Minolta DiMAGE S404 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Good image quality, very good colours (after being run through Image Viewer Utility)
- Good 4x lens, sharp with little distortion (if a little slow; F3.0 - F3.6)
- Good control over internal processing algorithms (colour, sharpness, contrast)
- Good set of manual controls (if limited by just two apertures)
- Solid build quality, aluminium body
- Fairly fast processing, good shot to shot times
- Improved buffering means you'll hardly ever find yourself waiting for data to flush
- Browsing images in play mode is very fast
- New histogram display in play mode
- Five selectable AF points, AF is relatively quick, better-than-some low light AF ability
- Quick Review mode (shooting priority)
- Good low light LCD brightness, camera boosts ISO to maintain LCD image
- Voice memo's can be attached to images
- Good battery life
- USB connectivity
- Excellent value for money
Conclusion - Cons
- Auto Focus system sometimes misses but is convinced of an AF lock
- Multi-Segment metering can sometimes need negative EV compensation
- Requirement to run images through Image Viewer Utility to get the best colour
- Tendancy to send white balance slightly blue in shade
- Badly desinged / positioned tripod mount
- Flash skin tone can be a little yellow
- LCD screen needs an anti-reflective coating
Here's my rating of the Minolta DiMAGE S404: (4 megapixel prosumer)
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Lens / CCD combination||8.5|
|Ease of use||7.5|
|Value for money||9|
The S404 really is the dark horse of the four megapixel bunch. Yet when you consider its feature set; four megapixels, four times optical zoom lens, well implemented buffering, good control over internal processing etc. You soon see that at $500 the S404 is beginning to look like a bit of a bargain. The S404 isn't just an S304 with a higher resolution CCD either, there are lots of little tweaks and improvements which have helped to make this a better camera.
Delving deeper we find that as long as you are willing to run your images through the Minolta Image Viewer you can get some incredibly accurate and vivid colour from this digital camera. Resolution is good (not as good as the best, but at this price, very good), tonal balance is good, metering was on the whole accurate (sometimes need a little negative EV compensation) and noise was kept under control. The new ISO 64 mode providing an even cleaner alternative for daylight shooting.
Overall the S404 delivers an excellent set of features with very good image quality at an amazingly low price. Its price is what sets it apart from the rest, at $300 less than the Canon G2 and Olympus C-4040Z and $200 less than the Sony DSC-S85 the S404 offers excellent value for money and a digital camera which can deliver very nice results (take a look through the samples gallery).
So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.
|Street Food 2017 by ziggyzag|
from Your City - Fast Food
|Running free by LassiM|
|1969 Oldsmobile 442 Resto-Mod by J Warren|
from O is for...
Our review of the Sony a7 III is well underway and, as part of this, we're publishing our studio test scene. We'll be building out the review in the coming weeks as we test and shoot the camera in a series of situations.
The new ExaDrive offers a three times higher capacity than the previous largest SSD, a 30TB model by Samsung.
A pair of images show what may be the upcoming DJI Phantom 5 drone featuring an interchangeable lens camera. While nothing is confirmed, it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility given the company's recent experience with camera system development.
We were saddened to hear of the death last week of Chuck Westfall, a 35-year veteran of Canon USA, and a legend in the photography industry.
Nikon looks to be positioning its D850 as a serious video rig with today's announcement of its D850 Filmmaker's Kit. The kit includes the body, 20/35/85mm F1.8G lenses, an Atomos Ninja Flame external recorder, two microphones and an extra battery.
Photographers shopping around for Lightroom alternatives have likely encountered Alien Skin's Exposure X3. Here's an overview of its organization and editing controls, and how they differ from the competition.
Alien Skin has released a significant update for its Exposure X3 image editor, adding greater precision to adjustment tools and more printing capabilities, among other improvements.
The FAA has ordered helicopter pilots and operators to halt certain doors-off flights in the wake of a tragedy that killed five passengers.
Analysts TechInsights have torn down a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to have a closer look at the device's internal components and their cost.
Oppo's new high-end phones bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone X, with features like face unlock to a portrait lighting mode.
Recently we visited the 2018 CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan and as usual, we booked interviews with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Sigma.
At this year's CP+ show in Yokohama, we sat down with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Canon. Topics of conversation included Canon's ambitions for high-end mirrorless cameras, and the importance of responding to the demands of the smartphone generation.
We were recently able to follow local frame builder Max Kullaway as he created one of his AirLandSea bikes. Here are our picks of the photos we got, as the project progressed from bare tubes all the way to rideable bicycle.
On paper, the Sony a7 III is a tempting option for photographers who've been considering a switch to full-frame mirrorless. But how does its image quality stack up? We compare it to the Mark II and a few of its other peers.
Erez Marom shares the details behind this beautiful aurora photograph, captured on Haukland Beach in the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway, on a moonless evening.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence and 'computer vision' to identify and provide information about businesses, landmarks and other objects using your phone's camera. And now it's available for iPhone users, too.
The company posted a record quarterly revenue of $2.08 billion for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. That represents incredibly healthy year-over-year growth of 24 percent.
In the job posting, the Times' describes this role as "one of the most important and high-profile jobs in visual journalism." If you're looking for a high profile job in photojournalism, you could do a lot worse than being Photo Director at The Gray Lady.
According to a recent report out of South Korea, Samsung is increasing production of its ISOCELL image sensors in a bid towards market leadership for image sensors. To reach this goal, Samsung will have to dethrone current market leader Sony... no small task.
In this video, large format photographer Ben Horne shows off the incredible resolving power of 8x10 slide film by pixel peeping a massive 709.6-megapixel drum scan of one of his landscape shots. And you thought 100MP medium format was big...
Photographer Wendy Teal tells the heart-breaking story of a wedding she shot at a hospital on just 24-hours notice. The mother of the bride had been given one week to live, and Wendy responded to the couple's desperate social media plea for someone to capture their special day.
This tiny little plug-and-play VR/AR camera for Android phones uses a pair of greater-than-180° FOV fisheye lenses to offer both 360° video/photo capture and 360° livestreaming at 1440p resolution.
Syrp has announced the Magic Carpet Pro: a slider that offers filmmakers an 'infinitely extendable' range thanks to built-in track levers that let you connect lengths of track without the use of tools.
At CP+ we sat down with executives from several major manufacturers. Among them was Kenji Tanaka, of Sony, who talked to us about the a7 III as well as its plans to attract more pro shooters – without ignoring APS-C and entry-level customers.
How do you shoot macro photography on an 18x24cm large format wet plate camera? You 'connect' two large format cameras together! That's how wet plate photographer Markus Hofstaetter did it, and you can read about the whole process in this article.
The Fujifilm X-H1 is a top-of-the-range 24MP mirrorless camera with in-body stabilization and the company's most advanced array of video capabilities. We've tested the X-T2's big brother extensively to see how it performs.
Motorsports photojournalist Jamey Price recently flew to Canada with Lamborghini for the car company's Winter Accademia 2018, where clients get to drive the latest Lamborghini supercars on snow and ice. Yes... it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
For the Pixel 2 smartphone's Motion Photos feature, Google built on its existing Motion Stills technology by adding advanced stabilization that combines software and hardware capabilities to optimize trimming and stabilization.
This "high-capacity advanced spider tripod" system can handle a maximum load of 65kg / 143lbs thanks to its reinforced design and 8-layered carbon fiber legs.
Photographer William Briscoe captured the beautiful two-for-one timelapse just outside Fairbanks, Alaska on January 31st, braving -31°F (-35°C) temperatures to get the shot.