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Old Dec 22, 2005, 4:58 AM   #1
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Hello,

I want to buy a digital SLR. My two favorites are the Canon EOS 350D (also known as Digital Rebel XT) and the Konica Minolta Dynax 5D (also known as Maxxum 5D). I can't decide for one of them!

Arguments for the Canon are the better image quality and lesser noise at high ISO.

Arguments for the Konica Minolta are the integrated Anti Shake and lower price (because you need no expensive anti shake lenses).

My questions:

1) Which cam would you recommend?

2) And will I notice the better image quality of the Canon in real life or can I only see some differences between the two camsin a laboratory?

Greetings,

Robert
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 7:07 AM   #2
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Asking a question like this tends to bring out the worst in people. Minolta people will say Minolta and Canon will say Canon. When it comes down to it, you'll have to use your best judgement. I learned 35mm with a Minolta X-570 and swear by the build quality (I ran my camera bag over with a pick-up truck and only the filter ring broke off the lens) but I have only used a Canon Rebel for Digital SLR. I really like the color accuracy of the Canon and feel the picture quality is top notch. I've never used an anti-shake system on either a camera or lens so i can't speak for that, but I would bet that using a tripod would be better than either.

I think i use this next statement in every post about buying a new camera. Go to a local store and handle both of them. Sometimes that will make your mind up for you.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Dave Porter
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 9:35 AM   #3
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Note: I have a 5D, so I might be bias towards KM.

Generally speaking, you won't miss the 2 MP provided by the Canon unless you are looking to print larger print than 11 x 20. IMO the quality are similar from most of the review shots that I've seen. Though I have not seen a shot the the XT "personally" out of someone's camera. 5D's image for me has been excellent with good color and sharpness provided that the lens was decent.

Anti-shake is useful in situation where you don't necessary have a tripod with you, ie in a restaurant or something, where a flash might be intrusive. It does allow you to shoot at a lower shutter speed with results you might otherwise not been able to do.

Ergonomically I think is the worse point for Canon, although it is a light and compact package, the execution IMO is not as good as say, the new Oly E500 which is lighter but still have a good size grip. Rebel XT has a small grip that I found hard to hold. 5D although heavier does feel better built, and has a much better grip.


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Old Dec 22, 2005, 1:48 PM   #4
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I do have to agree RacingMainiac on the grip of the newer Rebel XT. Like I said, I have the old Rebel and it feels good in the hands, but the newer one feels a little too compact.

Dave Porter
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Old Dec 23, 2005, 9:34 AM   #5
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Icompared some pics in the web, made with the Digital Rebel XT and the Konica Minolta Dynax 5D / Olympus E-500and I'm afraid about them. The Canon pics are not really sharp!

Here are the links (click on it and then open the pic in full size by clicking the image):

"Indoors" EOS 350D:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EXT/EXTINMP3.HTM
"Indoors" Maxxum 5D:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/KM5D/KM5DINK27P2.HTM
"House" EOS350D:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EXT/EXTHOUSEWBA.HTM
"House" Maxxum 5D:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/KM5D/KM5DHOUSEWBM.HTM

And here the shots of Olympus E-500 and Canon (click on the picture beside the portrait and have a look at the tea strainer and the twine):

http://www.gfw.de/kameratests/index.php?k=canon_eos350d (Canon EOS 350D)

http://www.gfw.de/kameratests/index.php?k=olympus_e500 (Olympus E-500)

The pictures made with the Canon are all not as sharp as the other.

Is it because of the bad kit lens of the Canon? :?

I hope you can help me!

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Old Dec 23, 2005, 11:19 AM   #6
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IMO, there's not a lot of "real world" difference between models like these (from an image quality perspective), provided you expose and process the images the same way, using lenses of equivalent quality.

But, there can be differences in the camera's image processing (if you shoot JPEG), as well as things like metering behavior, AF speed, usability of controls, viewfinder usability, general ergonomics and so on.

A plus for the KM model is that it gives you the ability to get sharper hand held photos at slower shutter speeds than would be possible with other camers.

As for image processing by the camera, keep in mind that each manufacturer processes the data from the CCD a bit differently. Some may lean towards sharper and "punchier" images straight from the camera, and some may assume you'll want to increase sharpening, contrast, and saturation more in software.

Virtually all models give the users some control over how JPEG images are processed in the camera (allowing you to fine tune the processing more to your liking).

Shooting in raw takes the camera processing out of the equation. Then, you have a wide variety of tools available to process the sensor data yourself on a powerful computer (versus the camera trying to process the sensor data in a split second). I now shoot almost exlusively in raw (or sometimes raw+jpeg).

DSLR models are geared towards needing more post processing compared to P&S models. For example, if you add too much sharpening in camera, it can cause problems (for example, unwanted halos and artifacts at high contrast edges). If you have too much contrast, you lose detail in highlights and shadows.

Do you care? It depends on the purpose for the image. If you're trying to blow one up to larger sizes, then artificats can become noticeable. If you want usable photos at typical print sizes without any extra time, then you may want the camera to apply more processing.

You typically won't see images that are quite as sharp "straight from the camera" using a DSLR model (especially with it's default settings). Users of DSLR models tend to want to extract the maximum out of their images, and you don't get that with too much processing by the camera trying to do it in a split second. That's where a more powerful computer and software come in (your PC).

Don't want to post process? Dial up Contrast, Saturation and Sharpening in each model's menus to get closer to the output of a Point and Shoot camera.

Metering behavior? Each model will behave a little differently in different conditions. Some may lean towards exposing most of the image accurately (at the expense of highlight detal), and some may lean towards metering a scene to protect the highlights (so that you have more control later using software without losing too much highlight detail).

Cameras have a limited dynamic range (ability to capture both light and dark areas). So, in high contrast scenes, metering systems make choices that are a compromise.

You can change the metering behavior to some extent with virtually all cameras (via selecting a different metering mode, or using exposure compensation in conditions where it may lean towards brighter or darker exposures). You'll need to gain some experience with any camera to better understand it's metering behavior, so you'll know when you need to change something in the settings for better results.

As for lower noise at higher ISO speeds, the KM 5D goes to ISO 3200. The Canon Rebel Xt only goes to ISO 1600 (unless you deliberately underexpose an image to simulate higher ISO speeds, compensating for the darker image later in post processing using software).

I've had some local conditions (candle lit club) where I've needed both ISO 3200 AND Anti-shake using a bright prime lens with a KM 5D to get usable photos. You can't get those things with other camera models (with the exception of the KM 7D).

Do you need that capability? You'll need to answer that one. Some users may never shoot in very low light (or use a tripod if they do exceed the camera's limitations).

BTW, noise levels (unless you underexpose, which is like using an even higher ISO speeed after processing) are quite low at higher ISO speeds from the KM 5D.

Try them out in a store to see what works best for you. You'll want to make sure you're comfortable with viewfinder, control layout, menus, AF speed, etc.

I think you'll find the KM model with it's kit lens to be better in these areas, except for AF speed, where the Canon kit lens has a bit of an edge. Note that lens design can have a huge impact on things like AF speed, too (and Canon does offer a variety of lenses with Ultra Sonic Motors designed to speed up this process). That's a plus for the Canon.

Lens brightness (so that a camera can "see" better to focus) and things like gearing for focus also come into play. You'll find that some lenses are geared with finer focus adjustment (taking longer because it's geared so that the motor has to turn more for equivalent change). Some lenses are geared to focus faster. Most are somewhere "in the middle".

Personally, I think the KM kit lenses focuses better than I expected for such a small, inexpensive and light lens with that much focal range (18-70mm). It's a good, general purpose, walk around lens. It's inexpensive, has better than average focal range, good color and contrast, not to mention that it's small and light. It balances nicely on a small DSLR body like the 5D.

But, it's not really suitable for low light without a flash, and neither is the kit lens Canon provides. You're not "stuck" forever with the lens that ships with either model (and you can get them without their kit lenses, too). That's one thing that's nice about a DSLR (lots of choices in lenses).

Optics are important, but get some experience using a new camera before spending a lot of money on lenses you may not really need (and there are many choices for either camera model).

Personally, I'd probably go with the kit lens to start out with if you go with a KM 5D, and supplement it with something like a KM 50mm f/1.7 for low light and portraiture use (under $100 new, or around $50 in excellent shape used).

I'd suggest the same thing with the Canon (they make a 50mm f/1.8 that you can get for under $100).

These inexpensive 50mm lenses are brighter and sharper than the kit lenses you'll get (but, you don't have the focal range and flexibility of a zoom). A brighter zoom would be larger, heavier and more expensive with either model.

Any lens choice is a compromise (size, weight, cost, focus speed, build quality, optical quality, focal range, brightness, etc.). You may want something like the kit lens as a "walk around", and go to more expensive primes or zooms for other conditions. Or, you may never need anything except for the kit lens. Each user's requirements are going to be different.

There are pros and cons to either camera. Try them out in a store. It's hard to find a "good fit" by reading reviews. ;-)

Note that I'm biased (I have a KM 5D).

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Old Dec 23, 2005, 12:25 PM   #7
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Thanks for your post!

English isn't my native language, so may be I understood you wrong. But do you really think, processing thepicture is the reason for the differences in image quality of the pictures I posted above? :shock:

The anti shake is a really nice thing, because of that I would prefer a anti shake lens, if I buy the Canon. So I could combineCanon's lower noisewithananti shake.

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Old Dec 23, 2005, 12:58 PM   #8
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TopDog wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for your post!

English isn't my native language, so may be I understood you wrong. But do you really think, processing thepicture is the reason for the differences in image quality of the pictures I posted above? :shock:

The anti shake is a really nice thing, because of that I would prefer a anti shake lens, if I buy the Canon. So I could combineCanon's lower noisewithananti shake.
I have not compared the images you're referring to in detail. But, at a quick glance, I'd say you're comparing apples to oranges. The lenses are very different, the focal lengths used were different, and even the aperture settings were different.

The Olympus is going to have greater depth of field at any given 35mm equivalent focal length and aperture becuase it's sensor is smaller (which means it can use a shorter actual focal length for a given 35mm equivalent focal length). Shorter actual focal lengths have greater depth of field.

That can be a plus in some conditions, or a negative in others (where you may want to have a shallower depth of field so that your subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds).

Without using the same focal lengths on both models, I couldn't say for sure, but I think you're seeing a touch of corner softness from the Canon lens at that particular focal length (most zoom lenses will have a bit of it as you get closer to their extreme zoom settings). Since the settings used, sensor size, and lens design are so different on these models, it's harder to compare them.

Quote:
The anti shake is a really nice thing, because of that I would prefer a anti shake lens, if I buy the Canon. So I could combineCanon's lower noisewithananti shake.
The Canon is going to have lower noise compared to the Olympus, if you need higher ISO speeds. But, I'm not convinced it's any better than the KM 5D. I've been pretty impressed with higher ISO speed images from my 5D (and it has ISO 3200, which the Canon model doesn't have).

Yes, you can get lenses for Canon that are stabilized (their IS lenses). But, you can't get bright primes that are stabilized (and even if Canon does decide to make them later, stabilized lenses add size, weight and cost).

KM is the only manufacturer that can provide you stabilization with all of their lenses (including brighter primes and zooms).



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