Minolta DiMAGE F200 review
My average: 4.7.
Picture quality - is ok. This is what we buy the camera for, isn’t it? 1/1.8” CCD gives you low noise – look at the others 4mpix – they all start ISO rating from 64 or something about and reaches ISO400. In f200 you have ISO100 – ISO800 range. Even new Z2 has lower range... Does it matter? In my opinion yes – having lower noises and higher ISO you can increase the exposure time reduce aperture etc. Does it mean there are no noises? No, there are noises but acceptable and lower then in others. Use noise reduction in PSP and you will get Canon's smoothness - this is how Canon does.
Easy of use – for me ok, for my girlfriend, hmm... but she uses Auto with LCD switched off.
Construction – I used to be careful with this stuff. But not exaggerating. it works fine. Many controls in menu, but it is supposed to be a compact.
Features in this class are all you need.
Value... – very chip these days. It is discontinued model so this is the last opportunity to buy it. Yes, it worth of the money.
They say, it eats batteries faster then any other – the others use 4 batteries – f200 uses 2 – having 2 more in the pocket gives you similar result.
They say, flash is weak. It is. It is not pro flash. Use the ‘M’ mode. You can set flash boost there in the setup.
‘M’ mode is just manual setting of anything –you can set it to work automatically after all. In fact, I don’t use Auto mode too often – my girlfriend does
Barrel,pincushion – yes, with extreme zoom in, zoom out. But the picture is always sharp, and there is no chromatic aberration visible. You have always such a choice (the one in Sony 828 is going even to far):
No chromatic distortion and whole sharp picture in f200 with barrel dist. or no barrel distortion but not sharp picture (in corners) or/and purple fringing in others?
The barrel is quite easy to correct in photo editors (loosing sharpness at corners :-), but there is no way to remove fringing or make it sharp.
The lens works strange for me. It means not bad but strange. But, as I understand, it is necessary to give you so good pictures. The lens is like work of art. Gives you the best but you have to handle it carefully.
And the Super Macro mode - I have found quite easy way of setting it. 5cm (2") macro, without USB or battery combinations.
Tip on zoom extending in Playback mode: push zoom lever left and then turn on the camera to playback mode. They say it is Minolta recomended practice.
Definitely, it is a pity that Minolta has stopped selling of this camera.
Tip on the batteries:
After buying new batteries it is good to 'format' it. It looks like the capacity of NiMh is increasing after few full charge-discharge cycles. And use standard charger for formatting. Not the pulse one. Pulse one is fast but does not charge to full capacity.
Comparision? I think, Canon s45 could compete with it. s50 has sh. lens.
I am thinking about buying something "SLR like" all the time, but the problem is that f200 is enough most of the times. The only reason would be custom programs of exposure settings.
This is what you are really interested in, aren’t you?
Following are not real problems. I would say they are difficultness:
– the lens sounds strange. Sometimes, you have a feeling it is going to whip.
But as I said – it works strange at all. I could say this is the price for picture quality. Not big price.
– its default position is maximally extended. When you switch on the camera the lens extends to extreme position (In fact it is always extended even when zooming out). Thus, I used to keep it extended when I go for a shot but then the lens is uncovered and not protected. I have always this problem: switch it off and protect or keep it on extended and uncovered.
- I moved from film SLRs, so some operations are slow for me.
- There is no Current Focal Length indicator. You can recognize the zoom by max aperture value but it is not convenient. THe other method is to count zoom steps. There are 13 steps. Finaly you will see the length in Exif data on comp.
-In 'M'mode and Manual Focus remember to re-set the focus after changing zoom.
- after suspending the zoom resets.
- Low light focusing - I wish it to be equipped with range sensors like most of compact film cameras are. When the focus is not locking, don't wait - try againg. You can use manual facus after all. It is quite convenient because of the focus depth. Set at 2.5m and do photos in 2 - 5 m.