#5 Sony SLT A99
no images taken with this camera yet
My A55 died for the second time — first time it was repaired under warranty but this time would have cost me hundreds of dollars to repair
so I decided to replace it instead.
I've ordered it but not yet received it so no mini-review.
I'm a bit apprehensive about using a full-frame camera for macro as depth-of-field will suffer.
#4 Sony SLT A55V
77,298 images taken with this camera
Liking the features offered by the new Sony I pre-ordered mine
and was probably one of the first in the country to have one.
I had been looking at the Canon 550D (which has limited performance and features) and was also
waiting to see if Nikon come out with anything better, also disappointing with features.
Having used the Sony for several months now I have worked out all its features and limitations and drawn some conclusions.
I am generally happy with it and will be keeping it for a while.
The in-body anti-shake seems adequate but overheats with continuous use for 5 minutes
so I'm slotting this in as a neutral —
it doesn't perform brilliantly and is an expected feature these days anyway.
Likewise with HD movies — standard feature.
† This camera died once after 12 months and it was repaired under warranty but died again a bit over a year later.
|Excellent 18MPix sensor (useable at ISO800 with in-built noise reduction)
||Weak flash (really poor for a camera of this calibre) —
in auto mode it compensates by upping the ISO but even for macro of dark objects they turn out really dark.
[I think it weakens the flash for close-up but weakens it too much.]
|Fast continuous shooting (3, 6 or 10 FPS)
||Limitations with flash in manual mode — you can't set it to faster than 160th
(though you can set it slower). [Due to being a CMOS (and not CCD) sensor with focal plane shutter rather than electronic shutter.]
|Continuous live view focus
||Auto-focus isn't very good for noisy subjects (ie. something sitting in front of grass).
Also its missing the feature of predictive auto focus, which some compeditor's higher-end cameras posess.
|Good, sunlight viewable LCD screen with full-time live view
#3 FujiFilm FinePix S100fs
About 60,000 images taken with this camera
My old Z3 (see below) was starting to fall apart and I wanted something with a bit more than its 4MPix.
I was looking at the DSLR's around at the time but "live view" was still more of a gimmick.
I decided to go with the S100fs, even though the reviews that were starting to come out
showed it had a pretty bad lens with regard to distortion and chromatic aberrations
(where high-contrast areas are fringed with purple).
As usual macro ability was poorly reported and it was only after I bought it that I realized its
"1cm super macro" was only at its widest angle (28mm equivalent).
I was also wary of proprietary batteries as they are expensive to replace.
Unfortunately very few cameras these days support standard (AA) batteries.
I was not prepared to pay $80 for a spare battery (four rechargeable AA batteries cost $20)
and had to live with low batteries on a few trips and once the batteries went flat
while I was out in the field so I missed opportunities to photograph some rare dragonflies.
Another annoying aspect about this Fuji is its continuous shooting and bracketing modes are annoying.
Sure you can take some photos reasonably rapidly (about 3FPS) but you have to wait 5 seconds for them to save.
With my old Minolta Z3 you could start shooting as soon as it made a bit of room
meaning I could take a burst and if the action was still happening I could take another burst a second later.
Not with the S100fs — I would take a series of an animal in action, hoping I got some good shots,
but then while I'm waiting several seconds something else happens that I just can't get because of the stupid camera.
In the end I enjoyed the versatility of the camera but would have much preferred better image quality.
|Good 11MPix "Super CCD" sensor (useable at ISO200)
||Terrible chromatic abberations and bad at pure red colors
|RAW filee option
||Slow saving/continous shooting
#2 Konica-Minolta DiMage Z3
>130,000 photos taken with this camera
I was in a bit of a rush to get another camera, after damaging my first one, and settled on a Z3.
I was tossing up between this and a Panasonic with a similar feature set
but chose the Konica-Minolta because it used standard AA batteries
(for which I had two sets of NiMH rechargables).
Its still only a 4M pixel camera and a few months later they released the 6M pixel Z6 which I just missed out on.
|Good zoom (12×; 420mm equiv)
||Poor image quality on anything other than base ISO50 (terrible noise on ISO200, even worse at 400)
|Fast startup and zoom
||Terrible low-light performance (slow focus seek, wrong auto WB, noisy images, etc)
|Fast focus in good light
||Hopeless flash, useful to only 2m unzoomed, 1m when zoomed
|Good macro (to 1cm; about 1:1)
||Poor build (always had intermittent problems but its starting to fall apart now too)
|Standard AA batteries
#1 Olympus C-3040Z
About 20,000 images taken with this camera
My first camera was also a digital camera, an Olympus C3040Z.
I had always enjoyed photography but film-based photography was (and still is) too expensive.
I bought it back in September 2001 and it cost me a pretty penny,
more than entry level DSLR cameras with lenses cost these days.
It only has a 3M pixel sensor, which isn't too bad for most purposes but very low by today's standards.
I damaged this camera late 2004 while descending from a tree, resulting in problems with the lens being stuck.
Later I managed to get it to work most of the time but I can't use the zoom any more
as this will cause the lens internally to dosmount somewhere and then it can't be shut down any more.
|Reasonable image quality
||Slow to startup
||Slow zoom and focus
|Standard AA batteries
||Inadequate macro (minimum 20cm)