One forgotten gem from 1998

Started Apr 3, 2011 | User reviews thread
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schaki
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One forgotten gem from 1998
Apr 3, 2011

Filmlike and grainy image-quality. This camera seems to be good for B&W, something which I need to do more.

The focus is not too slow and are almost always spot on. Also nice with aperture f1.9. Shame that there is no aperture-priority. The lens is great except for noisy AF, barrel distortion and that it not have macro.
Image-quality is pretty darn good only to be 1.5mp. The images are crisp, grainy, almost no CA and have a nice feeling to them. Underexposing with 0.7 or more almost always put the AWB off and dynamic range is not great either.
Some may say that the image-quality is not that good. I believe that's because them are not fond of grainy images. Unlike too many other cameras, this model won't ruin fine-detail with noise reduction that can't be disabled. There may be just a tiny bit of lacking details anyway but that is rather down to the low amount of pixels. IQ-wise this model is more than a match for many models with two-mp. I've the at the time highly regarded 2mp Coolpix 700 as well.
It didn't sold that well but had the best image quality in its class (priceclass I would assume, but it held up well against the Coolpix 950 as well) of models with 2mp according, to Phil Askey in the review.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp700/page11.asp

I've had a Coolpix 700 since the spring in 2000 and it was my only DC for some years to come.
It have less barrel distortion but more CA/PF than the Dimage EX 1500 wide.

Uncompressed jpegs are welcome as well and even better that it is decent buffered so there is no waiting unless you take 7 frames way too fast. I can't remember having run out of buffer except for once when I tried to do so deliberately.

Iso is stuck at 125 but it is not huge problem in good light and can probably be used in low light was well. Especially since I managed to get some useful B&W lowlight images with the i Dimage EX 1500 zoom and its widest aperture is only f3.5 and also stuck at iso125.

There is also a firmware-update which still can be downloaded. It improves a couple of things:
New digital magnification function
Increased burst rate, fast = 7.5fps, medium=3.7fps
Smoother motion in live images, refresh rate increased 33%
Internal flash may be switched on/off
Flash bracketing function added
Custom settings for white balance
Improved custom script function
Bracketing increments changed from 1/2 to 1/3 EV steps

http://www.steves-digicams.com/news/minolta-posts-dimage-ex-update-20.html

Only iso125. Slow bootup (around 8 secs) and zooming could be more quiet. The shutter on the other hand can seldom be heard and I'm not always sure if it took a picture although it did so when I check.
Macro is not great, only available at 105mm and manual focus.
AWB is not great.
Bootup takes 8 secs but I use to just turn off the LCD when I'm walking around with it to be ready and shoot fast.

Unlike many other, the camera won't work very well with 2gb cards for some unknown reason. It can write to both my Sandisk Extreme III and Lexar Pro 2gb. But when I put the cards in the reader, it says that the card is not formated although I certainly did format it in the camera before starting to shoot.
Well, my old compact flash 256mb seem to work flawlessly. I don't have any other size in between 256mb and 2gb so I don't know exactly where that limit is. Or if it just is something else that causes problem.
These images are not are still on the card though and can be recovered, using a program for recover lost files.

I may return here to fill in with more findings the more I use it.

Problems:

Only iso125. Slow bootup (around 8 secs) Autofocus could be more quiet. The shutter on the other hand can seldom be heard and I'm not always sure if it took a picture although it did so when I check.
AWB is not great for indoors.
Bootup takes 8 secs but I use to just turn off the LCD when I'm walking around with it to be ready and shoot fast.

Another con is that this 28mm-module are almost impossible to find even as used nowadays. Probably because most buyers of the Dimage EX went with the zoom.

There are two revisions of the body. see following thread.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1013&message=36172822&q=1500&qf=m

 schaki's gear list:schaki's gear list
Contax TVS Digital
schaki's score
4.5
Average community score
3.8
bad for good for
Kids / pets
okay
Action / sports
weak
Landscapes / scenery
okay
Portraits
unrated
Low light (without flash)
acceptable
Flash photography (social)
good
Studio / still life
unrated
= community average
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