Minolta Dimage A2 focus trouble

I’ve just updated the firmware on my Minolta Dimage A2 in hopes that it might resolve some focusing problems. As I searched the web I came by others who reviewed this camera with less than sharp focus as well.

Now I have to wonder if I make a big mistake buying this camera for my wife. I tried several different modes myself and was unable to get many simple shots to be crisp like with my film camera.

Does anyone own one of these cameras? Does anyone know how to overcome this short-coming? I really like this camera otherwise, I just wish such a high-priced camera would refrain from having such “low-end” difficulties…

Any help, advise, or direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

I don’t know if you are familiar with Yahoo Groups or not, however there is a ‘Minolta’ group with over 6000 members. It’s simple to join and you don’t have to ever post again.

It is here.

I’m certain someone there will know the answer. They’ll also be able to answer any other Minolta questions in the future.

If you’re waiting for focus confirmation then it’s about as good as it’s going to get unfortunately. I struggled with this camera’s predecessor the Dimage 7 until I could afford a DSLR.

I did find this link on DPreview, an article on the focus modes. Read what is there and be patient and you may get better results. Based on my experience with the D7 it isn’t a camera you can let do the focusing work for you.


Thanks for the direction Raindog, I’d like to keep this Q open still, just in case there might be any owners that could surface for user feedback.

I’d like to know if this is an inherit problem with this camera and if other A2 owner’s are having the same trouble. Thanks

Also try http://www.dcresource.com for very knowledgable digital camera folks. You may need to use the sharpen feature of a photo processing program like PhotoShop since many cameras are a big “soft” right out of the box. There also may be settings in the camera to make the default images sharper.

What kind of problems are you having? I have an A200 which is the cheap version of the A2 and the only real problem I have with focussing is that the autofocus is slow in low-light (or, more correctly, low-contrast) conditions, which is something that’s common to all AF systems that use contrast to determine how to focus.

Another problem is that the autofocus doesn’t always focus where you want it to, but that’s easily overcome by two methods 1) manual focus and b) choosing the focus point yourself. If you’ve got a problem with the focus not working at all, you’ll have to use the manual. If the problem is with the camera choosing to focus on something other than what you want it to, you can set the focus are for a given part of the frame then simply put that area over the object you want to focus on, hold the shutter halfway down (this will save your focus settings as well as exposure, &c.). Reframe and press the button down and you’ve got your shot.

An imperfect solution, but I’ve had to do this even with the Nikon D70s, so I believe that it’s an autofocus issue in general.

Hey, how is your wife? I hope she’s doing well, and that all went well. Could you post an update on that, if you feel so inclined?

I have the Dimage 7Hi, and have also been frustrated at times by the slow and sometimes inaccurate focusing in low light. In daylight and in high-contrast situations, it’s generally fine, but in low light or low-contrast scenarios, it often hunts for focus for a long time.

Minolta prosumer digicams are not the only ones with this problem. The Nikon Coolpix 5700 was notorious for its slow focusing, and newer Nikon prosumer models aren’t much better. Sony cameras are a bit better, but still far from perfect. As Padeye suggests, you can’t really get over this problem completely unless you’re willing to make the jump to a DSLR.

I’m pretty bummed that i could now get a Canon or Nikon DSLR with 18-55 lens for less money than i paid (almost 3 years ago) for my 7Hi. Of course, now i don’t have the cash to spare. :frowning: Oh well, just another motivation to finish the PhD and get a proper job.

Hmm, jump to DSLR? I understand that the A2 is far from the best, but I thought it wasa DSLR. In fact, it seems hard to define a DSLR since traditionally a SLR simply meant that your photograph exactly what you see through the eyepiece. But now, digital cameras mostly use EVF’s to pinpoint their shot. Which to me may take a shortcut to reach the same result, but what’s the giant difference?

More specifically, I know I haven’t mastered all the settings and such; but most cameras of this calibre have a “stupid person” mode AKA- Autofocus that isn’t too shabby. But with this one, I not only have trouble with focusing in dim light, but some perfect light situations have you thinking you got the shot from what the EVF shows, then you upload your shot and it’s crap… what do I mean by crap?

Well, for one think a shot of someone’s face will be unfocused and some arbitrary object or part of the person’s face is sharper than the rest. So this is supposed to mean that each and every shot I or my wife must implement the flex focus point just to have a completely in- focus shot? Second, i tried the manual mode and I’m really just not any good with it- I basically got worse reseults focus-wise than if I’d of used the AF.

Why does film-based AF work so much better? That’s certainly the case with my Olympus IS-3… I never had this issue with this camera and it was fantastic in regards to sharpness, my only gripe would be it’s zoom lens was completely electric; and it was a big zoom lens- so it chewed on batteries pretty good. Maybe Canon does a better job… I really don’t know what to do any more… it’s way past any kind of 30 day warranty period…

Not really. The viewfinder on a DSLR is the same as the one on a SLR. A DSLR has interchangable lenses (lenses that are used in film cameras) - “prosumer” digicams don’t. They also use different sensors, &c.

Use the trick I mentioned before: set a focus point, use it to focus on the area you want to focus on, press the shutter halfway and then reframe.

As for being bad at it: practice. It’s slightly obnoxious, but I think you’ll find the extra control is worth it.

I think it’s a function of the individual lens rather than strctly film v. digital.

This distinction is starting to get blurred. The sensor in the A2 is referred to as a 2/3"* size which is actually 8.8x6.6mm. This was typically the largest sensor in consumer cameras. Most are like your Dimage using an electronic viewfinder though Olympus made two models that technically were SLRs though they used a semi-silvered prism istead of a moving mirror and didn’t have interchangable lenses.

DSLRs typically use sensors with four times the area of the 2/3" sensor or even larger but Sony has broken into this territory by making an electronic viewfinder camera with a sensor virtually the same size as a Canon DSLR. The large sensor advantage no longer belongs to only DSLR cameras but the Sony R1 hasn’t hit the streets yet.

Non interchangable lens cameras can often get by with a weaker autofocus system because they can. Because of depth of field issues the 2/3" sensor cameras can get by with zone focus. Rather than focusing in a continuous range they focus in half a dozen or more distinct steps. The manufacturers consider this good enough but as you and I have certainly seen it isn’t. Manual focus isn’t much help since the electronic viewfinder isn’t precise or fast enough to detect sharp focus.

Since DSLRs normally use interchangable lenses the focus system has to work with any lens that might be mounted. Zone focus isn’t possible so phase detection rotates the lens helicoid until a focus point is in sharp focus. Igt’s a matter of you get what you pay for but newer models from at least five manufacturers put this performance at only a few hundred dollars more than cameras like the Dimage line.

*The 2/3" refers to image circle but it came from the days of vidcon tubes in TV cameras so the dimension is about twice what the diagonal measurment of the frame is. Still it’s used for most small sensors up to 2/3" and even the Olympus 4/3" size. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse1/ This page has an illustration of some common sensor sizes if you scroll about halfway down.

Since you bring up sensors Padeye; it’s strayed from the Dimage, but still important to bring up since every digital camera has one.

After reading the recent posts sent this direction I sulked a bit and then mulled over the entire subject all over again. The mistake I made seems to be in trusting reviews, but also others opinions. As you guys have made it clear, it’s really two different animals with some interchangeable parts and similar shapes- but the mechanics or lack there of is the kicker.

After coming to the realization that this camera is never going to work the way I was wanting it to I went looking into the previous “vaporware” product Polaroid x530 with has family roots with Sigma in that they both share a Faveon chip.

Sigma was to be the next great thing, but had their share of drawbacks. Still the Faveon chip to me is still very intriquing and impressive. What is especially interesting is how “digital” it’s colors make other cameras appear. They are “alive” looking, blue skies are bluer with little to no assistance; lending the world of point and shooters a way to get great photos without knowing anything about polarizing filters or photoshop tweaks.

Still, the Polaroid will tank because there are not enough +'s going for it, especially it’s $400 dollar price. I find it almost insulting that there isn’t a camera out there under a Grand that will take low light/indoor photographs with little difficulty.

How was I to know before all this that most digital cameras use algorithms to put colors where they are supposed to be and those very algorithms generate a large percentage of the noise and purple crap around silhouettes that digital cameras are so famous for and that algorithm is based entirely on the apparent inferior effectiveness of the major chip technology out there right now. The undersized, weak, stale-colored chip technology.

So why is this so easy to overlook, do we all just get used to it because we want the convenience of digital so bad?