minolta A200 hadn't been released at that time) which I quite liked but found the button menu tedious.

When the Nikon 8800 was released I was initially impressed by the number of features but put off by poor shutter lag, poor low light focus, size and weight - it was bigger & heavier than my Fuji S602, not much but I'd like something smaller to carry around, not bigger.

When I saw the Minolta A200 in the shop window, I was immediately taken with it's relative small size. I checked out both the Nikon 8800 & Minolta A200 in the store and comparing sample shots, the A200 results were on the dull, drab side and appeared soft.

The Nikon 8800 by contrast produced bright sharp pictures. Now my dilemma is that I like the ergonomics of the A200, it's size & weight but no too impressed with the image quality. I like the results from the 8800 but not too impressed with its look weight, non standard filter size & it doesn't come with a lens hood.

I starting looking further afield and at dSRLs. These all seemed to produce SOFT images and Steve's (Steve's Digicam) commented that users coming from prosumer camera are often disappointed by the softness of dSRLs.; he commentedthatprosumer camerastend to increase sharpness, saturation to produce an immediately likable image - dSRLs are soft by comparison.

Furthermore, reading several more reviews, it became clear that Minolta, the A2 particularly, deliberately produced images that are are closer to the dSRL than others i.e soft focused with more natural colours.

This caused me to look at the A200 in more detail and using images from various review sites, made adjustments i.e. post processed the A200 using UnSharp Mask & Saturation in Adobe Photoshop and the results from the A200 suddenly became comparable to the 8800.

Steve has further indicated that it's better to take the image straight from the camera as you can always modify later BUT if the camera's boosted the colour & sharpness then what's been lost, can't be put back.

So to conclude this, if you want images straight out of the camera that look punchy & are unhappy about soft focus on the A200, then you'd be equally disappointed with the results from the Pentax ist - I was.

Don't forget, that the A200 has a mutitude of internal adjustments to boost saturation, sharpness & judging by some of the shots that I've seen in the Konika-Minolta forum, the results look impressive.

For my money, the Minolta A200 fits the bill. There's bound to be something that I wont like as no camera has everything - only time will tell.

Best of luck with your decision making.
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 12:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice Catbells.

I'm taking a number of different memory cards to my local retailer and I'm going to try out the various cameras and take the cards home and look at the images.

I had semi decided on the A200 but then saw the zoom on the FZ20 and thought that maybe that was for me. Thinking more and going through the spec's and photos the A200 with its 200 zoom should be suffice for me. I havent considered the Nikon 8800 mainly due to the big price difference in the UK at the moment.

Thanks for the info regarding the dSLR soft images, I think I'll take along a XD card and try out the ISTDS as well. I'll let you know how I get on. 8)
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