Minolta DiMAGE S414 review
I've seen better... many times. I hope that's it's just my unit, but there were no physical or software issues with this camera in the 2 years I had it. 3000 Pictures on the camera and I am looking for another one after being very frustrated with the quality of pictures. Of the 3000 maybe 100-200 are really keepers, the rest is a prime candidate for "Photoshop Quality Touch Up Time". There are other issues with the camera (see below). The camera has decent software (the camera features). The poor selection of accessories doesn't make it a keeper - it would be useful to have wide lens or macro light for those times that you wish you had one. I purchased Coolpix 4300 at the same time for my brother-in-law only to be blown away time and time again by the superior image quality, compact size and "sure shot" performance in just about any condition of the Nikon.
My advice, compare for yourself. Take a nice colorful picture, go over to a local electronics store and shoot a picture or two with this camera.
Ok, here are the issues I found:
The color balance and saturation are very poor unless you are shooting in a shaded area under a tree at high noon. But honestly, how often does that happen? Messing with bracket exposure or "saturation" doesn't do it much good -- instead it causes "the other" pictures to suck.
The never-ending digital cam complaint of slow focus... blah blah blah.... Well, under dark conditions that is unenviable, but during normal sunny daylight this shouldn't be an issue. I can't tell you how many pictures I missed because the camera wouldn't focus! Just keep this in mind - a moment in time is just that - no going back to it.
The camera gets really hot if you keep in on for long time.
The manual focus control is a joke... by the time you attempt to set the desired settings it will be 20 minutes of your precious time. They simply could be laid out better. The auto focus comes with the lack of “Auto White Balance”. White was never white on this cam. Sure, no problem you can “train it”, but it will only work for that moment/scene. The minute you focus somewhere else the white balance can already be different. This is the reason why most of the pictures out of this cam seemed to be very very poor.
NOW THE ISSUES OTHERS SEEM TO DWELL ON FOR NO APPARENT REASON.
Battery life -- get over it. If it has a fast CPU (which this camera does -- good for shooting sequences) it will suck juice like nobody's business. Get a second pack of AA's and put a sock in it. It worked just fine for me for 2 years.
Tripod mount - what everyone seems to be forgetting that a bad tripod will not mount right to anything. Yes, the mount is off-center, but so what? Spend 5 bucks more on a well balanced and stable tripod and you are set to go.
Weight -- well, that's what you get for a semi-full metal case. Price vs Features vs Reality.
Hope that helps! Enjoy you cam if you have one but if you are shopping around keep in mind that almost every cam has issues. Just make sure they don't waste your time or precious moments that pass.
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