Canon S1 or Minolta A1?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mike O., May 14, 2004.

  1. Mike O.

    Mike O. Guest

    I have a Kodak 4800 that I've had for several years. It was my fist digital
    camera and I've learned a lot from it. Overall I've been pretty happy with
    it, but I'm looking to upgrade to something that works better for my needs.

    Some of the features I'm looking to improve are: Battery life, more zoom,
    and available light indoor pictures. The last one is an issue for me; I do
    a lot of photography for school and church functions where a flash is not
    useful (or allowed). I can't set the shutter too slow without excessive
    blurring, and I'm wanting to improve my ability to get non-flash pictures
    that are not too dark and/or noisy. I also do some nature photography, so a
    big zoom without add on lenses would be desirable.

    Last December, I was getting close to going with the Panasonic FZ10, 4MP
    with the 12x stabilized zoom. I saw the minolta A1, but it was a little out
    of my price range, and I liked the 12x zoom of the Panasonic. Then I saw
    the Canon S1 being announced. Only 3MP, but standard AA batteries and the
    swivel LCD were big plusses, as well as being able to use my existing 256M
    CF cards. I also liked the idea of a wireless remote available and the
    640x480 30fps move mode sounded interesting.

    However, now that the A2 is out, the A1 price is going down, I'm taking
    another look at the A1. It's around the $650 range; about $200 more than
    the Canon, but it has 5MP and a lower noise/higher ISO, larger CCD, better
    constructed lens, and built in lens threads. The A1 has a smaller zoom than
    the Canon, but I figure that would be offset somewhat by the 20% higher
    pixel count. However, a couple of concerns I have with the A1 is that
    DPReview only rated it's image quality as "average or below average". Also
    I'm concerned about the age of the camera; it's been out 9 months
    (a long time for digital cameras), and I wonder how much support, firmware
    tweaks, etc. will be available (especially with the A2 out).

    I've read the various reviews on DPReview (no S1 review yet), and Steve's
    Digicams, as well as the various forums. I've also had a chance to take
    some sample pictures with the S1 (a local store has one). The picture
    quality looks fine, but in a bright, well lit store that's not too
    suprising; I would expect the same results with my Kodak.. I haven't found
    an A1 locally (yet), so I haven't been able to compare them first hand.

    Any comments would be appreciated.


    Mike O.
    Mike O., May 14, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. I had an S1 (prior to that a Kodak 6490) and I exchanged it for an A1.
    It will always be a personal decision as there are pluses & minuses with any
    camera - none are perfect, the S1 was a very nice camera in many ways. I
    enjoyed it's 'feel' and it's responsive user-friendlyness but I wasn't
    impressed with the over-all pic quality - just a bit soft due to either the
    optical IS or just the lower quality of the 10x optical zoom lens, plus the
    lowish pixel count - it all added up to what I considered as just a bit soft
    in the image, even with max in-cam sharpness...
    The A1 is IMHO really in a different league - it's the sort of camera that
    you learn to grow in to and appreciate, whereas I felt that within a couple
    of weeks I had grown out of the S1. The A1's lens is tack sharp, no
    question - the results from this camera (and my later A2) are stunning but I
    guess it all depends on how much of an enthusiast you are - the A1 needs to
    be coaxed into giving it's best - you need to expirement with the in-cam
    settings to get any sort of image that doesn't need pp. Also both my A1 and
    A2 have problems with focussing accuratly all the time. Whilst this may be
    something that a lot of digital cameras can have trouble with (low light,
    poor contrast scenes etc) I found the Minolta's far more susceptable to OOF
    shots than the four other DC's I have had use of. Some of the shots were
    obviously OOF and no matter how many times I reframed and tried to take a
    pic the damn thing just would not focus - even in bright and what seemed to
    be high contrast scenes...
    But worse than that they would sometimes give a focus confirmation and I
    would take the shot and it would look ok in camera only to get home and find
    that a large proportion were slightly fuzzy which is very frustrating - I
    would rather have the situation where they don't focus at all and it's
    obvious rather than have a focus confirmation and then find out that the
    shot was just a little OOF. BTW some of this *could* be put down to user
    error - I admit in the early days I was using it with quite long shutter
    speeds (1/2 sec) and hand held at max zoom and even the IS could not cope
    with this, but there are other times in bright contrasty days that they both
    would refuse to focus and even give a black screen with 'err' displayed on
    the lcd panel.
    The other thing to consider with the Minoltas is their size - you need to
    make a definate decision to take it with you - ie the are not pocket models
    which the Canon (at a pinch) could be considered as. OTOH the larger size
    makes the A1/A2 a very comfortable and 'pro' feeling device - everything is
    well laid out and it has a lot of settings that are instantly available via
    the press of a button rather than delving deep through countless menus (I
    hate Olympus for this) The true manual zoom and the (almost true) manual
    focus are nice too - it's all very 'SLR like' and if you are used to using
    an slr then you will feel right at home with the Minoltas...
    One thing about the S1 - I felt that the OIS in the lens did a better job
    than the AS CCD system in the Minoltas - with the S1 I was able to take a
    1/2sec low light shot at max 10x zoom quiet easily - with the A1/A2 at 7x
    optical the best I can hand hold with AS enabled is around 1/15 sec...

    Samples from my S1/A1/A2 cameras can be found here:

    http://www.canons1.minoltaa1.photoshare.co.nz/

    Hope this helps but an the end of the day you would be well advised to check
    them out for yourself if possible as these things are a very personal
    decision.

    Good luck!
    AngryofMayfair, May 14, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. I too have been eyeing the new Canon S1 IS. I saw on a site somewhere
    the difference the image stabilization makes on the telephoto shots.
    It seems like a very good camer, but I too am worried about the low
    light capabilities. Recently I was at a wedding reception in a hotel,
    and all the shots with my Powershot 330s were dark/graingy except the
    close up ones. I just bought a tiny laser poineter that I have read
    that some people have been able to use to assist the AF in those
    conditions. I haven't experimented yet, but it would probably be
    slightly awkward.

    "Mike O." <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > I have a Kodak 4800 that I've had for several years. It was my fist digital
    > camera and I've learned a lot from it. Overall I've been pretty happy with
    > it, but I'm looking to upgrade to something that works better for my needs.
    >
    > Some of the features I'm looking to improve are: Battery life, more zoom,
    > and available light indoor pictures. The last one is an issue for me; I do
    > a lot of photography for school and church functions where a flash is not
    > useful (or allowed). I can't set the shutter too slow without excessive
    > blurring, and I'm wanting to improve my ability to get non-flash pictures
    > that are not too dark and/or noisy. I also do some nature photography, so a
    > big zoom without add on lenses would be desirable.
    >
    > Last December, I was getting close to going with the Panasonic FZ10, 4MP
    > with the 12x stabilized zoom. I saw the minolta A1, but it was a little out
    > of my price range, and I liked the 12x zoom of the Panasonic. Then I saw
    > the Canon S1 being announced. Only 3MP, but standard AA batteries and the
    > swivel LCD were big plusses, as well as being able to use my existing 256M
    > CF cards. I also liked the idea of a wireless remote available and the
    > 640x480 30fps move mode sounded interesting.
    >
    > However, now that the A2 is out, the A1 price is going down, I'm taking
    > another look at the A1. It's around the $650 range; about $200 more than
    > the Canon, but it has 5MP and a lower noise/higher ISO, larger CCD, better
    > constructed lens, and built in lens threads. The A1 has a smaller zoom than
    > the Canon, but I figure that would be offset somewhat by the 20% higher
    > pixel count. However, a couple of concerns I have with the A1 is that
    > DPReview only rated it's image quality as "average or below average". Also
    > I'm concerned about the age of the camera; it's been out 9 months
    > (a long time for digital cameras), and I wonder how much support, firmware
    > tweaks, etc. will be available (especially with the A2 out).
    >
    > I've read the various reviews on DPReview (no S1 review yet), and Steve's
    > Digicams, as well as the various forums. I've also had a chance to take
    > some sample pictures with the S1 (a local store has one). The picture
    > quality looks fine, but in a bright, well lit store that's not too
    > suprising; I would expect the same results with my Kodak.. I haven't found
    > an A1 locally (yet), so I haven't been able to compare them first hand.
    >
    > Any comments would be appreciated.
    >
    >
    > Mike O.
    Kill the 2 trees in e, May 14, 2004
    #3
  4. Mike O.

    Mike O. Guest

    Thanks for your comments. I agree, none are perfect; the trick is
    choosing which things are import and which aren't for my needs (I make
    it sound so easy..)

    At this point I'm leaning toward the Minolta (at least today).
    Thinking back over the last few years, the most frustrating issues
    I've had were dealingon indoor, available light pictures. For those,
    the increased ISO and the larger CCD of the Minolta should help. I
    also like the idea of most of the adjustments being with external
    controls and not having to go through menus. Another thing I've hit
    occasionally over the years is not having enough pixels to crop and
    still get a printable image; the 5MP Minolta would give me an edge
    there, also.

    I am a little concerned about your focusing comments on the A1, can
    you comment more on that? About how often was it an issue? Even
    though you said the Canon is "softer", I think I'd rather have a soft
    image than get home later and find out that I've lost a shot
    completely due to a focus problem (Canon's focus bracketing would be a
    nice feature on the Minolta..).

    I do like the increased zoom on the Canon, but at least the higher MP
    of the Minolta should offset that somewhat, and the A1's slightly
    lower wide end will be useful.

    I've now seen and tried (at least at the store) both cameras;
    definitely a size differences. The A1 gives more of an appearance of
    a "professional" photographer; (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or
    not for me!).

    I'm just going to have to keep working on the pros & cons for my uses.

    Thanks again

    Mike O.
    Mike O., May 15, 2004
    #4
  5. "Mike O." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    []
    > I'm just going to have to keep working on the pros & cons for my uses.
    >
    > Thanks again
    >
    > Mike O.


    Be wary of LCD screens that you can't fold away (unlike those on the Nikon
    Coolpix 5700 etc. which do), so that the active part of the LCD is towards
    the camera body when the LCD is not in use.

    I have just seen an LCD that has been used for a while, and was
    unprotected throughout the life of the camera. The coating had become
    removed to such a degree that the LCD was virtually unusable! An
    expensive item to replace!

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, May 15, 2004
    #5
  6. Mike O.

    Trader1 Guest


    > Be wary of LCD screens that you can't fold away (unlike those on the Nikon
    > Coolpix 5700 etc. which do), so that the active part of the LCD is towards
    > the camera body when the LCD is not in use.
    >
    > I have just seen an LCD that has been used for a while, and was
    > unprotected throughout the life of the camera. The coating had become
    > removed to such a degree that the LCD was virtually unusable! An
    > expensive item to replace!
    >
    > Cheers,
    > David
    >


    ....but remember that a pennies worth of protective plastic film will be
    cheaper than the mechanism to fold a LCD away.
    Trader1, May 15, 2004
    #6
  7. Mike O.

    Jeff Guest

    What protective film do you use and how does it stay on or in place?

    Thanks Jeff

    "Trader1" <> wrote in message
    news:40a66f4e$0$25322$...
    >
    > > Be wary of LCD screens that you can't fold away (unlike those on the

    Nikon
    > > Coolpix 5700 etc. which do), so that the active part of the LCD is

    towards
    > > the camera body when the LCD is not in use.
    > >
    > > I have just seen an LCD that has been used for a while, and was
    > > unprotected throughout the life of the camera. The coating had become
    > > removed to such a degree that the LCD was virtually unusable! An
    > > expensive item to replace!
    > >
    > > Cheers,
    > > David
    > >

    >
    > ...but remember that a pennies worth of protective plastic film will be
    > cheaper than the mechanism to fold a LCD away.
    >
    >
    >
    Jeff, May 15, 2004
    #7
  8. > > Be wary of LCD screens that you can't fold away (unlike those on the
    Nikon
    > > Coolpix 5700 etc. which do), so that the active part of the LCD is

    towards
    > > the camera body when the LCD is not in use.
    > >
    > > I have just seen an LCD that has been used for a while, and was
    > > unprotected throughout the life of the camera. The coating had become
    > > removed to such a degree that the LCD was virtually unusable! An
    > > expensive item to replace!



    This is a very very minor problem - just nip down to your local office
    supplies place and pick up a pack of PDA screen protectors - cut a piece to
    size and your screen is protected perfectly. They stick to the screen with
    static and can be used and replaced if necessary.
    For a little more expense get a Martin Fields protector
    (www.overlayplus.com) - these are totally transparent - I mean 100% clear,
    unlike the cheaper ones.
    Actually I far prefer the Minolta swing up/down lcd to the flip/out version,
    the screen is always there to use (especially with the Minolta auto-evf/lcd
    switching) and I really like the way they flip up/down 'behind' the camera -
    something like using a TLR at waist level rather than making the conscious
    effort to unflip and twiddle the flip out ones around to use and besides
    IMHO they look a bit silly stuck out from the side of the camera. The flip
    out/twist around one on my Canon S1 hardly ever actually got used - it was
    kept closed against the back of the camera...

    GB
    AngryofMayfair, May 15, 2004
    #8
  9. Mike O.

    Trader1 Guest

    "Jeff" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > What protective film do you use and how does it stay on or in place?
    >
    > Thanks Jeff


    The film is held by static I think - at least it is not glued in any way.
    There are a number of different sorts - this link
    http://www.camerashed.co.uk/project15.asp will give you the general idea. I
    think I got the last lot from jessops.
    Trader1, May 15, 2004
    #9
  10. ">
    > I am a little concerned about your focusing comments on the A1, can
    > you comment more on that? About how often was it an issue? Even
    > though you said the Canon is "softer", I think I'd rather have a soft
    > image than get home later and find out that I've lost a shot
    > completely due to a focus problem (Canon's focus bracketing would be a
    > nice feature on the Minolta..).


    Sorry to have to report that it's still a problem - both my A1 and A2 have
    the same problem although the A2 is far worse.
    It's a big enough problem for me to be taking my A2 back - for the price we
    pay for these prosumer models I expect them to have a focus mechanism that I
    can depend upon most of the time.
    I accept that under poor lighting or bad contrast situations then one or two
    shots may be OOF but that should be for me (say) 1 or 2% or perhaps 5% at
    the most, wheras I'm getting somewhere around 25% at the moment but more
    concerning is that these are shots taken in bright sunlight in scenes that I
    would not consider difficult to interpret. Also besides the *just* OOF shots
    that you can't really judge until you get home and check them on your PC,
    sometimes the A2 will give a focus confirmation and yet the result is
    obviously way OOF, sometimes you can retake and then next time the shot will
    be OK but I have had a number of occasions now where the focus mech has been
    unable to cope and sort of 'gave up' with the viewfinder blacking out and
    then an 'err' message appearing on the lcd panel. Switching it off and on
    usually will reset this situation but I also had one occasion where I had to
    remove the battery for 5 secs to get the thing to work properly again....
    I am really peed with this situation as in most other ways the A2 is a
    fantasic tool and it's a dream to use BUT at the end of the day I must be
    able to depend on the thing to be able to focus better than this and also
    not have such flakey software to be getting screen blackouts and errors at
    least once a day...

    Go to the Minolta forum:

    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/

    There are many of us with A2's (and someA1's) having similar problems. There
    are a lot of happy owners of both cameras that have never had a problem but
    there are a large number of folks that are on their 2nd or 3rd camera before
    getting a good one!
    It is easy to point the finger at 'user error' and I have had the similar
    opinion until I started experiancing the same problems for myself!

    I have posted a couple more shots that I found to be OOF when I returned
    home yesterday:

    http://www.canons1.MinoltaA1.photoshare.co.nz


    So, I am probably not going to have a third attempt to get a good Minolta -
    even if I got a good one I would then be concerned that it was going to stay
    that way for a number of years (both the ones I have had seemed OK at
    first). I think I might actually have to take a close look at the Olympus
    770 - I will really miss the 28mm w/a, the AS, the flip out LCD and all the
    buttons of the A2 (I hate the Olympus menu system and their almost
    proprietory XD cards) but then the 770 has a decent LCD and if I fit a wcon
    w/a lens to it then at least I will have a much greater zoom range and from
    my previous experiance with a C750 I will have a much better chance of
    coming home with some correctly focussed shots (even without image
    stabilisation!)....


    >
    > I do like the increased zoom on the Canon, but at least the higher MP
    > of the Minolta should offset that somewhat, and the A1's slightly
    > lower wide end will be useful.


    The Oly 750/770 seem to me to have a better (sharper) image quality to the
    Canon to me - perhaps it's their lens or perhaps the 4mp chip....


    >
    > I've now seen and tried (at least at the store) both cameras;
    > definitely a size differences. The A1 gives more of an appearance of
    > a "professional" photographer; (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or
    > not for me!).


    Yes - I feel the same way - the A1 is really good to hold and use but then
    it does mean that the size makes it more obvious and it's also not so easy
    (almost impossible) just to slip it in your coat pocket!


    >
    > I'm just going to have to keep working on the pros & cons for my uses.


    It's a difficult thing - the phot forums are full of folks going slowly
    mental weighing up the pros & cons - me included!
    If only the Minoltas I have had exposure to were a bit more reliable, the
    decision would have been a lot easier :-(

    >
    > Thanks again



    Good luck!
    GB
    AngryofMayfair, May 16, 2004
    #10
  11. Mike O.

    Mike O. Guest

    "AngryofMayfair" <> wrote in message
    news:c8686n$ibi$...
    >
    > ">
    > > I am a little concerned about your focusing comments on the A1, can
    > > you comment more on that? About how often was it an issue? Even
    > > though you said the Canon is "softer", I think I'd rather have a soft
    > > image than get home later and find out that I've lost a shot
    > > completely due to a focus problem (Canon's focus bracketing would be a
    > > nice feature on the Minolta..).

    >
    > Sorry to have to report that it's still a problem - both my A1 and A2 have
    > the same problem although the A2 is far worse.
    > It's a big enough problem for me to be taking my A2 back - for the price

    we
    > pay for these prosumer models I expect them to have a focus mechanism that

    I
    > can depend upon most of the time.
    > I accept that under poor lighting or bad contrast situations then one or

    two
    > shots may be OOF but that should be for me (say) 1 or 2% or perhaps 5% at
    > the most, wheras I'm getting somewhere around 25% at the moment but more
    > concerning is that these are shots taken in bright sunlight in scenes that

    I
    > would not consider difficult to interpret. Also besides the *just* OOF

    shots
    > that you can't really judge until you get home and check them on your PC,
    > sometimes the A2 will give a focus confirmation and yet the result is
    > obviously way OOF, sometimes you can retake and then next time the shot

    will
    > be OK but I have had a number of occasions now where the focus mech has

    been
    > unable to cope and sort of 'gave up' with the viewfinder blacking out and
    > then an 'err' message appearing on the lcd panel. Switching it off and on
    > usually will reset this situation but I also had one occasion where I had

    to
    > remove the battery for 5 secs to get the thing to work properly again....
    > I am really peed with this situation as in most other ways the A2 is a
    > fantasic tool and it's a dream to use BUT at the end of the day I must be
    > able to depend on the thing to be able to focus better than this and also
    > not have such flakey software to be getting screen blackouts and errors at
    > least once a day...
    >
    > Go to the Minolta forum:
    >
    > http://www.dpreview.com/forums/
    >
    > There are many of us with A2's (and someA1's) having similar problems.

    There
    > are a lot of happy owners of both cameras that have never had a problem

    but
    > there are a large number of folks that are on their 2nd or 3rd camera

    before
    > getting a good one!
    > It is easy to point the finger at 'user error' and I have had the similar
    > opinion until I started experiancing the same problems for myself!
    >
    > I have posted a couple more shots that I found to be OOF when I returned
    > home yesterday:
    >
    > http://www.canons1.MinoltaA1.photoshare.co.nz
    >
    >


    Well, I WAS leaning toward the A1, but now I'm not so sure... You mentioned
    25% failures on the A2. However, the A2 is out of my price range, and I
    can't justify it based on my needs anyway, so do you have a general idea of
    the extent of the problem on the A1? The times where the LCD blacks out, is
    that only on the A2? I've read some of the forum messages on DPReview, but
    it's hard to tell how widespread an issue is; often the people who aren't
    having problems never post anything.

    One question I thought of after posting the previous message; how useful is
    the ISO800? On the DPReview tests it didn't look too bad, but DCResource's
    review said it was pretty much useless because it was so noisy. I compared
    the samples on DCResource's review with their Canon S1 review, the Minolta's
    ISO800 did seem pretty bad, and the ISO400 didn't look much better than the
    Canon. I managed to take some sample pictures in the store with the A1 set
    at 800, and even in the well lit store, it seemed pretty noisy. One of the
    aspects of my needs is low light, non flash pictures; having a usable 800
    setting was a point in the A1's favor. I know I can clean it up with
    software, but if ISO800 is that bad, it removes some of the advantage of the
    A1.

    >
    >
    > >
    > > I do like the increased zoom on the Canon, but at least the higher MP
    > > of the Minolta should offset that somewhat, and the A1's slightly
    > > lower wide end will be useful.

    >
    > The Oly 750/770 seem to me to have a better (sharper) image quality to the
    > Canon to me - perhaps it's their lens or perhaps the 4mp chip....
    >


    Is the Oly shaper handheld at the max zoom? I figure the IS in the canon
    would make a difference there.

    >
    > >
    > > I've now seen and tried (at least at the store) both cameras;
    > > definitely a size differences. The A1 gives more of an appearance of
    > > a "professional" photographer; (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or
    > > not for me!).

    >
    > Yes - I feel the same way - the A1 is really good to hold and use but then
    > it does mean that the size makes it more obvious and it's also not so easy
    > (almost impossible) just to slip it in your coat pocket!
    >
    >
    > >
    > > I'm just going to have to keep working on the pros & cons for my uses.

    >
    > It's a difficult thing - the phot forums are full of folks going slowly
    > mental weighing up the pros & cons - me included!
    > If only the Minoltas I have had exposure to were a bit more reliable, the
    > decision would have been a lot easier :-(
    >
    > >
    > > Thanks again

    >
    >
    > Good luck!
    >GB


    I think I'm going to need it...

    Thanks again for the comments and your time.

    Mike O.
    Mike O., May 16, 2004
    #11
  12. "AngryofMayfair" <> wrote in message
    news:c8686m$ibi$...
    []
    > Actually I far prefer the Minolta swing up/down lcd to the flip/out

    version,
    > the screen is always there to use (especially with the Minolta

    auto-evf/lcd
    > switching) and I really like the way they flip up/down 'behind' the

    camera -
    > something like using a TLR at waist level rather than making the

    conscious
    > effort to unflip and twiddle the flip out ones around to use and besides
    > IMHO they look a bit silly stuck out from the side of the camera. The

    flip
    > out/twist around one on my Canon S1 hardly ever actually got used - it

    was
    > kept closed against the back of the camera...
    >
    > GB


    To me the Minolta felt a far less robust arrangement. It was very "tinny"
    and far less flexible than the Nikon 5700. The limited downward look
    would have made overhead photography more difficult. With the Nikon 5700,
    you can tuck it behind the camera as you describe, should you wish to
    operate that way.

    The OP should try out these different options, if possible, to see which
    suits them best.

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, May 16, 2004
    #12
  13. "AngryofMayfair" <> wrote in message
    news:c8686n$ibi$...
    >
    > ">
    > > I am a little concerned about your focusing comments on the A1, can
    > > you comment more on that? About how often was it an issue? Even
    > > though you said the Canon is "softer", I think I'd rather have a soft
    > > image than get home later and find out that I've lost a shot
    > > completely due to a focus problem (Canon's focus bracketing would be a
    > > nice feature on the Minolta..).

    >
    > Sorry to have to report that it's still a problem - both my A1 and A2

    have
    > the same problem although the A2 is far worse.
    > It's a big enough problem for me to be taking my A2 back - for the price

    we
    > pay for these prosumer models I expect them to have a focus mechanism

    that I
    > can depend upon most of the time.

    []

    I took mine back to Jessops and got a full refund under their 30-day rule.
    I was disappointed because I had hoped the camera would be a significant
    upgrade to the Nikon 5700 I had, but in the end there were too many
    problems and things I didn't like about the camera.

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, May 16, 2004
    #13
  14. Mike O.

    Hopey Guest

    "Mike O." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "AngryofMayfair" <> wrote in message
    > news:c8686n$ibi$...
    > >
    > > ">
    > > > I am a little concerned about your focusing comments on the A1, can
    > > > you comment more on that? About how often was it an issue? Even
    > > > though you said the Canon is "softer", I think I'd rather have a soft
    > > > image than get home later and find out that I've lost a shot
    > > > completely due to a focus problem (Canon's focus bracketing would be a
    > > > nice feature on the Minolta..).

    > >
    > > Sorry to have to report that it's still a problem - both my A1 and A2

    have
    > > the same problem although the A2 is far worse.
    > > It's a big enough problem for me to be taking my A2 back - for the price

    > we
    > > pay for these prosumer models I expect them to have a focus mechanism

    that
    > I
    > > can depend upon most of the time.
    > > I accept that under poor lighting or bad contrast situations then one or

    > two
    > > shots may be OOF but that should be for me (say) 1 or 2% or perhaps 5%

    at
    > > the most, wheras I'm getting somewhere around 25% at the moment but more
    > > concerning is that these are shots taken in bright sunlight in scenes

    that
    > I
    > > would not consider difficult to interpret. Also besides the *just* OOF

    > shots
    > > that you can't really judge until you get home and check them on your

    PC,
    > > sometimes the A2 will give a focus confirmation and yet the result is
    > > obviously way OOF, sometimes you can retake and then next time the shot

    > will
    > > be OK but I have had a number of occasions now where the focus mech has

    > been
    > > unable to cope and sort of 'gave up' with the viewfinder blacking out

    and
    > > then an 'err' message appearing on the lcd panel. Switching it off and

    on
    > > usually will reset this situation but I also had one occasion where I

    had
    > to
    > > remove the battery for 5 secs to get the thing to work properly

    again....
    > > I am really peed with this situation as in most other ways the A2 is a
    > > fantasic tool and it's a dream to use BUT at the end of the day I must

    be
    > > able to depend on the thing to be able to focus better than this and

    also
    > > not have such flakey software to be getting screen blackouts and errors

    at
    > > least once a day...
    > >
    > > Go to the Minolta forum:
    > >
    > > http://www.dpreview.com/forums/
    > >
    > > There are many of us with A2's (and someA1's) having similar problems.

    > There
    > > are a lot of happy owners of both cameras that have never had a problem

    > but
    > > there are a large number of folks that are on their 2nd or 3rd camera

    > before
    > > getting a good one!
    > > It is easy to point the finger at 'user error' and I have had the

    similar
    > > opinion until I started experiancing the same problems for myself!
    > >
    > > I have posted a couple more shots that I found to be OOF when I returned
    > > home yesterday:
    > >
    > > http://www.canons1.MinoltaA1.photoshare.co.nz
    > >
    > >

    >
    > Well, I WAS leaning toward the A1, but now I'm not so sure... You

    mentioned
    > 25% failures on the A2. However, the A2 is out of my price range, and I
    > can't justify it based on my needs anyway, so do you have a general idea

    of
    > the extent of the problem on the A1? The times where the LCD blacks out,

    is
    > that only on the A2? I've read some of the forum messages on DPReview,

    but
    > it's hard to tell how widespread an issue is; often the people who aren't
    > having problems never post anything.
    >
    > One question I thought of after posting the previous message; how useful

    is
    > the ISO800? On the DPReview tests it didn't look too bad, but

    DCResource's
    > review said it was pretty much useless because it was so noisy. I

    compared
    > the samples on DCResource's review with their Canon S1 review, the

    Minolta's
    > ISO800 did seem pretty bad, and the ISO400 didn't look much better than

    the
    > Canon. I managed to take some sample pictures in the store with the A1

    set
    > at 800, and even in the well lit store, it seemed pretty noisy. One of

    the
    > aspects of my needs is low light, non flash pictures; having a usable 800
    > setting was a point in the A1's favor. I know I can clean it up with
    > software, but if ISO800 is that bad, it removes some of the advantage of

    the
    > A1.
    >
    > >
    > >
    > > >
    > > > I do like the increased zoom on the Canon, but at least the higher MP
    > > > of the Minolta should offset that somewhat, and the A1's slightly
    > > > lower wide end will be useful.

    > >
    > > The Oly 750/770 seem to me to have a better (sharper) image quality to

    the
    > > Canon to me - perhaps it's their lens or perhaps the 4mp chip....
    > >

    >
    > Is the Oly shaper handheld at the max zoom? I figure the IS in the canon
    > would make a difference there.
    >
    > >
    > > >
    > > > I've now seen and tried (at least at the store) both cameras;
    > > > definitely a size differences. The A1 gives more of an appearance of
    > > > a "professional" photographer; (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or
    > > > not for me!).

    > >
    > > Yes - I feel the same way - the A1 is really good to hold and use but

    then
    > > it does mean that the size makes it more obvious and it's also not so

    easy
    > > (almost impossible) just to slip it in your coat pocket!
    > >
    > >
    > > >
    > > > I'm just going to have to keep working on the pros & cons for my uses.

    > >
    > > It's a difficult thing - the phot forums are full of folks going slowly
    > > mental weighing up the pros & cons - me included!
    > > If only the Minoltas I have had exposure to were a bit more reliable,

    the
    > > decision would have been a lot easier :-(
    > >
    > > >
    > > > Thanks again

    > >
    > >
    > > Good luck!
    > >GB

    >
    > I think I'm going to need it...
    >
    > Thanks again for the comments and your time.
    >
    > Mike O.
    >



    Hi Mike can i just say I had exactly the same probs with the focusing on the
    A1 as the above but since upgading the firmware from the minolta UK site the
    prob has completly disapeared. I can honestly say apart from the odd low
    light shot where you would expect any auto focus to trip up I havent had any
    OOF shots in about 3000 shots.
    Hope this helps.
    Norman
    Hopey, May 17, 2004
    #14
  15. Hopey wrote:

    > "Mike O." <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>"AngryofMayfair" <> wrote in message
    >>news:c8686n$ibi$...
    >>
    >>>">
    >>>
    >>>>I am a little concerned about your focusing comments on the A1, can
    >>>>you comment more on that? About how often was it an issue? Even
    >>>>though you said the Canon is "softer", I think I'd rather have a soft
    >>>>image than get home later and find out that I've lost a shot
    >>>>completely due to a focus problem (Canon's focus bracketing would be a
    >>>>nice feature on the Minolta..).
    >>>
    >>>Sorry to have to report that it's still a problem - both my A1 and A2

    >
    > have
    >
    >>>the same problem although the A2 is far worse.
    >>>It's a big enough problem for me to be taking my A2 back - for the price

    >>
    >>we
    >>
    >>>pay for these prosumer models I expect them to have a focus mechanism

    >
    > that
    >
    >>I
    >>
    >>>can depend upon most of the time.
    >>>I accept that under poor lighting or bad contrast situations then one or

    >>
    >>two
    >>
    >>>shots may be OOF but that should be for me (say) 1 or 2% or perhaps 5%

    >
    > at
    >
    >>>the most, wheras I'm getting somewhere around 25% at the moment but more
    >>>concerning is that these are shots taken in bright sunlight in scenes

    >
    >

    I've just picked up on this post after shooting for a week with an A2 in
    bright (Anatolia) light. I was having terrible problems - failure to
    lock on focus, sudden change in the finder, sudden shifts of focus.
    Turns out the combination of settings is the problem. If you have 'full
    time AF' plus 'C' (continuous AF) plus tracking AF plus grip sensor...
    which is what the AUTO setting instantly gives you (except for the C
    setting which is a switch), and you also have Auto EVF
    brightness/contrast set instead of Normal (normal reflects exposure and
    colour changes), it all goes very unpredictably wrong.

    By locking the camera on to single shot AF, no full time AF, AE lock
    toggle (not hold), fixed central focus point, and NOT using the AUTO
    setting at all the performance was sorted out entirely - pin sharp
    viewfinder views, locked and stable on half-pressure, with static
    subjects like landscapes.

    David
    David Kilpatrick, May 17, 2004
    #15
  16. Mike O.

    Mike O. Guest

    That's good to hear. What's the firmware version you now have (and what was
    it before)?

    I've just about decided to go with the Minolta. I'm going to try to get it
    locally, then if I have problems I'll have somewhere to take it back to and
    exchange. Walmart is showing it at $674. I did a quick search, that seems
    to be a pretty good price (beside the rip off scam artists companies) If
    nothing else, I can probably use their price to get a price match from
    somewhere else locally.

    - Mike O.


    "Hopey" <> wrote in message
    news:40a88697$0$20511$...
    >
    > "Mike O." <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > >
    > > "AngryofMayfair" <> wrote in message
    > > news:c8686n$ibi$...
    > > >
    > > > ">
    > > > > I am a little concerned about your focusing comments on the A1, can
    > > > > you comment more on that? About how often was it an issue? Even
    > > > > though you said the Canon is "softer", I think I'd rather have a

    soft
    > > > > image than get home later and find out that I've lost a shot
    > > > > completely due to a focus problem (Canon's focus bracketing would be

    a
    > > > > nice feature on the Minolta..).
    > > >
    > > > Sorry to have to report that it's still a problem - both my A1 and A2

    > have
    > > > the same problem although the A2 is far worse.
    > > > It's a big enough problem for me to be taking my A2 back - for the

    price
    > > we
    > > > pay for these prosumer models I expect them to have a focus mechanism

    > that
    > > I
    > > > can depend upon most of the time.
    > > > I accept that under poor lighting or bad contrast situations then one

    or
    > > two
    > > > shots may be OOF but that should be for me (say) 1 or 2% or perhaps 5%

    > at
    > > > the most, wheras I'm getting somewhere around 25% at the moment but

    more
    > > > concerning is that these are shots taken in bright sunlight in scenes

    > that
    > > I
    > > > would not consider difficult to interpret. Also besides the *just* OOF

    > > shots
    > > > that you can't really judge until you get home and check them on your

    > PC,
    > > > sometimes the A2 will give a focus confirmation and yet the result is
    > > > obviously way OOF, sometimes you can retake and then next time the

    shot
    > > will
    > > > be OK but I have had a number of occasions now where the focus mech

    has
    > > been
    > > > unable to cope and sort of 'gave up' with the viewfinder blacking out

    > and
    > > > then an 'err' message appearing on the lcd panel. Switching it off and

    > on
    > > > usually will reset this situation but I also had one occasion where I

    > had
    > > to
    > > > remove the battery for 5 secs to get the thing to work properly

    > again....
    > > > I am really peed with this situation as in most other ways the A2 is a
    > > > fantasic tool and it's a dream to use BUT at the end of the day I must

    > be
    > > > able to depend on the thing to be able to focus better than this and

    > also
    > > > not have such flakey software to be getting screen blackouts and

    errors
    > at
    > > > least once a day...
    > > >
    > > > Go to the Minolta forum:
    > > >
    > > > http://www.dpreview.com/forums/
    > > >
    > > > There are many of us with A2's (and someA1's) having similar problems.

    > > There
    > > > are a lot of happy owners of both cameras that have never had a

    problem
    > > but
    > > > there are a large number of folks that are on their 2nd or 3rd camera

    > > before
    > > > getting a good one!
    > > > It is easy to point the finger at 'user error' and I have had the

    > similar
    > > > opinion until I started experiancing the same problems for myself!
    > > >
    > > > I have posted a couple more shots that I found to be OOF when I

    returned
    > > > home yesterday:
    > > >
    > > > http://www.canons1.MinoltaA1.photoshare.co.nz
    > > >
    > > >

    > >
    > > Well, I WAS leaning toward the A1, but now I'm not so sure... You

    > mentioned
    > > 25% failures on the A2. However, the A2 is out of my price range, and I
    > > can't justify it based on my needs anyway, so do you have a general idea

    > of
    > > the extent of the problem on the A1? The times where the LCD blacks

    out,
    > is
    > > that only on the A2? I've read some of the forum messages on DPReview,

    > but
    > > it's hard to tell how widespread an issue is; often the people who

    aren't
    > > having problems never post anything.
    > >
    > > One question I thought of after posting the previous message; how useful

    > is
    > > the ISO800? On the DPReview tests it didn't look too bad, but

    > DCResource's
    > > review said it was pretty much useless because it was so noisy. I

    > compared
    > > the samples on DCResource's review with their Canon S1 review, the

    > Minolta's
    > > ISO800 did seem pretty bad, and the ISO400 didn't look much better than

    > the
    > > Canon. I managed to take some sample pictures in the store with the A1

    > set
    > > at 800, and even in the well lit store, it seemed pretty noisy. One of

    > the
    > > aspects of my needs is low light, non flash pictures; having a usable

    800
    > > setting was a point in the A1's favor. I know I can clean it up with
    > > software, but if ISO800 is that bad, it removes some of the advantage of

    > the
    > > A1.
    > >
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > >
    > > > > I do like the increased zoom on the Canon, but at least the higher

    MP
    > > > > of the Minolta should offset that somewhat, and the A1's slightly
    > > > > lower wide end will be useful.
    > > >
    > > > The Oly 750/770 seem to me to have a better (sharper) image quality to

    > the
    > > > Canon to me - perhaps it's their lens or perhaps the 4mp chip....
    > > >

    > >
    > > Is the Oly shaper handheld at the max zoom? I figure the IS in the

    canon
    > > would make a difference there.
    > >
    > > >
    > > > >
    > > > > I've now seen and tried (at least at the store) both cameras;
    > > > > definitely a size differences. The A1 gives more of an appearance

    of
    > > > > a "professional" photographer; (I'm not sure if that's a good thing

    or
    > > > > not for me!).
    > > >
    > > > Yes - I feel the same way - the A1 is really good to hold and use but

    > then
    > > > it does mean that the size makes it more obvious and it's also not so

    > easy
    > > > (almost impossible) just to slip it in your coat pocket!
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > >
    > > > > I'm just going to have to keep working on the pros & cons for my

    uses.
    > > >
    > > > It's a difficult thing - the phot forums are full of folks going

    slowly
    > > > mental weighing up the pros & cons - me included!
    > > > If only the Minoltas I have had exposure to were a bit more reliable,

    > the
    > > > decision would have been a lot easier :-(
    > > >
    > > > >
    > > > > Thanks again
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > Good luck!
    > > >GB

    > >
    > > I think I'm going to need it...
    > >
    > > Thanks again for the comments and your time.
    > >
    > > Mike O.
    > >

    >
    >
    > Hi Mike can i just say I had exactly the same probs with the focusing on

    the
    > A1 as the above but since upgading the firmware from the minolta UK site

    the
    > prob has completly disapeared. I can honestly say apart from the odd low
    > light shot where you would expect any auto focus to trip up I havent had

    any
    > OOF shots in about 3000 shots.
    > Hope this helps.
    > Norman
    >
    >
    Mike O., May 18, 2004
    #16
  17. Mike O.

    Dave Brown Guest

    "Tinny" is not a word I would use for the A1/A2. These are solid
    cameras with well layed out controls that allow fast adjustments and a
    limited need for "walking" through menus. Though I have experienced
    the OOF problems mentioned, IMHO, they are minor, and the use of flex
    focus has helped me get the shots I want (I do use manual focus as
    well).

    I had a Canon G3 with a flip out, and did like it very much, but for
    most picture situations the adustable LCD on the A2 is just fine. I
    had 2 Nikons, and though they are now dated the CP900 and CP995, the
    995 got me crazy over dealing with menus for so many creative
    adjustments...haven't looked at a Nikon since. The Minolta is on the
    other end of that spectrum with many adjustments within your
    fingertips.

    Regards,

    db
    >
    > To me the Minolta felt a far less robust arrangement. It was very "tinny"
    > and far less flexible than the Nikon 5700. The limited downward look
    > would have made overhead photography more difficult. With the Nikon 5700,
    > you can tuck it behind the camera as you describe, should you wish to
    > operate that way.
    >
    > The OP should try out these different options, if possible, to see which
    > suits them best.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > David
    Dave Brown, May 18, 2004
    #17
  18. "Dave Brown" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Tinny" is not a word I would use for the A1/A2.


    To clarify, I was talking about the swing out LCD.

    As I said:
    - the OP should try out [these] different options, if possible, to see
    which suits them best.

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, May 18, 2004
    #18
  19. Mike O.

    Hopey Guest

    "Mike O." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > That's good to hear. What's the firmware version you now have (and what

    was
    > it before)?
    >

    101 befor and 102e now. I think the e is for european version so u will
    have to adjust accordingly
    Hopey, May 18, 2004
    #19
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