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Minolta Dimage A1

 
 
Gavyn Aaron
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      10-21-2003
Hello everyone,

I currently use a Sony DSC-F717, and though it is a wonderful camera with
some really great features (and great quality), I do need more control and
wider available options. I use an older Pentax for film shooting
necessities.

I've been looking at film SLR's and digital SLR's, and the Minolta Dimage A1
really seems to be fantastic from everything I've read about it. But then I
have this bug that says, "No, get an older film camera that just lets you
have complete control." Or maybe even a newer film camera. I can afford up
to the amount that the A1 is going for right now.

On film cameras, again I lean toward Minolta. If I wanted an older one, the
X700 seems to be the way to go on that (and it's REALLY old but still great
from what I can find on the net about it), or a new Canon Rebel Ti or
something like that. Minoltas just seem to have a really wide array of
lenses at much less expensive prices than Canon and Nikon.

Any opinions on the A1? It's either that or a film camera, not both.

Thanks,
~G~


 
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David J. Littleboy
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      10-21-2003

"Gavyn Aaron" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> I currently use a Sony DSC-F717, and though it is a wonderful camera with
> some really great features (and great quality), I do need more control and
> wider available options. I use an older Pentax for film shooting
> necessities.
>
> I've been looking at film SLR's and digital SLR's, and the Minolta Dimage
> A1 really seems to be fantastic from everything I've read about it.


Huh? It's the same sensor as the F717 with a slower lens and image
stabilization to get you back the f stop you lost in lens speed. If you
didn't own an F717, then the slightly longer throw of the A1 zoom makes it
attractive, but it's essentially an equivalent camera.

If you have enough money for the A1, then the digital you should be looking
at is the 300D. Not significantly more pixels than the F717, but worlds
better in terms of noise. Put the Canon 50/1.8 lens (a $70 lens) on the
300D, and you have one of the best low light cameras ever made.

> But then I
> have this bug that says, "No, get an older film camera that just lets you
> have complete control." Or maybe even a newer film camera. I can afford
> up to the amount that the A1 is going for right now.


> On film cameras, again I lean toward Minolta.


If you're going to scan, 35mm film is 8MP. Maybe. Film scans are really ugly
and have to be downsampled to look as good as digital images.

Here's an example: http://www.pbase.com/image/21867927
And another: http://www.pbase.com/image/22348855

(The right half of the second image is what happens if the scanner isn't
focused correctly. These are slide film scans: scans of negatives look a lot
worse.)

The second downsampled: http://www.pbase.com/image/22348935

That's about as good as what you get from digital cameras, but it
corresponds to a 2400 dpi scan, which is barely 8MP from a 35mm frame.

IMHO, current digital cameras are so close to 35mm as to make 35mm not worth
the bother.

IMHO, stick to the F717, or jump for the 300D. IMHO.

David J. Littleboy
Tokyo, Japan



 
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Peter
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      10-21-2003
Hello Gavyn Aaron,

You wrote:

>Hello everyone,
>
>Any opinions on the A1? It's either that or a film camera, not both.


Having only just upgraded to the A1 my experience is somewhat limited,
but for the new lower price of just over 600 (if you live in the UK) I
must say I am highly delighted with it.

I too have a 35m Minolta which has not left my cupboard since I moved to
digital several years ago.

Regards,
--
Peter
 
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JR
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      10-22-2003
> Huh? It's the same sensor as the F717 with a slower lens and image
> stabilization to get you back the f stop you lost in lens speed. If you
> didn't own an F717, then the slightly longer throw of the A1 zoom makes it
> attractive, but it's essentially an equivalent camera.


What about better manual control, a better, sharper lens...faster lenses
are usually not better quality..look at Leica lenses...some of the best
ever made and they are not usually the fastest. PC connection for
control of external strobes, minolta quality and the fact that a CAMERA
company that has been making cameras for decades designed it to be a
camera.


>
> If you have enough money for the A1, then the digital you should be looking
> at is the 300D. Not significantly more pixels than the F717, but worlds
> better in terms of noise. Put the Canon 50/1.8 lens (a $70 lens) on the
> 300D, and you have one of the best low light cameras ever made.
>



Not if don't want a bigger, more expensive system...to get the 28-200
equivelent you will have to spend hundreds more, and you will have to
carry around more equipment.


>
> If you're going to scan, 35mm film is 8MP. Maybe. Film scans are really ugly
> and have to be downsampled to look as good as digital images.


Huh??? I have a Minolta 5400 scan the scans 40 Megapixels! 210 mb
files, and they are gorgeous at 16x20 and larger from iso 100 slide
film. In fact now having a Dimage A1 and a Minolta 5400 film scanner,
film is BY FAR superior still....
>
> Here's an example: http://www.pbase.com/image/21867927
> And another: http://www.pbase.com/image/22348855


Those are HORRIBLE scans...they look like 35mm scanned on a
flatbed...Try this one scanned on my old Minolta SCan Dual II at 2800
DPI:

http://www.webphotoforum.com/user_im...75/L/14725.jpg

that is with a Nikon F100 with a Nikkor 300/4 on Fuji Velvia.


http://www.webphotoforum.com/user_im...75/L/35629.jpg

That is with a Nikon F70 with a Tokina 28-70/2.8 zoom on Kodak Supra
800...YES 800 SPEED NEGATIVE FILM....

Oh and try this with digital...

http://www.webphotoforum.com/user_im...75/L/39764.jpg

Shot with my Nikon F100 and my 28-70/2.8 lens on Ilford Pan F 50 film....


>
> (The right half of the second image is what happens if the scanner isn't
> focused correctly. These are slide film scans: scans of negatives look a lot
> worse.)
>


>
> IMHO, current digital cameras are so close to 35mm as to make 35mm not worth
> the bother.


If you don't print large images....I enlarge to 11x14 and larger
frequently and my 8x10's from a 5MP camera isn't even close to a 8x10
from film....

>
> IMHO, stick to the F717, or jump for the 300D. IMHO.


I am a professional photographer and I wouldn't/cou;dn't use those for
my work, although I just added the minolta Dimage A1 and it will fit my
digital needs until the full frame Nikon digital comes out....The 300D
is a cheap plastic camera without essential items, and the Sony is not a
serious tool...If he wants digital, with true full manual control, then
the A1 is a solid choice....

JR

--
www.jrhonephotography.com
 
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David J. Littleboy
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      10-22-2003

"JR" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> > Huh? It's the same sensor as the F717 with a slower lens and image
> > stabilization to get you back the f stop you lost in lens speed. If you
> > didn't own an F717, then the slightly longer throw of the A1 zoom makes

it
> > attractive, but it's essentially an equivalent camera.

>
> What about better manual control,


The the F717 has everything any film camera has and more. My sense here is
that the A1 is, technologically, a consumer camera. Bells and whistles don't
make a difference if the image was taken on a tiny consumer sensor. So I'm
surprised at your enthusiasm.

> a better, sharper lens...faster lenses
> are usually not better quality..look at Leica lenses...some of the best
> ever made and they are not usually the fastest.


So far, the Sony Zeiss lenses are the sharpest consumer lenses there are.
Maybe the A1 lens is better than the D7 lens, but the F717 edged out the D7
in both resolution and noise.

Also, although I agree fast lenses ought ot be worse, for example, the Canon
"L" fast primes (e.g 24/1.4, 35/1.4, 50/1.4 and 85/1.2) are all better than
the corresponding slower lens.

> PC connection for control of external strobes,


A hot shoe adapter costs a couple of bucks.

> minolta quality and the fact that a CAMERA
> company that has been making cameras for decades designed it to be a
> camera.


These are _digital_ cameras, and Sony is a far better electronics company
than Minolta. And Zeiss is a better lens company than Minolta. Besides, Sony
makes the sensors in both cameras.

> > If you have enough money for the A1, then the digital you should be

looking
> > at is the 300D. Not significantly more pixels than the F717, but worlds
> > better in terms of noise. Put the Canon 50/1.8 lens (a $70 lens) on the
> > 300D, and you have one of the best low light cameras ever made.

>
> Not if don't want a bigger, more expensive system...to get the 28-200
> equivelent you will have to spend hundreds more, and you will have to
> carry around more equipment.


Well, yes. The sensor is larger for better noise, so the lenses are bigger
and heavier. But the 300D is a far better camera in image quality than
either the Sony or Minolta.

The 300D is a serious camera in sheeps clothing; it's imaging capabilities,
especially in low light, are worlds ahead of any consumer camera.

> > If you're going to scan, 35mm film is 8MP. Maybe. Film scans are really

ugly
> > and have to be downsampled to look as good as digital images.

>
> Huh??? I have a Minolta 5400 scan the scans 40 Megapixels! 210 mb
> files, and they are gorgeous at 16x20 and larger from iso 100 slide
> film.


Calm down there. 35mm is not "gorgeous" at 16x20. Even my beloved 645 is
crapping out at that size<g>.

> In fact now having a Dimage A1 and a Minolta 5400 film scanner,
> film is BY FAR superior still....
> >
> > Here's an example: http://www.pbase.com/image/21867927
> > And another: http://www.pbase.com/image/22348855

>
> Those are HORRIBLE scans...they look like 35mm scanned on a
> flatbed...Try this one scanned on my old Minolta SCan Dual II at 2800
> DPI:
>
> http://www.webphotoforum.com/user_im...75/L/14725.jpg
> http://www.webphotoforum.com/user_im...75/L/35629.jpg


Yours are radically downsampled: the scans I showed are full resolution
crops of 4000 dpi scans. I've not seen any full resolution raw scans that
look any better. Ever.

> http://www.webphotoforum.com/user_im...75/L/39764.jpg
>
> Shot with my Nikon F100 and my 28-70/2.8 lens on Ilford Pan F 50 film....


HEY! That's serious cheating: you're a far better photographer than I.
Probably than I'll ever be. Sigh. (The silver car shot's seriously cool,
too. Sports shots don't do anything for me, but that's me.)

> > IMHO, current digital cameras are so close to 35mm as to make 35mm not

worth
> > the bother.

>
> If you don't print large images....I enlarge to 11x14 and larger
> frequently and my 8x10's from a 5MP camera isn't even close to a 8x10
> from film....


Well, the Sony and Minolta are consumer cameras. The 6MP dSLRs get a bit
closer. But 645 looks better still. (I started out in MF and never found
35mm attractive.)

> > IMHO, stick to the F717, or jump for the 300D. IMHO.

>
> I am a professional photographer and I wouldn't/cou;dn't use those for
> my work,


I didn't realize you were a professional. Sorry. But given that, I'm even
more surprised at your interest in the A1; it looks to me to be the same
class camera as the F717, whereas the 300D, in image quality terms, is a
whole 'nuther ballpark.

> although I just added the minolta Dimage A1 and it will fit my
> digital needs until the full frame Nikon digital comes out....


That's what I'm waiting for too: I decided to pass on the 6MP generation and
do 645 until then.

David J. Littleboy
Tokyo, Japan



 
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JR
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      10-22-2003
Hey David....
It may be subtle, but if you are used to the way a film camera works,
then the A1 is a good compromise...I got it for my fiance to use, but
made sure it could use my strobes and had good enough resolution for
serious work. I have used it on a few shoots, and it is nice, but I
still prefer film to digital. Those were downsized images....the full
sized scan files are 210 MB...If you use good lenses and have a good
scanner, you will get great scans. Also lens-wise...my good zoom lenses
alone cost what an entire camera costs....Take a second look at the
minolta....numbers mean nothing at this level, it's image quality, ease
of use, flexibility, and ability to get the image...the A1 has a very
fast continuous mode as well...I have a 30 year old Pentax K1000 that
does everything my Nikon f100 does, but....the F100 does everything so
much easier...I am sure the sony is a fine consumer camera, the Minolta
takes it a step further into the "prosumer" realm....I wanted the 300D
until I picked one up...then I put it down....Oh...your 645 and Velvia
will make gorgeous 20x30's I have seen it....

JR

--
www.jrhonephotography.com
 
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Sloopy
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      10-22-2003
In article <bn5aeb$g65$(E-Mail Removed)>,
"David J. Littleboy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> The the F717 has everything any film camera has and more.


It has film?

-Sloopy
 
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Alan Browne
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      10-22-2003


David J. Littleboy wrote:

> "JR" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>
>>>Huh? It's the same sensor as the F717 with a slower lens and image
>>>stabilization to get you back the f stop you lost in lens speed. If you
>>>didn't own an F717, then the slightly longer throw of the A1 zoom makes

>
> it
>
>>>attractive, but it's essentially an equivalent camera.

>>
>>What about better manual control,

>
>
> The the F717 has everything any film camera has and more. My sense here is
> that the A1 is, technologically, a consumer camera. Bells and whistles don't
> make a difference if the image was taken on a tiny consumer sensor. So I'm
> surprised at your enthusiasm.


Comparing the A1 and F717 on dpreview "side-by-side" and the A1 is
better in a few areas. The F717 has a 1/2 stop faster lens and that is
good, but not terribly significant. The optical zoom of the A1 is a bit
further reaching.
They have the exact same sensor spec.
The max shutter speed of the A1 is far better than the 717. Does one
need 1/16,000? rarely. but up to 1/4000 occurs often enough.
The Minolta wireless flash system can be used by the A1. (off camera
TTL metereed ratio flash). This is way beyond the Sony 'hot shoe' flash.
Does the F717 do RAW? (not indicated at dpreview) the A1 does.
The A1 anti shake is sure to be good for a couple stops of speed.

So, while you might not personally like Minolta, saying the A1 is 'less'
than the 717 seems to be personal dislike more than anything else. The
A1 is a better camera.

What Sony have done that is more impressive is the 828 and I look
forward to the reviews on it.

Alan.

 
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David J. Littleboy
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      10-23-2003

"Alan Browne" <"Alan Browne"@videotron.canospam> wrote:
>
> So, while you might not personally like Minolta, saying the A1 is 'less'
> than the 717 seems to be personal dislike more than anything else. The
> A1 is a better camera.


That depends on the resolution and noise performance, and I haven't seen any
reviews on the A1 yet.

By the way, I didn't intend to say the A1 is "less than" the F717.

In the hand, it's worlds better than the D7 cameras (which I think feel
cheaply made), and the IS system is an incredibly neat idea. I'd rather have
a faster lens (and the Sony is a full stop faster at every focal length)
than IS, but that's really a quibble.

What I did intend to say, to the original poster, Gavyn Aaron, _who already
has an F717_, is that the F717 and the A1 are so close in imaging
performance as to be identical cameras.

So I think the A1 _as an upgrade to the F717_ is a waste of money. If you
want something more than the F717 in a similar price range, the 300D makes a
lot more sense.

> What Sony have done that is more impressive is the 828 and I look
> forward to the reviews on it.


It does look amazing. I'm worried about the smaller pixels, but hopeful that
it'll be useable at ISO 100.

David J. Littleboy
Tokyo, Japan


 
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Azzz1588
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      10-24-2003
In article <bn2f5t$nv9$(E-Mail Removed)>, "David J. Littleboy" <(E-Mail Removed)>
writes:

>IMHO, current digital cameras are so close to 35mm as to make 35mm not worth
>the bother.


Dont know about you, but I can see the difference right off.
35 mm still has better *resoloution* to my eyes............

I still have a Minolta SRT 101 (over 30 yrs old !) that I use regularly,
and it along with my Minolta XG 1 still take outstanding photo's !!!
(Minolta did make some very good lens's then !!)

And for astrophotography, unless you are using a dedicated (!!!)
CCD (such as one from SBIG) made for astrophotgraphy, film
still rules for what I call basic quality. Dedicated astro CCD's are
getting better, and better all the time, and with adaptive optics
available, really make impressive images now !!! But the cost
for a good imaging CCD is still in the thousands of doller range.
The advantages are far shorter exposure times, which translates
into less guiding time needed, hence less chance of guiding errors
showing up in the final result. This all does assume that you have
a good quality equatorial mount, that has been properly polar aligned.
Those of us still using film are becoming a rare breed these days....
Although on some faint surface brightness DSO's film still has
an advantage when you need to take an hour long + exposure..

It still will be a long time before digital CCD's have the image resoloution
of TP 2415 film (B&W) though.............


I just use both digital, and 35mm, they complement each other
very well !!!!!!!!!!
































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